RMA Portal and Warranty Automation

Our customer is a leading smart grid solution provider who enable utility companies to achieve operational efficiencies, reduce carbon emissions and empower their customers with new ways to monitor and manage their energy consumption. They provide the hardware, software and services that allow utilities to deploy and run multiple applications, including Smart Metering, Demand Response, Distribution Automation and Distributed Generation, over a unified network.

Our Customer’s Challenge

What was historically viewed as a cost-incurring laborious process for any manufacturing company is now viewed as a way to shorten the length of the supply chain by automating the returns process. Our customer was incurring significant cost in processing RMA’s (Return Merchandise Authorization) for their hardware. The challenge was to collect and process returns quickly and cost-effectively.

This manual processing of RMA was adversely affecting customer satisfaction since the time between a sale, a return and a replacement (if any) was too long. Furthermore operational efficiency was lowered due to a direct link between manual processing and customer satisfaction.

On a functional basis some of the major challenges faced by our customer were,

  • No processes or systems to track the RMA lifecycle.
  • Lack of ability to track shipments and installed base status from contract manufacturer shipments to customer installations.
  • Manual entitlement checking and processing caused lengthy delays affecting customer satisfaction.
  • Lack of a central information database with RMA lifecycle information and hence no way to check which items has already been processed for warranty and their status.
  • Lack of reporting mechanisms to determine RMA aging and compliance.
  • Lack of a formalized process for non-warranty repairs.
  • Lack of ability to track software upgrades

The Solution

Jade Global first understood the customer’s business priorities and how the RMA process was affecting their bottomline. With a detailed study of ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios it was very easy to show them the value of the solution.

Jade Global designed the solution to implement Oracle Install Base, Depot Repair, and Service Contracts with custom integration to support a seamless flow from Remedy (an industry leading service desk tool) to RMA creation in Oracle. The new system capability, augmented by enhanced processes and policies provides a robust and a scalable RMA/Warranty processing that includes

  • Warranty Entitlement Verification. Allows SSN to verify customer’s warranty information and status.
  • Advanced Replacement. This ensured that customer’s productivity is not affected because of a part failure and SSN ships a replacement before receiving the faulty item.
  • Repair and Return. Allows SSN to receive an RMA request for a faulty item and repair the same if possible
  • Implementing Oracle Install Base including,
    • Historical Data Migration and a process for on-going data updates. This enabled SSN interlink approximately 5 million current and past orders and their service contracts with their corresponding order numbers.
    • Integration with Order Management/Service Contracts. This allows SSN to get a seamless view of the after-sales part of the supply chain.
    • Flat-file based Integration with UIQ for Activation and Upgrades. Utility IQ or UIQ is an application suite by SSN for managing its smart utility networks. The UIQ system automates the time-consuming and costly process of collecting data from its smart meters. With custom integration, the Oracle Install Base also allows SSN to pull data from its UIQ system giving users a single, updated and complete view of a purchased product, from a single system
  • Implement Depot Repair to track repairs and fault analysis. This is an internal system that allows SSN to track RMA parts, their faults and repairs if any.
  • Implement Warranty Renewals Process by Customer / Product

This strategy was designed to be executed using proven Jade Global methodologies for the Onsite/Offshore model, keeping the Client involved at all stages and getting the bulk of work done Offshore to get maximum value for the client.

Business Benefits

The solution was implemented in an aggressive timeline of just 21 weeks. This also included forward logistics integration with contract manufacturers using Oracle SOA. The complete solution was delivered on time and on budget.

By implementing a closed loop RMA process, SSN was able to close RMA requests much faster which led to quicker feedback to the manufacturer. This lowered operational costs and at the same time improved product quality

Before

After

Outcomes

No clear processes or systems to track RMA.No way to track shipments and installed base status from contract manufacturer shipments to customer installations Closed-loop RMA process fully integrated with its contract manufacturer, clear visibility into the entire RMA process chain and status tracking This allowed the customer to clearly see the RMA status of any request in real-time.Advanced replacement is now possible with this new RMA processing system
Manual entitlement checking and processing Automated entitlement checking for warranty returns This erstwhile manual process was now automated and linked with an online information base that allows the vendor to speedily process RMA requests with fewer errors
Lack of a central information database with RMA lifecycle information and hence no means to check which items have already been processed for warranty and their status Online information database which now is integrated with enterprise data Clear visibility into the entire RMA process chain ranging from sale, service contract status, and RMA request generation to shipping and compliance reporting
Lack of reporting mechanisms to determine RMA aging and compliance Process and warranty obligation reporting Better reporting and data analysis of RMA process and how it affects the bottom line
Lack of a formalized process for non-warranty repairs Automated system for tracking and maintaining non-warranty parts and repairs  No confusion about whether a part is under warranty. All non-warranty parts and their repairs are tracked. This system is interlinked with internal corporate data