Rust-Oleum creates modern warehouse management systems with over 40 mobile applications in four months.
Rust-Oleum created over 40 mobile applications in four months to help automatically guide workers through the warehouse to complete tasks quickly and easily.
CHALLENGE: Automating processes across multiple warehouses
Protective paint and coating innovator Rust-Oleum needed to move away from outdated paper processes and wanted to create a mobile warehouse that could deliver paperless operations and automate task assignments. Their IT department’s goal was to deliver a solution that was system driven rather than people dependent.
As a first step, the company decided to consolidate and unify operations across five United Kingdom warehouses. The company aimed to standardize and simplify its SAP-based warehouse system to deliver real-time visibility and fast onboarding for new employees. The solution needed to work well over long distances and connect to the right devices, including wearables for unit picking. Because business requirements are continually changing, rapid development and scalability were important.
This was a significant undertaking for a company with high-volume warehouses operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and which averages 10,000-15,000 transactions each day.
An initial attempt to create a price-checking app using Fiori quickly stalled because ongoing updates from SAP made it challenging for the company to reach a steady state.
“With our lean operating model, we simply couldn’t dedicate the developers that it would take to manage the ongoing changes from SAP that would help us take our operations mobile,” says Amol Dubal, SAP Development Lead, Mobile Solutions at Rust-Oleum.
“That’s when we discovered Neptune Software. We were impressed by Neptune Software’s app development functionalities and focus on ABAP developers. A success story from Johnson and Johnson, an enterprise warehouse customer, with similar scanning performance needs convinced us we’d found the right solution.”
APPROACH: 40 applications in just four months for a superior UX
Working with Mygo Consulting, a Neptune Software Partner, and using Neptune Software’s low-code app development platform—the Neptune Software DX Platform with its SAP Edition —Rust-Oleum developed 40+ apps in only four months.
“Creating a superior user experience takes user involvement, so we conducted UX workshops to learn what users wanted and needed. Many users who are already familiar with SAP also know how mobile apps work, so they had expectations on what the mobile experience should be,” says Amol.
Leveraging its existing SAP mobility setup, the team combined Neptune Software apps into one common solution to work across Rust-Oleum’s large warehouses using a variety of Zebra Technology and other devices. The picking and put-away solution was created to handle various workflows across the warehouse, including pallet picking using ruggedized tablets on forklifts and large- and small-unit picking using handheld devices or wrist-mounted computers.
The new apps work in tandem with an existing SAP ECC solution. Now, orders come in and are placed in queue based on the type of order, whether for commercial or consumer customers. Users are assigned to specific queues, and can easily see and complete their tasks.
RESULTS: A modern warehouse with 100% paperless operations
Rust-Oleum was able to achieve 100% paperless operations with a modern warehouse management system that was working and stable by the third day of go-live.
“Neptune Software helped give us a uniform user interface and completely eliminated paper on the floor,” says Harish. “The tile-based app makes it easy for workers to identify outstanding tasks, and after completing those tasks, to be guided to the next one. Our initial goal was achieved.”
Where previously users waited for their communication and orders to be manually printed, and then prioritized them themselves, Rust-Oleum now has a simple mobile process that prioritizes orders automatically.
“Previously, when temporary staff members came onboard to manage volume spikes, it took time for them to understand our manual processes and figure out where products were in our warehouse. Now, with just a short training session, workers are automatically guided through the warehouse and can complete their tasks quickly and easily.” Additionally, says Amol, “The use of an industry-standard front-end frees our ABAP teams from depending on front-end developers and frees front-end developers to focus on e-commerce and accelerate our digital transformation.”
Now that the first warehouses have been digitized and are up and running, they eventually plan to implement the Neptune Software-based solution in the US as well.
“Our success on this project gave us the confidence we were implementing the right technology to help our mobility journey with SAP and achieve our vision. Now that boost is translating into new areas, specifically as we redesign our customer support portal,” says Amol.
Customer Industry: Consumer Goods / Manufacturing
SAP Version: SAP ECC EHP 7
Devices: Primarily Zebra Technologies devices including MC3300 series handheld mobile computer, MC9300 ultra rugged mobile touch computer, and wrist-mounted WT6000 wearable computer for unit picking with ring-finger scanner
Implementation Timeline: 4 Months
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