“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals”; it is rare to find those people, and we were lucky enough to run with SAP.
SAP’s vision is to “make the world run better and improve people’s lives”, and the “diversity and inclusion” strategy is one of the means to achieve this vision. Sap has always regarded diversity and inclusion as the company’s development strategy. In 2013, SAP launched the autism at work program globally to create an equal opportunity for people with disabilities to be included into the mainstream workplace. So far, 175 talents with autism have been employed by SAP.
Today, SAP’s smart hand extends to a wider field, using its technical advantages in enterprise management software to help Taicang Inclusion Factory’s digital transformation. Taicang Inclusion Factory is a social enterprise dedicated to promoting the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities into the society. It employs nearly thirty full-time employees with intellectual disabilities, who are responsible to assemble and process automotive and electronic parts and components. The goal is that using professional vocational training, the employees will improve their skills and in the future will be able to work in a regular enterprise.
Diverse Employees – Diverse Challenges
In the Inclusion factory, each employee is unique, and his or her working abilities are also different from other employees. The products of the factory are diverse, and dozens of products need to be assembled in a day. Therefore, shift management has become a very complex task in the daily work of the factory. On the one hand, the factory needs to consider the quality demands of the customer & the delivery time of the order. On the other hand, the factory also needs to consider the different abilities of the employees. The most important thing is to visualize the entire interactive interface so that each employee can independently obtain work information.
“I need at least one hour a day to arrange employee scheduling. The Excel scheduling table we designed is very complicated and has many formulas. It is easy to make mistakes if you are not careful, and it is not very flexible to adjust.”
——Haiyan, Job Coach, Inclusion Factory
“The data in our production workshop and warehouse management department can’t be cleared. I often chase my colleagues in the warehouse management department to ask what the order volume is for tomorrow, and my colleagues from the warehouse department often come over and ask me how the production is going. “
——Bei Bei, Job Coach, Inclusion Factory
In order to face these problems, the shift management system that are available on the market, cannot meet the needs of the Inclusion Factory.
SAP’s helping hand
After the Inclusion Factory team explained SAP the challenges they faced, SAP team established a team of volunteer experts. After a year of hard work, the first version was released at last.
Later, after repeated testing by the Job Coaches, the SAP team also carried out many iterations of the version. Finally, the system was officially put into operation in April this year.
Digital empowerment to help the inclusive employment of people with disabilities
Visualized barrier-free design: This system inherits SAP’s inclusive corporate culture. Its interactive interface fully considers the cognitive characteristics of people with intellectual disabilities. With the graphical interface of information visualization, employees with disabilities in the workshop can quickly understand the work arrangement without hindrance.
One-key scheduling: The work that originally took an hour can be completed in seconds.
Freely and conveniently switching between multiple modes: in order to further develop the skills of the employees, we would like employees to work on different products throughout the day. However, each employee’s work efficiency for each products is different. Thus, the need to increase our production capacity is hard to achieve; this system can be flexibly adjusted according to the status and lead-time of different orders.
When the order volume is relatively large or urgent, the “maximum capacity” mode is on; and the shift management system will give priority to the employee’s work efficiency. When the order is small or not urgent, the “minimum capacity” mode is on. The shift management system will prioritize employee’s training needs, to allow employees to do products they have not done before, with the purpose of improving the productivity level of employees. When “employee care” mode is on, the shift management system will prioritize arranging employees to do a variety of products during the work day to enhance their joy and interest in the daily tasks.
Seamless data connection: today, all departments can share data seamlessly through this system, greatly reducing the time spent on internal communication.
Tracking production capacity: we can intuitively see the progress of each order and understand the changes in the productivity of each employee.
The complex and refined business scenarios and standardized and modular products corresponding to existing SAP products far exceed the needs of the Inclusion Factory. Therefore, we need to use an innovative way of thinking to design, develop and deliver products. Our SAP engineers and designers used design thinking, Job-to-be-done and other innovative methodologies to guide our entire project. At present, the product has been successfully launched, and we are looking forward to a larger goal to explore a new business model for customers like the Inclusion Factory. This can be a new product development model and new product standards for SAP, and ultimately to create a new business ecology and make greater contributions to the sustainable development goals.
SAP Innovations Location lead
“Not too often we get the opportunity to combine Social & Technological Innovation. Imagine the following: a software that plans production while keeping the social and developmental needs of our employees as one of the top considerations of its algorithm. This is truly one of the most amazing cooperations we ever had, and we continue to explore how SAP, as a world leader in software development can further develop the Inclusion Factory as a leading global practice in Inclusion based Technologies!
——Nadav Ben Simon
General Manager, Inclusion Factory
With the help of the SAP team, Taicang Inclusion Factory carried out a great change, the production capacity has been significantly improved, and each employee with disability directly benefits from this technological revolution, which eliminates various barriers and allows the employees to enjoy accessible and comfortable work environment.
Thank you SAP China