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MARCH 2015

The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Special Technology Report: ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING Interview: WILLIAMS F1

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Disruptive opportunities for Internet of Things How Voice-directed warehouse technology is driving the competition forward Six steps to flawless fulfilment Meeting the labelling needs of today’s manufacturing and logistics industries

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Analytics on the up Today, customer expectations have never been higher. Many consumers now expect next-day delivery (and, increasingly, same-day delivery) for many items as a given and don’t want to hear about constraints such as items being out of stock or their colour preference not being currently available. From the supplier’s side, of course, this raises the challenge of being able to monitor and predict consumer demand in order to make the right amount of products within a certain lead time, but not manufacture so much that goods end up hogging space in the warehouse. Indeed, if items sit there for too long they might even become obsolete, resulting in considerable financial loss for the producer who has invested a sizeable amount of money in raw materials, parts or components; let alone the storage space. With these types of issues in mind, it would appear that more and more companies are investing in a higher level of analytics in order to better monitor customer-related trends, among other things. Logi Analytics has released findings from its third annual ‘State of Embedded Analytics’ report on how organisations embed business intelligence and analytics inside their software applications. The report is based on an online survey of more than 500 business and technology professionals, conducted in February of this year. Respondents included C-level executives, product managers, product developers and software engineers at companies of all different sizes. It comments that embedded analytics leads to greater realisation of strategic business benefits, such as improved customer satisfaction, enhanced user experience and increased end user adoption. In addition to commercial Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Software as a Service (SaaS) providers that Logi has surveyed in years prior, this year Logi expanded the report to include noncommercial, IT-managed applications used by internal staff and partners. The research revealed that commercial applications lead in their adoption of embedded analytics, and integrate analytics deeper with their applications. Additional report highlights include: • • •

Ed Holden

Majority of applications have embedded analytics – 65 per cent of all application providers embed business intelligence and analytics within applications. End users expect BI inside the applications they use every day – 82 per cent of all application providers say that embedded analytics is important to their users. Embedded analytics sees greater user adoption over traditional, non-embedded BI – Application providers say 40 per cent of their app’s total user base leverages BI and analytics on a regular basis. This is 10 per cent higher than the ceiling for user adoption of traditional BI tools as reported by industry analysts. The value of embedded analytics has nearly doubled since 2013 – The median value of analytics relative to the overall product was reported at 43 per cent, up from 35 per cent and 22.5 per cent in 2014 and 2013 respectively. Moreover, the median value of how much additional commercial application providers charge on top of their core offering is 25 per cent, up from 15 per cent in 2014. The majority of application providers (62 per cent) plan to invest in embedded analytics in the next 12 months – Many plan to improve how deeply analytics is integrated within their application’s user experience.

Editor As Alvin Wong, manager, product marketing at Logi Analytics, commented recently: “All modern software applications today must deliver insights and analytics at the core.” He sees the use of data transforming all products and services. In Wong’s view, not only are all companies becoming software companies, all software applications are becoming analytic applications. “As more companies adopt this point of view, we anticipate more compelling and intuitive business applications will come to market and more users will be able to make smarter business decisions,” he said. Indeed, in the case of industries such as manufacturing, it is becoming ever more mission-critical for companies to have as strong a grasp as possible on their customers’ – and ideally their customers’ end customers’ – requirements. It can prove very costly to loosen the reins even for a single day. This is where richer analytics can prove invaluable.

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IT March 2015

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CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT March 2015 The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Editor: Ed Holden

Interview 6

Williams F1

Special Technology Report 10

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

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Exel Computer Systems: ERP in the aerospace sector LinkFresh ERP continues to grow with new farming enhancements Nutriculture eradicates manual processes with ERP solution from Azzure IT

Contributors: Richard Scott, SATO

Manufacturing

Darrel Williams, Vocollect Solutions by Honeywell Publisher: Dean Taylor

Planning Designer: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

24

Metalúrgica Fey secures effective solution from Preactor Wolfberger selects Ortems planning software to improve the per cent of fill and decrease inventories

Production: Carolyn Pither

Supply Chain Management

27

Circulation: Carole Chiesa IT Manager: Ian Curtis Accounts: Sarah Schofield

Warehouse Management Systems

Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd PO Box 3575, Barnet, Herts, EN5 9QD UK Tel: +44 (0) 1707 664200 Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com

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No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. No liability is accepted for any action arising from the contents of this publication; readers are advised to check any manufacturer’s or supplier’s claim for products. The publishers do not endorse opinions expressed in any article by an outside contributor. While every care is taken over photographs and illustrations, which are returned when requested, no liability can be assumed by the publishers for the loss of such materials.

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SATO: Meeting the labelling needs of today’s manufacturing and logistics industries Datamax-O’Neil presents printing solutions at Retail Business Technology Expo 2015 Canon imagePRESS C600i brings production technology and premium quality output to offices and SMEs

Automatic Data Capture 44

AIDC/Mobile ComputingRed Hat outlines vision to help enterprise IT take ‘mobile first’ from hype to reality Tablet adoption in commercial segment to drive growth in Western Europe, says IDC PHS Teacrate’s barcode scanning system delivers efficient crate control

Transportation Management 47

ISSN:1463-1172

Raleigh gets back in the saddle with new WMS solution from BEC Vocollect by Honeywell: How Voice-directed warehouse technology is driving the competition forward Zebra Technologies: Six steps to flawless fulfilment

Printing & Labelling 40

Printed by: The Magazine Printing Company plc, www.magprint.co.uk

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Frost & Sullivan identifies disruptive opportunities for Internet of Things TmaxSoft makes rapid expansion into global markets???? New Barloworld SCS software builds agility in supply chain networks??? QAD: The Cloud provides support for GINAF Trucks’ globalisation bid CFC Food Partners improves efficiency with BCP’s Accord

Mobile device integration starting to power fleet software sales Telematics & liability – the laws have changed Transport Exchange Group makes things quicker for owner drivers


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Interview

Williams F1 and Williams Advanced Engineering

In the driving seat Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Graeme Hackland, IT Director at Williams F1 Team, about the benefits the company derives from its existing IT portfolio, and its technology plans for the future. he new Williams Mercedes FW37 was unveiled in February ahead of the first pre-season test in Jerez, Spain. The F1 grid is now once again adorned with the red and blue stripes that have grown to be so iconic in motorsport, as Williams Martini Racing is looking to build on its successful 2014 campaign where the team achieved nine podium finishes and finished third in the Constructors’ Championship. The current season officially got under way at the first race in Melbourne, Australia, on 15 March. With these developments in mind, Manufacturing & Logistics IT thought it timely to speak with Williams’ IT director, Graeme Hackland, about how IT plays such an

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important part for the company, both in the world of F1 and in the wider field of technological innovation:

possible opportunity is. That really puts challenges of the things such as warehousing and work in progress. We also do ‘lifing’ of certain parts on the Formula One car, so we need to know how many kilometres of tracks is involved. And that really close just-in-time way of working means capacity planning can be really tricky; this is one of our big daily challenges.”

MLIT: What do you consider to be some of the main critical daily challenges for an F1 car designer and manufacturer from an IT perspective? GH: “The main challenge for a company like ours is that we take just-in-time manufacturing and design to the extreme. We work back from the when was the last possible moment we could fit a new part or add new performance to the car, and we work back through the manufacturing and design process in order to work out what the last

MLIT: Please provide an overview of Williams F1’s IT software and hardware estate, and the benefits these software packages/pieces of hardware afford the company. GH: “Williams has a largely virtualised

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Williams F1 and Williams Advanced Engineering

Interview

server estate. We have over half a petabyte of storage and use a Siemens CAD and PLM system. For some of our specialist technical departments such as Computational Fluid Dynamics – which is part of aerodynamics team – we use Star-CCM+ from CD-adapco. This has a lot of pre-and post-processing capability in addition to offering the high performance computing that’s really important to us. It’s almost like a virtual wind tunnel, and we put a lot of time and effort into computational fluid dynamics. “We also do some in-house development for some of the tools they use, such as the job scheduler. Being able to prioritise jobs is really important, especially as it’s a regulated part of Formula One. The other area I’d like to touch on is our Stress Department, which each year prepares a new car to make sure that it passes the crash tests and works on a lot of the dynamics of the car. The Stress Department uses tools from MSC such as Nastran, and currently use very much an on-premise hardware infrastructure. However, we’re looking to make use of Cloud because for three or four months of the year the Stress

Department team needs a much higher capacity than we can provide on-premise, so Cloud will give us that opportunity to be more flexible.

“Like many other companies, Microsoft Excel is one of the engineering tools that we use. We are starting to build more applications in order to help the team, but Excel is used widely. We’re also starting to create more databases in order to get the data to be more structured, then we can run more analytics. So, on the whole I think many engineering and manufacturing companies would recognise the types of systems in the virtualised environment that we run.” MLIT: Are any changes to your IT infrastructure scheduled to take place? GH: “Williams is currently undergoing IT changes. This process is part of a wider business transformation that was initiated by Claire Williams and Mike O’Driscoll our CEO, and includes looking at people process technology. We are being encouraged to question everything in order to return Williams to the front of the grid. To win again we need to make sure that we have the best worldclass tools available, so that’s why we are looking at this IT transformation and want to improve every aspect of our infrastructure and applications.”

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Interview

Williams F1 and Williams Advanced Engineering

and that includes our Williams Advanced Engineering division which does a lot of its own manufacturing and so on.”

biggest challenge for us is securely communicating with them and sharing data.”

MLIT: Please talk about your manufacturing, warehouse and logistics partners and how your IT systems help you to engage with them more efficiently?

Graeme Hackland: “We really are taking our knowledge and knowhow outside of Formula One in order to benefit other industries or society as a whole.” MLIT: Please talk about any areas of IT customisation at Williams. GH: “Williams as much as possible tries to use out-of-the-box solutions. There are, however, areas that you want to customise and bespoke, and very often that’s the competitive advantage applications specifically around data analytics; for example, where you have a very specific need at the track for strategy or data analytics in real-time, or post-event analysis. That’s where we are looking to do customisation, but otherwise like most engineering and factoring companies we want to use out-of-the-box as much as possible to make it easy to maintain and look after and really help the team to get the best use of the solutions that we have.”

GH: “Williams relies on a wide range of partners to help us achieve what we need to within both Formula One and within our Advanced Engineering division. The main thing to focus on here is around security, data loss prevention and the protection of IP. Therefore, we build these strong partnerships in order to make sure that the IP that we are creating – either jointly or for Williams – is used for our best advantage. We look at secure transmission of this data between ourselves and our partners, or sometimes we will create VPN (virtual private network) tunnels that will allow them to connect to systems in Grove and use these systems in order to help us with our design and manufacturing work. “Partners in warehousing and logistics are very important to Williams, especially across manufacturing, to help us achieve the very tight timeframes that we work to. So, the

MLIT: What type of Williams F1 or Williams Advanced Engineering technology is made commercially available to industries? GH: “For many years, Williams has been taking the technology it develops outside of Formula One, but over the past couple years has specifically set up the Williams Advanced Engineering division in order to commercialise F1 knowledge and knowhow in a wide range of industries. We developed the batteries for Formula E, we worked with Jaguar on the CX75 hybrid supercar, and that included aerodynamics, carbon composite manufacture, hybrid technologies etc. We’re also working with Nismo on Nissan performance cars, we’re introducing F1 energy storage technology into solar arrays with Hanergy, and we’ve been working with Hatch on products and services in mining and energy. “So you can see that there’s a wide range of industries that we work with outside of Formula One. And there are many more areas that we are not allowed to talk about. We really are taking our knowledge and knowhow outside of Formula One in order to benefit other industries or society as a whole.”

MLIT: Where does Williams’ design, manufacturing and testing take place? GH: “Other than the racetracks where obviously we go for all the Formula One races, we sometimes make changes to the car through the course of a race weekend. All of our design, manufacturing and aerodynamics activity takes place at Grove,

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Williams F1 and Williams Advanced Engineering

Interview

MLIT: What are Williams’ future plans for its IT infrastructure? GH: “The vast majority of IT services within Williams are currently on-premise, but it is our strategy to look towards either hybrid – where we will switch between a private Cloud and on-premise – or public Cloud services. For example, we are moving to Microsoft office 365, so will be using the Cloud email service. We are also looking at other areas of computation for Cloud, especially where we particularly need this flexible provision. Where we can’t provide an on-premise peak for a particular function then Cloud makes a lot of sense. “So, we are very definitely looking at Cloud and how we can leverage this either for cost savings – which is not always the big benefit you get out of it – but certainly the flexibility of provision. We’re looking at mobility and collaboration tools so that the people who

work regularly away from Grove are able to use the same tools and work in a very normal way. Also, one of the big focuses for us in terms of future plans is around data analytics

and information; to allow our engineers to make data-driven decisions and to offer the information they need in real-time or whenever they need it.” 

A CLOSER LOOK AT WILLIAMS ADVANCED ENGINEERING Williams has expanded and diversified its business in recent years. Williams Advanced Engineering provides world-class technical innovation, engineering, testing, and manufacturing services to a diverse customer base and utilises cutting edge technology and knowhow honed by the Williams Martini Racing Formula One team. Williams Advanced Engineering specialises in the commercial application of advanced lightweight materials, hybrid power systems, and electronics derived from the extremely competitive world of Formula One. The team has specialist experience in offering improved systems solutions, cutting edge aerodynamics, vehicle chassis dynamics, and holistic integration capability, all within accelerated development timeframes. The company's comprehensive industry knowledge, specialist skills, and highly innovative products and services are helping to improve efficiency, safety, and performance in the motorsport, automotive, transport, and energy sectors. The capability of Williams Advanced Engineering can be observed by the versatility of its project portfolio, ranging from a novel bicycle electric drive, hybrid power systems for motorsport, automotive and energy applications, through to the Jaguar C-X75 hybrid supercar. Working in close collaboration with its customers, Williams Advanced Engineering helps them improve their performance, market position, and brand image while meeting the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.

Williams Advanced Engineering’s core markets at a glance Sports science. Defence. Automotive. Motorsport. Marine. Civil Aerospace. Energy.

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Special Technology Report

ERP

On the pulse of pro duct ion, suppl y and demand

Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about recent developments in the world of ERP – including those concerning, rich analytics and Big Data, mobility and the Cloud/SaaS. The contributors also reflect on some of the key drivers for these developments, and consider what ERP users can likely look forward to in the not too distant future. evelopments in the world of

will require in-memory computing capabilities,

planning & execution, Aberdeen Group,

Enterprise Resource Planning

not only for handling Big Data but also ‘real’

explains that Aberdeen’s 2014 business

(ERP) solutions and related

real-time and new planning, simulation etc.

management and ERP benchmark survey

technology over the past year or

capabilities throughout the system – not just in

found the majority of organisations are utilising

two have been plentiful, covering

isolated places such as Sales & Operations

ERP to support their operations. “Traditionally

areas such as mobility, richer analytics, better

Planning (S&OP) or Material Requirements

ERP was seen as a one size fits all solution

demand forecasting and many more. We

Planning (MRP). Hestermann added:

company had multiple business units,” he said.

asked a select group of key spokespeople with

“Postmodern ERP is the response to the faster

“More recently, there has been much

a keen focus in this technology space to

speed of change which needs more business

discussion about managing multiple ERP

provide their take on what some of the

agility, and which cannot be supported with

implementations as a strategy in and of itself.

predominant and most important areas of

large monolithic ERP suites but rather needs

Best-in-class companies are 90 per cent more

change have been in the recent past.

more loosely coupled and more specialised

likely than others to have a multi-tiered ERP

D

applications – but without the chaos of the

strategy. In a multi-tiered ERP strategy, there is

In the view of Christian Hestermann, research

unstructured days of ‘best of breed’ (see note

from one standard ERP implementation for the

director ERP at Gartner, the main areas that

‘postmodern ERP is different from BoB’

corporate offices. This is often referred to as

have an influence on future of ERP include

264620). Together, these trends and

the ‘administrative ERP’.”

‘Nexus of Forces’: the combination of Cloud,

requirements require a rethinking of ERP

social, mobile and analytics (not each of them

strategy and a fundamental restructuring of the

Castellina added that additional ERP solutions

in isolation, but effects from combining some or

existing ERP/business applications landscape.”

that may offer different functionality or configurations are implemented at separate

all of them with each other). He also cites

locations. “Best in class companies are

developments related to the Internet of Things concept and the digitisation of business

Multi-tiered ERP strategy

recognising that one size does not fit all,” he

models. Hestermann explains that most of this

Nick Castellina, research director, business

remarked. “For example, an ERP that does a

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ERP

Christian Hestermann, research director ERP,

Special Technology Report

great global financial

Carter Lloyds, chief marketing officer at QAD,

ago would have proved to be cutting edge,”

rollup may not be

believes that, today and in the future, it is all

said Orme. “In many ways the main underlying

well suited to scale

about the user experience, and in his view ERP

differentiator is how latest technologies are

down to manage the

is becoming much more proactive. He

incorporated within ERP. Some ERP solutions,

needs of a specific

commented: “In the past, you could find the

let’s call them the ‘me toos’, are essentially a

assembly line. There

information you needed if you knew what

loose knit collection of bolt-ons, which may well

may also be

inquiries to make, but today modern ERP

be integrated to a certain degree. Others

localisation and

systems automatically greet the user with

however are designed from the outset to not

compliance issues

exceptions, waiting tasks and other important

just incorporate the latest functionality required

when using a ‘one

information. Much more than the simple

by manufacturers but to seamlessly integrate

size fits all’ ERP

dashboards of the past, the newest role based

this into the overall efficiency and effectiveness

strategy. These

ERP launch pads use sophisticated UI

of the solution.”

reasons make a

elements such as colours or motion to draw the

multi-tiered ERP strategy attractive for

user directly to the most important information

According to Orme, all this places more

organisations with geographically distributed

rather than presenting everything with the

emphasis on how intelligently ERP is put to

subsidiaries. This is especially evident in

same degree of importance.”

use, which puts more emphasis on the

organisations that are in the acquisition mode

underlying knowledge and expertise of the

and need to integrate new units with existing

In addition, because so much of the

ERP vendor to deliver the best possible results.

operations.

information is based on operational metrics,

For example, Orme makes the point that every

KPIs and business intelligence, Lloyds makes

manufacturer expects to have comprehensive

Castellina continues: “Of course, organisations

the point that ERP systems are incorporating BI

mobile connectivity, “but the real benefits come

using multiple ERPs need to be able to transfer

as an integral part of the ERP system so users

when you can demonstrate to them new and

data from one system to the other seamlessly.

receive the insight they need in near real time

innovative ways of working as a result of this

The best in class are 49 per cent more likely to

without the need to run queries or reports from

technology,” he said.

have integrated their business systems to be

a data warehouse. “Business intelligence is

one complete system of record. Consequently,

more pervasive and less of a bolt-on because

Steve Winder, regional vice president, UK &

this information is shared between these

users need insight into current status to do

Eire, Epicor Software UK, considers that

applications seamlessly and transparently.”

their jobs every minute of every day,” he

‘anytime, anywhere’ computing is becoming

remarked.

mainstream, especially with the proliferation of

As an example Castellina explains that a

mobile technology. “Once strictly chained to

corporate office could take an order for a

Lloyds also observes that the move to the

the office desktop, ERP software is now

product and then a remotely located subsidiary

Cloud has driven ERP companies to adopt a

increasingly becoming a device-centric mobile

could ship the order. “During this process,

simpler user interface, so that the total

technology, especially if its users have their

both ERP systems would communicate with

experience is more conducive to completing a

way,” he remarked. “There’s greater emphasis

each other automatically. The key benefit of a

task. “Rather than present every field in a table,

on what software can be used for, how that

multi-tiered ERP strategy is the ability to

for instance, modern UIs have role-based

software can be accessed and used and who

implement solutions in different business units

transaction screens that each user can

it can benefit than ever before. ERP has to shift

based on the needed functionality of those

personalise to their needs,” he explained. “This

its focus from being purely about deep

business units. While this saves the company

results in faster implementation times and less

functionality to being about broad usability and

money, it is only useful if these systems are

required training, so upgrading to a modern

the ability to make decisions based on ERP

able to communicate with the corporate

ERP system is easier to cost justify than ever

data. This is perhaps where ERP currently

standard.”

before.”

faces its greatest challenge.”

By creating a technology environment that fully

Jonathan Orme, sales operations & marketing

Winder added that access to data across

supports the needs of individual business units

manager for Exel Computer Systems, believes

devices has become an attractive prospect for

and locations, Castellina points out that

the key development drivers in ERP systems

large and small businesses alike – from mobile

organisations with a multi-tiered ERP strategy

remain the same as ever – meeting the current

phones, to tablets, and laptop computers.

perform more effectively in a variety of metrics.

and anticipated needs of manufacturers in an

“Executives and employees want real-time

These range from improved delivery,

increasingly global market. “The reality is that

access to information regardless of where they

execution, accuracy, and, ultimately, profit

the underlying technology of many ERP

are, evident by the increased adoption of

margins. “This is evidence that the multi-tiered

systems is now largely the same and

mobile solutions that we are seeing,” he said.

ERP strategy can lead to a more effective

manufacturers take for granted areas of

“There are significant investments being made

organisation as a whole,” he said.

functionality and connectivity which not so long

into extending enterprise applications on

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Special Technology Report

ERP

mobile devices.

materials then the finished products out. Also,

outsourced or offshored activity, companies

Businesses are using

they are able to look at what that means

need to think about how to support that from a

mobile ERP not just

regarding sales projections in terms of the

process IT perspective so that they can still

for reports and

cash that they are spending – what they’re

retain the level of control,” he said. “With the

dashboards, but for

giving to suppliers – and aligning the financial

right IT infrastructure this can give them the

conducting key

forecast performance with the supply chain

ability to adapt their supply chain to the

business processes.

forecast of sales and operations.”

changing circumstances that they face.”

needs are

Following on from Wilson’s remarks, John

According to Wilson, Capgemini is also seeing

demanding more

Lewins, managing consultant at Capgemini,

consumer products companies and

agile business

reflected that the challenge is to align orders,

manufacturers starting to think about the direct-

applications.”

sales, planning, forecasting etc. and come up

to-consumer model. “Previously, they tended

with numbers that are consistent, so that when

just to have a supply chain that delivered to

Winder explains that

there is a movement in one direction

their retail partners, but now more and more of

Epicor has also

companies understand what the budget and

them are realising they need to have the ability

noticed that social

stock implications are, etc.

to sell direct to consumers as well,” he said.

Real-time information Nick Castellina, research director, business planning & execution,

technologies that increase collaboration have

“ERP is facilitating this, making sure that the

become an integrated part of existing

manufacturer has the flexibility to service

enterprise applications. “It’s all about

Increased use of analytics

customers directly via Internet sales while also

accessing data to reveal key insights for better

Wilson is also seeing an increase in the use of

continuing to be able to deliver goods to the

faster decision making at every level in the

analytics to extend demand management –

stores. This is actually one of the challenges

organisation – from product development, to

looking at data analytics much more carefully

that ERP systems are facing; not the ERP

services, marketing and customer

and then feeding that into the way in which

vendors’ solutions per se, but ERP systems

engagement,” he said.

demand forecasts are made and how that can

used by consumer products companies need

feed the S&OP process. “Frequently, data

to have the ability to handle what might

analytics is done outside of ERP and then fed

effectively be very small orders direct from

Internet of Things

into it, but nonetheless we are increasingly

consumers, while also handling the often very

Another key opportunity for ERP to become far

seeing clients using things such as social

large orders from the retailers.”

more responsive and useful to its customers is

media listening,” he explained. “They are also

alongside the development of Internet of

using a variety of other types of ways of

Things (IoT), believes Winder. “In the near

gathering data so that they can then feed this

future every aspect of a manufacturing and

information into their forecasts. If you think of a

Motivation behind development

engineering company’s business will be

consumer products company they don’t sell to

What has driven these changes? Orme again

revolutionised,” he remarked. “Machines used

the general public per se, but sell to retailers

stresses that it is mostly due to the growing

in production are becoming increasingly

who then sell to the general public. However, if

demands made by manufacturers. “They don’t

connected, as are transportation and logistics

they harvest social media then they get

just want the latest system, they know they

networks as well as sales channels.”

insights that they can then use to drive their

need the know-how and expertise of the

forecasts. They can also get forecasts from

vendor to get the best from it as this is where

Steve Wilson, vice president at Capgemini

their retail partners and then use all the

they’ll generate their own competitive

Consulting, recognises a trend for integration in

information to hand to drive the process of

advantage,” he said.

terms of business planning from a financial

determining whether they should follow either

perspective through to a product and unit

the retail forecast of the social media forecast

Winder makes the point that Epicor customers

forecasting perspective. He commented: “For

or a bit of both. The art is to use that extra set

are facing a barrage of information about how

some organisations these things remain quite

of data which can be closely defined in terms

new disruptive technologies will change the

separate. However, in the best organisations

of regions and specific types of products. This

face of manufacturing – mobile, social,

we see those as being not just joined but

can give a clearer overall picture.”

analytics, cloud, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology, 3D printing and more. “But

integrated at a data level and integrated using ERP capabilities. We have seen that as a

Additionally, Wilson is seeing a continued

the use cases for these technologies are still

significant move over the past two or three

focus on companies understanding what it is

only just emerging,” he remarked. “Our goal is

years where large organisations have invested

that makes them different, while also

to share insight on what technologies are going

in joining up their view of the data so that

understanding what they do that is

to make a difference to customers as these

they’re able to analyse not just the flow of

undifferentiated and that could be either

use cases evolve and the business cases for

product into their company but the raw

outsourced or offshored. “In the case of

them become stronger. This is where our

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opportunities lie, helping customers find

streamlining business processes,” he said.

sources of business value and competitive

“And they’re saying ‘Wait a minute! Why can’t

Integration

advantage.” Winder added that since its

this be as easy as Amazon?’ Companies are

Have ways of best integrating ERP with other

beginnings over 25 years’ ago ERP has

looking for more flexibility in defining and

systems developed to any notable degree over

changed boundless numbers of businesses in

personalising processes. Workflow is just too

the past year or two? Wilson believes

fundamental ways; integrating, automating and

simplistic to make real process changes, so

integration is less of a problem than it was a

improving their operations. “The Internet,

they are turning to more powerful tools such as

few years ago. “Within the companies we’re

alongside miniaturisation of technology and

business process management to squeeze

working with we’re finding increasingly that

mobile and wireless, has introduced computing

every drop of efficiency out of their existing

there’s a common architecture for integration –

into every aspect of our lives and our

ERP systems.”

basically a service bus-type process whereby all the integration feeds into and then feeds

expectations of what can be achieved have Wilson considers that there is continued

from this to the ERP and back again,” he

pressure on cost and returns, which is one of

explained. “This makes it less expensive and

According to Lloyds, the rise of the Internet has

the key drivers for development. He

therefore quicker to

driven many of the changes. “For example,

commented: “We are very close to a

integrate new

everybody knows how to place an order on

deflationary environment and yet wage

elements, whether

Amazon; there’s no training required,” he said.

inflation and product or material price inflation

they’re supply chain,

“Why can’t an ERP system’s order entry have

is cutting in. So for a product manufacturer it’s

CRM or mobile

the same ease and fluidity? So you will see a

very important to manage the cost base and

elements etc. Some

lot more of a ‘consumer-like’ interface. It’s still

therefore there’s a lot of focus on how to drive

of the software tools

powerful functionality, but cloaked in a simple,

out cost through improved efficiencies; and

that deliver service

friendly and personalised user experience.”

ERP can help in relation to this. We see

bus capability and

consumer expectations continue to accelerate

ERP vendors each

Lloyds added that moving ERP to the Cloud

in terms of product availability and how

have their own kind of

has also driven a lot of change. “When the IT

quickly they can get what they want. All of

tool for doing that. So

team is freed from the mundane day-to-day

these kinds of things still remain as significant

we’re seeing this as a

tasks, they can focus on strategic initiatives like

pressures.”

trend rather than the

changed dramatically as a result,” he said.

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ERP

historic way, which was more around using

traditional ERP vendors, organisations can look

system, Raleigh now has the real-time

middleware or point-to-point mapping.”

to standalone CRM, financial and inventory

business intelligence that it would not have had

management systems and still have options to

if it was part of a separate system,” said

Hestermann considers that integration has

extend those solutions into more traditional

Briggs.

become much more important, mainly under

ERP territory.”

the influence of Cloud and postmodern ERP.

Winder points out modern ERP platforms are

“ERP systems now offer more APIs and more

Orme observes that ERP systems have moved

now supported by open and flexible

options to integrate,” he said. “In addition,

away from older middleware connectivity, and

architectures that encourage and embrace the

Cloud-based integration platforms and Cloud

points out that the majority of serious ERP

integration of other applications, enable greater

service brokerage providers are evolving (see

systems now offer what on the surface appear

collaboration with business partners, and use

the Gartner paper: ‘The Role of CSB in the

to be similar levels of integrated functionality

new technologies without requiring the

Cloud Services Value Chain’). However, this

that were traditionally the preserve of third-

wholesale replacement of infrastructure or

also means that end user organisations will be

party bolt-ons or specialist systems. “While this

applications. “We believe ERP solutions will

even more responsible for building and

has removed some of the legacy problems

continue to become more agile, more adaptive

maintaining application integrations than

customers used to face, where they were left

and more flexible – all of which lowers the total

before.”

with three vendors each pointing the finger of

cost of ownership and encourages business to

blame at each other, often the increased

think more strategically about how they can

As companies are deploying more and more

functionality in some ERP systems is the result

use technology to drive competitive

applications in the Cloud, Lloyds maintains that

of loosely incorporating these other third party

advantage,” he said.

integration methods have had to change to

systems,” he said. “So, while there may be only

keep pace. “The old style point-to-point

one system vendor to deal with, in reality your

integration might have worked when all the

system may comprise a number of sub-

Mobility and ERP

applications were on premise, but it doesn’t

systems. As Exel supplies a fully integrated

Has the increased trend for the integration of

work when one or more of the apps are in the

system, designed in-house in the UK, if there’s

mobile/field service devices with back-office

Cloud,” he said. “What if one is on premise and

ever a problem anywhere throughout the

ERP systems provided improved business and

one in the Cloud, or if you’re running two apps

solution, our customers know who to come to

operational benefits for the end user?

in two different public Clouds? Forward-

in order to get it resolved.”

Hestermann answers in the affirmative. “This is

thinking ERP companies have addressed this

one example of one of the forces of the Nexus

need by re-architecting their systems, so all

Andrew Briggs, technical director at BEC,

(in this case, mobility), by better managing

tables are addressable through APIs. This

considers that the better ERPs try to address

remote assets, e.g. in the utilities and services

enables a tool such as Dell Boomi to integrate

all of the business needs in terms of putting

industries,” he said.

apps easily regardless of where they’re

together various operational or application

running.”

strands such as CRM, Sales & Marketing

Briggs highlights two key aspects – recording

Management, Enterprise Asset Management,

processes and transactions in real-time,

Eric Kimberling, president of Panorama

WMS, Supply Chain and Service &

thereby facilitating increased accuracy of data

Consulting Solutions, considers that ERP

Maintenance; i.e. putting together different

and greater levels of productivity for people

software will no longer be limited to ERP.

systems, which may have been separate

that are doing the work. Briggs points out that

“Salesforce used to simply be a CRM vendor –

systems with integration links, into one

one major benefit is that managers, shift

albeit a very strong competitor in that space,”

common environment so that all of the

supervisors etc. are able to access business

he pointed out. “With its increasing ecosystem

information is shared across the business

information, reports, dashboards and so on

of apps and bolt-ons

through one solution rather than many. “The

from mobile devices such as mobile phones

designed to address

better ERPs are achieving this by having a

and iPads. “The information is to hand – they

the things the

common architecture upon which all of these

don’t need to dial in or call somebody up in

software can’t do on

modules are built,” he said. “This is called

order to see this up-to-date information,” he

its own, it is

‘Service-Oriented Architecture.’ This is the

said.

becoming clear that

platform that brings all of these parts together

Salesforce and other

as it has been written purely to achieve this.”

Orme comments that Exel has been at the

non-ERP vendors are Steve Winder, regional vice president, UK & Eire,

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disrupting ERP

In the case of BEC customer Raleigh, for

consequently is at the cutting edge of working

software as we once

example, BEC has enabled warehouse

with manufacturers to develop this in areas that

knew it. Now, rather

functionality in Raleigh’s ERP system so the

meet their ever changing requirements.

than simply

company hasn’t had to go out and purchase a

According to Orme, one example of this is the

considering the

WMS. “As a result of bringing this into the ERP

increased use of CRM within a field service

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environment and the development of Exel’s

benefits because they can see who in their

from the idea of

Service CRM capabilities. “After all, CRM is all

field has the right skills and the right inventory

batching and begin

about interactions and not just sales,” he

to correct a customer problem, so they can

thinking in terms of

stresses. “Using this, manufacturers can track,

dispatch the closest available tech who meets

real-time or quasi

automate and have complete visibility not just

the requirements,” he said. “This has enabled

real-time processing.

of customer and prospect information, but all

them to improve technician utilisation and cut

Traditionally, ERP

relational/interactional information. And

repair and maintenance costs because they

systems have tended

because in our case, field service functionality

close more calls in a single visit rather than

to work in a batch-

can be included as part of your ERP solution,

have to send someone back for a second or

type environment, so

this includes all relevant manufacturing and

third attempt. It also makes it easy for the tech

moving towards

production data where required.”

to record time and materials, so invoicing

having four runs a

happens quickly and accurately, speeding up

day improves the

Winder considers that good ERP has answered

cash flow and reducing disputes. Since so

ability to run high

the call for increased responsiveness,

much equipment is custom configured today,

quality forecasts and to better react to changes

becoming much more focused on supporting

integration with ERP allows techs to see the ‘as

in demand.” Wilson added that this does,

critical relationships, decisions, change and

built’ configuration rather than the standard

however, require the business processes

innovation, rather than just efficiently managing

model, further helping to reduce costs.

underneath to be set up to be able to deliver

the status quo. “Increasing responsiveness can

Customers are happier too because they get

against that. “We are seeing companies

help a business improve operational

their equipment up and running faster so it

moving towards this kind of model and actually

performance and accelerate its productivity,

helps to reduce downtime.”

implementing it because it makes things more

through information being available at people’s

Steve Wilson, vice president,

nimble than doing things on a daily basis,” he

fingertips and allowing more informed and

Kimberling believes there will be continued

rapid decision making,” he said. “Historically,

adoption both of mobile and business

information in businesses was limited in volume

intelligence solutions. “As some companies

and ‘passive’; i.e. there when (you knew) you

strive to leverage low-hanging fruit in their ERP

The Cloud and SaaS option

needed it, if you were lucky. This stifled

initiatives, more will invest in mobile solutions

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS) model,

responsiveness because you usually had to

and business intelligence software to get more

and the Cloud concept in general, had any

put time and effort into getting the right

out of their existing ERP systems,” he

notable level of impact on the ERP market so

information. As businesses increased their use

commented. “Organisations will recognise that

far? Hestermann considers that the answer

of systems, information became more prolific

newer ERP systems will not necessarily help

depends on two key questions: what is meant

and ‘active’ – structured data analysed to drive

them make better use or sense of business

by ERP, and what is meant by Cloud? “Cloud

answers to key questions. This helped

information without the tools to better support

is not equal SaaS; SaaS is a special flavour of

organisations to know what they needed to do,

decision-making among employees and key

Cloud, with three main characteristics: It is

but problems of data overload often limited the

decision-makers. In addition, executive teams

externally hosted and managed by the

organisation’s ability to act. It was difficult to

will be under growing pressure to increase

provider. It is delivered in a one-to-many

see the wood from the trees in the time

revenue, which will put more pressure on their

model. It is subscribed to on a pay-per-use

available.”

employees to provide decision-making tools

basis. It is important to note that it does not

and dashboards designed to support

have to be multi-tenant per se.”

Winder points out that, now, information is

remarked.

executives’ need for information.”

becoming intuitive. “It’s hidden from us in plain

Hestermann adds that certain ERP domains

sight and doesn’t weigh us down, but is

What Wilson has seen among many Capgemini

such as purchasing, HR and e-commerce

increasingly fed to us in the right format and

clients over the past year is that instead of

have absolutely been transformed by SaaS. “In

context at the time we need it, in the form of

looking at a daily cycle where they run a series

broader ERP deployments, Cloud is mainly

succinct answers to questions,” he said. “This

of batch jobs and provide the updates

relevant as Cloud-hosted or for private Cloud,”

evolution of data in organisations is one of the

between the lower-level systems, the ERP is

he continued. “For complete suites, SaaS had

key reasons we’re able to become more

increasingly looking at running multiple waves

only a major impact on the ERP market for

responsive, but it also is the reason we

within a day. “These companies might have

SMBs. For a company in the upper midmarket

continue to demand more responsiveness at

four batch runs and start thinking in a different

or a large enterprise, the one-to-many nature of

the same time.”

way because of that,” he said. “Moreover,

SaaS is not a good fit to the level of

some clients are going beyond that and

differentiation and individualisation these

Lloyds reflects that the increased part that

considering how they could use the Hana-type

companies need. In order to obtain business

mobility now plays has been a major benefit to

capability of SAP to do more in-memory

value from SaaS ERP, companies need to

customers as well as users. “The company

processing. So, they can start to move away

adapt to highly standardised applications used

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‘as-is’ (see the Gartner paper: ‘Standardise

Cloud solutions for manufacturers, preferring

Wilson observes that some companies are

Business Processes and Implement

instead to focus on the technology itself,” said

going down the hybrid model, i.e a mix of ERP

Governance to Maximise Business Value of

Winder. “With the economic pressures of the

and SaaS solutions integrated together, and

SaaS ERP’).”

last few years, adoption of Cloud-based

use ERP as the holder of the master data.

solutions has therefore been difficult to justify

Lewins adds that Capgemini is also seeing

Kimberling sees blurred lines between SaaS

against competitive demands for capital and

many clients using open source software with

and on-premise ERP software. “For years,

resources. However, we believe we will see

some integration functionality, reporting and

organisations (ourselves included) have been

growth as more forward thinking manufacturing

analytics. “It’s a low cost of entry but there

obsessed with the SaaS versus on-premise

organisations look to extend business

remain questions, especially within a

debate,” he said. “As the dust of the debate

processes into their value chain, their

manufacturing environment, in terms of

begins to settle, it appears that we may have

customers and their suppliers to improve

validating things such as resilience, the

been arguing a moot point. ERP vendors are

service and drive cost out of the supply chain.”

upgrade path and the support that’s behind

increasingly more likely to offer both SaaS and

this,” he said. “Also, with things such as

on-premise solutions to their customers, and, in

Winder observes that the rapid evolution of

Salesforce.com in the marketplace it gives

many cases, organisations are adopting both.

global business has changed the ways in

companies access to extend functionality

The real grey area is with hybrid solutions that

which companies approach the deployment of

quicker than they may typically find with ERP.

host on-premise solutions in the Cloud, which

ERP solutions. “Today’s need for agility and

So it’s opening up new opportunities, but some

is a solution more of our clients are starting to

responsiveness has increased the demand for

questions remain.”

adapt as a way to get the best of both worlds.”

choices, and customers need to be able to use the same product whether they want it

Far from greeting the Cloud with fear and

Orme observes that every year the benefits of

deployed on-premise or in the Cloud, on a

trepidation as they once did, Lloyds observes

the SaaS model are pushed by those vendors

desktop PC, or on a tablet or smartphone,” he

that progressive CIOs now consider the Cloud

with a vested interest in doing so. “Whilst our

said. “They also need the freedom to change

to be a strategic preference. “In fact, as they

software can be operated in a hosted

how it is deployed without having to configure

become aware of the simplicity, flexibility and

environment, and some customers are

and implement a different solution, allowing

security of the Cloud, we see more and more

currently doing this, every year we still see the

them to upgrade faster and stay current with

companies considering the Cloud as a

majority of our customers preferring to operate

technological advances.”

strategic choice rather than a simple

using the on-premises model,” he said.

deployment option,” he remarked. “IT finds that In an increasingly competitive environment,

when they are freed up from day to day

Winder explains that, in Epicor’s experience,

Winder believes deployment choice is a

mundane tasks such as backups and setting

the uptake of Cloud for fully integrated ERP

significant advantage for companies seeking

up users, they can focus on more strategic

solutions from manufacturers in EMEA has

an agile response to constantly changing

initiatives such as streamlining the company’s

been slow so far. “The concept of running an

market conditions. “With modern ERP,

differentiating business processes.”

entire ERP solution in the Cloud is still relatively

companies are not forced to compromise

new and we are in an education phase where

because of the way they want to deploy their

Lloyds sees more and more companies turning

manufacturers are exploring the benefits,” he

solutions,” he remarked. “Before, if a

to ERP in the Cloud as a strategic choice.

said. However, Winder adds that while the

business wanted to move from on-premise to

“Some Cloud ERP vendors make it hard for

adoption of Cloud seems relatively low, it is on

the Cloud, it could potentially mean

their customers to move to the Cloud because

the rise and he believes this could help

sacrificing functionality and forcing end

they don’t have or support an on premise

manufacturers to meet their product

users to move from one user experience to

model,” he said. “Large global multi-nationals

improvement and

another. However, with modern enterprise

can’t just convert all their sites in a day or even

cost competition

solutions these potential restraints are

a few months, so ERP vendors have to offer a

goals through, for

eliminated. Some businesses may not yet be

way for systems to co-exist regardless of the

example, easier

comfortable with Cloud deployment, either

deployment method. The coexistence strategy

collaboration in the

for their entire system or as a hybrid. Having

can’t be about doing tasks offline or manually

supply chain and

the choice means customers can make a

entering adjustments. The system has to be

lower cost of IT

decision today to choose on-premise

designed to function seamlessly in both

ownership. “We

deployment, knowing that at some point in

environments and to look and feel to users as if

believe the IT

the future they can choose to move to the

it’s a single deployment.”

industry has been

Cloud without having to change their

slow to demonstrate

product. There is no need to learn a new

Lloyds maintains that some ERP vendors are

the value and return

application or go through another

so wedded to the ‘pure Cloud’ definition

on investment for

implementation.”

promoted by industry pundits that they forget

John Lewins, managing consultant,

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that their customers are real businesses with

will minimise training and conversion costs. On

to choose on-premise

real needs. “Companies in regulated industries

the other hand, if your vendor hasn’t been seen

deployment, knowing

such as life sciences can’t have their business

since the day you went live or you’re tired of

that at some point in

processes changing on a daily basis or

dealing with cumbersome functionality

the future they can

whenever the Cloud provider pushes changes

designed to support industries you aren’t in,

choose to move to

to them,” he said. “If that happens, they have

maybe it’s time to switch. In any case, it should

the Cloud without

to get recertified by all the regulatory bodies in

be as much about the relationship you have

having to change

the countries where they do business, which is

with the ERP vendor as it is about functionality.

their product.”

a painful and expensive proposition. The same

And don’t worry about technology if you’re

holds true for many companies that are ISO

considering the cloud. Let the ERP vendor

Orme comments that

certified, or who have been certified by any

manage all that while you focus on running

Exel is in the enviable

industry or regulatory body. So Cloud vendors

your business.”

position of having

Andrew Briggs, technical director,

customers still using

need to understand the realities of their customers’ businesses and industries, and

Hestermann considers that both the upgrade

EFACS 10, 15 and 20 years after initial

allow customers to have some degree of

and replace options can make sense,

implementation. “As such we have customers

control over the timing of upgrades and code

depending on the individual situation of the

who have steadily upgraded their EFACS

changes just as they would on premise.”

company (see the Gartner paper: ‘Postmodern

system as and when required in order to keep

ERP: When Staying With On-Premises ERP Is

meeting their needs,” he remarked. “We also

Lloyds adds that Cloud ERP is growing

the Right Choice.). In some special cases, he

have customers that had ripped out legacy

globally at more than twice the rate of the

believes there is even a case for migrating

systems from other vendors and replaced them

overall ERP market, so he believes companies

legacy applications to the Cloud.

with EFACS because their former systems didn’t meet their needs. That, at the end of the

obviously recognise its benefits. “The advantages that the Cloud offers makes its

Wilson points out that some of Capgemini’s

day, is the core factor for most manufacturers –

adoption an increasingly easier decision to

clients are still operating AS/400. He

does their ERP meet their requirements? Yes,

make,” he said.

commented: “This system is still very good at

there is always the additional potential

acting as an interface layer, so all the

disruption caused by implementing a new

integration is already there. And some users

system and for some manufacturers, a failed

Upgrade or ‘rip and replace’?

are swapping in pieces of functionality and

ERP implementation can mean a failed

using, in some cases, ERP-type capability and

business. However, what we are increasingly

Is there still a case for upgrading legacy ERP,

plugging that in, and in other cases using

finding, as ERP systems become more similar,

or is it now better to ‘rip and replace’? Briggs

SaaS-type capability and plugging that in.

is the role and value of the relationship with the

believes it would depend on the levels of

AS/400 being used as a kind of interface map

supplier. Customers want security and peace

modifications already in place, and whether

makes sense because switching it off and then

of mind not just in the early days of a system,

they are needed. “If they are heavily

replacing it can be a major undertaking in

but also in the years of ownership that follow,

entrenched in some bespoke functionality, this

terms of integration. Maintaining AS/400 as the

where the system may need further

will push them down the path of keeping what

interface layer means it doesn’t actually have

development and customising to adapt to

they’ve got,” he remarked.

any functional requirement anymore; it simply

future business and market conditions.”

passes messages backwards and forwards Lloyds considers there are pros and cons on

and therefore becomes cheaper to run while

Orme adds that, again, this brings Exel back to

both sides. “Truthfully, most ERP systems are

giving users more time to start to streamline

keeping an eye to the future and being ready

very similar in terms of the functionality they

and, eventually, maybe replace it with a

for future client requirements. “If the client has

offer,” he said. “One might have a little more of

services bus.”

outgrown their current system and needs to implement an up-to-date solution, the first port

this while another has a little more of that, but overall they are functionally at parity. So the

Winder maintains that there is definitely a case

of call will always be their current vendor,” he

issue becomes one of industry focus and your

for upgrading. However he adds that

said. “If that vendor hasn’t been investing in

comfort level with the vendor. If your current

businesses need to make sure to invest in a

development and cannot offer the functionality,

ERP vendor understands your industry and

system that has the capability and flexibility to

speed, and stability required by their client, the

they’ve given you good support over the years,

be able to evolve to meet future needs. “A

chances of retaining that client are slim.”

why not upgrade rather than rip and replace? If

perfect example of this is that some

you’ve customised your system so extensively

businesses may not yet be comfortable with

that you can’t do a simple upgrade, it’s still

Cloud deployment, either for their entire system

The role of Big Data

going to be easier to go with your existing ERP

or as a hybrid,” he said. “Having the choice

How can technology trends such as Big Data

vendor than a different company, because you

means customers can make a decision today

help to gain the best out of ERP systems?

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Winder reflects that, in the case of Big Data, the

predictive analysis for equipment maintenance,”

makes some stand out from others is the

focus is the insight that data gives companies.

he said.

flexibility of what certain users can customise

“The availability of precise real-time data means

without modifying the system and be flexible –

that manufacturers no longer need to make

In addition, Lloyds believes Big Data can be

i.e. flexible desktops and workflows,” he said.

crucial decisions based on gut feel or past

very helpful in streamlining the supply chain,

“This enables them to do what they need to do

experience; they get a dynamic view of the

where one might consider how to manage

within the existing system without trying to

intricacies of their business from end-to end,” he

sourcing in countries based on local weather

create something of their own; i.e. desktops,

said. “This is driving a revolution in the way that

conditions or political events. “You might also

dashboards and workflows.”

leading manufacturers use complex data to gain

consider those same factors when forecasting

competitive advantage and streamlines

demand in various regions,” he added. “POS

Lloyds reflects that some ERP vendors focus on

processes. Improved visibility into the

data can be extremely helpful in letting you fine

the breadth of their offering. He commented:

manufacturing process makes it possible to

tune production and distribution schedules or in

“They provide every conceivable functionality for

track trends, identify problem areas such as

predicting the effect of temperature or humidity

the 25 to 30 industries and additional multiple

wastage, facilitates precise quoting, accurate

on production throughput in processes that are

sub-industries they support. This makes their

procurement and better planning; all of which

sensitive to environmental changes.”

systems harder to implement and use for their

have a direct impact your customers ensuring

customers, and it contributes to long and

that you meet their needs promptly and more

expensive implementations. Other vendors,

Differentiators

QAD among them, focus on providing real

What are some of the main functionality

functional depth for a small number of focus

Briggs comments that much of the business

differentiators among the ERP vendor

verticals. This means every business process is

intelligence in BEC’s solutions to date has

community? Hestermann reflects that it depends

tailored to the focus industry – in our case,

focused on users; for example, the

on what market the vendors target. “Industry-

manufacturing.”

performance/productivity of operatives. “We

depth and solving the major trends are key,” he

expect that we are going to see much more use

reiterated. Orme again references the growing

By now, most ERP systems are close

of the masses of data that can be gathered

role and value that the manufacturer places in

functionally, added Lloyds, so in his view it

through our production line systems – sensors,

the relationship with the vendor. “To many

becomes more about how much the vendor

measuring, testing equipment, robots etc. –

manufacturers, the size and fit of the vendor and

understands a particular industry and how good

giving the ability to monitor all business process,

manufacturer matters a great deal, as does

they are at working with their customers. As an

transparently across many sites,” he said. “The

where the vendor is based (UK v US), and

example of going the extra mile to build strong

large volumes of quantitative data will enable

whether the vendor is a reseller or author,” he

customer relationships, Lloyds referenced

very accurate measurement and forecasting of

said.

QAD’s customer engagement programme. “We

efficiently.”

resources – labour, energy, materials etc. –

meet with every one of our customers at least

providing immediate real-time quality and

According to Winder, company managers and

once a year to understand their strategic

reliability measures, with triggers for anomalies,

CIOs today are looking for ERP solutions that

objectives and to offer advice and guidance on

and exceptions which can then be handled

combine quality and reliability, with visionary

how they can get more out of their QAD ERP

immediately.”

technology that can help them meet ever

investment,” he said. “We do this at no charge,

changing business requirements. “A solid ERP

because we believe that unless our customers

Lloyds comments that Big Data and ERP can

platform can help an organisation not only

are happy and using the system well, we

exist side by side, with ERP using insight

reduce costs and streamline processes, but

haven’t done our jobs. Our strategy is to help

provided by the Big Data engine to adjust plans

also increase the flexibility and agility that’s

our customers become what we refer to as the

and simulations. “Big

needed to succeed in a competitive

Effective Enterprise. In an Effective Enterprise,

Data is about very

marketplace,” he remarked. “What is important

every business process is working at peak

rapid changes in high

is that the ERP system needs to have the

efficiency and in perfect alignment to the

volumes of data

flexibility to be able to upgrade and to stay

company’s strategic goals. That’s our goal for

coming from multiple

modern to be able to cope with future trends,

every one of our customers.”

sources and in

including cloud, mobile and social. This way,

multiple formats, and

customers will stay loyal and not stray to more

most ERP systems

future-proofed competitors.”

An eye on the future

can benefit from it in a Eric Kimberling, president,

18

IT

Briggs makes the point that ERP solutions tend

and developments to look out for over the next

forecasting and

to be aligned to specific verticals; for example,

year or two? Orme’s view is that there is no

supply chain

certain providers are good at food & beverage,

avoiding the continuing evolution and innovation

simulations or

some are very good in manufacturing. “What

in the type of devices that people will use to

MANUFACTURING

&LOGISTICS

What might be the next key ERP innovations

few areas such as

March 2015

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ERP

Special Technology Report

more sophisticated

main benefits from investing in BI solution is the

is finally happening. A new look at the user

tablets and

ability to provide faster and easier access to the

interfaces from ERP vendors such as JD

smartphones, to more

needed data. BI enables companies to gain

Edwards, Epicor and Infor all reveal that this

intuitive touchscreens

more complete and more structured knowledge

may be the year that enterprise software starts

on the production

about what has a positive effect on business

to close the usability gap with the social media

floor, getting accurate

performance, as well as what actions can cause

giants. This is good news for those of us

data into and out of

harm. Easy access to such information enables

concerned with organisational change

the system, will

quick reaction – companies may take

management and user adoption of new ERP

become simpler,” he

advantage from opportunities and eliminate

systems.”

said. “As mentioned

adverse effects. BI also allows companies to

before, this will then

create reports, and to significantly reduce the

Hestermann comments that the biggest

place the onus on

time needed to complete them. Information

innovation will come from adding machine

how the latest

gained from the reports also supports sales and

learning and more ‘intelligence’ to ERP systems.

technologies can then be used by the ERP

marketing departments in creating campaigns

"Imagine a system that proactively recognises

system and the business as a whole to generate

and offers better tailored to clients’ needs.”

and alerts the users of any event that might

Carter Lloyds, chief marketing officer,

competitive advantage.”

negatively impact customer satisfaction: why Kimberling believes best-of-breed systems will

would anyone have to search for that

Lloyds believes we will see every ERP system

make a comeback. “Non-ERP software vendors

information?,” he said.

introducing a new, more streamlined user

are providing compelling reasons to adopt their

interface over the next year or two. He adds that

solutions and integrate to others to provide

Nick Castellina considers that best-in-class

we will also see more companies getting serious

comprehensive enterprise solutions,” he said.

organisations are realising that one size fits all is

about mobile. “QAD has had mobile

“Now that there are more options on the table,

not necessarily accurate when it comes to ERP

applications for years, including business

organisations will no longer be hamstrung by a

implementations. “Top performing organisations

intelligence, mobile approvals and user

relatively limited subset of complete, standalone

are looking to multi-tiered ERP strategy is to

customisable ‘collections’ of our functionality,

ERP systems. This is good news when it comes

optimise costs and functionality among multiple

but we will be adding more and more mobile

to having more options, but bad news in that it

business units,” he said. “This may be because

transactions,” he pointed out. “As mentioned

will make the ERP software selection process

the organisation is in a phase where it is rapidly

previously, I think you will see BI becoming

even more overwhelming.”

attempting to open new business units or

more of an integral part of ERP and less of an

purchase those units in other countries.

add-on application. And of course, companies

Kimberling also maintains that integration and

Organisations that are embarking on a growth

will be trying to move to the Cloud.

solution architecture will become increasingly

strategy should carefully consider a multi-tiered

Manufacturing ERP in the Cloud has been a

important. “The increase of best-of-breed ERP

strategy. They can therefore improve their

tough problem for ERP vendors who don’t

systems will put more pressure on CIOs and

efficiency and visibility across business units,

understand it the way we do, but I don’t think

ERP consultants to provide better integration

while keeping costs low.”

you’ll see that changing in the short term. I also

between systems and address potential silos of

think you will see more companies moving

processes and data that often come with the

Lewins looks forward to improved cost control

toward shop floor reporting using automatic

territory,” commented. “As a result, solution

through demand sensing and better inventory

sensors and devices rather than manual

architecture and integration will become

management up and down the supply chain;

reporting, and ERP systems will evolve to take

increasingly important competencies required to

better control of outsourced operations –

advantage of the integration of the Internet of

support effective ERP implementations.”

whether that is contract manufacturing,

Things.”

logistics or testing; and realising the tangible Additionally, Kimberling points to convergence

benefits of aligning S&OP and Integrated

Winder believes the key thing over the next few

of ERP and consumer user interfaces. “For the

Business Planning (IBP) with the financial

years is to keep up with ever-evolving

last decade or so, we’ve seen the proliferation of

forecasts and the demand and supply

technologies to future-proof the businesses; for

mainstream consumer social media platforms,

forecasts. Lewins added that Capgemini is

example, with social ERP. “People increasingly

such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” he

also receiving many enquiries now

want simpler, more intuitive tools to help them

said. “However, ERP systems have always

concerning the impact of Industry 4.0, the

make business decisions that fit in with their

maintained a different, more complex and less

Internet of Things and what that means in

working patterns rather than defining working

consumer-friendly look and feel – until now. It

terms of greater capabilities – how companies

patterns for them,” he said.

was bound to happen eventually as more

can become much more agile and do more

millennials entered the workforce and

with less. 

Another area to look out for, according to

demanded more consistency in their work

Winder, is business intelligence (BI). “One of the

versus social technologies, and it appears that it

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Insight

ERP in the aerospace sector Celebrating 30 years’ experience of delivering tangible, real world benefits to manufacturers across most business sectors, leading UK ERP author Exel Computer Systems plc has accumulated a particularly high level of insight and understanding regarding the most critical demands made on ERP systems within different markets. Aerospace manufacturers have long relied on this expertise and here Exel shares the most important factors these companies are taking into consideration when deciding on their ERP investment.

he common theme that runs

T

through them all is an absolute commitment to quality and safety, whether what is being supplied is an individual precision machined

component or an entire wing section or engine assembly. At the heart of providing this is the necessity for complete product traceability and serialisation. As Andrew Wallace, IT manager at Martin Aerospace said: ““Quality control and traceability is central to our business. Not just at a batch or individual product level, but right down to every process on every raw material item. One faulty bolt is enough to potentially bring down a plane – so there can be no margin for error.”

Complete product traceability

Complete traceability is essential at individual component level

Whereas earlier ERP systems often had to

‘out of the box’ reducing initial cost and

generating the relevant documents, scanning

rely on third-party solutions or costly

ongoing overheads.

and filing these, and then tailoring them to the

bespoke programming, modern state-of-the-

different requirements of individual customers.

art systems such as EFACS E/8 have

Linked to this is the requirement for

Modern ERP systems, designed with the

complete product traceability, batch and/or

aerospace ERP systems to provide full

needs of the aerospace sector in mind,

serialisation, as standard. EFACS E/8 offers

certification and document control. In earlier

provide automated and integrated

the flexibility and configuration possibilities

ERP systems with basic capabilities, this still

functionality via a combination of workflow

of both backwards and forwards traceability

involved a lot of duplication in terms of

and document management. This dovetails seamlessly with the system’s traceability as all relevant certification/documentation is linked at either a batch or serial number level. The third element that works in partnership with this functionality is the First Action Inspection Requirement (FAIR). Each manufacturer will have their own process logic which conforms to rigorous aerospace requirements that determines when a

Intricately machined spar.

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March 2015

complete inspection is required. It also

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Insight

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

defines the full extent of any inspection that is to be carried out. Again, once the preserve of third-party suppliers or costly bespoke work, modern systems have been designed from the outset to deliver fully automated and configurable workflow as standard. This provides a failsafe against any future changes in procedure as the system can be quickly and easily updated to reflect the latest underlying logic.

Ease of customisation Non-Conformance Management (NCM) is another key requirement aerospace manufacturers are increasingly looking for in their ERP system specifications. As each manufacturer has their own unique quality manual, any system needs to have the ease of customisation to reflect this, which is why it

Precision machining work in progress on Airbus structure.

has traditionally been the preserve of third-

Whilst not a requirement for every aerospace

party solutions or complex spreadsheets.

manufacturer, the means to manage

Modern systems don’t just provide an

Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO)

Just as improving connectivity and visibility

integrated, customisable solution, they allow

requirements is critical for those that do have

throughout the business brings a range of

this to be immediately accessible across the

the need. Because of this, such functionality

benefits, so likewise does extending this out

entire enterprise, meaning that as and where

was often left to third-party suppliers which

into the supply chain. A good example of

an issue arises, it can be immediately logged

could lead to data ownership and duplication

this is the automated link developed by Exel

and then actioned accordingly. This not only

issues, as well as accountability concerns

to connect EFACS E/8 with the Exostar EDI

provides manufacturers with the ability to take

should a problem arise. EFACS E/8 was

system. Manufacturers reliant on manually

a snapshot across the business of the current

designed from the outset to meet these needs

downloading supplier information from

non-conformance issues, it allows Business

and has integral functionality which allows

portals can take several days to do this,

Intelligence (BI) to be done on historic data

components returned for MRO to be allocated

including verifying the orders, before they

so that trends can be quickly analysed and

a unique item code and routing information,

can even begin scheduling their own work

appropriate responses taken at a strategic as

all of which forms part of an intelligent

requirements. By automating this with the

well as tactical level.

Product Lifecycle Maintenance (PLM)

EFACS E/8 – Exostar link, all information can

approach.

be received and verified, often within

Time savings

minutes, which provides a time saving measured in days as well as all the increased flexibility in terms of work schedule that also comes from this. While every aerospace manufacturer has to make quality and safety two of their key objectives, how they do this is becoming an area where true competitive advantage is increasingly to be found. By integrally automating traceability and workflow at such a highly customisable level, there is the potential to generate considerable cost and time savings not just in the present, but also the future as any external and internal considerations occur. 

Finished tank covers.

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Product news

LinkFresh ERP continues to grow with new farming enhancements

L

inkFresh, provider of supply chain ERP solutions designed specifically

Single consolidated screen

for the fresh food industry, has

Works orders in LinkFresh Farming facilitates the

announced the latest product

management of assigning resources to various

release for its LinkFresh ERP suite

tasks for both farming and non-farming based

on Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

jobs, through means of a single consolidated screen. Additionally, the facility to substitute

LinkFresh ERP is built on the world-class

items used on a farming job with another item

Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP technology,

has also been added. Also, LinkFresh Farming

user for any such changes to a crop from an

and is officially 'Certified for Microsoft

can link employee and fixed assets information

inventory perspective.

Dynamics'. The latest release includes

to a resource used by farming jobs. LinkFresh

features to further enhance productivity for

supply chain forecasting and planning has been

A new LinkFresh farming user role centre has

food supply chain users, including thirteen

expanded to take into consideration the supply

been created added. Role centres are

new enhancements to the LinkFresh

from a harvest yield through LinkFresh Farming,

designed to aid user productivity by

Farming module, further improvements to

to a number of different business demands

conveniently presenting the user with a role

both the warehouse mobility and

including sales or production activities.

tailored, real time snapshot of all data and

production touch-screen services.

operational information pertinent to their role on

LinkFresh Farming functionality has been

Harvest shrinkage offers the ability to record

one screen. LinkFresh warehouse mobility has

enhanced further with additional features

changes in the volume or weight of any crop

been expanded to include an improved

including the introduction of works orders,

that has been harvested, through the possible

production output mobile application. LinkFresh

crop/harvest planning, harvest shrinkage

reduction in moisture content. The shrinkage

production touchscreen services have been

and harvest resource allocation, among

facility within LinkFresh Farming takes the

enhanced to further improve to visibility of live

many more.

system administrative burden away from the

item, packaging and labelling data. 

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Success story

Nutriculture eradicates manual processes with ERP solution from Azzure IT ancashire-based Nutriculture Ltd.,

techniques, Nutriculture Ltd needed a

the wholesale plastic manufacturer

business solution that could meet its

for the hydroponics industry, has

demands.

L

Complete manageability of stock The fully automated system has replaced the

replaced manual processes and Specialist ERP provider, Azzure IT,

manual processes, resulting in increased

a fully integrated Microsoft Dynamics NAV

implemented the Microsoft Dynamics NAV

efficiency and complete manageability of

ERP solution, from Azzure IT.

ERP system, which integrates eCommerce,

stock across multiple warehouses. With a

manufacturing and logistics across all sites in

simple and sophisticated ordering system

Nutriculture is the first company to relate

a single end-to-end solution. “The functionality

controlled directly by Microsoft Dynamics

commercial hydroponic techniques to the

of Dynamics NAV is very easy to navigate,

NAV, Nutriculture have increased opportunity

needs of the home grower. With an increasing

and we like the look and feel of the solution,”

for upselling, and customer satisfaction levels

number of sites, supplying over 600

said Paul Williams, IT director of Nutriculture

are at an all-time high. Craig Such, managing

independent hydro shops in the UK, Europe,

Ltd. “Plus Azzure's way of doing business

director of Azzure IT, commented: “We're

America and East Asia, it became evident that

closely matched our own. From the very first

delighted the system is yielding benefits for

a new ERP business solution was required to

meeting, they demonstrated a considerable

Nutriculture already, and supporting the

provide a solid platform for growth. With an

amount of ERP experience in manufacturing,

company's business growth.” 

extremely high level of production

and the references from Microsoft outshone

requirements, plus new manufacturing

the rest of the contenders.”

improved efficiency with the help of

22

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ERP

CRM

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

W O R K F LO W

DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT

EBUSINESS

PROUD OF OUR PAST, PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR FUTURE. Exel Computer Systems plc are proud to be celebrating 30 years as a UK software author. Since our entry into the market in 1985 our innovative and scalable EFACS E/8 ERP business solution has enabled our clients to adapt, diversify, and grow. To ďŹ nd out more about our fully integrated business solutions or to discuss how Exel can help your business, call us now on 0115 946 0101 or email sales@exel.co.uk

www.exel.uk

Business as usual, only smarter.

EXEL


P

lanning Success story

Metalúrgica Fey

secures effective solution from Preactor etalúrgica Fey is one of the

M

– Work in Process) were evident and there

largest manufacturers of

The challenges

were problems related to the flow of materials

fasteners in Brazil,

The sector of PPPC (Planning, Programming

in the manufacturing unit, inefficient

recognised for its extensive

and Production Control) was working under

management of materials sent to be

range of products such as

heavy pressure and did not have visibility for

outsourced, gaps of visibility between the

bolts and nuts, agricultural equipment,

proper control of production. The planning

stages of the production process, low-level

motorcycle, automotive, central pins,

was conducted through analysis based on

management of bottlenecks in production and

spring clips and special parts. Exports are

pre-defined volumes of monthly production of

high volume setups.

destined mainly for South American

families of items and supported by the use of

countries such as Argentina, Bolivia,

electronic spreadsheets and other parallel

Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador. Currently it

controls. The low level of detailed information,

The solution

has a built up an area of 33.500 m² and a

poor flexibility for rescheduling and a lack of

This challenging environment led Metalúrgica

capacity to produce 1800 tonnes per

visibility of the program as a whole did not

Fey to seek solutions on the market to redesign

month.

meet the company's needs.

its planning and scheduling process and characterised the ideal scenario for

Due to growth in the market and the

Other factors were the difficulties with the low

implementation of an APS (Advanced Planning

features of its MTS (Make-to-Stock) service

level of service policies, replenishment of

and Scheduling) system. After conducting the

priority, Metalúrgica Fey realised that it

inventories and the imbalance of inventories

appropriate market analysis, Metalúrgica Fey

needed to make changes in its planning

of finished products. High levels of inventories

chose Preactor software as a solution to its

process and production scheduling.

in the middle of the production process (WIP

problems of sequencing and included the

After conducting the appropriate market analysis, Metalúrgica Fey chose Preactor software as a solution to its problems of sequencing and included the implementation performed by the company ACCERA, as well as assistance in the reorganisation of Planning, Programming and Production Control as a whole, searching for greater visibility of the production process inventory policies, among other goals.

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P

lanning Success story

implementation performed by the company

possibilities as the basis of decision-making by

very significant gain from the beginning of the

ACCERA, as well as assistance in the

the PPPC, thereby removing the responsibility for

use of Preactor, growing from 20 per cent to 75

reorganisation of PPPC as a whole, searching for

the sequencing and scheduling from the factory

per cent, which represents a performance gain

greater visibility of the production process

and bringing it directly to the area of PPPC.

of 275 per cent. Other gains related to work organisation in the PPPC area was its

inventory policies, among other goals. Ricardo Fey is industrial manager at Metalúrgica

relationship with the area of production and

After the reorganisation of the planning process,

Fey. “We obtained significant results in increase

production lead time reduction were also seen.

Metalúrgica Fey had the potential to obtain

of delivery performance, reduced WIP and

better results with the restructuring of the

improvement in production flow.”

Kleverson Alexandre Coelho again, "With the implementation of Preactor, our PPPC is focused

production scheduling process and

on scheduling advanced analysis and

implementation of the Preactor system for advanced sequencing of production. The

The benefits

comparison of scenarios, seeking better results

mapping of the production process and

The advanced sequencing of production,

and preventive solutions to meet deadlines.

schedule for production of Screws and Nuts was

considering the various constraints of the

Today, Metalúrgica Fey, through the Preactor

then performed, where several opportunities for

production process and the timing between

tool, has transformed the PPCP area into an

improvement were identified.

operations, combined with an analysis and a

information transformation centre, which

proper sizing of production shifts due to the

examines the future by performing simulations in

An important feature with the early use of

occupation of resources provided to Metalúrgica

the present.

Preactor was the ability to quickly identify

Fey a reduction of 40 per cent of the in-process

bottlenecks of production and be able to act on

inventory volume (WIP). Such gain generated a

them with better scaling of production shifts. The

better organisation and flow of materials within

The future

simulation of different scheduling scenarios

the plant.

Metalúrgica Fey plans in the coming months to

identified with specific reports showed the

expand the use of Preactor to the area of

comparison between them and generated an

One of the key performance indicators in the

manufacturing raw materials and for the future

analysis of different programming performance

area of PPCP and production, delivery

area of tooling, further increasing the gains from

indicators which enabled countless new

punctuality indicators for the stock, achieved a

the use of Preactor. 

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P

lanning Success story

Wolfberger selects Ortems

planning software to improve the percent of fill and decrease inventories olfberger Group, expert in

W

the wine, sparkling wine and spirits industry with 12 per cent of Alsace AOC (Controlled Origin Label),

produces more than 14 million bottles annually, of which 23 per cent are dedicated to exports. For the past five years, this Alsatian company has seen its revenues and volume of orders increase steadily with significant growth in export markets. To support its growth, the Wolfberger Group has selected Ortems solutions to model its medium-term planning processes using Ortems Master Production Schedule (MPS) and its short term planning with Ortems scheduling software. project is based on wines and sparkling wines.

Continuous improvement

Company-wide strategic project

“Subsequently, it will also include our

This approach is part of an effort to

Before selecting the Ortems solution, we

‘distillery’ business. Our expectations include

continuously improve and monitor its process

carried out a company-wide strategic project,

improving our inventory coverage for finished

activities. It builds upon a commitment to

including rationalising our production facilities

goods and components and also improving

rationalisation, responsiveness and

and investing in the renewal of some of our

our service rate while simultaneously

adaptability with a constant concern for the

machinery. One of our objectives is to

improving our responsiveness and visibility.

quality of service provided to customers:

increase our productivity as well as our

Henceforth our planners will be able to focus

responsiveness.”

on higher added value tasks and spend more time analysing the master schedule in order

• The Master Production Schedule will be prepared over a 12-month timeline for wines and from 24 to 36 months for sparkling wines (returned to the cellar 12 months before packaging). • Scheduling will be done over a 2 to 6-week timeline.

Henceforth our planners will be able to focus on higher added value tasks and spend more time analysing the master schedule in order to make the right decisions with all the parties concerned (technical, sales, production and supply chain).” – Mathieu Greffe, Wolfberger Group.

Mathieu Greffe, industrial director, commented: "Our inventories represent

Greffe continued: “Choosing a planning

to make the right decisions with all the parties

significant tied up capital (approximately 2/3

solution like Ortems gives us a stake in the

concerned (technical, sales, production and

of our sales). We need to manage our supply

future by being more responsive and

supply chain).”

chain to optimise our finished goods inventory

qualitative in the face of international

(more than 1200 SKUs) and to plan the

developments in our premium market and the

Greffe concluded: “We chose Ortems over

packaging process, which must be highly

size of orders (smaller volumes but

competitor solutions because we greatly

responsive in order to manage the different

increasingly frequent). The internationalisation

appreciated the product's ease of use, the

sizes of work orders, which can vary from 96

and challenges of exporting increase the

expertise in the wines and spirits business as

to 13,000 bottles.

range of SKUs with more complex labelling,

well as the high professional standards and

which we must be able to anticipate. Our

availability of all of the team." 

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Insight

Supply Chain

Frost & Sullivan identifies disruptive opportunities for Internet of Things he massive potential of Internet of Things (IoT) to stoke convergence and collaboration worldwide has been reined in by the lack of data security and interoperability among devices and objects. Acknowledging this hurdle, various institutes and organisations in key sectors are striving to frame standards for privacy policies regarding the sharing of information over the Internet.

T

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, ‘Internet of Things (IoT) - Disruptive Opportunities in Key Sectors’, finds that several standardisation bodies from Europe and the US are working towards addressing the issue of device interoperability and standard privacy policies. Both European and American organisations are striving to simplify the seamless flow of information among devices, globally. A case in point is the separate committee formed by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) to focus on Machine2Machine (M2M) communication privacy standardisation. Similarly, the Open Automotive Alliance is a global alliance of automobile companies and technology partners that is working to establish a standard Android platform for communication between mobiles and vehicles. Another solution to accelerate the wide-scale adoption of several applications and technologies in the IoT space is a unified gateway.

Interoperability enhancements “Gateways that are developed covering all aspects of communication and data handling for various applications could simplify the implementation process for IoT," noted Technical Insights industry analyst Swapnadeep Nayak. “Gateways embedded with Java – often used for cloud application development – could further enhance the capability of the platform in terms of interoperability.”

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Nanotechnology has its part to play in promoting IoT. The rapid progress made in the miniaturisation of sensors and radio frequency identification (RFID) will aid the integration of transistors into any kind of physical object, irrespective of the footprint of the device. Participants can also enhance privacy and network security by incorporating smart sensors to track user habits and movement within the cloud.

Nayak. "Therefore, the success of IoT could well be linked to the efficiency of the cognitive radio network architecture.”

As IoT requires an open architecture, users tend to be sceptical about the platforms' ability to maintain the integrity of their data. Their concerns can be assuaged to some extent with the convergence of emerging technologies such as Big Data and context-aware computing with IoT. Leveraging the advantages of converged technology will improve the analysis of user data and access rights for the creation of a secure environment for IoT.

Internet of Things (IoT) - Disruptive Opportunities in Key Sectors, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, analyses and assesses the diverse factors influencing the adoption rate and impact of IoT in various sectors such as energy, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, aerospace & defence and microelectronics. This research service also includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters and studies. 

“The huge pressure on the network for connectivity with multiple devices could lead to a new artificial intelligent cognitive architecture for managing data network," said

Overall, by employing a common Cloud infrastructure with a unified application programming interface for all application sectors, IoT can bring down the costs of deployment while enhancing the efficiency of devices with data from countless gadgets.

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Supply Chain

Company news

TmaxSoft makes rapid expansion into global markets TmaxSoft, a specialist in middleware and enterprise IT infrastructure, has introduced a number of new business initiatives designed to harness its rapid growth in the middleware and database management system (DBMS) market as it continues its aim to directly challenge Oracle. maxSoft has identified the opportunity to expand internationally, with subsidiaries working with local partners to meet the rising demand. TmaxSoft has also publically stated that it is aiming to achieve revenue of $100 million in its domestic Korean market, with a further $110 million in overseas sales, reflecting its aggressive expansion plans to become a global software company.

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Voicing demand TmaxSoft CTO, Dae Yeon Park commented: "Markets in Korea and overseas are continuously voicing their demand for an alternative to Oracle. Focusing on countries such as the UK, China and Brazil – large markets with numerous business opportunities - and Japan, which contains an abundant number of highly loyal TmaxSoft clients – we are planning on greatly increasing sales overseas, particularly focusing on our DBMS offering Tibero, a cheaper and viable alternative to Oracle's comparable product." TmaxSoft has recently signed contracts with a number of global companies, including a Russian financial firm, a Chinese IT firm and a Singaporean airline, putting itself in direct competition with Oracle. In Japan, TmaxSoft has also entered a partnership with Red Hat Japan to sell a product that combines Linux with Tibero, which is compatible with Oracle but costs 50 per cent less than its comparable Oracle product in licence and maintenance fees. "To quickly infiltrate the overseas markets we are forming strategic alliances with our partners, while scaling up our teams with local talent in order. In addition to the seven markets we are already operating in, we will be planning a roll-out to an additional 30 including France, Germany, Canada, Australia 28

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Oracle, the results proved Tibero had superior performance, which in turn prompted its migration from Oracle to TmaxSoft.

and the UAE," continued Dae Yeon Park.

Catalyst for growth The catalyst for this positive growth forecast in both its domestic and overseas markets are the continual upgrades being made to TmaxSoft's DBMS Tibero, which includes improvements to stability, security and scalability.

We are planning on greatly increasing sales overseas, particularly focusing on our DBMS offering Tibero, a cheaper and viable alternative to Oracle's comparable product." – Dae Yeon Park, TmaxSoft. The improved performance of Tibero was recently verified by the Seoul National University of Science and Technology. After comparing the performance of its integrated information system through both Tibero and

TmaxSoft is aiming to be the frontrunner in the system software market and it plans on releasing key products as part of its "Big Data Platform" strategy to infiltrate the rapidly growing Big Data market. As part of its overall strategy to be market leaders, it will be launching a range of new products and upgrades including Tibero 6 DBMS, which is due to be released in the first quarter of this year and has a wider range of functionality and greater stability; and ProObject, a new Java framework with a high performance architecture released last year; in addition to releases of ZetaData, AnyMiner and DataHub. Dae Yeon Park concluded: "2015 is the year that TmaxSoft will enjoy explosive growth in both the domestic and overseas markets. With superb product reliability and credible references, we are confident that Tibero DBMS will become the growth engine that will edge out Oracle in the global market." 

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Product news

Supply Chain

New Barloworld SCS software builds agility in supply chain networks arloworld Supply Chain Software, provider of strategic and tactical supply chain solutions to optimise network design, demand and supply planning and inventory management, has launched its new CAST Flow solution, giving businesses with domestic and international supply chain networks greater agility.

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According to the company, the new CAST Flow solution will bring organisations powerful new strategic and tactical tools, enabling them to respond much faster to supply chain disruption or sudden changes in manufacturing. At present, businesses are often designing their strategic and tactical networks a year or more ahead, making it difficult to re-model an existing design. CAST Flow integrates demand planning and forecasting, enabling organisations to generate a representative short-term model. The

sophisticated tool also allows them to run tactical models across the network for a defined product set or single SKU in order to analyse supply, inventory levels and the flow of goods within the constraints of the network. "The CAST product suite and CAST Flow module help organisations determine flow path strategy and risk-mitigation on an ongoing basis," said Fraser Ironside, director, Barloworld Supply Chain Software. "Developed around the need and use case of complex supply chains and global businesses, we are confident that CAST Flow will benefit the many businesses that require short as well as longer-term planning capability. Meeting the growing need for improved internal and external supply network visibility, the tactical planning and optimisation tool covers a range of key functions including demand planning, forecasting, segmentation and SKU flow optimisation. This enables users to

model a change in forecast or to successfully accommodate sudden disruptions or alterations to customer service commitments on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Ironside continued: "Used in conjunction with CAST Aurora strategic network design solution, CAST Flow makes businesses more equipped to accommodate short term changes in their endto-end supply chain operations, as well as midto-long term changes in the network. This meets a real and pressing requirement in the market. For example, the ongoing congestion plaguing US West Coast ports at present is forcing shippers to re-examine alternative product flows through their supply chains and safeguard against possible shortfalls in product imports. This is a prime example of where the software can help organisations affected respond more strategically and effectively to an unexpected short-term disruption." 

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Supply Chain

Success story

The Cloud provides support for GINAF Trucks’ globalisation bid Operating from its headquarters in Veenendaal in the Netherlands, truck manufacturer GINAF is conquering the world with its many innovations. The organisation maintains its focus on its core business. IT should simply do what it has to do. For this reason, GINAF has migrated its entire IT environment in the Cloud, including its ERP solution. INAF Trucks is known for its innovations, whether it concerns a more agile truck for city use or an even more reliable and robust vehicle for heavy-duty applications such as mining. This innovative power has not gone unnoticed abroad. For this reason, the Veenendaalbased company is now spreading its wings, explains chief operations officer André Molengraaf. “We are making preparations for opening up service branches abroad. It is an advantage when all your systems are running in the Cloud, as all you need is a laptop and an Internet connection to open up a new office.”

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Security and business continuity GINAF has opted for the Cloud for a number of reasons, security coming first. “Employees are working mobile, whether you develop a policy for it or not. If they have to log in using a VPN connection and are tempted to store business documents locally on their laptops, then, as an employer, you no longer have any sort of control of where data is located and

who can access what. If everybody works in the Cloud from start to finish, this means all data is located at the data centre, so nothing has to be stored locally any more. We are convinced this is a much safer arrangement, simply because security is the core business of our Cloud suppliers and not ours.” Another argument involves business continuity. “In case of downtime of our ERP solution, half of our staff might as well return home,” Molengraaf explains. “We are a company with approximately 80 employees. If we had our own internal IT department, at most two employees would work there, who would need to have knowledge of everything, from the infrastructure to the applications. Nowadays IT has such a specialist nature that this is completely impossible. Added to which, you immediately run into problems if the person in question is on holiday. Now all management activities are performed by various cloud suppliers, and we have a specialist coming over once every two weeks to check if everything is functioning properly at our site. Usually he is ready within the hour.”

What is also important from the perspective of business continuity is the fact that suppliers of cloud solutions are responsible for updates, patches and backups. “The reliability of the environment is simply a lot higher. In the past, we regularly experienced downtime of our ERP system. This has no longer occurred since we started using QAD Cloud ERP.” Finally, Molengraaf considers it an advantage that he knows exactly how much he is paying for IT. “We are no longer confronted with unforeseen costs. It is now much easier to budget.”

Areas of focus Although Molengraaf is generally satisfied with the Cloud environment, he cites the Internet connection as a drawback. “Since all our software is running in the Cloud – including heavy-duty CAD/CAM systems – a lot of data is transferred across the line. We actually should have a dedicated line, but that would be quite expensive.” Incidentally, the amount of data that is transferred for QAD Cloud ERP is highly limited. Another area of focus is the integration of various Cloud applications. Systems are linked differently than when they are hosted on an on-premise server. Integration is absolutely possible from a technical point of view, but it is a job for specialists. “In our case it took quite a while before the ERP environment was properly integrated with the other systems. My advice would be to make clear agreements with your supplier in advance. It is better to spend more time during the design phase than getting frustrated when things take longer than expected.” 

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QAD Cloud ERP Cloud ERP Exclusively for Manufacturing Companies

“The all inclusive price of QAD Cloud ERP is lower than the average cost of a traditional licensed on-premise solution� - Aberdeen Group QAD Sir Stanley Clarke House 7 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom, B32 1AF +44 (0) 121 506 6500 uk_marketing@qad.com www.qad.com


Supply Chain

Success story

CFC Food Partners improves efficiency with BCP’s Accord BCP customer, CFC Food Partners Ltd. (CFC), is claiming company-wide improvements in operational efficiency from its investment in BCP’s Accord distribution system.

particularly relating to stock control and telesales, as a foundation for growth and expansion. Existing operations were largely manual and paper-based, with limited, very general, IT functionality. “We’d been struggling for a while and having to work hard to make up for the limitations of our existing system,” said Shawn Giles, MD at CFC. “We realised that a sector specific solution would make life a whole lot easier and, if we chose carefully, would scale up to meet our needs as we grew.”

The solution Shawn Giles: “It was as if the system had been designed especially for us. Its rationale and functionality just mirrored our business model.”

ased in Wakefield, W Yorkshire, CFC Food Partners (CFC) is a rapidly growing foodservice wholesaler supplying cafes, sandwich bars, colleges and hospitals across the North East of England, covering a geographical area that extends from Middlesbrough in the north to Nottingham in the South and from Manchester in the West to Hull in the East. With its own fleet of nine multi-temperature vehicles, the company provides a wide range of ambient, chilled and frozen foods, together with a selection of non-food items like disposables and cleaning materials. It specialises particularly in sandwich fillings (many of which it manufactures), bacon, cooked meats and tuna, often purchasing the latter in bulk and re-selling on a wholesale basis.

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The challenge

Following a thorough selection process, CFC opted for BCP’s market-leading Accord foodservice system, investing in a complete solution to encompass Purchasing, Sales Order Management, Stock Control, Telesales, CRM and Financial Accounting. BCP secured the contract because of its food and drink industry background, consistent track record of delivering successful implementations and, not least, Accord’s powerful functionality, which proved an excellent fit for CFC’s business. “It was as if the system had been designed especially for us,” said Giles. “Its rationale and functionality just mirrored our business model.”

Telesales Existing Telesales was a paper-based ordertaking system. Operators took orders ‘blind’ in terms of stock availability, which could adversely impact on service levels. With Accord, Telesales operators have real time stock and pricing data, plus a wide range of other information, at their fingertips so they can react quickly to customers’ requirements, offer exceptional customer service and work proactively to increase sales. Shawn Giles: “The results have been excellent and the telesales operators really like it – it’s so easy to use – so they can work more efficiently, contacting more customers each day. It’s played a key part in helping us to grow the business. Sales have gone up significantly without any increase in staffing levels, which means we’re operating more profitably.” All CFC’s orders are now handled via Accord telesales.

Replenishment Purchasing has improved significantly. CFC can now ‘buy better’ in terms of price and availability, and, critically, in terms of quantity, balancing orders and stock to minimise the occurrence of out of stocks while at the same time minimising the amount of working capital tied up in stocks.

CFC has realised efficiencies across its business as it benefits from a fully integrated, powerful IT solution that controls all operations, delivers true visibility, improved reporting and key sales, product and buying information. Particular improvements have come in the areas of Telesales/Sales Order Processing, Replenishment and Stock Management.

The investment was prompted by CFC’s wish to modernise and improve efficiency, 32

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satisfy orders much more efficiently,” remarked Giles.

Operations Operations are now much more efficient, allowing optimum use to be made of human resources and there have been considerable improvements on the logistics side with Accord providing a much more flexible approach to logistics and planning customer deliveries on particular rounds on particular days.

Stock management Stock control had been difficult with only physical stock showing on the existing system and a lack of integration. A lot of time was spent on manual stock checking and service levels were challenging. The fully integrated Accord system allows CFC to streamline inventory levels, minimise losses from out-of-date products and significantly improve customer service levels. “We now know exactly what’s in stock, where it is in the warehouse, what’s on order and when it’s due in, so we can

Better stock control and more flexible delivery planning have contributed significantly to improved services levels, which are now averaging around 98 per cent – a vast improvement on previous service levels. Since the initial implementation of Accord, CFC has extended its use to manage another foodservice depot in Hull on behalf

Supply Chain

of a charity, making use of Accord’s powerful multi-depot functionality to manage operations at both locations. It’s early days there, but already, the same benefits experienced at the main depot are coming through – across all areas. Giles concluded: “Accord is an excellent fit for our business, and has lived up to its reputation, delivering even more functionality than we’d expected. BCP itself has given us an A* service which we could not fault, always prepared to go that extra mile to satisfy our requirements.” The company is now looking at extending the use of Accord’s comprehensive pricing functionality and to make use of its CRM system in order to help manage further growth more efficiently. “Longer term, we’ll be looking at implementing Accord’s Voice Picking solution, to drive further efficiencies in the warehouse, and online ordering, which we believe will deliver benefits for both ourselves and our customers.” 

Visionary Solutions Wall-to-Wall Voice Directed Warehouse Computing Typical Benefits:‡ ‡ ‡

Improve Productivity - by up to 10% Reduce errors - by 80-90% Rapid payback in 6-12 months

Calculate your own expected payback with the Payback Calculator available from http://www.bcpsoftware.com/ solutions/voice-technology-solutions/

%&3·VAccord suite of Voice modules delivers real-time voice control wall-to-wall across the warehouse, from goods in and picking through to labour scheduling and stock taking, as required. As the software authors we are able to tailor the solution to meet your precise needs. No requirement is too complex for us.

First UK wall-to-wall voice solution Business Computer Projects Ltd BCP House, 151 Charles Street, Stockport, Cheshire SK1 3JY. T: +44 (0) 161 355 3000 F: + 44 (0) 161 355 3001 E: accord@bcpsoftware.com www.bcpsoftware.com

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Raleigh gets back in the Saddle with New WMS Solution from BEC ith over 125 years’ experience in designing high quality, innovative and marketleading bicycles, Raleigh is a globally-recognised name in cycle manufacture. As the only bicycle brand appearing in the UK’s Superbrands list, Raleigh distributes in excess of several million pounds’ worth of bikes and accessories every year from its warehousing facility in Nottingham.

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Raleigh also owns several other bike and accessory brands, including Diamondback and RSP. And thanks to ongoing innovation, creativity and an impressive product portfolio which includes road, fitness, leisure and mountain bikes and accessories for children, adults and professional racers alike, the company is experiencing consistent growth in both size and turnover year-on-year.

searching for a product on their pick list within a particular location, only to find that the product wasn’t there. This lack of efficiency was causing unnecessary delays and was a costly and inefficient use of workers’ valuable time. Raleigh realised that it needed to speed up and improve upon the accuracy of its product picking and product placement processes, as it had reached the end of the line with what could realistically be achieved with a paper-based system which could no longer support Raleigh’s ongoing needs and requirements.

expertise spans the complete spectrum of AIDC technologies.

After spending a lot of time researching a number of companies specialising in data capture and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Raleigh eventually chose a WMS solution from BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd., in order to fully automate the product picking and stock movement functionality within their warehouse.

Steve Wigley, distribution manager at Raleigh, commented: “BEC really stood out from the other companies we considered. They are very experienced and have a highly specialist knowledge of all things data capture. They gave us every confidence that they would be able to supply a WMS solution that would meet and surpass all of our prerequisites and criteria.”

The problem Having previously used a paper-based system to record goods in, put-away, stock movement and stock counting, Raleigh was experiencing an increasing number of errors, particularly with regard to stock keeping and stock placement. A lot of time was being wasted by workers

Based in Blackburn, Lancashire, BEC is a specialist provider of future-proof and innovative automated data capture solutions designed to integrate seamlessly into any host ERP system to fulfil business and commercial needs. With a specific focus on the supply chain and manufacturing industries, BEC’s level of

The solution The first thing BEC did was to carry out a thorough data capture survey of Raleigh’s Nottingham warehousing facility. It then came up with a solution that would work for Raleigh’s specific needs and requirements. Tony Hampson, managing director at BEC, commented: “After our site survey at Raleigh’s warehousing facility, the solution which we implemented was based on our eSmart Warehouse software product. Flexible and fully customisable, our eSmart products are designed to seamlessly integrate into a variety of host ERP systems to deliver improved accuracy and efficiency. Our eSmart Warehouse software solution was particularly suitable for Raleigh, as it allows for the automation of all warehouse operations whilst providing real-time validation of all transaction data. This provides improved visibility of stock numbers and location, both of which were proving problematic for Raleigh under their previous paper-based system.” The software was loaded onto a number of rugged Honeywell CK3 mobile computers, while

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cordless 3820 imagers also formed part of the new solution, which has been initially implemented on the Parts and Accessories side of the business. “This is the part of the business where we have the most SKUs, products and pick lists, so it was important for us to implement the new solution within this area first,” explained Wigley. “We will be rolling the solution out to include the bicycle portion of the business next month.”

losing control of with our previous paper-based system. We are already experiencing extremely positive results and we are expecting our accuracy levels to improve quickly. The new solution has even enabled us to find missing and misplaced stock which we had previously written off. We have also received positive feedback from the users of the new system as they have found it easy and intuitive to use, and can definitely recognise the benefits of implementing an automated solution.”

The result

Wigley continued: “As far as BEC is concerned, we could not have asked for more. There are plenty of companies which Raleigh does business with, and BEC has always come across as very personable. Most importantly, they get the job done. And in the event of the occasional issue arising, as is expected when implementing a new IT system of any kind, they are quick to respond and resolve problems in an efficient and professional manner. They have done exactly what we asked for – and more.”

The new solution now enables Raleigh to capture and record data for mission-critical applications such as goods receiving, stock movement, stock replenishment and stock audit, helping to reduce inventory inaccuracies, improve upon efficiency, maximise throughput and streamline overall business processes. “The new solution has quite simply transformed our warehouse applications,” said Steve Wigley. “We now feel fully in control of our product placement, stock control and picking procedures; procedures which we felt we were

Tony Hampson concluded: “We are really excited to have been working with such a wellknown and respected company as Raleigh

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over the past few months. The project is going really well so far, and we are looking forward to extending the project later in the year to further enhance the overall operability and functionality of Raleigh’s warehousing and manufacturing facility.” 

Is there more room for profit in your warehouse or distribution centre? BEC specialises in unlocking hidden cost within warehouses and distribution centres. Our eSmart Data Capture Software offers fit-for-purpose solutions to a variety of data capture challenges. Our customers recognise considerable business advantages with their overall IT infrastructure, whilst achieving a significant return on investment. This helps them to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition. Want to know more? Call us today on +44 (0) 1254 688 088, visit www.becsi.co.uk or email us on info@becsi.co.uk

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SOLUTIONS

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Success story

Futura and Peoplevox support business expansion at This is It Specialised discount retailer This is It, which operates stores in the South West of England and a fast growing online business, is the first to benefit from a new relationship between Futura Retail Systems and the Peoplevox warehouse management solution. ntegration work by Futura using the Peoplevox API (Application Programing Interface) has created a seamless link between its retail management solution and the Peoplevox platform to provide 'This is it' with live stock visibility wherever it resides in the business, together with fast and accurate fulfilment for its expanding ecommerce activities. Integration has improved information and management control, while intelligent multilocation stock management and automated fulfilment has increased speed, accuracy and reliability in the warehouse.

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Marcello Rossi, head of retail at This is It, explained: "As our ecommerce business expands, we needed to up our game in the warehouse, replacing paper based systems for pick and dispatch to drive efficiencies, reliability and accuracy. Peoplevox is an ideal solution and a perfect fit with our embedded Futura

held in multiple locations and new inventory is ready for sale online the second it is scanned in. "This is critical," said Rossi. “In the past it took one to two days to get new stock online;

Scanned returns are immediately available for sale online. Past delays between order confirmation and despatch are reduced and customers now receive accurate, automated communications as their orders progress.

“

Peoplevox is an ideal solution and a perfect fit with our embedded Futura retail systems. Futura has done all the integration providing seamless links with Peoplevox and picking and dispatch are already 99.9 per cent more reliable and faster because of it." – Marcello Rossi, This is It retail systems. Futura has done all the integration providing seamless links with Peoplevox and picking and dispatch are already 99.9 per cent more reliable and faster because of it."

we're really getting best value from Peoplevox. With plans in 2015 to expand our store network with three new branches and to grow online sales by 50 per cent, with similar incremental growth planned for the next five years the combination of Futura and Peoplevox is essential."

Best value With Peoplevox, all warehouse functions are automated using handheld scanners. Product replenishment and goods in are said to be four times faster than traditional warehousing methods and more reliable. Products can be 36

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Integrating Futura with Peoplevox delivers a range of additional benefits. Accurate stock information can be managed in one feed and shared with multiple marketplaces including Channel Advisor and others. Partial deliveries are easier to handle using Futura's task list workflow.

Tina Royall, marketing director at Futura said: "The integration with Peoplevox has gone extremely smoothly and it makes perfect sense to integrate with systems like this to deliver powerful solutions for our customers. The new module will be available to all Futura customers looking for a best of breed web-based warehouse management solution to drive accuracy, speed of fulfilment and customer satisfaction."

Strong partner Jonathan Bellwood, founder and CEO of Peoplevox commented: "We are delighted the way the Futura partnership has developed over the last 12 months with This is It and others. Finding a strong partner serving companies with traditional retail stores and ecommerce has been essential to provide a total solution to retailers." 

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Warehouse Management

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Insight

Six steps to flawless fulfilment By Steve Northcott, senior solutions marketing manager, Zebra Technologies. he warehouse is at the centre of your business. It’s the key hub through which nearly everything in your business must pass – from raw materials and finished goods in a manufacturing plant, to pallets and cases in a distribution centre, to a wealth of products in a retail warehouse. But in today’s highly competitive markets, there’s something even more important that’s dependent on more efficient warehouse operations: customer satisfaction. What is it that your increasingly demanding customers want from your warehouse and logistics operations? The answer is accurate, on-time and flawless fulfilment – every time.

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demand; • Better manage the risks of managing a lean warehouse.

The good news is that, through mobility, realtime warehouse data can be leveraged to enable a new level of visibility throughout the supply chain and, most importantly, help meet your customers’ demands. More specifically, mobility in the warehouse enables you to:

So, what can be done to ensure customer satisfaction rates are maximised, the warehouse operations become more integrated and less fragmented, and speed and accuracy levels can be substantially improved in order to both increase profitability while also ensuring you differentiate your business in the market and secure return orders from satisfied customers for years to

• Automate and streamline processes; • Enhance flexibility to respond to customer

Processes across the warehouse are streamlined, reducing cycle times. Worker productivity is increased, reducing the cost of labour across the warehouse operation. Orders are fulfilled more accurately, improving customer service and enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. The cost of sales attributed to movement through the warehouse is reduced. The right set of data is available in the right place at the right time to enable the most efficient next action, and the most effective business decisions.

come? Zebra has put together a white paper, 6 Steps To Flawless Fulfilment, comprising six key steps to what we believe can lead to flawless fulfilment in the warehouse. The following article looks at some the key points outlined in the document:

Step 1: Deploy industrial wireless solutions Warehouse and distribution centres are classic examples of dynamic industrial environments that present communications and technology challenges much more stringent than those of the carpeted space. Today’s warehouses are bigger, taller and more densely packed than ever. There are more SKUs, shorter cycles, and a premium on fast, accurate fulfilment. So, from a technology standpoint, the first step to flawless fulfilment in the warehouse is to deploy an efficient, reliable and flexible wireless LAN solution. In the past warehouses professionals had to rely on paper pick and replenishment lists and batch updates for MC3100 rugged handheld computer.

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stock and asset management. However, today, in order to have accurate visibility over your stock warehouse operations really need to be undertaken in real-time. In today’s warehouse operations asset visibility at any given time is critical, and so the process of scanning-in items, putting them away and picking for despatch needs to be optimised. The first step in order to facilitate this process is to install a reliable wireless LAN solution. In the industrial environment this can be a challenge because of the design and size of certain warehouses and the fact that there will be an abundance of materials such as metals that could compromise the effectiveness of a wireless network. Therefore, it is important to source your wireless LAN system from a reputable provider that has the right capacity and the right coverage given the specifications and requirements of your particular warehouse environment. It is also important to deploy a wireless solution that has the built-in flexibility to be upgraded as and when necessary and can cope with peaks in demand, fior example to meet increased Christmas demand.

Step 2: Improve staff communications and management Flawless fulfilment doesn’t happen without everyone in the warehouse working together productively. This demands fast and efficient task management enabled by real-time voice and data communications between supervisors and employees everywhere in the facility. Managers can proactively direct work orders and assign tasks that are not currently driven by the WMS, as well as monitor the efficiency and progress of work as it is being performed. The latest version of the Zebra Technologies TC70 is an example of an ideal mobile touch computer for this purpose. It utilises the latest Android operating system, has a large touch screen and is highly ruggedised while also having an attractive, user-friendly form factor. The TC70 offers a high level of data entry flexibility with a convenient dual mode touch panel. In terms of data capture, the device offers Zebra’s proprietary PRZM Intelligent Imaging technology, a megapixel sensor and advanced optics that work together to deliver optimum data capture performance. Workers can capture 1D and 2D bar codes in virtually 38

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any condition at very fast speed. The 8 MP camera enables the easy capture of high-resolution photos, signatures, videos and more, allowing you to capture more types of business intelligence to streamline more business processes. Another advantage is that the TC70 offers up to four times the loudness of many currently popular smartphones. And with state-of-the-art noise cancelling technology, the TC70 provides crystal clear audio on both ends of every call. Support for Workforce Connect Push-to Talk Express allows you to easily give your workers walkie-talkie style voice communications right out of the box, creating a highly collaborative workforce that can respond instantly to customer needs.

Step 3: Streamline order picking processes Warehouses are becoming larger with an increase in the number of items carried, both of which impact the achievement of flawless fulfilment. In Zebra Technologies’ recent warehouse survey, ‘From Cost centre to Growth Centre, Warehousing 2018’, more than half of respondents reported plans to increase the number of SKUs (54.2 per cent), the volume of items carried (54.2 per cent) and their annual inventory turnover (50.6 per cent). In the next five years, almost 70 per cent of respondents indicated plans to increase automated processes and 66 per cent plan to equip staff with more technology. These initiatives are especially valuable for pick and fill functions where costs are high and errors can easily snowball into less accurate, less timely shipping and greater numbers of dissatisfied customers. Key solutions to enhance productivity and reduce errors include the WT41N0 wearable terminal. The TW41N0 arms workers with advanced, real-time, hands-free mobile computing. This rugged device can allow you to achieve maximum error-proof productivity, operational efficiency and accuracy through voice compatibility for streamlined warehouse and package handling functions. And the fact that it’s worn

TC70 touch computer. conveniently on the forearm means the comfort factor is substantially increased during long shifts; reducing the risk of repetitive strain injury. We have also seen a lot of interest in the Zebra Technology TekSpeech Pro, our endto-end voice-enabled solution that can boost the effectiveness of voice directed and multi-modal picking, put-away, replenishment and other warehouse applications. When TekSpeech Pro is combined with an effective mobile Voicedirected picking and replenishment solution such as the WT41N0 users can benefit from having both Voice and also a traditional screen-based solution. I think that this offers the best of both worlds; you can reduce errors through receiving picking or

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Warehouse Management

replenishment instructions from both visual and audio point of view. Also, as you’re picking one item you can glance at the screen to see where you’re going next. This means you can anticipate what needs to be picked during the next stage, which again can save more valuable time between and during each pick.

Step 4: Advanced inventory and storage capabilities Key to achieving flawless fulfilment is realtime inventory visibility and control. To meet operational and financial requirements, companies must regularly conduct comprehensive inventory counts. When cycle counts are conducted manually, or with older or fragmented technology solutions, they can be extremely time consuming and often fraught with errors. That’s beginning to change. In the Zebra Technologies ‘Warehousing 2018’ survey, respondents noted a dramatic drop in use of manual processes, with pen and paper usage going from 41 per cent today to a predicted 12 per cent in five years. Tellingly, cycle count motivation is evolving from concern about compliance to WMS optimisation. In the survey, respondents reported that the top two cycle-count motivating factors are reduction of out of stock conditions and ensuring WMS accuracy. In order to meet increasing customer expectations in terms of faster and more accurate delivery, warehouse professionals need to have real-time and accurate visibility of current stock levels at any particular time. And if you have to shut your warehouse for a few days in order to do cycle counts, this is going to have a major impact on the extent to which you can deliver things to the customer on time. This is why it is so important to utilise the benefits of modern data capture and mobile computer technology and be able to link this to the WMS in order to have that allimportant real-time visibility and capability. The good news is Zebra’s report clearly shows that warehouse professionals recognise the importance of this type of technology and methodology in order to ensure the best possible customer service while also optimising efficiency, speed and accuracy of the processes within the warehouse environment.

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Step 5: Upgrade inbound handling operations Receiving and sortation are critical steps in assuring flawless fulfilment. They are critical because issues in receiving all too often morph into other issues throughout the warehouse management process. To streamline inbound operations, today’s warehouses must be prepared to take advantage of increases in the number of incoming items that have barcodes. At the receiving dock, mobile processes empower workers to be more accurate and more productive. A simple scan of a barcode, RFID tag or RMA label enables incoming shipments to be identified and verified in realtime. It also allows returns to be quickly validated and updated, with automatic issue of any customer credit due. Orders are delivered right to the worker, enabling accurate staging of shipments for put-away or cross-docking, and streamlining the handling of any errors in the shipment. At the same time, velocity and productivity in the receiving and sortation functions increase because the same workforce can process more shipments, reducing dock-tostock cycle times. This increased inventory visibility allows you to intelligently direct putaway or conveyance for items that are low in stock first, reducing costly OOS impact on the order fulfilment process. Returned items are automatically noted in the inventory systems and instantly available for fulfilment of new orders. Real-time visibility into the order system also enables more efficient crossdocking, reducing handling time and costs for incoming shipments. If an item is received with a damaged barcode or without a barcode then a fixed or mobile printer can be used to print the required label and ensure onwards visibility through the supply chain. When it comes to issues such as efficient and legally compliance track and trace of goods, this is where Zebra’s printing & labelling solutions portfolio, together with the highly complementary benefits of Zebra Technology’s wide enterprise solutions range, can prove invaluable. For example, if you receive materials, parts or components from another distribution centre for the factory, the package may have a damaged barcode. However, by sourcing the right specification of Zebra printer for the task, you can easily print out a fresh barcode to ensure you retain visibility of supply. Also, by deploying RFID technology to track the goods as they come in to the warehouse and during the put-away process – and even during cross

MC3200 rugged handheld computer. docking – you can rest assured that seamless visibility is at hand.

Step 6: Turnaround outbound handling performance Packing, loading, staging and shipping are the equivalent of the ‘last mile’ in flawless fulfilment. In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, these functionalities are key to turning around warehouse and distribution centres to streamline delivery, enhance competitive advantage and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Whether you’re shipping to a manufacturer that needs raw materials for just-in-time production or a retail customer waiting for delivery of her holiday gifts, the importance of timely, accurate deliveries cannot be overstated. Yard Management Systems can be deployed to optimise yard operations, especially for yards that require fast throughput. This is accomplished through faster gate transactions, efficient parking assignments, fewer yard moves and greater door turns. A scheduling system is used for planning expected arrivals and departures whilst an execution system responds to unplanned events based on business rules that are configured for your particular operations. The combination of effective planning and exception handling allows the Yard Management System to direct the right trailer to the right door at the right time.

Summary Leveraging mobility in the warehouse and beyond can yield highly beneficial results, including reduced costs, improved quality, better customer service, higher margins and greater profitability – delivering real business advantage and differentiating your business in the marketplace in terms of efficiency, reliability and reputation. 

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Printing & Labelling

Opinion

Towards a universal future: meeting the labelling needs of today’s manufacturing and logistics industries By Richard Scott, European Product Manager, SATO. Ease of installation and maintenance

Durability

For businesses which are often running 24/7, reducing downtime is key to responding to customer queries effectively while improving operational efficiencies. Plug-and-play printers that are easy to set up, without needing specialists to install, and that can print immediately are favoured. Richard Scott: “Printers need to connect easily to the network across Cloud systems and the Internet, but with a high level of security.”

E

-commerce has been growing steadily over the last decade. In the EU, the percentage of ebuyers has more than doubled between 2004 and 2013, jumping from 20 per cent to 47 per cent of the population1, and a current EU Policy has set a target of 50 per cent of the EU population buying online and 33 per cent of SMEs conducting online purchases/sales by the end of 20152. As the number of online buyers rises and more enterprises move into e-commerce, the manufacturing and logistics market is becoming faster and competition is growing. That is why fast processes such as crossdocking – whereby material is unloaded from an incoming truck and loaded directly into outbound trucks with little or no storage in between – are becoming the norm when it comes to fulfilling orders. To ensure that labelling processes run efficiently and consistently in such a fastpaced working environment, logistics businesses are first of all demanding barcode label printing solutions that are fast, quick and easy to install and operate. But what are the key considerations to take when specifying printers? 40

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Furthermore, the latest printers, such as SATO’s NX Series, are designed to allow for fast parts replacements. ‘Wear parts’ such as print head and platen roller are quick to replace with no tools needed, while help videos are also available in the front display, to aid with maintenance.

Ease of use In the EU workforce turnover rates are becoming higher3, and businesses are looking for label printers that can be used by anyone with little or no training. With freedom of movement within Europe and 24 languages spoken, printers are being designed that offer multiple user-selectable languages. For example, the SATO NX display reads in 31 languages. For further ease of use, some of the latest label printers are designed to handle a wide range of media including different sized labels and feature label design software and wide head openings for easy media installation, with no ribbon core needed. In addition, some of the latest printers feature large 3.5 inch full colour screens which include icons for intuitive operations and trouble-shooting videos, which provide a simple step-by-step guide for users.

To ensure reliability in demanding manufacturing and logistics environments, printers need to sturdy. Essential parts of modern label printers including frame, base plate and print head should be manufactured using highly strong materials such as die cast aluminium. This design offers enhanced durability while minimising the risk of ribbon wrinkling to achieve consistent high quality printing.

Connectivity Often there is a need to generate label design in one location, and print remotely from another. Printers need to connect easily to the network across Cloud systems and the Internet, but with a high level of security.

Print quality, processing and throughput speed Industrial-use printers are required to quickly print large volumes of labels and throughput speeds of up to 10” per second are often needed. To deliver this, the latest generation of printers include twin processors. Printers such as SATO’s NX family is equipped with 100MB user accessible memory allowing formats, large graphics and custom fonts while delivering best-in-class speed processing and fast throughput. Printers also include several components to control ink ribbon and the position of labels to ensure quality of print in a long print run and high accuracy of the position of the print on a label.

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Opinion

Future proofing With more companies now moving towards RFID labelling, demand for scalable solutions that can be upgraded and expanded at a later stage is growing. Some of the latest models of label printers are also designed to allow for integration and expansion via remote access and configuration with high level security, ensuring multi connectivity through specific programmes and common IT platforms.

Space-saving Some of the latest printers also feature space-saving designs. For example, SATO’s CL4NX offers 53 per cent width saving and 27 per cent height reduction compared with previous models. As a result, it occupies very little space and is a perfect ‘fit and forget’

solution for printing barcodes and supporting stock and order management systems.

Printing & Labelling printers are now offering enhanced memory capacity to be able to effectively handle large volumes of data, often in different languages.

Data storage Manufacturing and logistics businesses are also demanding solutions that enable them to store more data within barcode labels and there has been a growth in the use of quick response (QR), Datamatrix and two other dimensional codes. One reason for this is that, with new labelling regulations coming into force in recent years, companies are now requested to provide more detailed information about their products. For example, food businesses now have to comply with European Directive 1169/2011 on food labelling, which stipulates that labels must provide customers with vital information such as the origin of fresh meat, fruits and vegetables as well as the presence of allergens and glutens. With this in mind,

A move towards truly universal printers There is also a tendency towards using family products as printers within the same family share key features and parts. Depending on the application, businesses need to print different label sizes (generally four or six inches in width) and product families enable them to do so using the exact same printer but in a different size. One clear advantage is that no further staff training is needed whenever a new product is introduced and the need to store new spare parts is minimised. This could be particularly beneficial to resellers, who can save on warehousing costs while spending less time on training technicians. 

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Printing & Labelling

Product news

Datamax-O’Neil presents printing solutions at Retail Business Technology Expo 2015

D

atamax-O'Neil, the manufacturer of stationary, vehicle mount, portable label and receipt printers, presented new solutions for retail at Retail Business Technology Expo 2015 (10 – 11 March, Olympia, London) including Managed Print Services (MPS) that enable users to achieve high efficiency and productivity gains.

Performance series can be handled the same way as laser printers and provide maximum efficiency. According to DatamaxO'Neil, the industrial quality of the Performance Series makes it ideally positioned for high capacity printing on a range of material including textile wash care tags.

With the E-Class Mark III, Datamax-O'Neil showcased another space-saving solution for higher volume in-store mark down pricing or shelf edge labelling.

Desktop printing solutions At booth 372 of its partner ScanSource, Datamax-O'Neil showcased the new range of PCL enabled Workstation & Performance Series printers, that are claimed to deliver true innovation to users of label and tag printers. The printers support Managed Print Services enabling retail companies to actively manage and optimise document use and output as well as all printer activities within one network. Through PCL standard printer language compatibility, the

For retailers who require small footprint solutions, Datamax-O'Neil presented its Workstation Series that stands for the most ergonomic and compact label printers supporting PCL. The printers are claimed to be ideal for instore applications to ensure compliance with the new food directive, such as labelling fresh produce or produce labels in-store. With the E-Class Mark III, Datamax-O'Neil showcased another spacesaving solution for higher volume in-store

mark down pricing or shelf edge labelling. The desktop printer can function as a standalone solution with keyboard or scan input. The battery pack MPU4000 allows the printer to be used in mobile applications, for instance on a trolley right at the place of action.

Mobile and portable solutions At Retail Business Technology Expo 2015, Datamax-O'Neil also exhibited its mobile and portable printer solutions, including the MP Compact4 Mark II Mobile. The printer is a popular choice in the retail supply chain for labelling on a forklift or trolley in the warehouse. Due to its all-metal design and shock absorption system as well as its integrated DC power supply, it is built to last in tough environments. From its ultra-rugged and lightweight portable printer portfolio, Datamax-O'Neil showed its 3- and 4-inch RL3 and RL4 portable printers that offer rugged mobility for warehouse to retail floor applications. With a 2-year warranty, drop test certification and cold storage capability, the RL series protects retailer's investments. The portable receipt printers of the Apex series in 2-, 3- and 4-inch width offer user Android and iOS support, comfort, reliability and long lasting battery power. The printers can be deployed for Qbusting, promotion printing, mobile POS applications and field sales. 

At the show, Datamax-O'Neil exhibited its mobile and portable printer solutions, including the MP Compact4 Mark II Mobile.

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Product news

Printing & Labelling

Canon imagePRESS C600i brings production technology and premium quality output to offices and SMEs

I

maging solutions provider, Canon, has added to its imagePRESS portfolio with the launch of the imagePRESS C600i. Incorporating best-in-class technologies, the imagePRESS C600i delivers professional quality printing to address the growing needs of internal corporate print departments, creatives and small agile print shops for more frequent, shorter runs of premium output on a wider range of media. It is also the first Canon production print engine to integrate seamlessly and securely into existing office systems.

Management tools Central to the appeal of the imagePRESS C600i for corporate environments and SMEs is its host of management tools designed to maximise production efficiencies and reduce costs. These include print fleet and asset optimisation, output management and control solutions, as well as optimal document workflows to deliver fully integrated managed print services. Operating at speeds of up to 60 pages per minute, the imagePRESS C600i handles an extensive range of substrates, including stocks up to 300gsm auto duplex with media sizes up to SRA3, opening up new business opportunities by enabling users to increase their in-house production of quality printed communications, such as high-end presentations, brochures, pitch collateral and internal communications.

benefits from embedded MEAP and MEAP web platforms, enabling the introduction of data capture and document output management solutions such as uniFLOW, eCopy and iWDesktop. Operator experience is simplified by a series of device management and eMaintenance tools to maximise efficiencies and minimise downtime.

and powerful solution that delivers best-inclass professional quality output with seamless integration into existing office systems. Its ability to tackle even heavy and structured media makes this an exciting allin-one proposition for internal print environments and small agile copy shops looking to expand their service offering.”

With the introduction of the new imagePRESS C600i, we now

have a unique and powerful solution that delivers best-in-class professional quality output with seamless integration into existing office systems. Its ability to tackle even heavy and structured media makes this an exciting all-in-one proposition for internal print environments and small agile copy shops looking to expand their service offering.” – Mark Lawn, Canon Europe.

Embedded MEAP and MEAP web platforms In addition, the new print engine is fully compatible with industry standards, such as PCL and PostScript, as well as ERP systems from vendors such as SAP and supports printing from Linux/Unix systems. It also

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Commenting on the launch of Canon's latest addition to its imagePRESS series, Mark Lawn, European and UK marketing director, Professional Print Solutions, Canon Europe said: “With the introduction of the new imagePRESS C600i, we now have a unique

Drawing on the advanced technologies of the imagePRESS platform, the C600i delivers the highest levels of colour consistency, vibrant image quality, enhanced colour calibration and accurate registration. 

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AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE

Company news

Red Hat

outlines vision to help enterprise IT take ‘mobile first’ from hype to reality

ed Hat, Inc., provider of open

R

source solutions, has announced its vision to help organisations succeed in the ‘mobile-first’ economy. Customers can take

advantage of Red Hat’s experience in enterprise IT, and its portfolio of enterprise-grade open source technologies – including mobile capabilities from the recent acquisition of FeedHenry – to overcome their mobility challenges. Red Hat reports that mobility is increasingly becoming a top priority for business as a means to drive innovation and streamline operational efficiency; however, it is also creating demand for faster and continuous development cycles that

Adopting a two-track IT approach, using

the FeedHenry platform and roll out new

challenge traditional IT infrastructure and

mobile as the catalyst for building a ‘fast IT’

integrations with the existing Red Hat

development methodologies. To become mobile-

organisation, helps balance agility with stability

middleware product portfolio, giving enterprises

centric, enterprises must evolve in a way that

and fosters greater collaboration and

greater freedom of choice by extending its

supports both the agility of new mobile initiatives

cooperation between the two tracks.

capabilities across hybrid environments.

and stability of core IT. Since accelerating into the enterprise mobile

Craig Muzilla, senior vice president, Application

In response, Red Hat is focusing its enterprise

market with the October 2014 acquisition of

Platforms Business, Red Hat, commented: “The

mobility vision on four areas: platform

FeedHenry, the mobile enterprise application

mobile phenomenon has had a profound impact

architecture, developer experience, technology

platform provider, Red Hat has achieved several

on the way we think and act and consume

integration, and collaboration in two-track IT

notable milestones in its mobile journey,

information in our daily lives. That impact is now

environments.

including:

rippling throughout enterprise IT as organisations

• Platform architecture: The public Cloud or

• Release of platform enhancements for mobile

business in a new ‘mobile first’ world, where

private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)-based

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and

speed and agility must be prioritized without

architecture of the Red Hat mobile platform

collaboration.

forsaking the stability of core IT. Our vision is to

come face-to-face with the reality of doing

facilitates agile development and DevOps

• Integration of the platform into Red Hat’s

help enterprises evolve in a digital world and

processes, leverages RESTful APIs and

integrated development environment (IDE),

provide them with an open and flexible

microservices, and accelerates time-to-

JBoss Developer Studio.

architecture and the technologies that accelerate

deployment to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).

• Deployment of FeedHenry technology as a

this transition.”

mobile service in OpenShift as part of Red

• Developer experience: A developer-centric approach that embraces modern toolchains, collaboration, and continuous development

Hat’s xPaaS strategy for Cloud-based

Chris Marsh, principal analyst, Enterprise Mobile

application development.

App Strategies, 451 Research, commented: “51

• Customers in industries ranging from

per cent of organisations recently surveyed are

and integration allows organisations to use

manufacturing and transportation to workforce

further increasing their mobile budgets this year.

existing IT skillsets for new mobile initiatives.

management are using Red Hat mobile

The enabling technologies are falling into place

technologies to reduce costs, increase

for companies to break out of the way they think

of the platform with other enterprise

efficiency, and extend critical enterprise

about mobile from the silos in which it has

middleware components, based upon a

systems to mobile devices.

traditionally resided, but the process needs to

• Technology integration: Simplified integration

common REST API architecture, captures and

• Recognition of the FeedHenry platform as the

evolve to support this. Over the past year, it has

stores new data generated by connected

top Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) in

become clearer that traditional waterfall

devices to help unlock the value in existing

a sector analysis by GigaOM Research.

development across the software lifecycle is ill-

systems of record. • Collaboration in two-track IT environments:

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suited to mobile, and that agile methods are Red Hat plans to expand deployment options for

more applicable." 

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Insight

AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE

Tablet adoption

in commercial segment to drive growth in Western Europe, says IDC ccording to figures published

A

by International Data Corporation (IDC), the commercial tablet market will reach more than 11 million units

by 2019 in Western Europe, achieving more than 130 per cent growth (CAGR 2014–2019) (IDC EMEA Tablet Tracker Forecast, 4Q14, February 2015). Tablets continue to represent a significant opportunity for device makers in the coming years.

Increasingly differentiated Since their launch in 2010, tablets have been strong in the consumer segment and have benefited from early adopters in enterprises. The introduction of tablets contributed to an ever-growing number of computing devices

period. "Tablets are used in companies of all

1s meeting productivity needs similar to

increasingly differentiated in terms of screen

sizes," said Chrystelle Labesque, research

notebook and providing longer battery life,

size and product features as demand is

manager, IDC EMEA Personal Computing.

their penetration in the corporate and SMB

influenced by end users' differing mobility

"While the first perception might have been

areas is expected to increase. The launch of

needs. Among other things, innovation has

that tablets were entering enterprises mostly

Windows 10 will also facilitate the integration

brought new product designs, with devices

as employees were bringing in their own

of the device as a notebook replacement,

becoming lighter and better connected, and

devices, the reality is that more than two-

additional mobile device, or computing device

with greater input options, including

thirds of the enterprises surveyed in France,

in the new era of digital processing. Interestingly, Apple announced in 2014 a

As more companies embrace digital transformation and their workforce become increasingly mobile, tablets have clearly emerged as a winning form factor to provide computing power for new users and processes in enterprises. The commercial segment is therefore expected to grow significantly in the coming quarters.” – Marta Fiorentini, IDC EMEA Personal Computing.

partnership with IBM to meet demand from the commercial sector, and earlier this year Google introduced Android for Work, which is expected to increase the relevance and integration of Android in the enterprise area. "Increasing employees' productivity is the main driver behind tablet adoption in enterprises," said Marta Fiorentini, senior

keyboards. With traditional PC vendors

Germany, and UK have already deployed

research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal

expanding their offerings to include tablets,

tablets." (For more information, see IDC's

Computing. "As more companies embrace

devices are increasingly coming with the

Western European multi-client study Tablets in

digital transformation and their workforce

features requested by IT departments

Enterprise: The Big Opportunity.)

become increasingly mobile, tablets have clearly emerged as a winning form factor to

(security, for example), while Apple and

Continuous price erosion and innovation

provide computing power for new users and

features for enterprise use. Based on IDC's latest survey of tablets in

While the volume of sales remained limited in

significantly in the coming quarters. This will

enterprises, their adoption rate is expected to

2014, IDC expects the market to thrive in

support overall market stabilisation in 2015

double between 2014 and 2015 and to grow

2015, benefiting from continuous price

and will drive tablet penetration further and

significantly until the end of the forecast

erosion and innovation. In addition, with 2-in-

beyond the forecast period." 

Samsung have been promoting some of their

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processes in enterprises. The commercial segment is therefore expected to grow

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Product news

PHS Teacrate’s barcode scanning system delivers efficient crate control

F

acilities managers and removal companies will no longer struggle with locating crates across multiple locations following the introduction of barcode scanning

technology by crate rental provider, PHS Teacrate. PHS Teacrate, which forms part of the PHS Group, handles around 25 million crates every year in a variety of dimensions. The new technology has been introduced as part of its ongoing plans to improve the information and feedback provided to its clients to allow better crate management. In conjunction with improved reporting and automatic alerts Teacrate is bringing crate rental into the information age. Barcode scanning will enable facilities managers and removal companies to have

This latest development effectively gives the

development of tools to enhance the service

effective tracking and traceability information

crate a unique identity which is scanned to

on site."

at their fingertips on the delivery and

provide important tracking information aimed

collection of crates and which job they were

at reducing stock losses, while highlighting

allocated to. Future development plans

potential bottlenecks. It also helps to

include the ability to extend this traceability

overcome some of the perceived anonymity

into the department they were allocated to.

involving unmarked delivery crates. The

He added: “The combined introduction of

paperless solution provides vital delivery and

PHS Teacrate’s environmentally friendly

collection information which can either be

handheld PDA devices and barcode

Real-time information

automatically emailed directly to the

scanning will reduce the amount of

customer or accessed via Cratelink, PHS

paperwork involved and allow large

This technology is especially useful for

Teacrate's portal login solution.

organisations to handle their own internal

Reduced paperwork

moves by giving facilities managers access

customers who need more than a standard box if dealing with priceless or fragile items

Sales director, Patrick Sheehy, explained:

to optional barcoded delivery crates. In

from organisations such as government,

"Barcode scanning will allow PHS Teacrate to

conjunction with the barcode developments

museums and universities. Barcode

capture where the crate has come from and

we are also introducing various additional

scanning follows the company's introduction

exactly which job it was used for. For

reports including unallocated crates, stock

of handheld personal digital assistants

example when working with a large facilities

flow, daily summary reports and even

(PDAs) in 2014, which provides real-time

management organisation that required

extended rental alerts.”

information for its office removals operation.

different deliveries to various departments, we could potentially highlight which

PHS Teacrate envisages that rental customers

PHS Teacrate is now rolling out barcode

departments they came from when we

will enjoy the most benefits from the new

scanning for its lidded containers LC1, LC2,

collected the crates. This gives an extra

service due to the often high volume of crates

LC3, LC6 and computer crates IT1 and IT2

layer of traceability and as we develop the

involved. PHS Teacrate operates its own fleet

with barcodes soon to be added, as an

system further customers will get more and

of vehicles from eight depots and has a

option, to is roll cages (SC1) in response to

more control. The next phase of our move to

reputation for fast and reliable delivery which

customer demand.

21st Century removal solutions will be the

has put it at the forefront of the industry. 

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Opinion

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Mobile device integration starting to power fleet software sales obile device integration is increasingly powering fleet software sales, according to Chevin Fleet Solutions. The company adds that, more and more, fleets are beginning to realise that utilising the power of smartphones and tablets out in the field – whether company or employee owned – brings a whole range of new possibilities. Chief among these, according to Chevin Fleet Solutions’ sales director David Gladding, are the ability to use devices to help manage compliance, fulfil legislative obligations and to proactively monitor maintenance needs.

M

Automating the process "Especially among commercial vehicles fleets, we are seeing smartphones being used for a range of tasks – for example to enable the carrying out of basic daily maintenance checks that are part of O licence requirements,” said Gladding. “We are working with an 800 vehicle fleet where this fundamental job generated a paper check for each van every day, but a mobile device means that the whole process can become easily automated.”

Gladding continued: "This kind of gain has obvious appeal for fleet operators in terms of much reduced cost, time saved, auditing and general efficiency. As awareness grows in the market, it is increasingly becoming a factor that swings deals in our favour." He added that fleets were also beginning to realise that using mobile devices for proactive maintenance inspections could have a real impact on running costs. "As most fleet operators know, many drivers of company vehicles will continue to use their vehicle with a known problem until it becomes acute and this in itself can prompt further issues. For

example, a gearbox fault that could be easily rectified when it first occurred could eventually lead to outright failure. However, if drivers are required to carry out a formal inspection of their vehicle, almost all of them will report that problem rather than continue using their car or van. Over time, savings will be made for this reason."

Understanding the potential Chevin introduced its own mobile product, FleetWave Mobile early in 2014. Gladding again: "It has taken a little time for the market to fully understand the potential that a product like this offers but we are seeing more and more interest in using it to carry out all kinds of fleet processes – from the vehicle inspections that we describe to areas like delivery verifications, fleet tracking and much more. As a tool, it is exceptionally versatile and, every week, we seem to come across new uses that will deliver real and measurable benefits to fleets." According to Gladding, a key feature of FleetWave Mobile is that it can be used offline and data uploaded when a connection becomes available. "A mobile app that will only work when a mobile signal is available is useless to the vast majority of fleets yet many suffer from this shortcoming,” he said. “You need to have something that will remain useable even if you are regularly in a dead spot." 

FleetWave Mobile can be used offline and data uploaded when a connection becomes available.

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TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Insight

Telematics & liability

– the

laws have changed echnology is rapidly changing the way fleets operate and insure drivers, cargo, and companies. However, utilising telematics for better control over inventory, tracking driver performance, and getting less expensive usage-based insurance for the vehicles can open a Pandora’s Box of sorts for exposure to liability in a dynamic, changing legal landscape.

T

“Let me quote, depending on your preference, Voltaire or Spider-Man: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’,” noted auto technology legal expert Bryant Walker Smith, who half-joked about the power of telematics and greater autonomy in vehicles. “Telematics is increasing power, assertion of control over products that you previously couldn't (control); access to

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systems and users of these systems.” He also told attendees of the TU Automotive Connected Fleet conference: “There are new ways of being negligent, new ways of doing harm. Today if someone is drunk and crashes, you're not liable. But in the future, what if you know a person is speeding or based on their record or metrics from vehicles they are a reckless driver – or they are probably inebriated given the time, circumstances, and behaviour. What if you can shut off the power or change their speed you may have an obligation to act. This could mean significantly expanded obligations for fleet owners.” Smith regularly poses these types of ethical and procedural questions to college students; he taught the first course on the self-driving

car and is currently assistant professor at the School of Law and School of Engineering at the University of South Carolina and a fellow at the Center for Automotive Research Stanford (CARS). Gail Gottehrer is a litigator and partner at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider where she frequently represents insurance companies and handles employee litigation matters and class action trials before juries.

More onus on the fleet owner Gottehrer, who also teaches at Columbia University, agrees that using telematics may put more of the onus on the fleet owner: “If you can monitor someone driving erratically, you suspect they're drunk or too tired to drive, a court may say you reviewed the data and chose to do nothing or you did something

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TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

ineffective. On the flip side, if you have (data) and didn't choose to review it, you have constructive knowledge. The courts are skeptical...you could be found liable – you the company – under those kinds of theories which we're likely to see.”

through and compile the data. She argued that a company tracking vehicles could be compelled to produce data as evidence in cases of drug deal locations or child custody battles to show whether state lines were crossed.

The experts say that in current practice the decisions will vary not only from state to state but also from court to court as judges rule on matters that are not always covered by current legislation. “You can't count on what you're going to get in court,” says Gottehrer, the litigator, adding: “A lot of it comes down to who's your judge.”

On the upside, if you can show a driver is not negligent, it can be used to exculpate you in the best situation"—which would be evidence showing a driver in the fleet has an excellent track record. As for privacy issues when it comes to tracking fleets, the geolocation data can uncover patterns and private matters such as frequent visits to AIDS clinics or a psychiatrist – conditions that might have been reasonably protected under HIPAA security laws but could be revealed by a breach.

One issue still disputed is the burden on companies for discovery—how much data can be required even for firms not actively in a dispute? Gottehrer said judges are not showing a lot of sympathy to arguments that it can be too costly and burdensome for companies to produce data even though it may be sensitive, expensive and time consuming for IT departments to comb

Transparency – the best bet Gottehrer does not see fleets or insurance companies faring well in court when it comes

Product news

to such breaches. “Transparency is the best bet, there's no silver bullet. The courts are reactive, the law cannot possibly keep up with technology so while we’re trying to catch up, using these legal terms that judges are confident with, such as informed consent, is a good strategy to adopt.” Meanwhile, global companies need to consider varying definitions of privacy from region to region and country to country. There's less of an emphasis on personal privacy in the US than in Europe, according to Smith. But harking back to his philosopher/WebCrawler quote, the professor noted with collecting great data there are “increased obligations to monitor and supervise and not act negligently to dangers you could know about or discover. If you're hacked, you could be subject to all kinds of liabilities, legal and non-legal issues. Data is a blessing and from a legal perspective, a bit of a curse”. 

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Transport Exchange Group

makes

things quicker for owner drivers ransport Exchange Group has launched a new online dashboard for owner drivers using its leading freight trading exchanges to provide instant visibility and control over key business features. Available to individual members of Haulage Exchange and Courier Exchange, the dashboard brings together the most important information and functionality in a single view to save time and enhance their user experience.

T

about to go out of date. Lyall Cresswell, managing director of Transport Exchange Group, commented: “We are committed to developing useful features and tools that will make our member's day-to-day operations easier and more rewarding. The owner driver dashboard provides immediate

access to the right information to put them in complete control and ensure we continue to deliver a useful service to our members. We are also planning a company version of the dashboard that will be available later this year, this will contain new features including graphical reports on user activity and rolling gross profit margins.” 

Every aspect of the dashboard has been developed with simplicity and usability in mind, so Transport Exchange Group has created a real-time user interface that helps owner drivers make the most of the Exchange. Not only does it enable them to quickly advertise vehicle availability and empty leg ‘return journeys’, but also provides an overview of their most recent booking activity, latest feedback received and a ‘Who's Nearby?’ map. There is also an overview of the driver's own compliance documents, with an easy-to-use traffic light system providing a visual prompt to show if any documents are

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Manufacturing & Logistics IT - March 2015  

The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Manufacturing & Logistics IT - March 2015  

The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications