The UK division of document systems company Konica Minolta has abandoned using the off-the-shelf packageSAP Netweaver Mobile to communicate with its field engineers following a sharp drop in productivity.
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Konica Minolta UK introduced SAP Netweaver Mobile in 2004 whenthe UK division replaced its Oracle ERP system with SAP R3, following a decision to standardise on SAP across the globe..
But productivity and customer satisfaction levels began to fall owing to the system's inability to push updates to field engineers, according to Konica Minolta UK. It relied on them synchronising their mobile devices, said Peter Margrave, service director at Konica Minolta UK.
"Efficiency was also negatively affected by the SAP system's slow and inconsistent synchronisation process," he said.
The company returned to the Cognito software in October last year, which the firm used to run on its Oracle ERP system. It approached the supplier to create a bespoke version to work with its SAP ERP after consulting field engineers about their needs.
"As well as giving field engineers access to the ERP system, Cognito provided Click scheduling software so we can deploy engineers according to knowledge, availability and proximity to customers," Margave said.
Despite the additional integration costs, Margave said that the bespoke system had enabled each field engineer to schedule an extra customer visit a day, achieving a return on investment within a few months of deployment. This has allowed the firm to boost productivity by 15% - back to original levels.
Other business benefits included improved customer satisfaction and more accurate service figures for sales teams to quote when pursuing new business.
Margave said having a system that meets business needs outweighed the lower cost and faster deployment of off-the-shelf systems.
Cognito's development team has also taken SAP's development plans into account to ensure that only minor changes will be needed to enable the system to continue working with future versions of SAP ERP software.
"We have full knowledge of the interfaces [between Cognito and SAP ERP] in use and these were created with the assistance of our in-house SAP team, so this process could be done in house in future if required," Margave said.
SAP said that customer satisfaction was its key priority and that the company was continually developing the Netweaver Platform, which had been implemented successfully by more than 14,000 customers.
"We are currently investigating this specific customer situation to understand more. Therefore, we cannot answer further questions about this customer until we have more information," SAP said in a statement.