RFgen mobile data collection software is helping a manufacturing team at a large, multi-industry defense contractor increase speed and accuracy. The company is responsible for developing advanced technology and systems for use by the U.S. Navy.
Precision and efficiency are highly valued in any manufacturing environment—especially when your nation is counting on the quality of your products. When a large defense contractor wanted to streamline operations and move away from paper-based processes for inventory transactions, the IT team evaluated and selected RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP.
The company plans to implement in two manufacturing facilities and several warehouses. As with many manufacturers, they had well-established processes for manually tracking inventory on paper. Employees would have to tediously hand-key the information from paperwork into SAP. These manual processes were prone to typographical errors and managers suffered from a data latency that never allowed them to have a real-time view of inventory moving through the manufacturing process.
Managers wanted to increase efficiency and help workers complete tasks faster using barcode scanners and mobile data collection. The company began evaluating solutions that could automate key inventory transactions such as: Receiving, quality assurance, put away, kitting, item look up and inquiries.
In the warehouse, employees wanted to have easy access to all possible information they might need to perform typical tasks. Warehouse workers needed to be able to look up stock levels and locations, find correct serial numbers based on a specific material and display all of the critical details of purchase orders that were received. During receiving, workers had to wade through SAP materials document for each material received and needed a way to speed up this process. Sometimes, warehouse workers needed to be able to put things away even though there wasn't enough room for the material in the standard locations. The company was also looking for a way to save time in issuing materials for large production orders.
The company chose RFgen for its solid, validated integration to SAP version 6.0 and for the flexibility of the solution's development platform. RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP comes with a large selection of validated, ready-to-use transactions in the areas of:
These validated transactions can be easily tailored to the specific needs of any company's individual business processes. The IT team took training from RFgen and also used RFgen professional services for consulting and customization of transactions.
Receiving materials used to take a long time as each shipment was received manually against paper purchase orders and production orders. Receivers would remove a box from the truck, cut it down, and find the proper location for each item by walking to the office and using the desktop SAP interface. Finally, they would put away each material, one at a time. With RFgen, receivers now stay at the receiving dock and search for items in SAP from the screen of their handheld devices. They scan barcodes to receive shipments much more quickly. They unload multiple items onto carts and can plan trips through the warehouse to put away by the most efficient route.
RFgen has also streamlined the company’s quality assurance (QA) process in receiving. Their former QA procedure was a painstaking process that involved going through many screens in SAP. Dedicated employees would review all items, handling SAP materials documents for every material received. With RFgen, this process was able to be consolidated to one SAP document containing all materials for an entire shipment. This greatly improved efficiency within the SAP system itself and the review process during receiving was reduced to one step instead of hundreds. Today, the new process saves the receiving team approximately one hour for each shipment received.
A series of additional inquiry screens was developed to provide the warehouse workers with all possible information on their handheld devices for every task those workers typically perform. With RFgen, these workers can look up stock levels and locations, easily find correct serial numbers, review the details of purchase orders and more.
To enable workers to put things away when there wasn’t room in a standard location, a transaction was created that could create new locations on the fly at the time workers were putting material away. This saved workers from having to go back to a terminal, create a new location, return to the material and put it away. Making the process for put away more seamless enabled the company to add to overall efficiency and its bottom line.
Before manufacturing parts from a production order, materials workers wanted the ability to issue materials without scanning. With the help of the team at RFgen, a new screen was created to let employees check all the materials belonging to a specific production order, review the material quantities and process the entire consumption of inventory. This eliminated all the individual scanning of component materials and saves a lot of time during large production orders.
With all of the essential information about inventory entering SAP in real-time, managers have new insight into the production process. Complex material builds do not cause huge volumes of paperwork. Inventory managers can more effectively avoid work slowdowns related to lack of materials.
Using RFgen has enabled this company to: