Just Do It – Take the Leap to SQL and Execute Operations with Ease!

August 3, 2020 Karli Langner

Ozinga is a fourth-generation, family-owned business that provides concrete, bulk materials, and energy solutions while offering transportation services through an extensive network of truck, rail, barge, and ship terminals. Over their 90+ years in the biz, Ozinga has survived the Great Depression and World War II before becoming one of the first ready mix providers to expand their products and services to meet the needs of builders throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and South Florida.

To help them become more confident in committing to orders and managing changing requirements, they use Integra, Command Alkon’s complete Ready Mix Concrete dispatch solution, for real-time visibility to plan proactively and make adjustments with ease. 

Ozinga has ready mix divisions broken out in Wisconsin, three different divisions in the Chicago market, two different divisions in Indiana, and one in Florida. Most days, there are 90-100 plants producing concrete.

On a busy day in summer, Ozinga will do 1500-1700 orders anywhere from 33k-37k yards, so it’s a significant volume. The most efficient thing about their current Integra setup is that it is one system for everyone and each of Ozinga’s divisions are capable of sharing resources with other divisions. Everyone has visibility across their demand and fleet using one single system. For example, if one of their divisions’ phones were down, they can route the calls to any other dispatch center, and they can pull up the orders in Integra and be able to answer their questions and serve them.

“It’s become pervasive to the core of what we do. Pretty much everything that our concrete operations does lives inside Integra; Order taking, truck tracking, keeping track of all the workload that’s going on. It’s pretty much what makes us tick."

- Keith Onchuck, Chief Information Officer at Ozinga

Integra on Microsoft® SQL Server is now available on a general release basis, and those participating in the early adopter program, like Ozinga, have seen success and benefits.

After thoroughly testing for an SQL migration,  Ozinga took the leap and finally transitioned their Integra system to SQL in November of 2019 and have seen several improvements so far!

Now, when I say they made the “leap,” they actually fell into the upgrade. They had a major corruption in Interbase caused by a hardware failure, leaving the Interbase database in a degraded state. 

They ended up configuring two servers to do the conversion, enabling them to convert to their massive database to SQL in under 8 hours. Because Ozinga had been testing and planning all scenarios and scripts for the migration, they were ready to flip the switch. In just 12 seconds after going live on SQL, they were successfully ticketing trucks.

One improvement they realized from transitioning to SQL was with Mix Upload. 

“On Interbase, we would see 300-400 mixes per hour when importing into Integra via the Import Service.  Under SQL I can do a 1,000 mix upload in 5 minutes.”

- Keith Onchuck

Ozinga has also realized improvements with faster Dispatch, Order Entry, Back Office, and processes like end of day/month/invoicing. 

One of the biggest benefits that Ozinga has realized from making the transition? The ability to build in disaster recovery with SQL. Now, they are able to leverage SQL monitoring tools to observe the health and performance of the system.  

When asked if there was any advice to offer up for other companies looking to make the switch, Keith said that the biggest piece of advice he could share was to have a thorough game plan and to do multiple upgrades in the test environment so that the plan of action is completely solid before executing on it. Ozinga documented the steps taken and created a script to use for when it was time to convert; they upgraded all the client software first and had them pointed to Interbase so that when they did the final conversion to SQL, minimal work was required.

If you’re feeling some reservations about making the switch to SQL, just take Keith’s advice:

“To steal the phrase from Nike, Just Do It!  I was gun shy at first, but now that I know, I would have done it sooner.”

Ready to “Just Do It?” Contact us today to convert to SQL!

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