Machines, sensors and condition monitoring systems operate in their own, very heterogeneous world. Connecting this world with an SAP ERP system allows for unprecedented efficiency gains and increases the level of automation and digitalisation in almost all business processes. You should know that 80% automation is possible in a company. SAP offers an attractive solution portfolio for mid-sized companies and subsidiaries of larger companies.
The lack of skilled workers, the competition and the customers’ demand for perfect service require perfectly coordinated processes. These must also work quickly. Today’s customers hardly wait any longer and want immediate help and service. Workflows that are slowed down by manual intervention ultimately lead to the loss of customers.
Today’s sensors can provide us with unspeakably good service. A machine, a plant or a facade element equipped with one or more sensors can immediately and without delay report states. This usage can be used in the service to initiate activities. For example, a service request is sent directly to the service department. Plus point for you. You may notice a malfunction before your customer has noticed something. They have thus gained time because they have already started the service process.
From fault report to invoicing in just a few hours
Exchange of sensor data between an ERP system and machines – Why does the exchange of sensor data make sense?
You can save even more time for the customer by freeing the service processes from unnecessary manual administration tasks. After your service department has received the fault report, you can plan the deployment of personnel, resources and spare parts. Then the work order is immediately forwarded to the technician or to a team. This eliminates the disruption report execution including all necessary data, such as time expenditure, spare parts, etc. and your IT generates and sends the invoice to the customer while the field service team is still on the road. Your ERP system monitors the incoming payments, kindly reminds your customer if he has forgotten to pay and when the incoming payments are received, everything is immediately brought to a close in financial accounting.
In order to achieve such a performance increase, you need modern IT. Experts agree. Software solutions from the cloud are ideally suited for implementing such IoT scenarios and further digitization. My IoT prescription for you.
Digitalisation made easy: Three ingredients for communication
- you need a cloud ERP. This can be an S4/HANA, but it can also be an SAP Business ByDesign. The latter was developed especially for use in medium-sized companies.
- you need a cloud solution that gives you the ability to create the DIGITAL TWIN of your plant, your product. This is because all information and events triggered by a sensor must be connected. You want to use the data securely for your forecasts later on.
- you need a cloud platform. I can therefore recommend the use of the SAP Cloud platform.
These were three ingredients for your IoT recipe. Although there is still one component missing. The sensor. As many installations in the factories often date back to the time of analogue meters, this was not so easy until now. After all, the older systems often have no sensors. But meanwhile there are smart retrofit offers. This means that such machines can be retrofitted with sensoring.
Whisk butter and sugar into a foamy mixture
What you need now is to know how to mix the ingredients with each other. Because one thing is for sure, each of them alone will not bring you any benefit. You must link business administration (that is, the processes provided in an ERP system) with technical operating (this is where the processes of service or plant maintenance are located). The best way to do this is to store all these processes in the ERP. When you’re cooking, you’d say,”Whisk the butter and sugar into a frothy mixture.” Please use high-quality ingredients. If your ERP system is not able to accommodate a digital twin and you need an additional solution, it will become more complex. However, complexity is prone to errors. It’s like a yeast dough. Some people wonder why they never succeed.
You have now combined business administration and technology. Now the sensor data must still reach the object and the processes. Simply collect all sensor data? No, that would overtax everything and is not necessary. There are two options. Either you control the sensor flow directly at the machine or you use an “IoT Cockpit”. The sensor data arrives there, is managed according to defined rules and can then trigger an event, for example, a fault message. Such an IoT cockpit can also link data from several sensors and trigger activities in the service via more complex control activities.
By selecting the right components (ERP, DIGITAL TWIN, SENSOR, Cloud platform) in combination with automated processes, you can significantly increase your response times in service. If you refine this recipe with the prediction capabilities, you’ll be on site even before the customer notices a malfunction and have averted it. And your customer? Well, he’d be nuts to find another partner, wouldn’t he?
My tip for you today: Visit our Live Webinar: Digitizing Services and Maintenance: Sensors will change your business.
In this sense, enjoy cooking. I will be happy to help you.