The inner workings of a global leader

Sibelco is a global material solutions company sourcing, transforming and distributing industrial materials around the world. They have 120 factories around the world active in everything from glass recycling and water purification to ceramics and construction materials.

One common thread across all these activities and locations is work orders. Work orders to repair equipment and infrastructure, replace parts and maintain machinery. This originally entailed a cumbersome process involving printed paperwork and various order forms for spare parts distributed to different departments. Technicians would write down their hours and other necessary remarks or readings on paper and hand this in to admin personnel to be entered into the system. The method lacked flexibility and efficiency, which Sibelco decided needed fixing.

Our target is to continuously improve both efficiency and safety of our maintenance work. Together with Apvine we managed to realize a native mobile application as an important enabler to reach this goal.
Guido Zeelen - Solution Architect at Sibelco.

End to end innovation

The goal of the project was to streamline Sibelco’s maintenance flow and provide technicians in particular with a centralised, digital solution. They wanted to keep their SAP system clean while also giving technicians and other factory personnel customised access to specific work order flows. Enter the Workorder Execution app, an offline mobile app built with Mendix Native, acting as an extension on top of their SAP system for a clean, efficient end-result.

The app caters to three unique user profiles:

  • Technicians receive and track work orders in detail, with all information on spare parts and historical data in one centralised system. The app can function offline when in remote work sites, and all data, including hours logged, gets uploaded directly into SAP once a connection is re-established, making for a smoother and more efficient maintenance process.
  • Operators (personnel operating factory machinery) can create notifications directly in the app if they notice any faulty or damaged equipment, complete with pictures and comments. This has led to a more proactive approach to maintenance and a lot more awareness of necessary repairs.
  • Supervisors have complete access to all information, allowing them to review and approve notifications without having to carry out a physical inspection themselves. They can also use the app to follow up on specific work orders and technicians to gain a clear overview of completed and current repairs. This means less planning errors and a quicker response time for needed repairs.
Sibelco Workorder Execution screens

What the future holds

Together with Sibelco we created an intelligent maintenance solution in under 3 months. The resulting app is available offline for use in remote locations, it’s currently being used across Italy and the UK and will soon also go live in Belgium and the Netherlands. We already have plans to extend the app further, adding an onboarding questionnaire, dynamic checklists, and access to technical documents stored on the SAP archive for technicians.

It was an exciting project in which we got to pioneer the integration of offline first technology (Mendix Native) with an online back-end system (SAP)! We look forward to many more exciting tracks with Sibelco.

Best of Customer Success 2021 - SAP Awards

SAP BeLux complimented our joint efforts with Sibelco by rewarding the Workorder Execution app with a bronze 'Best of Customer Success' award in the innovation category.