Hills Holdings implemented RFgen Data Collection software to automate their manufacturing and supply chain operations across Australia. RFgen is a Wireless Mobility solution that Hills is using for real-time Barcode Scanning of stock and assets directly in their Oracle JD Edwards ERP system. More specifically, using mobile devices, employees wirelessly scan stock as it is produced in their manufacturing centres and track the stock as it moves through their distribution, warehousing and transportation operations across Hills’ sites nationally. The solution allows Hills to run JD Edwards functionality using mobile technologies.
“The new processes are making things a lot easier for us. There have been major improvements and time savings in the process that automates product check-in and check-out. This is making our lives a lot easier.”
An initiative was undertaken by Hills to streamline and consolidate their information systems across the group of companies. This project included the implementation of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 to manage their full operations in combination with RFgen for supply chain and manufacturing automation. After reviewing a number of data capture solutions from a range of vendors, Hills made the decision to engage Fusion5 to implement RFgen because of the flexibility of the solution and the expertise of our team.
With a footprint of 130 warehouses across 6 Australian states and up to 300 mobile devices running wirelessly, Hills has a broad inventory scanning requirement across their operations. RFgen is a business-critical application for Hills. The system provides rapid mobile device response time at scale allowing warehouse users to transact with JDE in real time over a 3G network without latency affecting performance. All of this is managed using a centralised architecture of RFgen servers, communicating directly with the ERP system.
Operationally each Hills business is different, with each site containing its own process variations that need to be met by the system. For flexibility, a corporate-wide template was designed and built based on an aggregation of the requirements from all of the businesses. Hills therefore holds the full footprint of RFgen JD Edwards functionality required by all of the businesses in the corporate template, consisting of the combined business processes. Each site is then provided with a sub-set of processes as required to meet their specific needs under a shared-services arrangement.
The JD Edwards functionality contained within Hills’ RFgen solution is extensive, covering all stock management operational needs for the business. This functionality includes purchase order receipts, in-transit movements, picking & packing of stock, palletisation & license plating, load & shipment management, stock issues, transfers, adjustments, stock take, manufacturing work orders, kanban, work order issues, backflushing and scrapping. In addition barcode label generation and printing software has been provided, which is fully integrated with RFgen and JDE and generates labels at the time of work order completions, inbound purchase receipts and outbound sales fulfilment. Loftware was selected for this purpose and is used to manage over 110 barcode printers located at disparate Hills’ sites nationally.
For hardware Hills elected to use Psion Omnii XT15 ruggedised handheld devices on sites, running on a 3G broadband network. No Wi-Fi infrastructure was installed at the various sites.
“The new processes are making things a lot easier for us. We have had one of our most productive days ever dollar-wise, considering that we are still ironing out a few little things. We were expecting many more dramas during the first week than there has been, particularly compared to when we implemented the same sort of system a number of years ago.”Warehouse Manager at a Hills' warehouse
With Hills staff members from senior management through to warehouse staff raving about the new RFgen functionality and enhanced processes, the business has experienced significant improvements in productivity across their manufacturing and supply chain operations. This translates into more profit for the business, happy employees and importantly, happy Fusion5 customers.
“The users are thrilled, as the superbackflush has improved things drastically for them (lots of automation). Also, there have been major improvements and time savings in the process that automates kanban check-in and check-out. This is making our lives a lot easier.”
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