Agile Embark - Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Automation
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Case Study:

Work Orders & Algorithmic Suggestions

In this example, Agile Embark is used to provide suggested actions based on static algorithmic processing and analysis to improve sales data to production needs and suggest appropriate actions.

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Scenario

The subject works with multiple online sales platforms as their main revenue channels. 

The sales data is utilized to make decisions on internal work orders and production in an effort to maintain proper inventory levels. Having extremely large data sets in conjunction with a large product catalog caused work order generation to take several hours and often be inaccurate. With a good amount of the products being holiday specific, the ability to analyze the data for proper projections was becoming increasingly harder to get right.

This caused a chain reaction of constant low inventory levels and therefore a need for rush orders on the manufacturing floor to stay within required lead times. Eventually the floor was in a constant emergency mode.

Challenges

The expanding product catalog, combined with date-range specific items, posed a significant challenge.

The addition of more sales channels exponentially increased the complexity of generating work orders and maintaining proper inventory levels.

The manual analysis of the data often resulted in delays and inaccuracies. The extremely large product catalog created insurmountable hurdles for manual analysis, as it was difficult to maintain familiarity with products, multiple sales channel reports, and order entry.

This inefficient process hindered the ability to make timely, informed decisions and adversely affected overall operational efficiency.

Identified Issues

  • Data Sources: Multiple data sources were not efficiently aggregated or presented for their intended purposes.
  • Analysis: Inefficiencies in data processing led to an overwhelming amount of data, making manual analysis impractical.
  • Date-Specific Products: Approximately 30% of products are seasonal or holiday-centric, further complicating data resolution due to time-frame based requirements.
  • Production Statuses: Inefficiencies led to a surge in rush or emergency actions to maintain inventory levels, with 97% of work orders eventually becoming rush status.
  • Inventory Issues: Consistently lower-than-needed inventory levels were the main consequence.
  • Integration Issues: The existing ERP lacked the flexibility to integrate multiple custom data sources and perform advanced calculations.
  • Scalability Challenges: Relying on third-party tools became a management hassle, with multiple accounts, costs, and gaps discovered.
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Solutions

Very complex product needs and workflows were causing stagnation, delays, and making it impossible to run the daily operations efficiently.

We provided a comprehensive work order entry system that encompassed every aspect of the client’s requirements.

By integrating order entry, data collection, aggregation, product workflows, and necessary routing for work orders on the production floor, we were able to streamline every step of the process.

The required data was precisely where they needed it, entry was simplified and automated wherever possible, and order routing was reinvented to align with the needs and layout of the production floor.

This holistic approach not only eliminated bottlenecks but also significantly enhanced overall productivity and efficiency.

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Implemented Items

  • Automated Data Retrieval: Agile Embark enabled the retrieval and processing of data sources multiple times per day, vastly improving the frequency and timeliness of data updates compared to the previous nightly batch processing.
  • Data Delivery: The Embark UI presented relevant data inline with pertinent line items, ensuring that users had immediate access to the information they needed without having to navigate away from their current workflow.
  • Dashboard: A custom dashboard was implemented to manage order generation, offering insights, reporting capabilities, and quick action areas to streamline operations and decision-making.
  • API Connections: Direct API connections to sales channels provided up-to-date and accurate information, eliminating the need to maintain an on-site aggregate and reducing data redundancy.
  • Processing & Storage: Embark’s flexibility allowed for the efficient storage and processing of data, making it readily available to other systems in use at the management facility for enhanced integration and usability.
  • Inventory Incorporation: Inventory levels were integrated into the system, enhancing and refining the reports generated for work order creation by ensuring real-time stock availability and needs were considered.
  • Lead Times: A comprehensive workflow management system was established to track and provide production time data, helping to optimize production schedules and meet delivery deadlines.
  • Real-Time Information: All modules within Embark were utilized to provide real-time data for reporting and analysis, ensuring that decisions were based on the most current information available.
  • Work Order Generation and Routing: A single web-based entry view was created to combine all necessary inputs and relevant data, automatically routing generated orders to the initial step in the product workflows for seamless processing.
  • Product-Specific Workflow: Administrative and control systems were put in place to manage the workflow processes for each product type, allowing for customized handling and processing of different product lines.
  • Automation: Our consultants identified several management and operational steps that could be automated, which were then built into the module according to the client’s specific needs, improving efficiency and reducing manual effort.

Results

A fluid order entry system was implemented to centralize all necessary data and streamline order generation, ensuring everything was available in one place. By incorporating predefined algorithms, we significantly reduced the workload on staff members, enabling them to make smarter decisions for production needs with ease.

Agile Embark’s ability to simplify even the most complex requirements had an immensely positive effect on daily operations. The need to check multiple reports, manually input data into spreadsheet calculators, and deal with inaccurate information was completely eliminated.

This transformation led to a dramatic reduction in delays and improved the efficiency and accuracy of generating work orders. The result was an optimized workflow that enhanced overall productivity and operational effectiveness, meeting every aspect of the client’s needs with precision and reliability.

The Numbers

  • Automated Data Retrieval: Agile Embark’s automated data retrieval enabled multiple daily updates, vastly improving data timeliness compared to the previous nightly batch processing. This ensured that users had access to the most current data, enhancing decision-making accuracy.
  • Data Delivery: The new Embark UI streamlined data delivery by presenting relevant information inline with pertinent line items. This immediate access reduced the time spent navigating between different workflows and improved user efficiency.
  • Dashboard: A custom dashboard was established, allowing for effective management of order generation, insights, reporting, and quick action areas. This streamlined operations and facilitated more informed decision-making.
    • Order Entry time reduced by 46%
    • Ability to perform order entry multiple times per day introduced
  • API Connections: Direct API connections to sales channels provided up-to-date and accurate information, reducing data redundancy and eliminating the need for maintaining an on-site aggregate. This ensured that the data was always current and reliable.
  • Processing & Storage: The flexibility of Embark enabled efficient data storage and processing, making it readily available to other systems in use at the management facility. This integration enhanced overall usability and system coherence.
  • Inventory Incorporation: Inventory levels were integrated into the system, which refined reports generated for work order creation. Real-time stock availability ensured that production needs were met without delays, improving inventory management and reducing stockouts.
      • 26% reduction in rush or emergency order statuses in the first year
    48% increase in product availability when orders were picked for shipping
  • Lead Times: The comprehensive workflow management system was established to track and provide production time data. This optimization of production schedules helped meet delivery deadlines consistently.
    • 28% reduction in order shipment delays in the first year
  • Real-Time Information: Real-time information from all Embark modules ensured that reporting and analysis were based on the most current data available. This real-time insight significantly improved operational responsiveness and accuracy.
  • Work Order Generation and Routing: A single web-based entry view for work order generation combined all necessary inputs and relevant data. This streamlined the order routing process, automatically directing orders to the initial step in the product workflows for seamless processing.
  • Product-Specific Workflow: Product-specific workflows were enhanced with administrative and control systems, allowing for customized handling and processing of different product lines. This tailored approach ensured that each product type was managed efficiently.
  • Automation: Automation of several management and operational steps, identified by our consultants, was built into the module according to the client’s specific needs. This automation reduced manual effort, improved efficiency, and allowed staff to focus on higher-value tasks.

More Case Studies

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