Monthly Archives: December 2017

How Digital Transformation is Influencing Utilities

Technology is witnessing rapid changes and the changes are affecting everyone in every business in every industry. The field of power and utility is no exception and is also subject to the change being provided by advancing technology. In fact, the majority of changes being made which are impacting the utility business actually represent a digital transformation as things are unfolding in front of us. The future is not exactly certain but the information we have about digital transformation right now gives us an insight about the influence it is having on the utility industry.
What are the most profitable business models today?
The business models that were in place as little as two or even one decade ago are no longer as effective as they were back in the day. There was a stringent selection of options available to users in the times of the long standing archaic systems but with the advent of the digital transformation, users now have plenty of options to choose the company and their services, which are most befitting for their use. Customers are now savvier and expect companies to provide more services and the surplus of eco friendly practices.
According to the Digital Utilities Roadmap, these are the three business models which will most likely emerge:
• Renewable energy generation at minimal cost
• Distribution which is smart and efficient (particularly attractive to the savvier customers)
• Services which can balance the demand and supply concerns
What are the best ways to meet the power needs of today?
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, sustainable power is achievable by making renewable energy the focus of our concerns. Customers are more willing to choose solar and wind powered sources of energy since they provide an alternative to the less cleaner and more costly options, which have been in use (fossil fuels and nuclear energy). As the advent of choice is becoming more common, alternative sources of power will become more reliable and extend their reach to even the most remotely located customers. Almost everyone shares a digital connection now and through that connection, word about the benefits of renewable energy will spread.
Which tech trends have the biggest influence on the utility industry today?
Smart electronic devices and home products are not just a convenience for customers nowadays. These advancements humankind has made in technology have had a big impact on the utility market as well. To put it in the most simplistic way, smart products are inhibiting the creation of smart consumers. The users are now able to measure the usage of their utilities and get a better understanding of where and how their energy is coming from and where it is being expended. This also gives them a better insight on how to more effectively make use of energy and manage their utility bills better.
The Big Data which smart home and smart device industries are providing utility companies makes for a big difference. Big data was never available to these companies before and by using the information that they have now, utility companies can adjust the services that they are providing to make the optimal usage of resources.
The utility industry and the world at large are in the midst of great changes being made so the story about digital transformation and the utility industry has not yet reached a climax. In light of the current circumstances however, the future looks bright and it is best to take advantage of all the benefits advancing technology is providing.

Radio Frequency Identification and SAP Mobility

Radio Frequency Identification is becoming more and more prominent in the context of the manufacturing industry. This is happening in light of the search that companies are constantly in to improve the accuracy of data recording and collection along with the identification of products. Radio Frequency Identification has been used extensively by the retail industry to identify and track inventory. These benefits of RFID are now being recognized by the manufacturing industry as well.

Many manufacturing companies make use of the Enterprise Resource Planning application solutions, and to make sure that they can maximize the potential usage of RFID, they need to ensure that their RFID solutions are appropriate for integration with their ERP solution.

Radio Frequency Identification and SAP

Manufacturing companies that use SAP can make use of RFID for the purpose of tracking their products along their supply chain. This means that the goods can be identified during the process of inbound delivery when they are stored in the inventory and also during the outbound delivery process. Customers are also able to track their items during the shipping process when it is making its way to them using the RFID tags attached on them.

The tagged items can be processed by using automated goods receipts and validation by the Advanced Ship Notice when the inbound deliveries reach a plant. This goods receipt process is also able to identify any wrong items or incorrect quantities sent by the vendor. In the outbound delivery process, the goods can be tagged and loaded on to cases and pallets and then the automated goods receipt can be achieved by making use of the RFID.

The ASN can be sent over to the customer with the details pertaining to the item. During the time a tagged item is stored at a plant, it can be tracked using the RFID tag attached on them. If the item has to be used in the processes involving plant maintenance, such as work orders, the information about the item can be recorded on the tag attached to it.

SAP Auto ID

The SAP solution for the utilization of RFID along with an ERP is called SAP Auto-ID or SAP Aii. It’s a middleware system that receives the data from a RFID data capture source (usually an RFID reader) and then integrates the data it has received from the tag directly into the Enterprise Resource Planning application. The SAP Aii consists of two main components:

  • Core Services – It includes the flexible definition and the rule set environment.
  • Integration Services – The Auto-ID interacts with three different types of environments. The backend systems, the RFID devices and the web user interface for the control and user maintenance

The SAP Aii offers two interfaces for the users. One of them is a mobile interface which can be used on mobile devices or PDAs and a desktop version, which allows users to enter the SAP Aii settings. The Standard SAP Aii system has a set of predetermined rules and all activities related to them. The users can modify the rules and settings via the user interface depending on their need except for these predefined processes in SAP Aii:

  • Goods Issue
  • Goods Receipt
  • Returnable Transport Items
  • Kanban
  • Product Tracking
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