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Mobile Applications for IBMi

The challenge 

One of our customers wanted to move away from a paper-based receipt system in their Goods In department. This would improve efficiency as currently the paper receipts were then passed to the admin department to be keyed into the IBMi system, if they could be entered electronically in the warehouse then it means the data is available faster and less prone to transcription errors. They used an IBMi server running V5R4 software with a bespoke ERP solution but didn’t want to tie the warehouse staff to desks with terminals/PCs/laptops so the option to move around the warehouse was key. 

The immediate concern was for stock received direct from suppliers, once the solution was accepted, they hoped to also implement into transfers between sites. 


The solution 

Longrange Logo

We implemented Longrange from Lansa, available on Google, Apple, and Microsoft stores. This meant that the customer could provide mobile devices to their staff, avoiding the problem of being stuck at a desk as they could carry the device with them as easily as their pen & paper. 

Most of the application is developed natively on the IBMi system, meaning that logic and validation from the existing admin screen could be re-used in the new warehouse application. It is also using the existing IBMi profiles, meaning that staff do not have to worry about learning new logon credentials. From a developer point of view this also meant that MNIS staff could use their existing skillset in CL/RPG coding without having to learn a new language. 

A small amendment was made to the admin screens, so that their workflow was left largely unchanged but with the added benefit of the data entered by the warehouse being pre-populated for them. 

To trace individual devices, in case one is lost/damaged, the unique device ID generated by Longrange was recorded onto the IBMi along with login history. This also helps MNIS analysts as, if the warehouse have a problem with a device, we can pinpoint exactly which one is affected. 

The Benefits 

Once the system was implemented the warehouse were able to key in the information directly, all admin staff are required to do is review the entry and confirm it. This meant that the information was available quicker for sales staff as to what stock was available. 

After using the solution and seeing the benefits our customer went forward with implementing into their transfer system. The customer was so impressed that they then developed an additional application to help in their stock check processes, again allowing the warehouse to remain mobile and without admin staff having to rekey the information recorded with pen & paper.