Cross-platform app development pain free with LongRange from LANSA
Downers Grove, IL — March 29, 2016 — There’s no denying Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. (KMM), a manufacturer of all-terrain and utility vehicles, personal watercraft and passenger rail cars, has a well-earned reputation for utilizing mobile technology to accelerate production processes. KMM received the COMMON/IBM Power Systems Innovation Award for developing a native iOS mobile app that replaced a manual card-based Kanban process. KMM used LongRange from LANSA, a native mobile app development tool, to build a native solution for iPads and iPods that saved KMM over $3,000 per day in labor costs. Equally impressive, KMM recently migrated all five of its assembly and warehouse applications from iOS to Android. Normally a large undertaking, KMM was able to convert their LongRange iOS applications to Android without changing a single line of source code.
"No development time was required," said Jay Kamradt, KMM Assistant Manager, Information Systems. "We literally downloaded the LongRange app from Google Play, configured the Android devices to communicate with our IBM i and the handhelds were ready for production within a matter of hours."
KMM initially developed their apps for iOS because, at that time, Apple was the industry leader. The custom written mobile apps enable KMM inventory specialists to use iPads to scan-in deliveries of parts at their assembly line and monitor the balance of parts on the floor, and warehouse workers in constant motion use iPods because of their compact size.
"We were satisfied with the iPad’s performance, but constantly ran into battery life and Wi-Fi connection issues with the iPods," said Paul Kramer, KMM Manager, Information Systems. "Every time an iPod had issues, an employee had to stop working to log a case. Due to the nature of our business, the [iPod] devices in the warehouse were susceptible to breakage. And, iOS devices required mobile device management solutions which incur additional fees. These challenges, combined with LongRange’s support for the lower-cost Android platform, was the catalyst for change."
Kramer and his team began testing the Zebra TC70, an enterprise-class Android device built specifically to withstand the needs on shop floors. Porting their apps from iOS to Android was pain free because LongRange apps are managed from a single code base. In addition, since LongRange was already available in Google Play, KMM was able to get the app into production without having to wait for the normal approval process.
"Thanks to LANSA, we were shielded from having to write, and then rewrite, our apps in each native language – Swift for Apple and Java for Android – because LongRange supports multiple mobile platforms straight out-of–the-box. And since LongRange apps run off the server, every program enhancement is immediately available to users without having to upgrade the device or re-download from the app store," said Kamradt.
The performance of the TC70s were such an improvement over the iPods that during the testing phase KMM warehouse staff came to work early in the hopes of getting to use the new device. KMM’s decision to replace the iPods with TC70s was easy given the elimination of Wi-Fi connection issues and superior user experience. Today KMM still operates iPads on the assembly line, but the devices are nearing the end of their life. Now that LongRange has extended its support to the Windows platform, KMM is looking to investigate moving to Windows Surface devices.
Kramer commented, "We were excited to hear LongRange added support for the Windows platform. Enabling Windows desktop/laptop users' access to the exact same app that is installed on our mobile devices increases the speed that pertinent information can be retrieved."
Learn more about Kawasaki's use of LANSA technology.
About Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A.
Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. manufactures and distributes ATVs, personal watercraft, Mule and Teryx utility vehicles and passenger railcars from its manufacturing plant in Lincoln, NE. For more information, visit www.kawasaki.com and www.kawasakilincoln.com.