In less than three weeks, Pif Paf Alimentos launched a mobile application for its maintenance technicians using SAP Build Apps. The new mobile app significantly reduces the use of paper, improves the efficiency and accuracy of administrative tasks, and does not require an Internet connection.

Pif Paf Alimentos, founded in 1968, is one of the top ten companies in the food sector in Brazil. The company offers a diverse product portfolio including meat, fish, sausages, pasta, ready-to-eat meals, and cheese breads that are enjoyed by millions of customers both in Brazil and around the world. To produce high-quality food, the company relies on complex machinery that operates in over 14 industrial units. Therefore, it is crucial that all machinery operates as expected at all times. Maintenance is key to ensuring the machinery’s reliability and efficiency.

Manual Reporting and Paper Waste

In the past, Pif Paf Alimentos’ maintenance technicians conducted a manual process to check machine operation. This process involved technicians recording machine operating data on paper-printed maintenance orders for each order received. The maintenance order data included precise details such as the exact date and time of the machine task operation. After collecting this data, technicians manually logged it into the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This meant that technicians had to record the same information twice, on different platforms.

This process resulted in a large amount of paper waste every day, negatively impacting Pif Paf Alimentos’ sustainability efforts.

Automating the Maintenance Routine with SAP Build Apps

Pif Paf Alimentos, having worked with SAP products before such as SAP Integration Suite and SAP ERP, took advantage of SAP Build Apps to help resolve its technicians’ problems by building and deploying a working mobile app solution in less than three weeks. Why was the deployment process so fast? SAP Build Apps allows users to build apps in a low-code manner by providing drag-and-drop user interfaces (UIs) for common app components. With this, Pif Paf Alimentos was able to build a solution quickly.

Technical solution architecture at Pif Paf Alimentos

The Underlying Technology

Pif Paf Alimentos’ new enterprise-grade app not only solved its maintenance routine problem but also integrated seamlessly with its existing SAP technology architecture, powered by SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). SAP Build Apps provided Pif Paf Alimentos with operational agility, saving time, paper, and money. Furthermore, its IT team benefited from faster response times to business needs, allowing Pif Paf Alimentos to scale its solutions throughout the entire corporation. Lauro Salgado, IT developer at Pif Paf Alimentos, leveraged the comprehensive content provided by SAP Discovery Center “Use SAP Build Apps to Build Side-by-Side UI Extensions for SAP ERP” to develop both the pilot and the productive version of the app, fully utilizing the capabilities offered by SAP Build Apps.

Significant Savings in Time, Paper, and Money

Pif Paf Alimentos conducted a pilot test of its new mobile application with four maintenance technicians. After a month of testing, the technicians reported a 30% reduction in maintenance order handling time within the test group. Pif Paf Alimentos now plans to scale this solution to its entire force of approximately 300 maintenance technicians. Moreover, the mobile solution’s 10% reduction in paper waste has already resulted in saving an average of 75 sheets of paper per technician per month, which translates to 270,000 sheets of paper saved per year.

The Pif Paf Alimentos Project Experience

“We provided faster business response to the maintenance department. The IT team, as a business partner, gained agility using SAP Build Apps in the delivery of solutions and contributed to the goal of a paperless enterprise, improving process efficiency and automation,” Salgado explained. “The solution is built on SAP Build Apps and integrates into our existing landscape seamlessly. If we were going to build an application using a different technology, it would take much longer. You would have to code and integrate the fields. This low-code technology helped us take advantage and deliver the solution faster.”

“Pif Paf Alimentos believes that partnerships with solutions that aim to decentralize the use of technology are the way to accelerate the digital transformation of companies,” Antonio Minier, director of Business Transformation at Pif Paf Alimentos said. “I believe that digital awareness is the necessary competence for this to happen with quality and that is why we have invested in the five pillars that compose it: the creativity of our employees, the agile mindset, the vision of processes, the democratization of technology, and data. This case is the consolidation of a vision of the future within a successful journey of our digital transformation program, SOUL Digital.”

An important consideration for the mobile solution was the ability to input data in remote areas where maintenance technicians are unable to connect to the network, which was not an issue with manual entry. With SAP Build Apps, Pif Paf Alimentos was able to create a synchronizing functionality. The maintenance technician’s input data is first saved locally on their devices and then synchronized with the overall system when a network connection is reestablished. SAP Build Apps can provide an open-ended framework to create a diverse path towards unique solutions, like this one.

The Way Forward for Design and Development with SAP

Looking back, Carlos Estala, senior SAP AppHaus consultant, said: “Pif Paf Alimentos was able to develop and integrate its on-premise SAP system with low-code in SAP Build Apps to control its preventative maintenance orders in just a few weeks, all without having to write a line of code. This helped it solve a business necessity to have digital data up-to-date.”

With the support of the SAP AppHaus Palo Alto team, Pif Paf Alimentos aims to further improve the design of the app and extend it to other business processes and maintenance routines, all built on SAP BTP and powered by SAP Build Apps.

Mirela Viersa is a customer design engagement lead at SAP AppHaus Palo Alto.
Tina Cai is a UX design specialist at SAP AppHaus Palo Alto.
Images courtesy of Pif Paf Alimentos