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ATS and SAP Help Chocolate Factory Run Better with Mobile Technology

/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/chocolate_202955.jpgImagine being surrounded all day by candy bars and caramel swirls. Working in a chocolate factory might be every child’s dream job, but make no mistake, keeping a sophisticated manufacturing operation running smoothly is serious business.

That’s why many of the world’s most respected manufacturers – including Chicago’s World’s Finest Chocolates – rely on outsourcing partners such as Advanced Technology Services, Inc. (ATS) to make their factories run better and manage work that is essential for running smooth and cost-effective operations.

ATS improves productivity and profitability for customers across many industries through innovative IT solutions and managed services for production equipment maintenance and industrial parts servicing. ATS helps make sure that production machines are up and running, and running well – enabling customers to enhance asset utilization and reduce inventories. ATS’s skilled technicians work onsite at the facilities of the manufacturer, providing customized services as key members of the production teams.

Transforming Technicians into Mobile Workers

The technicians literally work in front of the customer every day as part of their customer’s workforce, so they are anxious to deliver the best performance possible.  But maintenance in a factory that is several hundred thousand square feet large with numerous complex machines and a maze of assembly lines is not an easy feat. Now imagine doing the job guided only by a pile of paperwork. That’s the reality that once faced ATS employees. Onsite technicians received a stack of paper each morning with the day’s work orders. Technicians had to carry the paper around and find the right work order for the right machine. Then everything had to be documented on paper, and ultimately the technician had to walk back to one of the few computers in the factory to enter the data into the system. 

Company leaders realized that this paper-based approach was counterproductive to their goal of providing superior services to every customer. ATS started looking for a partner that could help make life easier for the company’s technicians. Knowing that you can rely on SAP when it comes to making companies run better, ATS decided to transform its technicians into mobile workers with technology from SAP.

ATS has already deployed the SAP Work Manager mobile app for workers at a number of customer sites, including the 30 technicians at the facilities of World´s Finest Chocolate.

Check out their story on the News:

More Flexibility for the Technicians – More Benefits for ATS´ Customers

Technicians equipped with the work manager app running on their iPads now start their day with all the information they need at their fingertips.   Standing in front of a specific machine, the technicians can open up the respective work order along with technical specifications and a history of previous maintenance jobs. And should they identify another problem that needs to be fixed, the onsite technicians can simply use their iPad to create a new work order and order parts directly from ATS.

But that´s not all:  Now, the app records the maintenance information in real time. “Before the mobile app, managers had to wait for the daily work details,” says Monica VanZuiden, Program Manager, ATS. “Technicians had to consolidate their paper work orders and input the results at the end of the shift.”  Productivity has improved as well. ATS schedulers have greater control over the assigned workload and can use the iPad to push additional work orders out to technicians during the day.

“Once you dip your toe in the water with SAP mobile – you are ready to jump off the high dive into the pool. So easy to use, so available”, 

Monica VanZuiden, Program Manager, ATS

With these efficiency gains, ATS expects to realize time savings for its customers too. Conservative estimates indicate up to one hour each day per technician. This means savings, productivity improvements and higher output for ATS’ customers. “The demand from our customers to roll out this mobile app to their ATS technicians is tremendous,” adds Chris LeBeau, Chief Technology Officer of  ATS. “The SAP Mobile Platform will become the central technology to mobilize our field workers.”

Managing and Securing Mobile Devices for Employees and Customers with SAP Afaria

ATS is also using SAP Afaria to secure and manage the employee iPads. Now if a technician in one country identifies a particularly useful productivity app on the App Store, ATS can provision it centrally to all technicians across the world.  In fact, ATS has become a managed mobility provider for SAP Afaria – providing mobile device management services to several of its customers. Today, the company is managing approximately 1,600 devices for various customers, helping them secure corporate devices and centrally provision their own apps.

Turning to mobile technology makes life easier for 2,000 technicians working at manufacturing facilities across the globe. Most importantly, it enables them to provide better and faster service, and helps ensure that ATS customers can continue to focus on what makes their brands unique. And that´s a pretty sweet deal for everyone.

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