Case Studies

Candy Manufacturer Automates Data Collection for Real Time Visibility and Product Tracking

BACKGROUND

A large U.S. based candy manufacturer decided to upgrade their ERP system to SAP. Over the years, the company developed and integrated a variety of custom shop-floor, inventory management, and warehouse data-collection solutions into their legacy ERP system, and it appeared that these would all need to be rewritten to work within SAP guidelines. At the same time, the company was concerned about maintaining around-the-clock production and data collection if SAP was not available, even temporarily for routine maintenance. It viewed the transition to SAP as both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge was to effectively transition long-time processes and transactions to the SAP platform. The opportunity was a chance to revisit and possibly revise selected business processes to improve efficiency, accuracy and productivity, while moving to a more standardized platform that could be easily scaled across their global operations.

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

The company needed to find a solution to replace the existing applications and interface directly with SAP. The solution needed to accurately track product from raw materials to finished goods through the manufacturing and shipping process, and integrate information directly into SAP. Production lines operated around the clock, and the data needed to be collected and distributed without interruption. Because of this mission critical requirement, the company needed a solution that allowed them to continue the data collection and distribution processes even if SAP was unavailable.

WHY ACSIS …

Through successful implementations at multiple Fortune 100 companies, Acsis already had a proven track record of crafting highly-efficient, automated data collection solutions that could be fully integrated with SAP and other ERP platforms.

Acsis was selected because the end-to-end solution they proposed offered a more efficient and more reliable data collection platform that:

  • Assured seamless integration with the new SAP platform
  • Allowed continued operations when SAP or the wide area network was unavailable
  • Could be leveraged easily and cost-effectively at each of the division’s other plants
  • Included a large library of existing, predefined best practice transactions

In addition, by using the large library of proven transaction sets that Acsis had already developed, the solution could be deployed quickly and could be used to easily migrate existing processes into their new SAP system.

THE SOLUTION

Acsis implemented Warehouse Enhance, an ERP add-on solution that adds key functionality to ERP systems for automated data collection. The customer installed the automated data collection solution to track the movement of raw materials from receiving though every stage of production, to finished goods, and on to shipping. The system reports real-time data from shop-floor devices into the customer’s SAP system. Warehouse Enhance runs on the Acsis VisiTrak® platform, an independent full-time server that can be configured to post transactions to an ERP system either in real-time or upon task completion, or to store data locally if the ERP system or the network is unavailable.

Acsis tapped into its library of proven transaction sets built over the years to deliver 50 transactions tailored to the customer’s processes that could be readily integrated into their SAP system. The Acsis solution automated data collected from a series of integrated shop floor devices, including production equipment, handheld and forklift-mounted scanners, palletizers, and other automated material handling systems. Once this data was captured it was integrated into SAP in real-time. The Acsis solution provided for mission critical data collection and reporting, and generated production documents as needed.

BENEFITS

By drawing on its extensive library of transaction sets, and its proven VisiTrak® technology, Acsis was able to complete the project in a shorter time and deliver significant process enhancements, making the transition from their legacy system to SAP smooth and efficient.

The customer received a fully automated data collection solution that provided real-time visibility to track product from manufacturing through the warehouse to the shipping dock. The same solution also provided the customer with virtually uninterruptable data collection and reporting, allowing the manufacturing and distribution processes to continue in the event that the wide area network or their SAP system were unavailable. The customer is now expanding the use of the Acsis solution set to provide very granular transactional data to allow for compliance with the new Food Safety and Moderation Act. This enhancement to the system will enable the customer to have the necessary data and reports available to react quickly in the event of a recall or other adverse supply chain event.

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