How Innovapptive Brings Frontline Workers into the Intelligent Enterprise
Meet the Authors
⇨ Organisations often struggle with teams and processes being siloed away from each other, slowing down essential functions.
⇨ Innovapptive provides solutions that bring all workers together onto a single connected platform.
⇨ Innovapptive plans to grow with SAP, ensuring that all solution roadmaps that it lays out for clients are fully compatible with SAP’s vision for the future,
SAP organisations in asset-intensive industries have to overcome obstacles related to personnel, business processes, data management, and technology solutions on their way to maximizing efficiency, productivity, and profitability. One of the most commonly-cited issues is information silos. In the SAPinsider research report, Elevating Enterprise Asset Management in the Digital Age, 38% of respondents said that their organisation acting in silos made it difficult to share information and impeded their asset management objectives – making it one of the top challenges that companies face.
To address these and other challenges across plant maintenance, operations, and warehousing, the experts at Innovapptive provide solutions that bring all workers together onto a single connected platform. This ensures maintenance, operations, and warehouse workers can all participate in an intelligent enterprise free from silos and barriers. It also gives these industrial workers access to digital solutions often not provided by traditional enterprise application providers.
“Traditionally that has always been a space that has been ignored: The frontline worker, the worker on the edge. What do they need? Software investments have been heavily focused on the back office. We’re at a point where in the last four years, every single industry is facing labor challenges. It’s important to address that. That’s an area where we focus on productivity, efficiency, and improving employee sentiment, making sure that we provide the frontline workers an easier way to do things. We step away from the clunky paper binders, the check sheets, the printouts, and just bring them into the new world,” said Sri Karthik, EVP of Solutions Engineering at Innovapptive.
Connected Worker Platform
Functions like finance, sales and marketing, and IT have benefited greatly from now-mature solutions and are starting to leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. But in many cases, if you go into production plants you will see frontline workers utilising radios and paper binders.
This creates a systemic disconnect between frontline and back-office workers and means that there is no single source of truth that decision-makers can rely on when looking for insights into the business. Disconnected systems can lead to interrupted communication and cut into collaboration and productivity.
Innovapptive offers its Connected Worker Platform to overcome this disconnect. The platform focuses on providing workers with the tools they need to effectively collaborate with the rest of the organisation. This boosts efficiency and worker safety while ensuring all compliance standards are met.
“What we focus on is the elimination of systemic disconnect. If you take plant operations, there are three core personas that are responsible for running the plant effectively: the production operations, maintenance, and the spare parts and the warehouse teams. Traditionally, different software point solutions address each one of those core areas, but if you take the frontline worker, that is a persona that has usually been neglected. You have software for everything and even SAP in general focuses heavily on the back office and from a mobility standpoint, it’s kind of just limited capabilities right now,” said Karthik.
Adapting to the New Way of Working
Companies do not just face pressure to change from outside of the organisation. Much of the imperative to overhaul plant maintenance, operations, and warehousing strategies comes from within, as a new generation of workers presents new challenges and opportunities.
“Everywhere you go, there’s talk about labor shortage, about loss of tribal knowledge, people leaving the workforce and unable to hire quick enough and replace that workforce, especially in the manufacturing sector or in the asset intensive-sector,” said Karthik.
The newer generation workforce wants to be effective and productive, rather than filling out paperwork. Younger workers grew up with smartphones and tablets and may balk at being required to fill out paperwork manually.
Innovapptive’s Connected Worker Platform features several important differentiators that allow all workers to become part of an intelligent enterprise. Workers have access to a connected mobile app that filters out necessary information directly to the connected devices of all workers. The app digitizes all processes within a warehouse, providing a full 360-degree view of operations. This allows maintenance teams to get the parts they need when they need them.
The app also offers a maintenance control center that allows managers to assign work orders to the employees best equipped to handle the task, send notifications, and gain real-time insights into the parts availability. Supervisors can also track the progress of a given task throughout the process, receiving real-time updates.
LiftOne Case Study
LiftOne – a material handling, maintenance, and repair company that services forklifts – is one of Innovapptive’s customers. With nearly two dozen warehouses across the southeastern U.S., the company wanted to eliminate the need for paper transactions throughout its processes. LiftOne reached out to Innovapptive to find a tool that could be easily implemented into their daily operations for their parts teams.
LiftOne began using Innovapptive’s mInventory app, which allowed workers to streamline their processes, saving time and eliminating manual paper receipts. The company also found that other essential documents like packing slips can also be stored in SAP, rather than a filing cabinet, saving valuable warehouse space.
“In the mInventory app, I can go out and goods receipt my part in, take a picture of the part PO, and add the freight in there – all in one screen. Whereas, before, you had to store the PO and hold the paper for three months,” said LiftOne Parts Specialist Tammy Ford.
The mInventory app allows users to perform multiple steps from processes like sales orders all on one screen, saving time and streamlining processes. The app is fully integrated into SAP, ensuring that workers always have access to the data they need for a given order.
Innovapptive has a long history of collaborating with SAP and helping customers to maximise their SAP investment. SAP organisations want to ensure that there is effective and efficient collaboration happening across functions. Yet all too often data and processes are siloed away in point solutions deployed within individual teams.
While SAP is an effective ERP tool, it does not always enable seamless collaboration among workers. Organisations often turn to SAP partners to bridge the gap among various worker groups.
“We’ve been an OEM partner on the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). Everything that we do is built on the BTP. So that’s the kind the relationship we have with SAP. It’s part of the build partnership with SAP and getting the mobility suite to allow customers to build upon their investments in SAP. They’ve already spent millions of dollars there. Now how do they get incremental value out of that investment? It’s that digitization, the front-end capabilities, which is not there out of the box,” said Karthik.
Innovapptive plans to grow with SAP as well, ensuring that all solution roadmaps that it lays out for clients are fully compatible with SAP’s vision for the future, including SAP S/4HANA and cloud-driven innovation.
“We have to stay on par with SAP, see what’s coming in the SAP pipeline, and make sure we are not in a different land. We need to support SAP, so we keep tabs with the SAP roadmap and make sure that we’re able to deliver against that,” said Karthik.
What this Means for Mastering SAP Members
Executives and other decision-makers are always pushing for more insights to help them run their business in an intelligent and innovative way. Yet many asset-intensive businesses fail to communicate and transact effectively with their frontline workers, who are still relying on outdated manual systems to run essential processes. Without a single source of truth, important insights can get lost, information is siloed, and collaboration can become non-existent.
Innovapptive aims to solve this issue with its Connected Worker Platform, which connects back-office professionals, managers, and front-line workers on one single unified platform. This not only allows day-to-day maintenance and warehouse activities to run more smoothly, but it provides essential data that makes collaboration and innovation possible.