Hitachi Solutions Japan: the importance of Resco’s offline for TEL’s 4,000+ field engineers

manufacturers in front of manufacturing line, quality control

We have an interesting Resco partner story for you today – made possible thanks to Hitachi Solutions, whom we have been working with since last year to bring the most innovative and robust business mobility solutions to Japan and other Asian markets.

Hitachi Solutions doesn’t need any special introduction. The business application consulting firm is a leader in delivering proven business and IT strategies and solutions to companies across countless industries. Their expertise is backed up by dozens of industry awards, including being named Microsoft Partner of the Year a whopping 47 times! Wonder where they keep all those trophies.

Tokyo Electron

Since 2016, Hitachi Solutions has been expanding and improving on a customer project that deserves your attention. The customer is Tokyo Electron (TEL) – a leading manufacturer of semiconductor and flat panel display (FPD) production equipment, which now uses Resco as part of its technology toolkit. A longstanding issue in the company’s Field Solutions Business Division has been that each product and region had its own maintenance support system and operation method, and they were not unified.

Emi Yamamoto from TEL gave an example. “The format of work reports created when maintenance work was completed differed depending on the product and region. And the granularity of the information included was not standardized. Also, different systems were used in different regions of the world to compile and manage work reports, making it difficult to share knowledge globally or to apply the knowledge gained from one maintenance work to the next maintenance project.

The company realized that they needed a single management system that would allow field engineers around the world to register work reports, and quickly retrieve knowledge when needed. With such a system, the company could enhance the responsiveness of their field engineers. By shortening the time required for equipment maintenance, they could also increase the satisfaction level of their customers.

Selection and implementation of solutions

TEL’s CRM of choice was Microsoft Dynamics 365, and the only thing left was to choose a capable software implementation partner to work with. The partner had to meet three key requirements:

  • Global work capability for all processes including design, implementation, and maintenance
  • The influence and ability to negotiate with Microsoft
  • Extensive experience in building CRM systems for the manufacturing industry

Hitachi Solutions checked all of the boxes.

As Emi Yamamoto from TEL says: “There were three candidates, but Hitachi Solutions was the one that we felt had the most global work capabilities. In order to build a global maintenance support system, we needed to listen to the opinions of our subsidiaries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

We chose Hitachi Solutions not only because of their English communication skills but also because they have a subsidiary in the U.S. and understand the local maintenance support business. We also took into account the fact that Hitachi Solutions has strong connections with Microsoft’s U.S. headquarters and decided on Hitachi Solutions as our software implementation partner.

Initial work started in July 2016, and some functionalities were released two months later in September 2016. The core work order capability went live in the U.S. in February 2019, after a series of modifications and enhancements, and has since become available in Japan, China, Europe, Korea, and Singapore.

For the new maintenance work management system, TEL chose to run Dynamics 365 only in Microsoft’s Japan region in order to thoroughly centralize the system and operations. About 4,000 TEL field engineers engaged in maintenance and support work around the world use this system via the network.

There were also difficulties unique to a cloud system. One of the advantages of cloud computing is that it allows the user to benefit from future product enhancements, but in order to take advantage of this, the user needs to do as little customization as possible.

On the other hand, it is also important to improve the usability of the system for field engineers in order for them to become more familiar with the system and enter useful data. Therefore, TEL carefully solved each problem one at a time while maintaining a balance between the two aspects.

Project results so far

In order to utilize the knowledge left in the old system that was used in each country and region, Hitachi Solutions developed a unique tool that integrates the data in the existing systems with the data in Dynamics 365 and allows users to search all data. This allowed to reference knowledge across the board without migrating data to the new maintenance work management system.

And to make the life of TEL’s 4,000+ field engineers easier, and their work more productive, Hitachi Solutions developed and distributed a dedicated Resco app so that they can use the work order capability even when offline. They can now enter reports into their mobile devices in the customer’s cleanroom between tasks or immediately after work is completed and receive the customer’s approval signature on the spot.

The offline capability of the Resco Field Service mobile solution is a powerful tool for high-tech companies that need to work in cleanrooms where strong radio waves must not be emitted, or for manufacturing companies that handle hazardous materials that could explode from radio sparks.

Our customers have selected and implemented Resco because of its excellent offline functionality. Furthermore, customers who have used Resco have given high marks to the application’s responsiveness and stability.

Hitachi Solutions will continue to work in partnership with Resco to expand Resco solutions in Japan and Asia.

– Nobuo Hamaoka, Department Manager, Department 3 Global Division, Industrial Innovation Business Division, Hitachi Solutions, Ltd.

Evolution of the project

The Dynamics 365-based work order functionality was also launched in Taiwan in April 2021. This marked the end of its global deployment. The work order, which allows users to obtain various management data, is highly valued within the company. Supervisors and other managers welcome the fact that they can now visualize the progress of each maintenance project.

For the deployment in each country and region, TEL selected core members to support end users at each site and took care of the field engineers so that they can use Dynamics 365 smoothly in their daily maintenance work.

Now, TEL plans to systemize the management of start-up operations (installation and adjustment of equipment at the customer site) using Dynamics 365. In May 2021, the system was linked to the SAP-based company-wide ERP system, enabling automatic generation of work orders based on customer orders and automatic linkage of work costs.

What will the future bring?

The project to unify operations and management on a global scale was an exciting challenge for Hitachi Solutions, which will continue to support TEL as it continues to grow globally. To make that support successful and effective, their consultants are continuing to increase their Resco skills by getting certified at Resco Academy and attending resco.NEXT.

That’s why we are excited about our continued work with Hitachi Solutions – a Resco partner which you’ll surely be hearing more about in the months and years to come.

By the way, if you’re a systems integrator and are not currently in our partner program, consider joining, so that you can work on similar remarkable projects such as TEL.

And if you’d like to learn more about Hitachi Solutions, please visit their website.