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February 2009
In This Issue:
- JReport 9 Service Pack 1 is Now Generally Available
- Case Study: Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood
- JReport Tech Tip: How to Build a GIS Map Report

Click here to get an eval copy of JReport 9 Service Pack 1

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JReport 9 Service Pack 1 is Now Generally Available

Jinfonet Software announces the General Availability of JReport 9 Service Pack 1, providing improved performance and map enhancements.

Performance Improvements continue to be the focus of this Service Pack. JReport now has further improved scalability and response time. Benchmark results show over 20% average performance gains against JReport 9. 

Interactive Map has been enhanced in this Service Pack. JReport Designer now enables users to easily design maps with rich properties and bind the report data with the map areas to provide drill down functionality.

Case Study:
Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood

Alcan Company Overview
Alcan Rolled Products - Ravenswood is one of the leaders in aluminum technological capability. They operate one of the world's largest aluminum rolling mills, producing the highest quality aluminum plate, coil and sheet in the industry generating $100 million in sales annually. 

The Challenge
Tracking the vast amount of manufacturing, accounting and sales data relies on the ability to track and deliver data quickly and efficiently. Alcan had previously relied on a series of stand-alone reporting tools, including simple queries to mainframe and distributed databases, to cobble together the required data they needed to manage their day-to-day operations. 

Struggling with cumbersome database queries and unreliable reporting tools prone to crashing, user/management demand and industry regulations drove Alcan to look for a more flexible user friendly reporting tool. The limitations for the current reporting mechanisms became more apparent as requests from upper management and customers could not be met. 

It was clear that a centralized reporting solution was needed to tie together related manufacturing, accounting and sales data. A regular report on the Top 5 Production Outages for upper management, as well as electronic invoices being requested by customers, were among the top reporting needs not being addressed by their reporting approach. 

The JReport Solution
Given the disparate data sources and diversified reporting needs, JReport was poised to quickly and efficiently alleviate the reporting bottlenecks and limitations. The data-agnostic nature of JReport, along with an advanced report design and delivery capability allowed Alcan to rollout a centralized reporting infrastructure with the flexibility and ease of use they required. 

The capability of pulling data from a variety of data sources remedied the previously decentralized approach of querying the separate mainframe and distributed databases. 

JReport’s intuitive design allowed Alcan to develop needed reports on the fly as demand from customer and regulatory statutes grew. 

Results and Benefits
Using JReport has substantially increased the efficiency of Alcan’s ability to track their production data. JReport delivers key reports across the various accounting, manufacturing and sales disciplines within the organization. 

Alcan now has a real-time view of production numbers from the manufacturing floor. With enhanced report design and delivery, the company was able to replace an old mainframe printer with a faster laser printer that generates work tickets to track metal processing assignments. This simple reduction in printing time has had a noticeable affect on production efficiency. 

JReport’s versatility allowed Alcan to provide it’s customers with electronic invoices, along with tracking and reporting on all of their sales and marketing data. 

To analyze breaks in productivity, upper management used JReport to develop a regular update on the Top 5 Down Times to better assess and address manufacturing inefficiencies. This allows Alcan to remain a leader in aluminum product production.

JReport Tech Tip:
How to Build a GIS Map Report

With V9 SP1, to build a GIS Map report, you can now import ESRI shape files or xml files directly and make a map area linking with a detail report, a website, or an email. JReport also enables you to bind a dataset to the map object so that you can have the map display values as tooltips and color each area of the map based on the data.

Let's take the following example to create a map report which shows the US 2008 presidential election results. The states in red represent the ones that McCain won and blue ones represent Obama's. The following steps illustrate how it is done:

  1. Open JReport Designer, create a banded report grouped by state, and insert two summaries, Sum4Obama sums up the votes for Obama and Sum4McCain for McCain.
  2. Open JReport Designer, create a banded report grouped by state, and insert two summaries, Sum4Obama sums up the votes for Obama and Sum4McCain for McCain.
  3. Select the dataset which you would like to display in the map from the menu Insert | Bind Data.
  4. The Map Data Binding Wizard pops up. Select current dataset, group it by states and click finish to bind data to the map.
  5. In the Map Area Inspector, select the entry Map Global Setting | DefaultArea, we use the following formula Color4Vote to control the property Fill Color. If votes for Obama are greater than votes for McCain, return blue, otherwise return red.

    if (Sum4Obama > Sum4McCain)
    return "0x003366"
    return "0x990000"
  6. Click the Save button, close the editor, drag the map into the Banded header and save the report. Now, you can publish the map report to JReport Server and run the report in DHTML format.

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