In every version of BPCS, problems have been found that some people at SSA
made an honest effort to fix, such that later versions of BPCS were
superior, although any time new enhancements come along there is risk of
new problems, while there were also problems that due to some failure of
communications did not get fixed.
For example, I found places in BPCS where a field that was maximum size RPG
got math with other fields similar structure, with no provision for work
area. The IBM programming manual has specific warning about doing this,
that when extreme values are in those fields, that you can have
unpredictable results. "Extreme values" in IBM terminology is like zero
and one. I traced rounding errors to this explanation. They affected
Billing programs (penny off), cost programs (least significant digit), all
over the place in accounting. Worst case scenario ... a result that should
have been 0.00001 became -8999999999 ... that kind of wrap-around happened
to us twice.
I found this in BPCS code all over the place. A lack of provision for work
areas when dealing with largest possible RPG math fields. When I reported
to SSA Tech support what I had found, I was told the programs were working
correctly. No correction was to be made. Blame this on my poor
communication skills when talking to a tech support person who was not an
This particular kind of bug is systemic in 405 CD and earlier versions of
BPCS, meaning SSA has written standardized chunks of code (or AS/Set has)
then copies that same code every place, and some of that copy every place
has the same design flaw. Our solution has been to modify in most critical
places, and create programs that list damaged records, and fix them,
external to the actual code that is continuing to do damage. There may be
areas where damage is occurring that we are not yet aware of it. I believe
in the importance of control totals of data being fed into BPCS, to not
trust the BPCS data exclusively.
We have moved from SSA tech support to another outfit.
BPCS 400 jack of all trades, master of not enough
> If you know of any similar bugs in BPCS 4.05 CD PTF1 please let me
> Thanks in advance.
> Peter Lunde
> Manager, IT
> WellSpring Pharmaceutical Canada Corp
> 400 Iroquois Shore Rd
> Oakville, ON, L6H 1M5
> Phone: 905-337-4505
> Cell: 416-948-5863
> Fax: 905-337-7239
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