M.I.S. Print Revs Up Mainframe Output for Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

A Kawasaki Motor Corp case study by Rochester Software Associates.

Never content to idle on the sidelines, when Kawasaki Motor Corporation, U.S.A. found that its lease was up on its legacy printer, company staffers immediately hit the ground running to select a new solution to generate output for its IBM mainframe.

With more than 480 employees, Irvine, California- based Kawasaki produces the popular Jet Ski® watercraft, Ninja sport bikes, Vulcan cruisers, 4- wheel ATVs and Mule utility vehicles. The Irvine location is responsible for all billing to dealers and channels in the U.S. Kawasaki has regional centers in New Jersey, Georgia, Texas and Michigan and operates a huge manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The company’s printing needs included dealer invoices, warranty cards, mailing labels, and over 200 unique forms, all data maintained on the organization’s mainframe. “We had looked at several printer options for the mainframe,” recalls Mike Soursby, Sr. Systems Programmer for Kawasaki. “We were most interested in bringing in a system that would work in our budget and work without any hand-holding.”

Kawasaki wanted a proven solution. Their printer vendor recommended RSA’s M.I.S. Print “so we went with their recommendation,” says Soursby.

M.I.S. Print converts line printer and Xerox LCDS data streams including DJDE, Metacode and XES/UDK to PostScript or PDF, allowing users to print legacy mainframe jobs to network production, midrange or desktop PostScript printers. With M.I.S. Print, users can reprint jobs; edit or view existing resources; view samples on the screen or to the printers; and import new resources. In addition, M.I.S. Print’s replicate feature will automatically update resources stored on multiple printers; queue jobs to multiple printers and create PDF or TIFF for web publishing, archival, email distribution or faxing.

No Idling Printers

M.I.S. Print converts line printer and Xerox LCDS data streams including DJDE, Metacode and XES/UDK to PostScript or PDF, allowing users to print legacy mainframe jobs to PostScript printers.

A major concern for Soursby and his colleagues was the issue of printer idling. “From past experience, DJDE data would idle the printer and reset,” says Soursby. “Fortunately, with RSA as our front end server, it converts the DJDE to PostScript so we don’t have the idling challenges we had before.”

M.I.S. Print receives Kawasaki’s legacy data streams from the host and converts the data streams to PostScript between 1,000 and 10,000 ppm, enabling the printer to print at rated speed.

Another benefit, says Soursby, is M.I.S. Print’s reprint capability. “RSA will hold jobs for however long you specify,” he says, “so if you want to go back and print something, you can, without processing at the mainframe. In addition, you can just take a look at it or scroll through it. It’s a lot more user friendly.”

One of the biggest productivity enhancements at Kawasaki was automating their start commands and paper stock selection. Prior to RSA’s M.I.S. Print, this was a manual process. The operator would review the mainframe form, set the appropriate paper, and then release the job. The new solution saves the customer time, and requires less operator intervention at the mainframe.

Looking back at the install, Soursby now admits, “I was a little concerned. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that you don’t get a tidy black box that slides in perfectly and you’re ready to go.”

Everybody worked hard to handle our questions and make it all right in a quick and professional manner.

Mike Soursby

Sr. Systems Programmer

But everyone was pleasantly surprised. “There’s always something to tweak, but this installation came as close to flawless as anyone could have expected,” he says. “We were up and running as fast as possible. And yes, there were a few items that surfaced needing attention. But you know what? There was no finger pointing. Everybody worked hard to handle our questions and make it all right in a quick and professional manner.”

As a result of this teamwork and project management, the M.I.S. Print enabled printer was installed and in production ahead of schedule. “And that made my life much easier,” says Soursby with a smile. Making life even more simple, RSA’s engineers dial in remotely, performing diagnostic or update tasks quickly and thoroughly to resolve service issues without delay.

Ready for the Future

The new RSA system offers intriguing possibilities for the future. “The ability to network this printer and manage print jobs with M.I.S. Print offers some interesting alternatives for us to consider,” says Soursby. “For example, while our graphics department has its own printer for hardcopy output, they may find it useful to offload some of their print jobs to our printer.”

Currently, the printer is generating 800,000 images per month, a number Soursby expects to increase as his group rolls out the printer’s availability via LAN.

“RSA’s M.I.S. Print solution gives us the scalability to take on whatever is necessary to keep moving forward as an organization,” says Soursby. “It’s robust, easy to use, provides useful features like the reprint capability and when I have a question, they get it answered right away. And that’s just what we need.”​

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