Business SituationVanderlande, based in Veghel, the Netherlands, is the global market leader in airport luggage systems and sorting systems for package and post handling organisations. The company is also a front runner in the warehouse automation segment. Every day, Vanderlande's systems handle 10.1 million pieces of luggage and sort more than 39 million packages. Components are normally manufactured in Veghel and then transported to project sites all across the globe.
Previously, delivered materials were recorded manually, because computers were not always available on the sites. In addition, only the site supervisor was able to access the company’s EnterpriseOne ERP system. This meant that there was a risk of materials not being processed in the system and getting lost as a result. Before certain activities could be started, manual checks took place to see if all materials had been received. As a result, missing items sometimes had to be urgently requested halfway through the process, due to errors earlier in the chain. This resulted in high costs and disruption to the entire process, which had an impact on the company's ability to fulfill agreements it had made with its customers.
SolutionAvanade developed an application capable of scanning packages at the sites. All packages are issued with a sticker featuring a barcode. When the code is scanned, the app registers the package as received and sends the details to the ERP system. The app can also be used offline, and data is automatically transmitted when an internet connection becomes available. The user can also add the storage location. To prevent other data from polluting the ERP system, the app only recognises specific Vanderlande barcodes.
Vanderlande wanted the app to be suitable for several platforms and a wide range of mobile phones. For that reason, Avanade decided to develop the application using the Xamarin platform. "The main advantage of Xamarin is that it allows you to use the Microsoft .NET platform and the C# programming language to develop 100% native apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Xamarin uses all functions of the various platforms, allowing the app to be optimised for each platform. In addition, thanks to the Xamarin Test Cloud, apps can also be automatically tested for a wide range of telephone configurations," says Sander Schutten, mobility lead at Avanade.
"All in all, we can be of better service to our customers because our deliveries are more likely to be complete and on time."
ResultsThe “package handling app” has provided Vanderlande with a user-friendly track and trace system. As a result, better service can be offered to customers, problems can be identified earlier and the likelihood of errors can be reduced significantly. "The app is a fast and simple tool, which tells us exactly where goods are and what we are missing. This allows us to take action immediately and modify our schedule wherever necessary. And work can only be started once all materials have been received. All in all, we can be of better service to our customers because our deliveries are complete and on time," says Verschoor. "The reliability of our systems is now also visible to our customers via our own logistical activities. And this is a great way of further improving relationships with customers," adds Gert Meijer, manager of installations at Vanderlande.
The app offers other benefits:
- Lower costs because no time or unnecessary materials are wasted and because urgent orders are no longer necessary.
- Higher productivity because administration via the app is significantly simpler than in ERP.
- Effective communication and less stress; questions can be answered using data in the app and discussions can be specific.