How do you get a successful One-Piece-Flow overview? How do you build the bridge between your sales organization and your production facility? And how do you even involve the customer in your own production process?

These questions and many more will be answered on Tuesday 13 November 2018 in the Open Manufacturing Campus (OMC), the innovation hotspot for production companies situated at the Philips production site in Turnhout, Belgium.
The sessions will be given in the Dutch language.


Expect an inspiring afternoon where Krohne demonstrates how making information flows transparent will result in improvement on production times and delivery processes. Based on practical examples from leading production companies, Krohne will demonstrate how you can improve the efficiency of your manufacturing company and reduce your lead times. Moreover, we also focus on how we can better meet the expectations of the customer thanks to innovative information technology. Last but not least, we pay attention to the importance of change management within your organization. Because a good solution only works when end-users are involved and when they are positive about it.

An inspiring  afternoon about speeding up information flows, connecting people in real-time, improving production processes and meeting customer expectations.

 

PROGRAM

12h30 Reception
  With drinks and sandwiches.
13h10 Devoteam update on Duracell project
  Arnold De Ploey (project manager Duracell project) gives an update about the latest version of the operator portals in Office 365 that are real-time connected with SAP. Also the extension with Power BI for a production environment is shared. Moreover, you will get an inside look at the next steps of the Duracell Smart Project.
13h40 Ometa presents ‘the digital shadow’
  Luc Deleu (CEO Ometa) will explain the concept of the digital representation of a physical product and how it can improve the efficiency and quality of a production process. The One-Piece-Flow data management becomes a digital foundation to upscale your company from speed to smart.
14h40 Pause + guided tour through the Philips/OMC site
  Pause with drinks and snacks. You will get a unique opportunity to see the Open Manufacturing Campus and Philips Lighting production site from close-by and visit Luxexcel, the worldwide unique 3D printing company of ophtalmic lenses for your personalised (AR/VR) glasses.
15h40 Presentation by Holmatro
Gert Jan Uijtdewilligen (Corporate ICT Manager at Holmatro) explains how they integrate the company’s ERP information in real-time to the shopfloor. A new concept that allows companies to push production orders according to the right priority towards the operators. This new way of working improves the reliability of delivery times as planning becomes real time.
16h15 Presentation by Krohne
  Leon de Borgie (Corporate operational excellence manager at Krohne Group) explains the importance of obtaining a One-Piece-Flow. By having a full grip on its production process, lead times and efficiency have increased by 40%. Moreover, the company is now able to synchronize flows in production with its sales organization. This allows them to give a greater customer experience. In the future, Krohne even wants to give customers direct insight into their production orders.
17h15 Closing note
By Marc Corthout (Business Development at OMC), showing how open innovation in engineering and manufacturing creates an ecosystem between SMEs reusing (and expanding) the knowledge and experience built up in large companies like Philips.
17h30 Networking with dinner buffet

 

We offer you a program which is relevant for both business and IT, for experts and decision-makers. Are you available on 13 November? Then we look forward to seeing you at the Open Manufacturing Campus in Turnhout!

Organizers

Partners

Subscribe

How do you get a successful One-Piece-Flow overview? How do you build the bridge between your sales organization and your production facility? And how do you even involve the customer in your own production process?

These questions and many more will be answered on Thursday 22 November 2018 at the Krohne production site in Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
The session will be given in the Dutch language.

Expect an inspiring afternoon where Krohne demonstrates how making information flows transparent results in improvement on production times and delivery processes. Based on practical examples from leading production companies, Krohne will demonstrate how you can improve the efficiency of your manufacturing company and reduce your lead times. Moreover, we also focus on how we can better meet the expectations of the customer thanks to innovative information technology. Last but not least, we pay attention to the importance of change management within your organization. Because a good solution only works when end-users are involved and when they are positive about it.

An inspiring  afternoon about speeding up information flows, connecting people in real-time, improving production processes and meeting customer expectations.

 

 

PROGRAM

12h30 Reception
  With drinks and sandwiches.
13h10 Devoteam update on Duracell project
  Arnold De Ploey (project manager Duracell project) gives an update about the latest version of the operator portals in Office 365 that are real-time connected with SAP. Also the extension with Power BI for a production environment is shared. Moreover, you will get an inside look at the next steps of the Duracell Smart Project.
13h40 Ometa presents ‘the digital shadow’
  Luc Deleu (CEO Ometa) will explain the concept of the digital representation of a physical product and how it can improve the efficiency and quality of a production process. The One-Piece-Flow data management becomes a digital foundation to upscale your company from speed to smart.
14h40 Pause + guided tour through Krohne Altometer factory
  Pause with drinks and snacks. You will get a unique opportunity to see the Krohne factory from close-by.
15h40 Presentation by Holmatro
Gert Jan Uijtdewilligen (Corporate ICT Manager at Holmatro) explains how they integrate the company’s ERP information in real-time to the shopfloor. A new concept that allows companies to push production orders according to the right priority towards the operators. This new way of working improves the reliability of delivery times as planning becomes real time.
16h15 Presentation by Krohne
  Leon de Borgie (Corporate operational excellence manager at Krohne Group) explains the importance of obtaining a One-Piece-Flow. By having a full grip on its production process, lead times and efficiency have increased by 40%. Moreover, the company is now able to synchronize flows in production with its sales organization. This allows them to give a greater customer experience. In the future, Krohne even wants to give customers direct insight into their production orders.
17h15 Closing note
By John Deken (BWU)
17h30 Networking with dinner buffet

We offer you a program which is relevant for both business and IT, for experts and decision-makers. Are you available on 22 November? Then we look forward to seeing you in Dordrecht!

Organizers

Partners

Subscribe

From speed to smart

One of the key concepts of Industry 4.0 is the real-time connection of information. This allows us to bring the right information towards to right people in the right context. Therefore, in the past two years, Ometa has realized a project at Duracell in which we consolidate information coming from several islands into web portals for the shop floor operators.

Unique about these portals is they are two-way. Operators can request information and they even get access to write back to the different underlying systems. These are systems and applications where they did not have access to before. Nowadays, the SAP, Proficy, Inifinity and Cimplicity systems are accessible for everyone via user-friendly portals. This real-time connection of the shopfloor speeds up the information and communication flows (read the customer case here). So now that we have gained speed, we should also become smarter. To optimize the information flow even more, Ometa and Duracell started a new challenging project in September 2017.

Smart technology for exciting projects!

Several parties (like Devoteam and Reniver)  have joined forces into what has become a co-creation project. The goal of the project is to create a digital twin for each individual battery. Why? Because by clustering all the data during the whole life cycle of the production process, you get an instant view on all the related information of a specific product, such as its bill of material, suppliers, raw materials, routing lines, production teams, and so on.

This allows Duracell to test its batteries per individual piece. The results of these tests then classify the products. Consequently, when products are rejected, we can do a trend analysis on all the captured data. Next, we try to find relations between these trends and the current settings of a production line. The latter means that we are also able to capture data coming from machines thanks to our new OPC UA connector. Trends based on knowledge from the past can identify potential quality issues due to machine settings, inaccurate handlings or storage issues. The ultimate goal is that Duracell is able to make predictions about the quality of products while they are still on the production line.

Human data analysts are unable to analyze this large amount of data points. Not only the large data set, but also the high speed at which data is processed, requires the help from machine learning techniques. More specifically, supervised learning will help to discover which trends and settings repeatedly appear when erroneous products are being produced. During the production of a new batch of batteries, algorithms can indicate when there is a higher chance for errors or quality issues by making all parameters intelligible.

This means that predictive quality adjustments can be made whenever the risk for quality issues is high. In the end, a Digital Smart Assistant will be able to help the field operators in optimizing the production process by anticipating future actions based on previous learnings.

Smart technology needs smart developers!

In order to realize the Digital Smart Assistant, we are currently adding new technology to the Ometa framework that is able to manage the complete digital representation of a product. By creating interfaces towards AI environments and thanks to our recently added OPC UA connector, Ometa is able to disclose data coming from machines and to combine this with data from business applications. This is truly a huge enrichment of our software and the potential for other manufacturing companies is high.

 

For the further development of our smart technology, the Digital Smart Assistant project an the worldwide roll out of our product, we need smart developers, functional analysts and project managers.  Are you looking for an exciting new challenge in a fast-growing software company? Then be sure to check out our career opportunities!

 

(Presented by Luc Deleu at the European Parliament, June 2018)

 

Artificial Intelligence is not new, but the availability of computing power, new technologies to capture enormous amounts of data points and the speed by which we can connect, store and analyze data give new insights and opportunities that can lead to business performance breakthroughs, new business models and changing markets. By combining the technologies that are available today, the speed by which the industry can learn from its processes, products and customers will increase exponentially.


The digital representation of a physical product

The digital representation of a product is a collection of all the available data that we can gather throughout the whole lifecycle of that specific product. It stores the unique values of the product in all phases: in development and pre-production, during manufacturing and when its consumer is using the product.  Humans are not able to process this large amount of data. However, new technologies and AI allow us to convert the collected information into knowledge. As a result, the digital representation enables us to learn from each step of the lifecycle of a single product.

So how can AI learn from these representations?  We can compare the characteristics of a product (e.g. quality or the lack thereof) with its digital representation.  This allows us to discover new correlations. These correlations deliver us new insights of the product and its production process. By comparing several individual digital representations, we can discover:

  • Differences in production temperature, machine setups, machine handling, etc.
  • Changes of suppliers, materials, versions of subassemblies, etc.
  • Different production lines or plants, teams, skills of operators, etc.

When we look at the quality of a product, the correlations that we can find thanks to big data and AI, allow us to understand new reasons that determine the quality of a product. Moreover, it can even turn quality into a predictable element.

Nowadays, Ometa is focusing on the production process and we try to find changes in correlation with the related quality. We are currently running a ‘smart manufacturing project’ that has already proven that we can discover and apply process adjustments which could not be discovered without the help of AI concepts. When we look at the entire product life cycle, this example shows that we are still focusing on the production phase. But we can go further.

Closing the product lifecycle loop will change business models

The next big step is closing the product lifecycle. The digital representation should not only cover the digitization of the production process but also the usage of each individual product when it goes to market. Imagine, if we could also digitally follow the actual usage of a product by its consumer, assumptions during engineering could be validated, neutralized and improved before new production starts.

 

So what can the industry gain by closing the full product lifecycle loop?  Today we are confronted with the fact that our industry is still based on mass production with short life cycles of the products (sometimes not more than two years). The reason for this short lifetime is not necessarily bad quality. Usually profits drive these short lifetimes. Today profit is made during the cycle ‘engineering up to production’. Once the product is sold, a ‘customer disconnection point’ emerges.

 

Therefore, if we continue capturing and clustering data via the digital representation after the product is sold, new business models can emerge. We could shift towards a market in which the industry stays connected with its products and where it would have no benefit to produce enormous amounts of products with short lifecycles.  In contrast, connected products would lead to a better understanding of customer usage and experience. When products stay connected with their industrial producer throughout their whole lifecycle, then quality, new product introductions and services can be improved.

From mass repetitive manufacturing to mass custom manufacturing

In previous decades, the growth market for industry was defined by mass repetitive production and low labor cost. Consequently, many of our production facilities moved to countries with a lower labor cost such as China.

The digital representation and available AI concepts will become a game changer. Not labor cost, but knowledge will drive the market. As data becomes information, information turns into knowledge thanks to AI and knowledge will lead to better customer understanding. This will allow us to move from a mass production industry towards a smart service market where products become customer specific and production will become a one-piece flow. This means that each production order on the production line will be pre-ordered with tailored demand. This will allow our industry to make a shift from mass repetitive production towards mass custom production.

This can only happen if we stay connected with the user/consumer and the product/service that we deliver throughout the whole lifecycle. By continuously clustering the enormous amount of data points and using smart AI learning systems, we will be able to create customer specific product designs and increase the speed and intelligence of our production processes. For Western countries, this can create a competitive advantage against the repetitive mass production model with its low labor cost. Why? Because with a business model based on mass custom production and fast delivery times, waiting for a ship to come in becomes a thing of the past.

 

Great news! We added a Salesforce connector to our framework.  This means that from now on, you are able to connect your Salesforce application in realtime with your ERP system or with other business applications. This allows you to keep critical data synchronized at all times. The new connector can help you to optimize your customer relations, to get a complete view on your customers and to attune customer data with e.g. production data.

Are you using Salesforce in your organization and would you like to learn more about our latest connector and its benefits? Then we are happy to discuss this with you!

 

We are very excited to announce that Ometa has developed a mobile solution.  Soon it will be possible for Ometa customers to read and write data from and to external business applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) on a mobile device!

Unique about our mobile version is that it enables you to build as much mobile apps as you like. By using the Ometa framework you will be able to configure and change your apps in just a matter of time. This sheds a whole new light on mobile app development.

 

More info coming soon!

 

About Pidpa

  • Water company
  • Approximately 700 employees
  • Provides around 500,000 customers or 1.2 million inhabitants of drinking water in the Belgian province of Antwerp
  • Extensive sewerage activity
  • Pipeline of approximately 12,700 km
  • IT service support of 30 employees

Looking for an easy way to integrate

Pidpa has many internal and external stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, customers and board members. As a result, the organization has a lot of data and processes to manage in different systems. For example, customer data, orders and HR data are managed in SAP, documents are processed in the eDOCS DMS and geographical information is stored in GIS (ESRI). Pidpa has about 700 employees. To work even more efficiently, the company decided a few years ago to build an intranet based on SharePoint technology. Subsequently, an extranet was set up with secure access for external partners and board members to collaborate on projects and orders.

Pidpa was convinced that the web portals should contain integrated information. Namely, by collecting all relevant data, users have instant access to the information they need without losing time whilst searching for this information. Therefore, the question was “How do you integrate documents from the eDOCS DMS with data from the SAP and MS / SQL databases?”

Pidpa initially started with custom programming but soon realized that this was very time-consuming and complicated. Moreover, it required a high level of technical expertise. Another disadvantage was that this situation allowed limited possibilities for standardization and therefore there was hardly any reuse. That is why Pidpa started looking for a more suitable solution.

The requirements for Pidpa were clear. They wanted a tool that they could use and manage independently. Moreover, guidance, support and accessibility of the supplier were also important aspects in their choice. While they were exploring alternatives in the market, Pidpa attended a Beginner Training from Ometa. This session showed them how to integrate systems through configuration. The training was a revelation and Pidpa decided to take the test.

A stable DIY integration tool

When it comes to technical choices, Pidpa always strives to make stable decisions for a long-term solution. That is why the IT department finds it very important to make informed choices. In this context, being able to start small to see if the expectations are actually fulfilled plays an important role. While experimenting with a new technology, it is also important for Pidpa to have close contact with the technology supplier. After all, it is not just about what the software can do, but also about how the relationship with the provider is. This is how Pidpa started a trial license. Also in terms of investment, it was important to be able to start small and then grow. This way, the management could be convinced systematically.

 

Pidpa strives to realize 80% independently with the Ometa framework. This gives them freedom of choice and it enables them to change things quickly and flexibly. For complex issues they can of course rely on the support and expertise of Ometa. Thanks to the Ometa framework, Pidpa found a stable solution that meets their needs. They found a simple way to integrate with SAP, eDOCS and AD. Ometa also offers various other integration options thanks to the built-in OData service. This offers them a uniform working method, which is a great advantage.

 

In addition, the tool is easy to use because it is only a matter of configuration. As a result, for some solutions the development time is reduced from weeks to days. Finally, Pidpa now has a tool that they can manage and use independently. This gives them a lot of freedom and flexibility to change or adjust their portals and solutions.

 

Because Ometa offers a no-code platform, we can work with the tool ourselves. That’s important to us because next to autonomy, it also offers us more speed and flexibility (Tom Van Eysendeyk, Pidpa)

 

Improved internal communication

With around 700 employees, Pidpa has the constant need to optimize communication. For example, a few years ago the water company made the intranet much more dynamic and ensured that the quality and speed of information was increased. Initially, there was a huge amount of e-mail traffic within the organization, including e-mails to large groups of people. That is why Pidpa decided to make news reports and internal information such as emergency messages and announcements available via an integrated intranet. Through the new intranet, employees can make holiday requests and sickness notifications and these actions immediately pushed towards the colleagues of HR.

 

Thanks to the direct integration with SAP, an efficient way to follow up on all kinds of requests became possible and different actions are now managed in a uniform manner. The intranet is accessible to all employees. For the workers who are always on the road, the intranet is made available on tablets. This last example is closely related to the fact that Pidpa has a diverse staff park. This means that there are employees who are very familiar with SAP, but at the same time there are also many employees who have no experience with the system. For the latter group, the integrated intranet means that they can receive information from and can write back to SAP in realtime via user-friendly SharePoint portals.

 

A very striking example is the registration of deviations in SAP. Deviations can be seen as defects or malfunctions (e.g. to a sewer system). Previously, it often occurred that employees had no access and / or knowledge of SAP. Consequently, a manual data transfer was necessary with the additional disadvantage that the data was not always up to date. This has been solved because employees can now register and update deviations in SAP via simple web forms.

 

Collaboration with external stakeholders

In order to collaborate better with external stakeholders such as partners and directors and to manage projects and orders efficiently, Pidpa has developed a sophisticated extranet. Within this context, they use Ometa to combine the right data from different data sources. A good example of this is the project portal.

Pidpa has about 300 sewerage projects and about 1200 distribution projects. For each project there are several people involved who each prepare and share documents. An important side note here is that a large number of these documents are created by external parties. For the larger sewerage projects we talk about 850 documents per project. The exchange of this large number of documents was initially done in various ways: on paper, via USB sticks, e-mails, Dropbox, et cetera. This created many challenges in terms of overview and it was not always easy to obtain the correct and latest version of documents. The completeness of information was sometimes also compromised.

As a result, the objective was threefold: to improve communication between stakeholders, to optimize the information structure and to reduce e-mail traffic. Pidpa was able to realize this thanks to a project portal that is connected to SAP in real time. With this web portal, the water company now has a uniform way of working together with all the different external parties where each party can work from his / her role. By adding Nintex workflows, Pidpa can steer and follow up the projects in a simple way. An additional advantage is that, thanks to Ometa’s technology, project portals are fully set up and automatically created based on state changes in SAP. This means that setting up a new project portal happens entirely independent of the Pidpa ICT service.

Another example is the order portal with which Pidpa is able to collaborate efficiently with contractors. Within the portal, orders are made available for contractors and contractors can also return documents. The status of every order managed by a contractor is transferred to SAP in real time. This way of working has a positive impact on the planning of the water company.

Picture: suppliers can consult their planned orders via webportals that are connected realtime with Pidpa’s SAP.

 

In addition to providing us with the right technology, Ometa also encourages us to learn from solutions that they have created for other customers. In this way, we can reuse these solutions for our own benefit. This provides us with knowledge sharing and it helps us to build new solutions even faster. (Tom Van Eysendeyk, Pidpa)

About Duracell

Duracell is the global market leader in the production of alkaline batteries, specialty and rechargeable batteries. Since the company was founded in the 1940s, it has grown to become an iconic brand when it comes to providing devices with power with compact and durable batteries. The company is known for its high quality and superior performance. The Duracell plant in Aarschot (Belgium) was founded in 1967 and nowadays it counts 450 employees. By 2020, it wants to be listed as a true “Industry 4.0 Factory”.

 

Therefore, in 2017, DuracellOmeta and implementation partner Devoteam started an Industry 4.0 pilot project to raise the quality of its batteries and the efficiency of the production process to a higher level.

In 2016, Duracell did a research to find out where the biggest losses were situated on the production floor. They conducted a content analysis on all kinds of data and documents that were used within the factory. The results indicated that each year they spend more than 20,000 hours on processing documents, both digital (Excel, pdf) as on paper. Therefore, the first thing to do was to eliminate all of this paperwork and Excel sheets. In order to do so, they found Ometa as a technology partner.

During the last 20 years, over 800,000 files were gathered in more than 156 different folders. Eventually, this created chaos and employees were hardly able to find the right documents. To cope with this problem, Duracell decided to implement SharePoint as a Document Management System (DMS). This allows the company to only work with current data and to eliminate 80% of the initial 800,000 files.

Untill recently, the typical flow was that documents were being filled in, after which a key-user entered the data into his or her system. The information was then printed out again and passed on to a planner or a technician. Why? Simply because it is impossible for operators on the shop floor to work with all of the underlying systems in which data is processed. Now however, thanks to the Ometa framework, this complexity is removed. Instead, all systems and documents are linked to each other in one central SharePoint platform.

All the information about production planning, production quantities, waste percentages, maintenance, safety and quality control which used to be processed manually in different places, now flows directly and automatically towards the digital workspace in SharePoint. This is how the information is now immediately available on the work floor.

Thanks to this real time connectivity of all data into a digital workspace environment, all exports and macros of any system towards Excel have become unnecessary. Instead, these are now replaced with real time portals. Whereas in the past, technicians needed to look and search for documents, they now get them delivered at the time when they need the information. Ultimately, for Duracell, working paperless has a huge positive impact on the speed of its factory. Moreover, this new way of working will allow the company to save about 650,000 euros over the next three years.

With the current paperless project, we will be using less documents and this will allow us to save about 650,000 euros over the next three years.

From speed to smart factory

In the next three years, their new owner will invest 50 million euros in Duracell. The Industry 4.0 project takes up about half of that budget. Compared to the total investment,  the costs for  creating the paperless platforms is rather small, while the efficiency gain is great. Tasks are now assigned to employees through computers and mobile tablets. Tasks in red indicate that there is a problem and that these need to be solved first. Once these critical tasks are completed, they disappear from the screen and this is automatically processed via SharePoint. In other words, operators have access to dashboards on which the most recent information is shown in a straightforward visual form. This results in a higher production output, but Duracell’s main goal is to improve the quality of their batteries even more.

 

A battery is made in several steps, which we refer to as transformations. Today, these transformations are checked via samples. The factory in Aarschot produces around 700 batteries per minute per line and a total of 5 million batteries per day.  In the future, Duracell wants to be able to check every single battery that is produced. Not on a sample basis, but in real time. Therefore, smart cameras and scanners will be installed to digitize and continuously monitor every transformation.

 

We get more than 30 data points per battery or approximately 180 million data points per day. This means we receive a lot of data. Consequently, we will use machine learning techniques to predict whether the quality of a battery is good or bad. The goal is to reach a situation in which a technician receives certain signals indicating that he needs to intervene in order to guarantee a high quality.

 

If we can skip the samples, then the production line does not have to be stopped anymore for quality checks. This already yields 2% of improvement. In the past, whenever a sample indicated a bad result, then production had to be set aside up until the previous measurement. That created a lot of reprocessing costs. In contrast, when we will be checking real time and per battery if the quality is good, then the amount of scrap will be reduced a lot.

Digital Smart Assistant

So Duracell will capture the critical parameters (images, dimensions, quantities, etc.) of the various transformations in the assembly process online and in real time. This data will be linked in real time per individual battery to other parameters from other systems (process MES, logistics SAP, environment, etc.). In combination with algorithms for machine learning, this data allows to predict the quality of the product and to alert the production worker in case of deviations.

 

The final product of the Industry 4.0 project is a system that collects information within a certain context (product, production line, etc.) whereby all available data is pushed towards the knowledge worker and he is also offered suggestions based on past results. Therefore, the knowledge worker is informed at an early stage if the system suspects that problems may occur on the basis of past experiences.

 

The predicted quality data and potential tasks are made available to the technicians in an unambiguous way through a clear Office 365 interface. The technicians can then take the necessary actions based on this information to adjust the process in the context of predictive maintenance. Based on notifications, they are informed of potential events such as a line stop, quality issues or breakdowns. Through this warning system the quality of the products as well as the process itself is monitored and Duracell will soon be able to eliminate 80% of the current manual samples.

 

Together with the continuous quality improvement, the goal of the project is to create a Digital Smart Assistant. This is a reinforcement of the operator who receives advice and suggestions from the system on the basis of the obtained input parameters. The knowledge worker can accept suggestions (positive stimuli) but also ignore suggestions. The Digital Smart Assistant will mean a huge innovation on the production floor and it will actually transform Duracell Aarschot into a true factory of the future.

Success lies in the people

Two factors are very important in this transition. First of all, it is important to divide the project into manageable parts that you solve one by one. That is one of the biggest challenges. Secondly, you need the support of the entire company. You need the support of the management, you need strong leadership and need the cooperation of people on the work floor to get things going. This requires vision and organization.

For this project, Duracell has put together a ‘core team’ with staff who voluntarily participate. Especially the operators are involved in this project. It is not technically inspired and the people on the floor decide together with their team leaders what they find important. Engineering and IT follow that core team to achieve what is put forward. We always work with a lead model: we make a proof of concept and we work that out with input from several people.

After that, one or two teams test it out in reality and they then provide feedback. Based on this, the solution is rebuilt or optimized and only at that point the system is rolled out. We therefore proceed step by step and the input of the employees is very crucial. We also communicate a lot with the staff about this. The whole project is very interactive and the final application will not come as a surprise to our staff.

 

You need the support of management, you need strong leadership and you need the cooperation of the shop floor to get it all going. This requires vision and organization.

 

About WML

  • Drinking water company in Limburg province, The Netherlands
  • Approximately 400 employees
  • Provides around 530,000 private individuals and approximately 14,500 business customers with drinking water
  • Has a pipeline of approximately 8,800 km

Trigger for improvement

WML is a professional organization that constantly pays attention to optimizing its business processes. A few years ago, the idea arose to bring collaboration and sharing of documents and information to a higher level. This implies that seeking and finding documents and information about, for example, contracts, projects or suppliers must be easy and that employees can work (together) more efficiently. In addition, the reliability and accuracy of information play an important role. Ultimately, an improved working method would have a positive impact on both the professionalism of the organization and the internal cooperation.

At WML, the realization grew that a digitalized information management would increase the efficiency of the organization. This meant that there was a need for a Document Management System. After exploring the market, WML became convinced of the possibilities of Microsoft Office 365. The goal was to achieve more speed because employees would lose less time searching, editing and sharing documents. As a result, this would improve the quality of information because employees would certainly work in the right version of documents. In the end, this should result in higher productivity in the field of information management.

Why WML has chosen for Ometa

To achieve these goals, WML conducted a market survey in which Ometa was ultimately chosen to take care of the implementation. In this choice, two elements were decisive for WML. With Ometa they had a tool that is capable of seamlessly connecting SAP, which contains their processes and resulting structures, to Office 365. In addition, Ometa offers the possibility to automatically provision sites, which also made the Ometa framework the best option in terms of technical manageability.

Within the WML solution, Ometa creates the bridge between SAP and Office 365. The Office 365 environment is the new digital workplace for employees. As soon as a process within SAP asks for this, Ometa automatically creates files (or sites) in the Office 365 workstation. For example, if a project, a supplier or a contract is created in SAP, a file is automatically created in the digital workplace, the people involved are invited to collaborate on the subject of that file and the right access rights are granted to these persons. This all happens automatically and in real time.

This also means that not only structured SAP information about objects such as contracts, orders, projects and staff is made accessible, but also all unstructured documents around these objects, such as quotations, project documents, meeting reports and personnel documents. In this way, thanks to Ometa, WML has a fully integrated digital workstation that is dynamically fed by SAP.

How did the collaboration go so far?

Ometa has experienced specialists who have developed their own set of tools using an in-house developed methodology in which they ask the right questions to enable such an integration. The first step that we took together was an in-depth content analysis. The results gave us a clear picture of the different information flows within WML. From this, we could then create a blueprint, which gave us a clear picture of where we wanted to go. The blueprint served as the basis for the planning of a total solution and decision-making at each stage. By taking the company characteristics and objectives of WML into account, we were able to work out the appropriate solution.

 

 

Ometa has pleasant colleagues who think along with us and help in each step of the implementation. (Aart Nap, WML)

 

Result: the best of two worlds

WML opted for a phased rollout. The implementation was gradually implemented in various departments: legal affairs, financial files, purchasing files, HR matters, projects, etc. The starting point was always that the processes in SAP were not to be changed, but would be used instead as the basis for the new dynamic collaboration in Office 365.

The dynamic cooperation is a result of the fact that the right information is shown in the right place. Depending on the status in SAP, files are created, modified or archived and can thus be used to collaborate. This reduces the search time for information. Moreover, the quality increases considerably because all information is now better available within one digital workplace and therefore it can be seen by many employees. The collaboration within Office 365 is always fully integrated with the processes and structures in SAP.

Example: supplier portal in which WML has a full view on all suppliers, including orders, invoices, supplier details, and so on. Data is coming from SAP and is combined with all relevant documents.

 

We already have about 1 year of experience with the use of this solution. Because we have consciously chosen to roll out the integration between SAP and Office 365 in phases, we are also working on the rollout of new integrations. We are already convinced that it has been the right choice to integrate with Office 365 because on the one hand it offers us many advantages in terms of manageability and extensibility and on the other hand we now use an existing structure, which increases the speed of implementation (Aart Nap, WML)

 

As far as the implementation is concerned, WML notes that it achieves enormous time savings because the structures from the ERP do not need to be reprogrammed. The power of Ometa lies in the fact that you can integrate SAP and Office 365 with each other just by configuring. At the same time, control from SAP processes also prevents the proliferation of files, which greatly facilitates controllability.

In addition to a good layout and implementation, there are of course the users and their adaptation. Ultimately, this determines the success of the implementation. As with many companies, WML has been used to working in the folder structure on a file server for a very long time. Because the average WML employee has been working at WML for a long time (about 20 years on average), many years of working in this way has made people used to this structure. For them, a switch to a new Document Management System, in which digital collaboration takes place in an online environment, is of course a learning process. To make everyone familiar with their new digital workplace, WML pays sufficient attention to training and supervision.

 

Ultimately, thanks to the integration between SAP and Office 365, we get the best out of both worlds. We respect the process-based and structured approach from SAP and combine this with the ease of use and the case-based approach of Office 365. This makes the information accessible to everyone and, in addition to the process information, we also structure the document flow of WML. (Yves Van Neck, Ometa)