Case Study: Improving Inventory Visibility Through a Mobile ERP Interface

August 6th, 2019
James Chillog
undefined featured image

Managing technology can be especially challenging for small companies that have Fortune 500 customers. Huge companies like these require world-class service and IT integration, which can be difficult to deliver with limited resources. BDK has had the opportunity to help a specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore overcome this challenge. In this case study, we’ll share how we developed a customized, mobile ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) interface to improve our client’s inventory visibility.

Context: About the Project

The manufacturer featured in this case study produces a variety of fiber-based supplements that aid in digestion, weight management, cardio health, and blood sugar health. The company has 60 employees at its Maryland production plant. For several years, BDK has provided managed IT services to this company.

Managed services have given our client the flexibility to pay for IT expertise only as it is needed. This is important because they could never afford to hire the many types of IT specialists required to keep their operation running smoothly. Their IT needs include network engineering, systems engineering, web apps development, project management, etc. Through managed services, they can tap into the IT skillsets needed while keeping costs down.

We leveraged this experience with the client to help them when they approached us with a new challenge: improving inventory visibility throughout their production process.

The Challenge: Provide Real-Time Inventory Visibility in the Client's ERP System

Our client was facing several problems with the inventory management portion of their ERP system. First, the production area was too crowded to house a computer workstation with the ERP system in close proximity. The physical distance between the production & receiving area and the workstation resulted in a backlog of inventory data entry.

As the data backlog piled up, the purchasing department was making buying decisions based on inaccurate information. The production scheduler was working with inaccurate information as well. This would lead to delays in production runs because the system would indicate that there was more component inventory in stock than there actually was. When the production team set up to run a work order, they would often find they didn’t have the raw materials needed to complete it, lengthening the time needed to complete the order.

These problems were exacerbated by a clunky user interface. It was difficult to train people on how to use the ERP system, and it was easy to make mistakes when entering data. This would lead to even more inaccuracies and confusion in the production process.

The Solution: Development of a User-Friendly Mobile ERP Interface

To address the problems associated with the client’s ERP system, BDK developed a user-friendly mobile ERP interface. The new interface was accessible on a tablet that could be used on the production floor in real-time. The interface also simplified the data entry process. It used a much more intuitive design to reduce human error and improve efficiency.

For example, when receiving palletized goods, the client previously had to enter each box into inventory one at a time. That meant there were 20 – 30 transactions for every pallet received. With the new interface, an entire pallet could be entered into inventory under a single transaction and be conveyed in real-time to the rest of the company.

The improved ERP system is hosted by BDK in the cloud. This gives us the ability to maintain and update the system as needed. It also helps management access data and use the system from any location.

BDK's help with our ERP system has brought better visibility to our inventory, greater operational efficiencies, and provided us with real-time dashboards that enable pro-active managerial decisions.

- Frank G. Easton, MD

If you’d like to discuss how we can help your company achieve similar results, please contact us to get started