For many automotive Tier 1 suppliers, tracking their inventory is sometimes as challenging as manufacturing the parts themselves. Westin, WI-based Precision Replacement Parts (PRP) can attest to this statement.

Founded in 1986, PRP provides replacement parts for 25 manufacturers worldwide in the automotive industry. The company specializes in extruded and molded rubber, PVC and high-density polyethylene plastic components, as well as stamped and extruded metal parts for classic and late-model automobiles.

Until recently, the company struggled with finding the right software for its bar code scanners to provide exact control over its substantial inventory library. There were several reasons for this.

First, PRP was up against an impending version update (from 8.10 to 9.2) of its JD Edwards (JDE) EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning system made by Oracle. PRP needed to make sure its scanner software would seamlessly adjust to the new system, with little to zero code modification or downtime.

PRP management also had several other key requirements for the software. It must provide world-class inventory accuracy and transparency, along with the ability to simultaneously work with Android and Windows CE devices used by PRP workers. The software also needs to be version independent to integrate with future upgrades to the ERP system.

Earlier this year, the company purchased and implemented the Mobile Foundations app suite from RFGen Software to address all of these needs. This suite enables flexible mobile data collection and directly integrates with any ERP software platform. It provides high reliability and efficiency when taking inventory, while lowering tracking costs.

“The biggest benefit is we could update from JDE 8.10 to 9.2, and make any future updates, without making any technical changes to the RFGen code,” says Anthony Henderson, IT systems architect and development manager at IGD Industries, the holding company of PRP. “This was the heavy hitter for us.”

Another benefit of the suite is flexibility. Whenever necessary, members of PRP’s IT department can reshape the apps or construct new ones to meet changing inventory needs.

The apps automatically provide two-way data exchange with any ERP system in real time. They also eliminate manual inventory practices and bring end-users to the point of work, thereby reducing their wait and walk time.

Managers can remotely manage, deploy and support the apps, which utilize agnostic software that runs on Android, iOS and Windows devices. Data collection and viewing is possible online or offline 365/24/7 on bar code scanners, mobile computers, tablets, smartphones, vehicle mount computers, via RFID and on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices.

Thus far, PRP management is quite happy with the apps’ performance. Along with higher customer satisfaction, the company has seen a 70 percent increase in productivity and achieved optimum inventory accuracy (99.5 percent).

Other app suites offered by RFGen include those designed specifically for warehouse management, purchase orders, production orders, sales orders, plant maintenance and fixed assets. Manufacturers can connect the suites to databases, IBM AS/400 and mainframes, .NET Assemblies, UNIX systems and web services.

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