In times like these, when digital technologies are used so extensively to optimise planning and production processes, a high level of product quality is often no longer a differentiator. As companies need to stand out clearly from their competition, it is becoming increasingly important for them to offer a range of services around their products, such as ways to optimise the efficiency and quality of maintenance processes. Asseco Solutions combines smart processes with proven ERP to achieve exactly this, helping customers ensure their market success in the digital age. Its new APplus release, which the company is presenting exclusively at CeBIT, extends the previous service module with multiple new functions. It provides scheduling staff with an intelligent service planning table that integrates availabilities from other ERP areas into the planning process. It also provides on-site technicians with a mobile service app for their maintenance and documentation tasks. Asseco will be presenting these and all other APplus 6.4 new features on its stand E16 in Hall 17 at this year’s CeBIT, which takes place from 11 to 15 June in Hannover.
To expand the functional scope of the previous APplus service module, Asseco leveraged the specialised expertise available at its subsidiary SCS, whose solution of the same name is a comprehensive Industry 4.0 system for smart maintenance and other functions. In the new APplus Version 6.4, parts of the solution – the functionality in the SCS Planning module – have been integrated into the existing APplus service standard. As a result, users will have multiple new smart functions for planning, scheduling and handling service calls.
One of the key new features is the graphical service planning table, which helps users plan and manage service calls easily and in a similar way to production and project planning. As it is fully integrated into APplus, it includes a wide range of aspects from other ERP areas in the plans. For example, the new service module can access the same staff resources that are already being used in ERP project management. If a user wants to book an engineer specialised in a particular type of service call, the service module enables them to see that the specialist has already been booked at the requested time to commission a new plant system, for example. The module’s new functionality also provides information about materials availability to be included in the planning process. If a technician needs a particular part for a service call, the system automatically checks whether the part is available in the warehouse. If it is not, the system takes factors like part delivery times into account when scheduling the service call.
Another new function is a cloud-based mobile service app for smartphones and tablets that will help technicians once they are on site and working on the service call. It automatically shows field service staff all the information and documents they need for their service calls. This includes the task list, customer contact details, error descriptions, maintenance history, documentation and manuals. As the app is fully offline-enabled, technicians can enter all relevant data about their service call – such as its duration and results – even without an internet connection on site. Once this information has been synchronised with the cloud, it is available within the centralised APplus system.
A modern look with enhanced ergonomics
A high level of usability and ergonomics has always been a priority for the development of APplus. This was one of the reasons Asseco customers awarded APplus high scores for user-friendliness in the last two Trovarit studies on user satisfaction. However, customers’ working environments and usage circumstances are continuing to change – so Asseco has revised the interface in Version 6.4 to ensure it remains a pioneer in user friendliness. The new APplus stands out with its more modern look, clearer structure and more understated colour scheme as well as a more uniform and easy-to-read layout. The new look and feel boosts the solution’s ergonomics and user navigation: important data fields, icons and available functions stand out clearly in the interface and have a uniform design throughout the entire program.
With its new interface, Asseco is also taking a first step towards the planned modernisation of the entire APplus usage structure for the upcoming software generation. The new design enables users to benefit today from the enhanced and simplified interface structure prior to the next step, which will provide optimised usage logic for more flexibility and less complexity in all areas of product usage. Asseco closely involves its users in this development, as it uses customer feedback about usability as input into the development of the new software. This will ensure that the usability factor will be tailored precisely to customers’ wishes and requirements.
Implementing GDPR concepts with APplus 6.4
With Version 6.4, Asseco has integrated several functions into its standard solution to help users with the technical implementation of GDPR-compliant data protection. For example, the new anonymisation function enables users to define rules to irreversibly anonymise master and transaction data – including DMS records and data warehouse entries – in the ERP system. In doing so, the system takes into account any statutory data retention periods that are still running and only allows data to be anomyised when the last retention period has expired. In addition, the “purpose of processing” has been introduced as an element of the master data. This enables users to document the purposes for which personal data has been collected and provide information about them if necessary. APplus is therefore able to automatically send an email to a person whose personal data has been collected or changed. This email informs them in the correct way about the personal data that has been collected and its processing purpose. The access rights integrated in APplus ensure protection against any unauthorised changes to this data. These permissions limit the authorisations of each user depending on their job profile or other factors.
Overview of new functions
Some other new features in APplus 6.4 include:
- Extended functions for APplus Construction: with the new interface to GAEB (a set of standards for sharing construction data), service specifications from calls for tender can be imported into APplus and processed further semi-automatically. To create the tender, the system takes into account the costs and hourly wages stored in the system and requests any prices it needs from subcontractors. The user interface has been redesigned to be clearer and the system has been optimised for speed, enabling users to process several thousand positions efficiently.
- Invoice creation in ZUGFeRD format: many large companies prefer to receive invoices in ZUGFeRD, a file format for the standardization of electronic invoices in Germany. It is a PDF document that also embeds all invoice details as a machine-readable XML file. Version 6.4 enables users to create this type of invoice automatically in APplus.
- New packaging logic: APplus 6.4 makes the packaging logic more flexible. Users will be able to choose packaging depending on the batch size and to dismantle large plant systems in order to package the parts separately, if required. This is particularly useful in the automotive sector, where APplus provides compliance with the new VDA 4987 standard that governs electronic delivery note and transport data prior to shipping a product.
- Configurable stock separation characteristics: the new APplus version enables users to include their own freely definable criteria for warehouse space assignment in addition to series or batch numbers. This lets them define scenarios in which goods must be taken out in the order they were put in or in relation to their sell-by date.
- Tighter interlinking of project management and production: Version 6.4 enhances the integration of project management and production, enabling users to reconcile deadlines between project and production positions.
APplus 6.4 live on the CeBIT stand
The release of APplus 6.4 is planned for autumn 2018. Interested visitors can find out more about all the functionality in the new version on the Asseco stand (E16 in Hall 17) at this year’s CeBIT in Hannover. Customers and other interested parties wishing to fix up a meeting with Asseco Solutions specialists at CeBIT 2018 may contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Asseco’s PR agency phronesis PR will be happy to handle press enquiries by phone on +49(0)821/444-800 or by email at email@example.com.