Major Professional Services and Consulting Company

Increasing manufacturing productivity with modern systems
Industry
Industrial & Manufacturing
Challenge

Our economy relies on buildings and infrastructure, which means that keeping essential industries like construction operating at full strength is critical. Manufacturing machinery and parts is a vital aspect of supporting these industries, which is why an equipment manufacturer selected a global professional services firm to develop a more integrated environment when they needed to modernize the system that connected its partners.

The focus of the modernization effort was on the ecosystem that serviced the manufacturer’s vast network of partners. These partners used approximately 200 programs and applications within the manufacturer’s system, which ran on different platforms and were written to be self-sufficient. This made interfacing with other applications difficult. The partners were also independently owned and hosted their own customized systems in different places. The disjointed nature of the applications used by all of the partners was negatively impacting productivity, a challenge that was compounded by the fact that many of the internal-facing applications had green screens that were difficult for some customers to navigate. Processes were changing, so in order to keep up with their competitors, the manufacturer wanted to empower its partners and streamline their processes by developing a new system that allowed all of the applications to communicate with each other.

The main system was built using COBOL, so the solution had to support the language, as well as incorporate interactive green screens and accommodate multiple partner environments. Flexibility within the ecosystem was also important, because the manufacturer wanted a platform that would make it easy for their partners to consume APIs. Finally, high performance, security, and scalability were key requirements. “We didn’t know who was going to use it or how. We needed to be ready for anything,” said the project manager from the consulting firm.

Results

Rocket’s dedication to legacy technology and expertise in languages like COBOL were instrumental in supporting the consulting firm’s ability to turn around its client’s requests quickly. To create this solution, the professional services company had to guide the manufacturer’s partners in understanding what they needed from the API ecosystem. They did this by using Rocket API to populate the server with APIs that were ready to use so that they could analyze the functions that were most commonly utilized in the applications. This served as a baseline to decide which APIs were the most needed. Because the development team could use Rocket API without modifying the source code of the main system, they were able to create these APIs quickly. From the initial analysis, they chose 100 functions and built APIs to support those functions.

Using Rocket API, green-screen based workflows from the previous system became easy-to-use applications that allowed real-time access to functions that power critical processes for the manufacturer and its partners. There are now nearly 250 APIs available to the partner network, and over 20 of those partners have registered to use the APIs. One partner built a warehouse management system that updates the application and database with changes to inventory. Another developed an application that creates work orders to conduct crucial service and maintenance on the manufacturer’s products. Yet another partner has leveraged approximately 40-50 APIs to develop integrations into Salesforce. Rocket API has modernized all of these systems for improved customer experiences that have increased productivity.

With a large network of partners and so many components to coordinate, API administration can become disorganized and time consuming. Rocket API provides a central hub to deploy and manage all of the APIs in the ecosystem. Role-based access ensures the entire system remains secure, while the ability to monitor usage allowed performance to be refined and optimized.

With Rocket API, the professional services firm has created an integrated, secure system that its manufacturing company and its partners can depend on to run core business functions. The company plans to expand the usage of the system to multiple regions, and thanks to Rocket API, that flexibility to scale the solution is already built-in. With Rocket’s help, the manufacturing company’s network of applications and programs can communicate seamlessly with each other, ensuring their critical processes — and our economy — can continue to run efficiently.

“Rocket API gave us the ability to turn green-screen based workflows quickly from the previous system into easy-to-use applications that allows real-time access to functions that power critical processes for the manufacturer and its partners.”
Project Manager
Major Professional Services and Consulting Company