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5 Use Cases to Boost Productivity and Improve Business Processes with Better Usability

by DeeDee Kato | SAPinsider, Volume 16, Issue 2

April 1, 2015

Better and simpler usability is key in today’s user-centric environment. Employees want and expect the same user experience that exists in their personal applications and devices to be prevalent in the workplace. Step through 5 use cases showing the value of a simple, mobile, cloud-based user experience, providing optimized reporting, increased productivity, and reduced errors.

 

The consumerization of IT is reaching the enterprise, and organizations must adapt. Employees in all departments will no longer tolerate applications with poor usability — limited functionality, confusing screens, or poor access to data — and companies must take steps to ensure that employees have a good experience with their enterprise solutions.

It’s not just about keeping employees happy, however. Better usability also means more productivity, optimized reporting, and ultimately improved decision making. This is especially true when it comes to mission-critical enterprise systems like SAP ERP. Synactive’s Liquid UI can help organizations get the most out of their daily processes through an interface that’s intuitive and endlessly customizable for specific job roles. Compatible with SAP ERP 4.6C and later, it allows companies of all types to improve their system usability. Here are five key use cases showing companies doing just that.

Use Case #1: Mobilization for Medical Suppliers

Welch Allyn, a century-old medical equipment supplier specializing in diagnostic and monitoring equipment, was running SAP systems in its warehouses to track inventory, process materials received and shipped, and provide reporting to senior management. The challenge was that at the warehouse level workers were using screens with too many unnecessary fields, and had to keep returning to their desks to enter information.

With Liquid UI, Welch Allyn brought transactions to the mobile device, allowing personnel to scan materials using iPhones, barcode scanners, or web browsers while on the go (see Figure 1). In addition, all screens were optimized so that transactions could take place on a single screen — eliminating the need to hunt for the right fields or information. Reports were generated automatically during times of low network stress (very early in the morning) and emailed to the relevant people. Welch Allyn saw its transaction time cut in half, freeing up staff to focus more efficiently on other areas.

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Figure 1 — Sample goods receipt process

Use Case #2: Tracking Goods Movements for a Sugar Producer

A leading North American sugar producer, which farms more than 185,000 acres of land, was dealing with complex screens for inbound production and receiving, and for outbound deliveries. Workers were manually entering material counts. What’s more, there was no access to process screens while in plants and storage locations. Some plants had no network connectivity for security reasons so work efforts were often duplicated as there was no tool recording inventory and material counts.

With Liquid UI, the sugar producer developed single screens for inbound, outbound, and internal movements of materials. When materials came into the plant, they were scanned with a handheld barcode scanner, which recorded their destination. Each movement was processed as an internal movement. Finally, when materials went outbound, they were assigned a warehouse door for shipping. This dramatically cut processing time as the company no longer had to manually enter data, avoiding duplicated work efforts.

Use Case #3: Managing Physical Inventory in the Textile Industry

One of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers of polymers and fibers was having problems with inventory miscalculation, which often resulted in too many or too few goods in the warehouse. Products with shorter shelf lives would often be wasted if they remained on the shelf for too long, and the movement of hazardous materials to the wrong location resulted in compliance penalties. Productivity was also suffering due to the practice of users writing down goods information on paper and then re-entering it into the company’s SAP systems.

With the introduction of Liquid UI, the textile producer delivered transactions to barcode scanners for fast scanning. All users now had to do was enter the quantities of goods and then scan the items. Offline scanners could also upload and download information once they reached connectivity. Ultimately, the time spent counting physical inventory was reduced by 50%, errors were reduced by 75%, and productivity increased by 40%.

With Liquid UI front-end scripting, new screens can also be created. Figure 2 shows historical sales data based on a material, broken down by distribution channel, sales organization, month, or simply the material.

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Figure 2 — Material analysis app

Use Case #4: Simplified Screens for an Offshore Driller

A global deepwater driller with seven ships and 1,600 employees and contractors needed to provide its plant maintenance personnel with simpler screens. Slow satellite connections in the middle of the ocean made the company’s SAP applications operate more slowly than usual — it could take 10 seconds for a screen to pop up in the plant maintenance component in SAP ERP and several minutes to complete a simple process.

The driller wanted to use its existing architecture, but with streamlined processes. With Liquid UI, it consolidated screens and tabs and removed unused components. Users were able to move dialogue within the data center, removing unnecessary data trips between the drill location and other locations, such as onshore offices. It was also able to easily create, edit, and print work orders.

Use Case #5: Simplifying Work Orders in the Oil Industry

An oil company was struggling to view all of its work orders, each with different priorities and at different stages. With about 8,000 work orders, it took supervisors an average of five minutes to click into a work order to check information or make changes. The process had become too cumbersome.

When the company started using Liquid UI, supervisors were able to view all work orders based on priority level, stage of work, and other criteria (see Figure 3). It was able to easily complete transactions such as clicking into one or more work orders, checking work permits, printing, or changing work stages and priorities. And it could do all of this in 30 seconds instead of five minutes, increasing productivity by 90%.

Cloud Special Report - Synactive

Figure 3 — Sample plant maintenance console for planners, schedulers, and supervisors

Learn More

Synactive has more than 16 years of experience in successfully enhancing the simplicity, ease of use, and mobility of SAP systems. This is enabled by our large library of scripts and our domain knowledge of solutions that impact customers’ bottom lines, all with no additional layers of infrastructure software to slow down usage. Liquid UI provides a multi-touchpoint framework and development environment that enables a single version of an SAP ERP application to be customized for different needs. Building on the solid foundation of SAP ERP, Liquid UI offers a sleek user interface that presents only the most relevant information to each user. For more information about Liquid UI, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTuWfiTT_c.

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DeeDee Kato
DeeDee Kato

Senior Director of Marketing
Synactive Inc.



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