EAI advisory: Winshuttle data-entry solution simplifies changes in SAP without straining IT
You’ve heard the call, but it’s time for manufacturers to “do more with less.” Research out of Boston-based Aberdeen Group shows some companies doing just that. How? In a survey of more than 150 companies, the key strategy of the best-in-class is integrating desktop tools with enterprise applications to improve productivity.<br/>
As energy, labor, and raw materials costs rise, it’s a real challenge to stimulate growth. You’ve heard the call, but it’s time for manufacturers to “do more with less.”
Research out of Boston-based Aberdeen Group shows some companies doing just that. How? In a survey of more than 150 companies, the key strategy of the best-in-class is integrating desktop tools with enterprise applications to improve productivity.
“The ultimate goal is to provide unified, real-time access and visibility across the enterprise to data—residing in potentially disparate systems—to reduce learning curves and create a collaborative environment for faster, better decision-making,” says,” says Cindy Jutras, an Aberdeen Group VP. “The key is to bridge the gap between the comfort zone of the desktop, the power of Web-based collaboration, and enterprise-level applications. The net result is improved personal productivity, which translates into improved corporate performance.”
One solution that affords that type of result comes from Winshuttle, a provider of data entry and data download tools for SAP business system users. Its transactionSHUTTLE, for example, enables users to replace manual data input and use of complex technical tools by transporting data to and from Microsoft Excel or Access and into SAP’s business suite without programming, script creation, or IT support, says Vikram Chalana, Winshuttle CEO.
Manufacturers often must create or modify data existing in their SAP solution. But Chalana says those companies typically face a choice: manually change data, which is a time-consuming and error prone process; or placing additional strain on IT resources by requesting an automated process.
The problem is neither is an acceptable alternative.
“Our solutions solve very specific problems,” Chalana says. “By automating the process and eliminating manual data entry without putting undue burden on IT, companies are better able to maximize resources.”
The results can be substantial. Case-in-point is Hubbell Inc ., an international manufacturer of electrical and electronic products. The Orange, Conn.-based company is organized across five platforms: Hubbell Wiring Systems (HWS); Hubbell Electrical Products; Hubbell Lighting Systems; Hubbell Power Systems; and Hubbell Industrial Technologies.
During the implementation of the SAP enterprise solution at HWS, the company faced a number of master data challenges, claims Paul Cahill, director of IT for HWS.
“We hired temporary employees to manually key in and correct master data, and used an SAP mass-transaction tool,” Cahill says. “What we discovered was a lot of the data going into SAP was of poor quality and could definitely impact customer, material, vendor, and pricing conditions.”
According to Vikram Chalana, CEO of Winshuttle, an automated data-entry solutions specialist, by eliminating manual data entry without putting undue burden on IT, companies
The solution for HWS was to deploy Winshuttle’s transactionSHUTTLE for master data, including customer information updates such as sales hierarchy and partner functions, material creations and updates, vendor updates, pricing creation and updates, and employee updates.
The result is a dramatic increase in the overall quality of data attained by eliminating manual data entry. And since data requests no longer are made to Hubbell’s central IT group, each Hubbell platform now has greater responsiveness from IT for requests.
“transactionSHUTTLE lets us do things we weren’t able to do before,” says Cahill. “Our business users now automatically upload master data information, and can easily manipulate data already in SAP. We’ve improved data quality, significantly reduced manual data-entry costs, reduced overall headcount, and minimized the burden on IT resources.”
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.