Thanks to an interface jointly developed by Innosoft and DLP Engineers between the ERP system and the service control system, Diosna GmbH saves a great deal of time in planning and invoicing fitter services.
If technicians can perform maintenance and repair faults more quickly, that’s good for the customer. If they can report their work and the material used more quickly, that’s good for billing. Diosna – Dierks & Söhne GmbH in Osnabrück wanted to do just that and was looking for an automated connection between its Innosoft service management system and the ERP system proALPHA. Innosoft GmbH and DLP Engineers GmbH solved this task together with excellence.
DIOSNA Dierks & Söhne GmbH is known worldwide for excellent, reliable and customized equipment for the healthcare & food industry – Made in Germany. The expert know-how covers the processes of mixing, drying, granulating, fermenting and kneading.
DIOSNA machines are mainly used in the pharmaceutical, food, chemical and cosmetic industries to produce, for example, compressible granules for tablets and various other products, pellets, instant flavor and spices, pre-dough, sourdough, bread, pizza, cookies, flatbread, pasta, protein bars, etc.
From research and development to production scale, DIOSNA draws on over 135 years of experience.
Too slow: analog service scheduling
Even if the Diosna machines are characterized by high reliability, regular maintenance is indicated, and malfunctions cannot be ruled out. For this purpose, technicians are deployed throughout Germany, controlled from the head office in Osnabrück. For a long time, telephone and fax were the decisive factors. Paper was always involved: time sheets, material lists, travel expense reports. This data was entered and evaluated manually, a “popular” source of manual transmission errors. It took some time before customers received an invoice and mechanics received their travel expense reimbursements. For scheduling, employees at headquarters also needed large-format spreadsheets, experience and a sure instinct.
Service becomes digital
The ERP system from proALPHA has long facilitated the commercial work, but the included proALPHA module for service technicians does not meet the requirements of the service department. Instead, Diosna selected Innosoft, a software manufacturer that specializes in the management of customer service for machine and plant manufacturers. In particular, deployment planning and documentation were to be facilitated; hours worked on site, kilometers driven, material used and the service report were to be recorded digitally and also offline directly at the customer’s site.
Due to the two different systems, however, it would have been necessary to always create or adjust master data synchronously in both systems. In addition, the billing data that technicians record in the mobile field service solution would have had to be transferred manually from Innosoft to proALPHA for each completed assignment. This not only creates superfluous effort, but also carries the risk of transmission errors. Diosna wanted to avoid this.
With such an interface, Diosna saves 50 percent of the time: master and order data flows automatically from the ERP system to Innosoft; the performance data from the mobile APP goes back to the ERP.
Automatic data transfer to and from ERP?
How about an interface that would automatically transfer data, optimize processes and prevent transmission errors? – The idea is captivating, but interfaces are usually customer-specific and can almost never be purchased “off the shelf”. That is why it was necessary to develop an interface for data transfer between proALPHA and Innosoft. For this purpose, Innosoft assigned an employee who had experience in integrating Innosoft with proALPHA at various mechanical engineering companies. For the technical expertise regarding proALPHA, Diosna sought external help and found it at DLP Engineers GmbH from Hanover.
Effective team around Innosoft and DLP
DLP took on the task of coordinating the interface development on the proALPHA side and brought software specialists on board for this purpose: A programmer from xiantra.com Softwareentwicklung in Hamburg and a proALPHA specialist from L-IT-Beratung in Herzogenaurach worked closely together under DLP’s leadership to provide the required data and establish uniform and secure processes. Innosoft coordinated the project. The fact that this constellation works well was also quickly noticed by the customer. “It’s better to have just a small team,” knows Ingo Slawek, who heads the Service department at Diosna. “But in this team, it has to be right, both professionally and personally.”
Ingo Slawek, Head of Service at Diosna, and his team save a lot of time thanks to the Innosoft proALPHA interface
From pilot project to everyday life
Soon the first interface version was tested with real data from Diosna, then optimization and finetuning began. After about a year, the new interface went live. Orders flow together with the required master data from proALPHA to Innosoft. Information from the fitters in the field is transferred back to proALPHA so that follow-up processes such as invoicing, evaluations or travel expense reports can take place without any further effort. “Silent” is how department manager Ingo Slawek describes the work of the interface and is enthusiastic about its reliability.
Conclusion and outlook
The office staff of the Service department save around 50 percent of the time compared to manual data entry in proALPHA. Queries to the fitters have become much fewer, while data quality has increased significantly. The original goals – to invoice customers faster and to reimburse travel expenses sooner – have also been achieved.
The next joint projects are already in the pipeline: Innosoft can, of course, be used to plan the work not only of fitters, but also of design engineers, and to bill them on an order-related basis. Plans are also underway to connect additional branches, including global ones. The corresponding interface is also to be developed in cooperation with DLP and Innosoft – why should you do without a well-functioning team?