Documents play a key part in the production and sales processes at Fahrzeugwerk Bernard Krone GmbH. Over 1,000 employees manufactured around 40,000 vehicles at company headquarters during 2007 to 2008. This makes Krone the second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in Europe. The company currently has national sales partners in 35 European countries.
As a vehicle manufacturer with a wide range of products, Krone uses many different types of documents in its production and sales processes. Until around two years ago, Krone was using an AS/400 based system as its application platform for document composition. Initially, documents were still composed manually or using the mail merge function. This involved accessing Excel and Word files, plus data from the production planning and control systems used at the time.
IBM Text and MS Word were used for word processing, and data was gathered manually in order papers and parts lists. As well as the large amount of work that was involved in document composition, the fact that data was saved on incompatible local or central directory systems also proved to be a problem. A significant increase in the number of orders meant that this practice was no longer appropriate.
Read about the solution
Krone eventually found the right solution for this situation in Aia Software’s ITP output management platform. A range of factors helped them decide on this system, including the fact that normal Windows PCs can be used as a hardware platform for composition of document templates or models, and their subsequent processing.
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Krone’s IT managers were also impressed by the software’s flexibility in output and printing, supported by all sorts of formats and options. They also appreciated the relatively simple programming language, which limited the training employees needed. Another advantage was that formatting could be converted directly using Word, and diagrams, graphics and drawings could be incorporated easily.
To launch composition of documents or files, Krone staff now use one of the individually configurable ITP menus. Depending on the type of document, dialog boxes are the main interaction between users and the system. Employees only need to be trained in the composition of templates and model documents. Users who work with automatically generated documents just need basic PC skills.
Another advantage for Krone, is that the quality of documents is consistently high, which would not be possible if they were composed manually. This is extremely important, since many documents are vehicle documents and certificates, which are subject to strict legal guidelines concerning their layout, structure and content.
The output solution's flexibility was first put to the test when Krone switched from its AS/400 platform to UNIX and SAP R/3. During this conversion, a highly efficient interface between ITP and SAP was needed to further use the solution.
This was no easy task, since raw data for documents was taken from the SAP system, and documents had to be permanently stored in the SAP document management system in a time-controlled manner. However, together with Aia Software, Krone’s IT department made the necessary modifications to the application to support the switch to the new platform.