Throughout the day, warehouse employees walk around the plant and when data entry is required to fulfill an order, the roaming employees return to a static workstation to enter data into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application hosted on an AS/400 system. This workflow leads to delays in processing of transactional data and errors in the roaming employees’ work.
A Business Systems Analyst for the company explains further: “We recognized an opportunity to significantly improve workflows in the warehouse, thanks to advances in mobile technology. Our warehouse employees already use Apple iPads for their daily work, and we looked for a mobile solution that could connect Apple devices to an iSeries system for seamless data transfer.”
The company also needed a solution that could integrate with its chosen mobile device management (MDM) solution, Citrix XenMobile, so that an administrator could quickly provision devices for use in the roaming scenario.
After extensive research and evaluation of various mobile iOS apps that connect to an IBM System i host, the company settled on the Micro Focus Reflection Mobile solution. Reflection Mobile is a native iOS app that provides anytime access to IBM mainframes, AS/400s (IBM System i), and UNIX/Linux systems from iPads and iPhones. Key features that were especially vital to this manufacturing customer are mobile device management (MDM/ EMM) support, which allows IT administrators to customize the user interface and application capabilities prior to deployment, and barcode scanning for effortless data entry.
The Business Systems Analyst comments on the implementation: “Users like the Reflection Mobile user interface, which provides a user experience for green screen applications consistent with an experience provided by the mobile applications that people use on a daily basis. In addition, Reflection Mobile’s support for reading barcodes enables workers to input data into the ERP application in real time.”
Having access to the ERP system at warehouse workers’ fingertips also allows the organization to correct inaccuracies in real time, which has improved customer satisfaction.
Reflection Mobile is centrally managed by the customer’s MDM, Citrix XenMobile.
The company successfully improved its warehouse inventory workflows, as Reflection Mobile is now used on iPads carried by staff and mounted onto forklifts.
The solution has enabled real time data processing, regardless of the worker’s physical location in the warehouse. This has resulted in significant efficiencies in processing inventory transactions in the ERP application. It has reduced the number of inaccuracies that occurred with the old method of returning to a static workstation to manually input data, as the Business Systems Analyst comments: “Having access to the ERP system at our fingertips allows for real time data processing and the opportunity to correct inaccuracies on the fly.”
Because Reflection Mobile was procurable in Apple’s B2B App Store for businesses, the company could centrally manage and deploy Reflection Mobile to its Apple warehouse devices with Citrix XenMobile.
The Business Systems Analyst concludes: “When we relied on the non-mobile, static workstations, it led to more errors. While cost reduction was not the main driver to deploy Reflection Mobile, it has reduced error-related costs and has greatly improved overall efficiencies.”