Global Manufacturer

Real-time data for improved visibility, productivity and competitive edge

Snapshot

With the rise of IIoT and Industry 4.0, a global manufacturer of machine tools started to look for a means to extend its capabilities beyond the firm’s core business of manufacturing machines and tools for their sheet metal fabrication shop customers. To better compete, they tapped Nerdery to help transform the business into more of a services company with a suite of cutting-edge digital products. Through using sensors on their machines and by developing a state-of-the-art integrated suite of mobile and desktop applications, Nerdery helped the client bring important real-time data to factory managers and workers for improved visibility and productivity in their operations.

Contributions

Customer Experience Strategy
Digital Product Development
Digital Strategy
Platform Modernization
Agile Coaching
Nerdery Collaborative (Knowledge and Skills Transfer)
Systems Integration
Interaction Design

“Nerdery played a crucial role in proving a unique problem-solving software development approach in building [our] industrial IoT solution. The partnership between [us] not only resulted in an IoT solution beyond expectation, but also contributed towards [our] digital transformation.”

Division Manager IIoT

Details

Business Challenge

The manufacturer’s customers (sheet metal fabrication shops) are challenged by pressure from labor costs, increased capital requirements (machines cost millions) and pressure to further discount orders to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers. Contributing to the challenge, customers across the industry lacked visibility into their own shop operations, workloads and flows. Existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems only capture some data, which often inaccurately reflects actual shop floor activity. 

Strategy and Solution

Thanks to the client’s long-standing and close customer relationships, Nerdery was able to conduct research by talking with machine users, shop supervisors and business owners. This advisory panel of experts helped guide the direction of the project throughout its development.

The solution called for an integrated suite of mobile (iPad) and desktop products. We focused on creating a suite of Industry 4.0 components that would become the platform for future improvements. The underpinning goal for the digital suite was to create a product that was intuitive to use, yet powerful enough to provide data insights to users that would help them become more productive, efficient and competitive.

Custom Digital Products

Nerdery engineers and developers teamed up with the client’s expert industrial solutions IoT group to design and build three custom applications:

  1. MOBILE APPLICATION — for machine operators that allows them to manage production details of every work order, such as start and end times and the quantities of parts or components that each machine is producing.
  2. MOBILE SCHEDULING TOOL — helps shop supervisors and floor managers organize and plan manufacturing workflows.
  3. DESKTOP APPLICATION — aggregates the data from the other two apps, which provides business owners with all the information they need to make decisions regarding manufacturing operations as well as staffing.

RESULTS

Through the client’s digital transformation, the company’s new digital product suite is helping them leapfrog competitors in terms of digital capabilities. The applications resulted in improved real-time visibility and better insight into where projects stand across the entire production pipeline.

With the suite of products, employees and decision-makers are empowered with accurate real-time and historical data, resulting in impactful benefits for the whole organization, such as: 

Accurate costing

Increased machine utilization

Targeted process improvements

Reduced production cost

Employee tracking

Improved work order tracking

WHAT MADE A DIFFERENCE

Close Customer Connections

The client’s great reputation, loyal customer base and close customer connections built on trust allowed us to gain valuable insights into pain points, opportunities and valuable features that would drive the solution.

Broad Capabilities Portfolio

The client needed a partner with an extensive portfolio of capabilities — digital product strategy and development, user experience design, and engineering — to help it design and deliver a turnkey solution. With teams of experts in three cities, Nerdery delivered.

Digital Product Delivery Best Practices

During the project, Nerdery facilitated knowledge transfer and provided agile coaching to the client’s industrial solutions group, in addition to expertise in application lifecycle management and quality assurance. Today, the company has adopted Nerdery digital product development best practices as the company continues to build and launch the tools that customers crave.