If an important electronic component in transmission technology fails, action must be taken quickly. First, tests and analyses identify the defective part. Next, the part is replaced as quickly as possible. In the telecommunications industry, maintenance is a decisive competitive factor. After all, every breakdown or interruption of service costs time and money. That’s why the most common question from customers is, “Where are the parts that we ordered?” Followed by, “When will they arrive?”
Today, customers of CTDI Nethouse Services receive rapid, detailed replies to these questions. The company’s core business is the maintenance of transmission-related components and devices for the operators and manufacturers of network infrastructures in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The company currently employs more than 800 people at its headquarters in Malsch, Germany and in four additional European locations. The employees use the most modern devices and facilities to inspect and test more than one million components annually.
More Goods, Faster Throughput, and New Locations
CTDI Nethouse Services had to optimize its IT landscape to meet two needs. The first need involved the growing requirements of customers for transparency and shorter throughput times. The second need involved handling the increasing amount of goods and linking new locations. Although the PPS system from Diaprod previously in use had been modified a great deal to meet the processes of CTDI Nethouse Services, it wasn’t sustainable because the manufacturer no longer supported or maintained it. That’s why CTDI Nethouse Services decided in 2004 to replace its legacy system with modern, completely integrated software.
“We wanted to map our business processes uniformly, but still maintain as much flexibility as possible,” says Ralf Ott, director of information technology at CTDI Nethouse Services, describing the requirements. The company used studies to evaluate the market. Six suppliers made it into the final round of selection, including ITML GmbH from Pforzheim, Germany, an SAP partner. CTDI Nethouse Services ultimately decided on ITML and its qualified mySAP All-in-One partner solution, ITML > High<tech>. The industry solution is based on mySAP ERP and is an out-of-the box, complete package preconfigured to support the typical business processes of the high-tech industry. “Preconfiguration for automatic determination of requirements, automated order processes, or warehouse monitoring for vendors were very important to us because only they could allow us to realize our high level of service orientation in out day-to-day work,” says Ott. ITML also served as the implementation partner and was able to use its SAP-based add-on solutions, ITML > SCM (supply chain management) and ITML > CSM (customer service management) for integrated mapping of repair and service processes for customers.
Committed and Flexible Implementation Partner
The project began in October 2004, and the design phase lasted until the end of January, 2005. The actual implementation occurred between August and December 2005. After preparations for go live, including transferring data from the legacy system, several test runs, and training, CTDI Nethouse Services placed the new software into operation at the beginning of February 2006.
“The implementation proved to be a significant challenge because we had to implement the system during ongoing operations, and we had to go live simultaneously in all European offices and 20 external warehouses,” recalls Ott. CTDI also took over a new production facility in Budapest during the course of the project. And the addition of new customers meant that CTDI Nethouse Services also had to modify existing processes and create new processes. All these requirements flowed into the project as change requests – and ultimately reached a scope equal to that of the originally planned implementation. The actual cutover occurred on a weekend. The company fulfilled its daily volume as early as the first day after the implementation. “Just from company headquarters, about 670 components were delivered to customers,” says Ott about the successful collaboration with ITML.
Fast Repairs . . .
Since the implementation, the 300-plus SAP users at CTDI Nethouse Services profit from the numerous advantages of the new software. The ability to deliver the correct spare parts within one to two hours demands a great deal of logistical effort. After all, the technicians work far beyond the borders of Europe itself.
As SAP-certified solutions, ITML > High<tech> and ITML > CSM seamlessly map the complete process, including order entry with goods receipt processing in the call center, exchange processing, repair processes, and logistics processes like delivery and transport. For example, if a customer calls the call centers and reports the failure of a component in a telecommunications system, the call center agent asks if an advance exchange is necessary. If the answer is yes, CTDI sends the customer a functional component immediately. If the defective component later appears in goods receipt at CTDI, an employee checks to see which device is involved and then warehouses it with other defective components or has it repaired.
In such a procedure, the maintenance department must know which component is damaged and how it can be quickly replaced. The qualified mySAP All-in-One partner solution helps SAP users at CTDI employ the ITML add-on to access drawings, test plans, and installation instructions electronically. Material orders can be controlled as comfortably as the printing of the required documents. Releasing orders, changing the status of orders, and confirming such activities occur seamlessly. CTDI also offers its customers an option to trace their component orders online. A supplemental solution, ITML>SCM, combines the necessary information, which users can then query over the Internet. The result? Customers always know where their components are located.
. . . Ensure Warranty Coverage
CTDI Nethouse Services also uses the qualified mySAP All-in-One solution to check the warranty claims of customers. The company must distinguish between manufacturers’ warranties – CTDI primarily installs external components from Nortel, Motorola, or Deutsche Telekom – and warranties issued by CTDI Nethouse Services for its own repairs. If a component breaks down, it can be identified by its part number and ordered automatically by the solution. The employees at CTDI Nethouse Services can recognize if a component has been repaired once before or if it is dealing with an initial repair. Technicians can also determine if a component comes under a manufacturer’s warranty or a repair guarantee of the service provider itself.