Requisition automation and control
The client is a leading US company that designs, manufactures and markets high-performance analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing (DSP) integrated circuits (ICs). These products connect real-world measurements, such as temperature, motion, pressure, light and sound, into electrical signals to be used in an array of electronic equipment. These range from industrial process control, factory automation systems equipment, base stations, central office equipment, wireless telephones, digital cameras and DVD players.
The company's 8,000-strong workforce followed a completely manual system for requisitions to procure non-stock material and services. Time and efficiency were lost as the paper documents flowed in different directions until they were finally delivered by hand, fax or scanned email version. With over 50,000 such requisitions generated each year, the company was hard pressed to find an alternative to the traditional system. A need to migrate to a web-based intranet application was felt, to enable significant improvements in the purchase management operations.
Challenges and requirements
While strategically this was a simple move, Infosys had to handle operational difficulties like:
- Studying the internal processes followed by the client to determine operational procedures. This study would help Infosys and the client look at useful workarounds that saved time and effort
- Analyzing the manual processes to identify best practices, which could be strengthened in the automated system, and redundancies that could be eliminated
- Integrating the solution with the other existing systems used to process related data. This meant that Infosys had to determine interfacing methodologies to ensure seamless data interchange
- Delivering the solution real time from its onsite and offshore development facilities called for special skills in change management and dynamic requirement analysis to ensure full conformance with the client's mandates
The three member team from Infosys started with a detailed analysis of the client's existing purchase requisitioning system as a pre-cursor. This helped the team to identify key redundant processing methods that could be eliminated in the new web-based solution. Next, a requirement study was conducted and test use cases were prepared accordingly. Discussions with the client's purchasing council, the final business user of the system, helped the team determine additional improvements. These changes were reflected in the final output.
Benefits and outcome
The system, which was designed using Microsoft's .NET architecture, featured logical and physical data modeling, and the user interface was designed using UML (Universal Markup Language) and Wireframe. To enable the intranet features, a web-based application was designed. Interfaces for external applications like SAP were also devised. Finally, production support was handled, along with the creation of operational and management reports.
The Infosys team migrated the data from the old applications to the new systems. The team was also able to identify additional areas for future improvements based on the knowledge gained from the study of the system. Active involvement of the business users from the client's side not only helped the team deliver a system that fully met their needs, but also increased their awareness of the system's capabilities.
Quality topped the client's list of priorities. The Infosys team performed UAT (user acceptance testing) to guarantee excellence. UAT involved actual users operating the product for real applications, giving the Infosys team meaningful user feedback. This was incorporated into the final release.
The client is currently using Infosys Unit Test Plan templates for its own in-house applications, underscoring their satisfaction with the Infosys best practices in testing.
The Infosys team replaced a slow and error-prone manual system with a web-based solution that seamlessly integrated with the client's existing systems within one year:
- Errors associated with manual processes were removed and data integrity across the system was improved
- The Infosys solution helped the purchasing council to quickly prioritize and sort requisitions into those that should be sanctioned and those that should be rejected
- Significant cost reduction was achieved by replacing the paper-based processing involving couriers, faxes, scanning and printouts
- A deep understanding of the client's processes facilitated continuous improvement
- The e-Requisition system was virtually error-free and the average number of defects was in line with CMM 5 levels of 0.1
- As a final seal of approval, Infosys is helping the client develop an information depot, which will act as a repository for different types of data currently managed across the enterprise