PANASONIC DRIVES SUCCESS AT RASKONE
Finland’s largest commercial vehicle repair business saves time and improves inventory management with Panasonic rugged handheld devices and TOUGHBOOK Omnia bespoke application.
“The rapid software development approach from TOUGHBOOK Omnia and easy implementation of the new software exceeded my expectations.”
To quickly deliver a future-proofed sales invoicing and inventory management solution that reduces errors and improves efficiency.
Panasonic TOUGHBOOK T1 rugged Android handheld warehouse solution including pistol grip, charging dock and custom-designed TOUGHBOOK Omnia software application.
Panasonic drives success at Raskone
When Finland’s largest commercial vehicle repair business wanted to renew and improve its mobile computing and service software it turned to technology specialist Kauko Oy and Panasonic TOUGHBOOK.
Raskone Oy specialises in commercial vehicle maintenance, with 19 repair centres across Finland. The company has a turnover of approximately EUR 65 million and employs more than 500 professionals in the field.
When Raskone mechanics receive service work orders, they collect the required parts from the warehouse and scan the product barcodes. The information collected is transferred from the mobile device to the central ERP system and also logged onto the customer’s work order for billing.
“We previously used a handheld device with a Windows operating system,” explained Maxim Demin, IT Team Manager at Raskone Oy. “The device had a small screen that was difficult to read and a small physical keyboard that was hard to use. The buttons’ markings were so worn out you couldn’t read them.”
“The software also had some issues. If the device battery died during an assignment, it would lose the WiFi settings and discard all collected products from the work order. The mechanics had to start their collection work again, which was frustrating. Due to the worn out keyboard markings, reconnecting to the WiFi network meant that you had to remember what each key did in order to update the settings correctly.”
These issues sometimes resulted in the team discarding the device, keeping track of spare part sales on pen and paper and manually reporting them to managers. In the worst cases, reporting and tracking were forgotten, which resulted in lower sales and poor inventory management.
A move to Android
With the device no longer available in the market and the operating system no longer supported, Raskone decided to move to an Android-based solution. The previous supplier suggested coding new software from scratch, but the software delivery time was longer than ideal and costs were high. Raskone also wanted to ensure their software investment was future-proofed so they were not locked to the operating system and device.
Raskone contacted Kauko for alternative options. The company is a mobile computing specialist and the exclusive provider of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices in Finland. It suggested using the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK T1 handheld device and using a TOUGHBOOK Omnia agile software development solution to create the applications.
Raskone outlined their software needs in the first meeting with Kauko and its experts then visited Raskone’s Vantaa Airport repair centre to study in more detail how the device and software were used.
The software was created by the TOUGHBOOK Omnia team using the MCL software development environment. Developing, integrating and maintaining custom software applications across multiple devices can be a complex task. The MCL Platform simplifies this process. Custom apps can be designed quickly and easily deployed to multiple devices across any business. No more siloed technology, no more multiple platform management – no matter how diverse the range of devices, form factors and operating systems are. In addition, TOUGHBOOK Omnia brings down the time it takes to develop a bespoke application - from years and months to just weeks, or even days for proof of concepts – saving time and money.
“Compared to coding from scratch, the software development cost with Omnia was five times lower and delivery much faster,” said Demin. “The first demo version was ready two weeks after our initial meeting and we had a publishable version after a couple of months. Everything went so smoothly and quickly with Kauko.”
The new device and software combination was first tested in the Raskone Vantaa Airport repair centre. During the first implementation, Raskone realised there were additional functionality requirements that were not initially specified. “Kauko was very quick to respond and the new functionality was deployed within days of our request,” said Demin. “The development process is very agile.”
The roll-out of the devices was completed in early 2021 and Raskone has been very pleased with the results. “The workflow is similar to the old device and software, but the user interface is much more inviting and usability a lot better with the new device,” explains Demin.
The mechanics now use the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK T1 handheld devices. It brings together the best of handheld and smartphone functionality into a single rugged 5" device. With its voice and data capabilities, integrated barcode scanner, wide range of functionality and ability to withstand the testing environment of the repair centre, the TOUGHBOOK T1 handheld is the ideal tool for Raskone.
“Because of the simplicity of use, training has not been necessary, and some mechanics have not even read the instructions,” joked Demin.
Because the TOUGHBOOK Omnia solution included integrated device management, Raskone is now able to keep track of the usage rate and location of each device, which was not possible before. “The new solution has allowed us to shorten the time needed for logging the sales to our ERP system, reduce warehouse wastage, improve inventory management and spare part sales accuracy,” concluded Demin.
TOUGHBOOK Omnia and the new devices have also made life easier for Raskone’s IT department. For fast and effective deployment, QR code or NFC bump options enable Raskone to configure and roll-out devices to employees that are ready to use on arrival. With the devices always on and connected to the network, updates can be scheduled and deployed at convenience without touching the devices, asking users to update them or sending them back to head office.