Mobile App with SAP S/4HANA integration at Terumo
Technology usedSAP Business Technology Platform, SAP CAP, SAP Fiori, SAP Integration Suite, SAP S/4HANA
About our client
Terumo Europe contributes to society by providing valued products and services in the healthcare market and by responding to the needs of patients and healthcare professionals. Terumo Europe is a core player in the EMEA healthcare market by providing best-in-class quality products and services.
Solution scope & business needs
This case zooms in on a native iOS application called the Consignment Scanning app, which purpose is to scan material/stock on location at the client’s warehouse by a Terumo sales representative. The scanned stock is used for invoicing purposes. At Amista we created a new version of the application. The original app had a lot of performance issues, mostly related to the scanning process. Scanning a barcode could take up to 10 seconds. There were also issues with the synchronization. The native iOS version uses the Scandit library, a lightning-fast barcode scanner that has a feature to do matrix scanning (scanning multiple barcodes concurrently and processing them). The app uses a CAP (SAP Cloud Application Programming Model) application as middleware for routing to both Terumo Aortic data that is stored in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and Terumo Europe data that is stored in the on-premise S/4HANA system.
At Terumo, the decision to undertake the consignment scanning application project was driven by a number of strategic business needs and technical challenges. Managing consigned inventory is a critical component of our business model and improving the ability to track this would benefit our business with increased operational efficiency, reduced costs and improved customer service.
We identified several key domains that would be impacted by the project, including finance, customer service, sales and logistics. In the finance area, we sought to streamline the billing process for consigned inventory, improve accuracy and shorten the billing cycle. In customer service, we aimed to improve our ability to track consigned inventory and optimize our consignment agreements. This could be achieved by our sales department, who would benefit from an enhanced user experience to quickly and accurately track consignment stock. And finally, in logistics, we wanted to improve our visibility into the location and status of consigned inventory, as well as the associated costs and revenue which results in an optimization of our overall inventory levels.
We selected SAP because of their proven track record in delivering scalable and robust solutions, their ability to integrate with our existing systems (including S/4 HANA and S/4 HANA Public Cloud), and their extensive experience in the industry. Building the mobile solution on the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) which is a modular, cloud-based platform that enabled us to create and deploy our customized application. The modular architecture of SAP BTP allowed us to choose the specific services we need, providing a flexible and scalable solution that can adapt to our changing needs over time.
Undertaking the consignment scanning application project at Terumo was not without its key challenges. From the outset, we recognized that we would need to address several strategic business needs and technical difficulties in order to successfully implement the new system. In that sense, we need to acknowledge that every hospital is different. We supply products and services to a very diverse customer base where we want to offer tailored solutions while simultaneously maximizing a standardized internal workflow.
From a practical point of view, this meant that the app needed to
- support small and large consignment stock locations;
- provide logins for sales reps from Terumo Europe and Terumo Aortic, protected with SAP Identity Authentication;
- allow for fast synchronization from and towards our SAP back-end systems: it includes both S/4 HANA and S/4 HANA Public Cloud or a combination of both. This is steered via a CAP (SAP Cloud Application Programming Model) based application deployed on SAP BTP;
- run on multiple types of Apple-devices (different models of iPhone/iPad). The strategy that we opted for was to build a native mobile application, developed in Swift using Fiori For iOS.
- support offline capabilities. Securing a reliable internet connection in hospitals is often a struggle, hence the need to be able to scan and process data while being offline;
- and last but definitely not least, maximize performance regarding scanning, reading and processing different types of barcodes (GS-1, split GS-1, DataMatrix).
Achieving a fast barcode recognition is done in 2 ways: first we provided valuable input during development to the responsible SAP team to enhance the standard focus area of the camera (ViewFinder). They acknowledged and implemented our recommendation in the latest Fiori For iOS-package. And secondly, we opted for a Scandit-integration into the mobile application, further improving barcode capturing in challenging circumstances (low light, wide angles, damaged labels,..).
Business benefits and results
- With a consignment stock value of around 10M €, it was important to increase visibility and closely monitor the consumption. Since the implementation, we have seen a marked improvement in traceability of our stock, resulting in a decrease of expired stock at hospitals. This has not only contributed to society through healthcare, which is Terumo’s group mission, but has also helped our company achieve its goals of improving patient outcomes.
- As a healthcare company, the validation process was also a critical track within the development of the consignment scanning app. We maintain the highest standards of safety and accuracy when delivering products to hospitals and other medical facilities. This includes our internal SAP-systems which are validated according to the necessary standards and allow us to have a full traceability for a product and batch from production to patient. By using the validated app to track and scan consigned stock and devices, we can ensure that all products are properly accounted for and that they are being used in the intended manner. This not only protects the health and well-being of patients, but also helps to maintain the reputation and trust of Terumo in the industry.
- The consignment scanning app allows us to scan more locations faster. Since the COVID-pandemic, access to hospitals has been severely tightened. Spending our time on site in an efficient way is therefore crucial. A decrease in the time spent completing the administrative task related to stock counts has created more moments that matter with healthcare professionals in the cath labs, enabling us to have more meaningful discussions about our products and patients.
The tagline of the team is ‘Yes, we can’ which perfectly aligns with ‘Challenge accepted’ of Amista. Together we continue to invest in technology & innovation and boost the technology of Terumo Europe.
– Sigurd Segers, ICT Applications, Enterprise Architecture & Analytics Director
Key factors contributing to the project’s success
Using known yet innovative solutions from SAP (e.g. SAP BTP) was an important factor of success for the project as it allowed us to leverage SAP’s expertise and experience while also benefiting from cutting-edge technologies. This helped us to follow our strategy of keeping the core clean and simultaneously using the scalable BTP to build a customized solution.
Involving several teams from the start of the project was also crucial as it ensured that all relevant stakeholders were engaged and aligned on the project goals and objectives. This cross-functional collaboration between sales, customer service, IT, and our partner Amista helped to create an integrated approach that addressed the needs of the entire group.
The third key factor for success was the innovative mindset across the different teams as it fostered a culture of continuous improvement and encouraged teams to explore new ideas and technologies (e.g. Scandit integration).
One of the key lessons learned is to invest sufficient time and resources in testing the application in the field. Accompanying a sales rep provided valuable insights into their scanning operations in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. This first-hand experience helped to identify specific pain points and challenges that they face during the scanning process. By understanding these challenges, the IT-teams could better tailor the development and address these specific needs (scanning speed, synchronization time, offline capabilities). It also helped to build trust and rapport between the different teams, allowing for the opportunity to enhance the quick user adoption of the new mobile solution.
- Carry on gathering feedback to continuously improve the app’s user experience and performance. This will include the possible usage of new features being made available in the SAP Fiori For iOS-environment.
- Evaluate the efficiency gains with the Scandit barcode recognition
- Develop analytics and reporting capabilities to provide insights into consignment stock levels, replenishments and sales performance, allowing the sales representative to further build their relationship with the hospital. This will require further integration into our S/4 HANA and S/4 HANA Public Cloud environments.
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