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With digitisation Piaggio’s manual workforce now shoulders more value-added responsibilies

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Although vintage is coveted when it comes to motor vehicles, but that certainly cannot be the design when it comes to the technology that fuels it nor can it propel its maker’s organisation.

Modernising the core of technology which drives the digital transformation of an organisation is imperative, believes Abhinav Srivastava, CIO, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd. The company’s core technology thus went in for a makeover and it was revamped, followed by being populated with other functionalities. “If you wish to drive organic digital development then the core cannot be inorganic, simple!” he exclaims.

Digital has been a part of the company’s strategy for the past one and a half years. As part of the digital journey, the company is taking the enterprise applications closest to the customers so that the relation between Piaggio and end customers is further fortified.

Key to bump-free digital ride

Piaggio is looking at making its Dealer Management System (DMS) available on the mobile phone platform rendering it extremely convenient for the dealers.

“Earlier the DMS was on-premise, then we took it to private cloud created by us but now it is being taken from private to the public cloud and will result is a significant cost reduction and a much better user experience,” he says.

The company has implemented several initiatives around digital transformation on its shop floor. “Our shop floor application is predominately Oracle and we have done multiple enhancements around Oracle. A lot of activities are happening around SAP wherein we have moved onto S/4 HANA, and we are in the process of implementing Fiori which is the mobile version of SAP. All these will be on mobile platform and be way more swifter, optimised and user friendly as compared to the earlier version,” informs Srivastava.

Piaggio is also transforming its sales processes. “Usually dealer partners have eight to 10 salesperson while bigger dealers have about 15-20 sales persons. Now, one of the key issues that was being faced by the dealer was exorbitant travel expenses incurred due to the sales travel. The dealer did not have any visibility in that in terms of whether the person is charging the right amount and this turned out to be a major cost for them. We are thus planning to integrate our CRM with Google maps which will enable the dealer to monitor the salesperson’s movement with a click of a button and avoid revenue leakage at the dealership level,” he claims.

Inroads with IOT

Mostly organisations use IoT to improve efficiency within their shop-floor, or within their production facility. Or they use IoT to provide visibility to the leaders in terms of data. Or to reduce cost as far as possible and automate the operations.

“We are doing all these three. On shop floor, we have implemented SCADA systems and PLM systems at the assembly lines which are all IoT based. They send data to their respective applications, we have now installed a series of sensors which are application agnostic because we did not want to bind ourselves with any technology. So irrespective of any application, IoT sensors, they collect all the data and push them into the Oracle,” says Srivastava.

“Also on the floor, for instance if any staff accidentally commits a mistake, the information will be integrated on the system. All the information of the activities are made available real-time on the system from across stores and all stations. In tune with this, the manager can view real-time status in terms of the condition of the vehicle or testing efficiencies or errors. These are all IoT based, with sensors and hi-speed WiFi,” he adds.

Another interesting thing is the two-wheeler mobile phone App. “It is a IoT based App for our two-wheeler customers. The App relays all the information with regards to the condition of the vehicle- whether its service is due, its mileage details, air pressure condition, the tyre pressure and all the imaginable vital stats. The customers have all the information on their palms now, this also establishes good relationship with them. This has also become a revenue generator for us, since people now are going for timely service or are changing and mending parts of the vehicle,” he informs.

“We look forward to enhance the application to an extent that when a vehicle part is installed by the customer, the app is intelligent enough to access whether it is genuine or not. This will give us an idea of the magnitude of the counterfeit market and generate database as well. It also advertises when there are some new accessories in the market. So some of the technology will be implemented and some may not in the long run, but this is the vision,” he asserts.

Future roadmap of IT implementation

According to Srivastava, next year it is going to be the year for data and after the data stabilises, will come AI and ML. “By the second half of next year we will start embracing AI and ML. We want to get the fundamentals right now. We want to get our data into shape so that we can fit AI and ML into it,” he says.

However, Piaggio is doing a significant amount of work around RPA. “In one of our processes we have to keep a record of the trucks in which the raw-material comes. The driver has to go through several rounds of manual checking of papers and data entry which leads to a significant amount of delay. Again the details are separately fed into the SAP. However, we are planning to integrate the entire process through RPA. With this, once the truck driver has arrived, the installed sensors accesses the weight of the vehicles; the camera will take the pictures of the truck’s number plate; and as the papers are scanned, all the information will be put into the system automatically with the help of a bot at the backend. So what used to take 20 minutes of data entry will take three minutes now. That is a mix of RPA and IoT,” he points out.

The company is extending this to the invoicing processes as well wherein in the SAP, a bot is given an ID, and because the data has already been entered once, the bot again picks up data from them and just pastes it in the right field in the SAP. With this, the 15-20 minutes task of processing just one invoice will be condensed to 2-3 minutes.

“In this way the digital has reduced a lot of dependencies on humans, while at the same time has reduced or nullified the scope of human-prone errors and now we can engage our people in more value added activities. Our leadership team is extremely pro-technology and all this is being possible due to their futuristic vision. To revolutionise and digitise further is the intent and the genuine aim is to garner customer confidence on us through our digital ways,” concludes Srivastava.


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