About BAE Systems
BAE Systems provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions and employ a skilled workforce of some 83,400 people in over 40 countries. Working with customers and local partners, they develop, engineer, manufacture and support products and systems to deliver military capability, protect national security and people and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.
“Cooper Software gave us the confidence that their ACQUIRE solution was able to handle all of our unique requirements while making our inventory management and tracking processes more streamlined and efficient. Once implemented we were not disappointed and continued to expand the solution to meet our on-going needs, particularly with the mobile development.” IT Manager, BAE Systems
An existing IFS customer, BAE Systems were looking to complement their high quality business processes with an automated data capture solution, focused on the tracking and management of inventory. The company was looking to streamline this process with the aim of increasing efficiency and reducing the overhead of manual data entry requirements.
Cooper Software provided BAE Systems with their ACQUIRE barcoding and data capture for IFS solution – the UK’s most popular data capture and RF system for IFS. The solution allows the essential work order and inventory tracking transactions to be performed using hand-held mobile devices over RF thereby providing more in- line control over operations. The intuitive mobile based forms which are a key feature of ACQUIRE, guide the user through the transactions requesting input values to allow the necessary transactions to be completed.
BAE Systems were provided with 11 transactions to improve the processing of inventory from goods in, through to the issuing out, through work order material demand processes. These transactions were delivered over two phases, with the first phase focusing on the fundamental transactions for managing inventory, e.g. change location, transport tasks and material requisition, followed by the remaining set for goods receipt and inventory counting. These transactions provided BAE Systems with the necessary functions to allow the operators to immediately operate more effectively.
The second phase of the project extended upon the existing ACQUIRE application for inventory management to allow for the internal and external asset tracking aspects of IFS to be integrated into a more streamlined and automated data capture solution. This was achieved by extending two current ACQUIRE transactions, ’Change Inventory Location’ and ‘Execute Transport Task’, customising two IFS processes around ‘Customer Order Picking’ and ‘Customer Order Delivery’ and enabling them in ACQUIRE and creating a new asset tracking ‘Return to Work Order’ transaction.
The ACQUIRE IFS barcoding solution and the enhancements delivered around asset tracking, seamlessly integrate with IFS, ensuring users are always presented with accurate, up to date information. The information is then returned to IFS in real time allowing more accurate stock information, movements and order fulfilment rates.
For the operators responsible for the management and tracking of inventory and the fulfilment of material orders for associated work orders within the BAE Systems warehouses, the ACQUIRE IFS barcoding solution provides a single point of reference for performing the system transactions at the point of execution. This functionality improves the operator experience by reducing the amount of manual effort and data capture required to complete system updates, preventing users having to return to workstations for information and eliminating the need for paper based processes. The solution has also reduced process issues and the time required to correct errors as data is available at the point of execution.
To further extend the solution, and to support BAE’s mobile working platform, Cooper Software embarked on an additional project with BAE, to leverage the existing ACQUIRE handheld device system and develop a mobile application that could be run on a mobile smartphone device, specifically, the Samsung Galaxy A3 running the Android operating system. This removed limitations of the tied, on-premise solution and gave end-users increased flexibility and mobility across the naval base.
All 11 transactions which formed part of the ACQUIRE solution were uplifted. Although the mobile solution appeared different on screen due to the capability of the Samsung Galaxy A3 device and differing form factors, functionality wise, it operated in exactly the same way as the existing ACQUIRE implementation. The solution connected to the ACQUIRE server using WiFi when available, or 3G / 4G, with this server then ‘talking’ to IFS. Operators were able to scan items using the mobile device camera which recognised barcodes and translated this to input.
- User Friendly barcoding solution that allows operators to perform IFS system transactions with handheld scanner.
- Mobile solution removes the requirements and limitations provided by the on-premise, sometimes tethered solution.
- Improved overall efficiency of the processes related to managing and tracking inventory.
- Provides complete visibility and up to date warehouse stock levels, inventory movements and work order fulfilment rates.
- Elimination of keying errors.
- Reduces the need for additional manual data capture and paper based processes.
- Time saving – 50% reduction in manual effort of data capture and automation of IFS updates.
- Integrates seamlessly, and in real-time, with IFS.
- Automate system transactions to align with business process requirements.
- Supports process improvements by providing a platform that can be built upon, extended and scaled according to business and regulatory requirements.