Mobilizing business workflow for Lafarge

Lafarge is a French industrial company specialising in construction products cement, construction aggregates, concrete and gypsum wallboard. The company is the world's largest cement manufacturer. Lafarge entered the Indian market in 1999, through its cement business. Lafarge currently has 4 cement plants in India. In recent years, Lafarge has significantly enlarged its operations across its three business divisions - Cement, Aggregates and Concrete. The company has an established presence across all major cities and towns in India. Lafarge today is a market leader in the country in ready-mix concrete business with 80 plants.

Challenge

Lafarge corporate offices are located in major cities in the country. The company has invested in smartphones comprising of Blackberry and Android for its management executives. Typical apps used by these executives on their smartphones are Email and SMS based workflows. The executives take responsibility of approvals that are part of the business workflows which they receive as SMS messages and register their decision as SMS message. And these posed a set of operational challenges to the company,

  • The SMS based decision making is not user friendly and typically caused errors/delays in the approval cycles.
  • Workflow notifications generally span across multiple SMS messages adding up to operational costs with lesser predictability.
  • The investment on smartphones could not be leveraged with limited options of mobile apps with no enterprise mobility platform.

The Lafarge management team identified the existing SMS based system as a constraint to their mobility strategy and decided to invest on a MEAP solution that provides the required ROI for them with minimum total cost of ownership. Then came the challenge of choosing a reliable and affordable enterprise mobility platform.

Solution

Lafarge evaluated multiple MEAP solutions in the market and chose to go with Mowbly Enterprise Mobility on-premise edition. The key decision points that led to their choice of Mowbly are the following,

  • Single app approach - A single mobile client in the employee’s smartphone that provides the employee to manage all his enterprise tasks and provides better control to IT admin.
  • End to end mobility suite based on open web standards - Platform with development, deployment, management and monitoring capabilities out-of-box and totally based on web standards that puts the IT at ease when it comes to integrating with their web services based backend systems.

The Mowbly enterprise mobility server was installed on premise with a reverse proxy setup for the mobile client to communicate through the internet outside the enterprise firewall. The server securely integrated to Karomi workflow system in the backend providing user authentication/authorization and transactions that are part of the workflows.

Lafarge enterprise mobile client based on Mowbly mobile client is distributed to all the executives through an enterprise deployment. The secure login based client provided executives access to the tasks that they are entitled to. With rich user interface and single point of engagement, executives are satisfied to use the apps.

The mobile client offered device notifications whenever there is a new message in the workflow and also provided offline message viewing capability, thereby reducing delay in approvals.

The deployment of the complete solution starting from installation of the Mowbly mobility server till the development and deployment of the workflow app was done in 2 months thanks to the robust enterprise features of the platform like development/test/production spaces that offered quick means to run pilot program for the app and switch to production instantly.

with minimum total cost of ownership. Then came the challenge of choosing a reliable and affordable enterprise mobility platform.

Home screen
Fig-1 App Home screen
Workflow pending items
Fig-2 Workflow pending items
Reviewing a workflow item
Fig-3 Reviewing a workflow item

Business benefits

The primary benefit is the quicker decision making, ease of use and higher engagement of senior management reducing delay in key business process and hence saving overall cost. The migration of the SMS based workflow apps to a real mobile enterprise app increased the adaptability of the app with executives. The result is reduced delay in approval cycles, improved employee satisfaction and governance. The operational cost is drastically reduced with no SMS message and gateway costs and the existing data connectivity serving the need.

Future

Lafarge management after the initial success of mobilizing their first business process are thinking about extending their existing workflows to mobile and building new mobile apps using Mowbly Enterprise Mobility Platform.