IFS bags Japanese airline and printermaker software deals

Konica Minolta maintenance system to be installed across 10 national support companies

Swedish ERP and business application provider IFS has signed global contracts with Japanese businesses Konica Minolta and Japan Airlines.

The printer and imaging equipment manufacturer has chosen IFS Cloud to support its field service operations a move that promises to establish "a predictive and optimized service model" across its 10 national operating companies. Konica Minolta currently serves two million customers in 150 countries.

According to the companies, the predictive maintenance model will help Konica Minolta to plan the deployment of field service staff more efficiently and try to ensure maximum equipment uptime, reduce engineer call-outs, and achieve a heightened customer experience. It is also trailing IoT in printers to aid with maintenance. These are grand aims.

Ged Cranny, senior consultant at Konica Minolta, said the decision followed a pilot project in Belgium and the Netherlands with around 130 employees. "In the next step, we will make the new solution available to around 1,000 field service technicians in ten national operating companies across Europe," he said.

But IFS is not the only business application provider Konica Minolta deals with. In 2018, its US business solutions division bought MWA Intelligence, an IT services company that supports the FORZA ERP solution, built on SAP Business One.

Konica Minolta also uses SAP products at a number of locations in Europe [PDF].

IFS has also signed up Japan Airlines' maintenance and engineering subsidiary, JAL Engineering, to support fleet-wide long-range maintenance planning.

The cloud-based system will, IFS promised, offer the unified information insights engineers need to develop and share regulatory-compliant fleet maintenance plans that best support the availability of nearly 200 aircraft.

Ryo Tamura, president of JAL Engineering, said: "With IFS fleet maintenance planning software, [we] can automate processes that were previously manual and labor-intensive, improve team collaboration by allowing planners to work on a single plan simultaneously, and ultimately decrease aircraft downtime and maximize task yield."

According to analyst firm IDC, IFS spends over 11 percent of its revenues on R&D specific to field service management products and services.

In 2020, IFS launched Remote Assistance, a collaborative, augmented-reality software system that blends two real-time video streams into interactive environments in Windows, iOS, and Android phones or tablets, as well as smart-glass technologies.

Last year it won praise from analysts for IFS Cloud, a suite of tools built around API integration that eschews the established application classes of ERP, finance, HR, payroll, supply chain, and CRM.

While building the tools on top of a single data model, the approach is to offer products targeted at end-to-end business processes, rather than software industry product categories, said IFS chief product officer Christian Pedersen. ®

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