2013 Mobilizer Awards Enterprise-Wide Mobility

By  Stephanie Blanchard, Digital Editor & Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — November 04, 2013


Winner

Demmer Corporation, a U.S. equipment manufacturer, serves the defense, aerospace, automotive, transportation and energy industries. Founded in 1951, the company employs 350 individuals and has multiple plant locations through Michigan.
 
Each plant involves several manufacturing processes such as welding, machining, assembling and painting — and each of these processes require extensive paperwork for inspections, safety and workflow. Multiple inspectors filled out hundreds of documents as part of the process. Such a paper-intensive nature impacted resources and the bottom line, especially when manually entered information was erroneous and not detected for weeks.
 
Demmer Corporation sought a solution that could be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed, and scaled  to its workforce, without the need for significant user training or upfront costs. Its objective was to improve quality audits, improve worker and plant safety, and improve the efficiency of the production process.
 
“We were looking for real time data straight from the point of collection,” said Jen Malesky, Director of Corporate Quality, Demmer Corporation.
 
The company decided to deploy Canvas, a technology platform that enables the development of mobile business apps. The cost for devices was $15,000, with the Canvas site license at $42,000 per year. 
 
With the input of end-users, IT first created three Canvas apps for corporate-owned iPhones. (The company also issued iPads to employees.) “We realized very quickly the platform was beneficial,” said Kevin Ouellette, Quality Supervisor, Demmer Corporation. For example, four inspection points dropped to one, with the very first app.
 
And by leveraging the mobile app, instead of the previous paper-based process, the company was quickly able to uncover a manufacturing problem for a major customer, saving time and money for both client and company.
 
As app development accelerated, the iPads really took off, enabling a variety of capabilities, from barcode scanning to photo capture and improved workflow. Because the technology platform is straightforward and very user friendly, the company was able to go from its original three apps to 100 apps in less than a year. At press time, there are 140 apps and counting, with requests pouring in by the day.
 
“All kinds of ideas are coming in, from every department,” Ouellette said. “Sometimes we have to rein them in,” Malesky added, in jest.
 
The cost savings is estimated to be more than $1 million annually. One app in particular helped streamline a machine uptime tool and efficiency log, resulting in $250,000 in annual savings.
 
The program has certainly generated excitement at many different levels. For the company, Demmer has seen improved efficiency, reduced operational downtime as well as improved quality control and safety. As just one example, the Safety Department estimates it saves over 300 hours per year. The reduction in safety issues due to the rapid response time has led to an overall reduction in workplace injuries.
 
For the employees, some of which do not have computers at home, mobile devices have introduced new worlds.  “The simplicity of the apps has opened them up to the technology,” Malesky said, making them likelier to purchase such devices for themselves. “They are less intimidated by mobile products than PCs,” she noted.
 
Going forward, Demmer has plans on integrating apps with existing software, for improved communication and content creation.
 



Honorable Mentions

21st Century Learning Enabled
The “Personal Mobile Computing Initiative” had a simple goal: Give all the students in the Lexington County School District One access to 21st century technology to support their learning and to prepare them for higher education and careers.
 
Lexington first piloted with laptops, but then the iPad2 came out and met the District’s needs at less than half the price. Challenges included configuration, security, access software and Wi-Fi needs. The team met with Apple’s education consulting engineers about deploying MDM from MobileIron. Cisco was also utilized because Lexington had an existing relationship and an established infrastructure in place.
 
Thomas Burgess, Network Engineer explained, “Working closely with our key  vendors early on gave us the ability to design all of our initiative’s infrastructure and workflows in a best practice approach. We have been able to grow in a very fluid manner due to the countless hours spent in the infancy stages of our deployment.”
 
Now, 16,500 students, teachers and administrators are using iPads and apps. Students can personalize their devices by downloading music and apps including age appropriate games. Teachers monitor use of the device during class.
 
The district maintains a multi-tiered security solution, filtering the Internet  and blocking Facebook and other social networking sites, and banning messaging apps. The system notifies administrators if a district-provided app is deleted  or if  an unapproved app is downloaded.
 


Next-Gen Rugged Delivers

UPS launched the first Delivery Acquisition Information Device (DIAD) in 1990, allowing drivers to use mobile technology to track signatures. In Aug. 2013, the company completed deployment of the next generation device to North American drivers. The global deployment is expected to be finished in 2014.
 
Mobile projects such as this are driven by the business needs, and supported by a top team and established practices, according to Juan Perez, Vice President of Technology.  “We have committed UPS employees in IT and our business units who are relentless in building value through improved business processes, technology and innovation.,” he noted. “We are driven by sound project management practices, strong IT governance and the discipline to complete projects on time and on budget meeting the needs of our internal and external customers.”
 
The rugged DIAD V, developed in conjunction with Honeywell, is now being used by 95,125 employees, is about half the size and weight of the previous model and is the first to feature Gobi technology.
 
Perez said the device provides improved package information to enhance processing and tracking, and has better scanning capabilities, which support improvements in efficiency and data quality as well. The tool is also  used for communicating with UPS drivers. “It will continue to play a key role in supporting future operations improvements,” he said.

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