Recording dynamic processes in flux

PDA in SAP at POLIPOL Polstermöbel GmbH & Co. KG

(PresseBox) ( Unterhaching, )
“The only thing that is constant is change” - so said the ancient philosopher Heraclitus two thousand years ago. This has since become a mark of identification for successful companies. Any company that does not regularly refine its processes and dynamically adjust to global change will quickly lose its competitiveness. In this respect, POLIPOL has done everything right. As one of Europe’s leading upholstered furniture manufacturers, POLIPOL has fully integrated a PDA system into SAP that is not only capable of detecting this dynamic, but is also capable of regularly adjusting its process to the changes. This was the birth of a remarkable IT project.

The initial situation: PDA as a subsystem

Polipol Polstermöbel GmbH & Co. KG employs around 5,500 people at a total of seven locations in Germany, Poland and Romania. A PDA system was installed as a local subsystem at each of these locations - note: this involved data being stored seven times over and their manual transfer to the central office in Diepenau! The PDA has three functional areas:

a) Personnel time logging: clock-in, clock-out notifications
b) Order data acquisition (which employee processed which order when). This was used for the remote data collection of logistical and performance-pay information, and
c) Performance-pay calculations: these were generated using the acquired data and transferred to SAP HR manually by each location for the actual payment.

Old-fashioned architecture

It is not at all surprising that such an architecture quickly reaches its limits. Storing data seven times over created redundancies, not to mention the need for error-handling or even interface monitoring. “We’ve grown so quickly over recent years,” says IT and Logistics Manager, Peter Jürgens, “that such an architecture is simply no longer up to date. Our processes are extremely dynamic and we have a lot of development process optimisation expertise. We were also always dependent on our former software partner.”

Not only that, analyses above and beyond the existing processes (statistics, etc.) were particularly complex. Matters such as the archiving of orders and long-term data storage for long-term analyses were almost impossible.

A new solution was required. A solution that allowed greater flexibility and brought all the SAP expertise back in house.

The solution: fully integrated PDA in SAP
The main requirements of the new system were the wholesale integration of SAP and minimal mapping of existing processes. The production data should not be record seven times over, but flow straight from the PDA terminal or mobile device directly in to the central SAP system. The mobile and fixed solutions should all come from the same mould. “The technological approach of MembrainSFC BDE,” says Peter Jürgens, “impressed us right from the start. In Membrain, we’ve found a partner capable of professionally implementing our complex requirements. The advantages of MembrainSFC BDE and other features
With MembrainSFC BDE it is possible to model significantly more functions in each of the areas than before:

a) Employee times are now calculated automatically even the various types of presence and absence (e.g. holiday allowances).

b) Order data acquisition: recording the individual production orders makes it possible to derive general logistical remote data collection. Order statuses are set automatically, which makes it possible to calculate performance-pay related data. This also applies to “sideline activities”, for example if a piece-worker is assigned to snow clearing or carries out a stock-take in the warehouse. Such sideline activities had to be calculated manually in the old system.

c) Performance-pay calculations: it prepares the HR payment. “Because we’ve used MembrainSFC BDE to encapsulated the performance-pay calculation of HR,” says Peter Jürgens, “we are more flexible and are able to continue improving our dynamic processes.”

POLIPOL has developed comprehensive transactions for monitoring and, where necessary, correcting the data recorded in the PDA system. This ensures the stringent demands placed on data quality when transferring the performance-pay data to SAP HR are met.

Acceptance and overview

“We are very pleased with MembrainSFC BDE,” says Peter Jürgens. “The old system had reached the limits of its capabilities. We now have high-quality data that we can use for both short-term and long-term monitoring purposes. The new solution also gives us plenty of potential to continue improving.”  


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