Where it all began
The longstanding partnership between Stanley Black & Decker and PDMS began in 1998 when we developed their Bill of Material (BOM) system. This system was used to maintain a detailed record of all Stanley Black & Decker products and parts, technical and safety information, repair and service instructions, and more.
The system’s purpose was to support the Technical Service teams and provide Service Support to ‘on-the-ground’ service and repair agents who perform the warranty and repair of tools and equipment sold by Stanley Black & Decker.
The scale of the system was significant, as Stanley Black & Decker maintain over 100,000 different product revisions and over 500,000 parts for over 30 brands which are distributed across the globe. In addition, product lifespans can be as great as ten years, plus a five-year service life. Therefore, the process for maintaining repair information is complex and there was a clear need for a robust BOM system to manage the vast quantity of data.
Our initial BOM solution helped Stanley Black & Decker streamline their global processes, remove silos, and deliver automation for improved efficiencies. It also gave the Technical Services Team control of the warehouse inventory and supply chain, enabling them to reduce waste and improve time to market.
Twenty years on
Over two decades after the initial build, the operational model for the Technical Services Division had become complex and there were two separate instances of the BOM – one for Europe, Middle East, Africa & Asia, and one for the US. The operational model had not scaled up at the same rate as the company, making it increasingly inefficient and resulting in duplication of effort across regional teams.
Engineers around the globe were maintaining regionalised datasets using legacy systems, in-house apps and spreadsheets: a common scenario in longstanding global corporations. However, this approach meant that no single unit had complete oversight of the entire process, therefore a new joined-up solution was needed.
The solution: GSIS
The solution was to deliver a single system bringing the US, EMEA and Asia business functions together under one central system, known as the Global Service Information System (GSIS). This was easier said than done – the users were located around the world in different time zones and in different teams, the processes and procedures that had to be brought into a single system were considerably complex, and the implications of getting it wrong were life critical if it meant safety tooling information was incorrect.
Our team took an Agile approach to development which enabled us to eliminate risk early, ensure a high degree of collaboration between the team and give the client access to the work-in-progress (WIP) software to provide regular feedback.
The Agile approach also meant that we could address the project in manageable units, allowing the team to focus on high quality development, testing and collaboration. We were also able to perform regular builds, unit tests and user acceptance testing (UAT) to ensure quality by finding and fixing defects quickly.
This approach included:
- A Discovery phase
- Early prototypes
- Development spikes
- Sprint cycles
- Regular releases, demonstrations and testing
The transformation used digital tools and technology to produce a whole host of benefits across the global organisation.
We developed the system using the Microsoft stack so that it is manufacturer-backed for additional support and security. GSIS now also supports the collaboration of multiple projects for new product launches, automated parts in warehousing, and new workflows for the Supply Chain team. In addition, it provides the opportunity to integrate with several other systems including their SAP ERP software for accounting of their inventory.
Overall, the new solution resulted in an improved bottom line, increased productivity, error reduction, more opportunity for collaboration and workshare, as well as enhanced overall service.
The resulting solution brought about a significant number of benefits and improvements. Firstly, the overall user experience (UX) was dramatically improved. The new browser-based interface is modern and aligns with the Stanley Black & Decker brand as well as using familiar terminology for ease of understanding. Usability and consistency were important elements of the design process, meaning that users can easily recognise usage patterns between screens and learn to use the system quickly.
Additionally, GSIS is responsive and provides feedback, allowing users to know whenever information has been processed or is in progress. Users also have access to shortcuts, prompts, cues and wizards to perform tasks with the least amount of effort possible.
200 meetings (including workshops and demos)
233 high level requirements
345 test cases
945 development and testing tasks
Futureproof platform with increased performance and enhanced security
In addition to the improved system UX, other fundamental improvements were made. The new web-based solution removed the need for desktop installation, allowing access from any internet enabled device from anywhere. This improved the flexibility and efficiency of the system dramatically. System security was also significantly enhanced, not least because there is no longer a reliance on PCs to run the app.
Implementation of cloud-based hosting and modern web programming languages delivered optimal performance in managing over eight million records and two million transactions, ensuring maintainability into the future. Additionally, the overall responsiveness and performance of the system is much faster, thus improving the efficiency overall.
We are now in the continuous improvement stage of the project and work with Stanley Black and Decker on an ongoing support basis to drive further efficiencies and value.
Stanley Black & Decker are looking at driving further value to the business from the solid foundation GSIS provides as a single data source for products and parts. The possibilities provided by excellent data design from the outset can be far reaching throughout an organisation and can assist many other departments including sales, marketing and accounting.