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The Client

The client is the leading global provider of software solutions for the corrugated and folding carton manufacturing industries. Since its establishment in 1981, the client has been at the forefront of the industry, assisting organizations in achieving operational excellence in key business areas, including plant management, production and planning, and sales and client service.

For more than 800 manufacturing plants, the client is the backbone and offers a business system that is both innovative and comprehensive. With a suite of modules, the client offers the kind of technology that businesses need to remain competitive in an ever-changing industry.

The Challenge

For BI Server Remediation and Maintenance Application: 

Due to the lack of real-time production monitors and reporting metrics, the client saw much waste regarding time and inefficiency issues in their production plants. They were slow to react when various production machines were having issues. These inefficiencies were causing higher expenses, lower profit margins, and client satisfaction issues.

The project’s business need was to remediate bugs/enhance the software in the client’s enterprise-level BI (business intelligence) Server and Reporting Dashboard application for building and using interactive dashboards, reports, scorecards, and more. The dashboard sources data from their core Imagine ERP platform. The aim was to provide standardized, real-time data links between the plant floor control systems and its enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

The client wanted a customizable and extensible dashboard creation platform for data visualization, which is web-based and mobile-optimized and enables users to access any data anywhere with a web connection. So that users can build, share and view fully interactive dashboards directly in their HTML5 browser without any additional desktop application. Apart from code remediation, Excellarate also performed complete functional testing of the entire application, including test case authoring and execution and documenting findings within the client’s Jira instance.

For Custom Digital Signage Application:

In addition to BI Server Remediation and Maintenance project that we developed for the client, Excellarate also developed a custom-tailored, flexible Custom Digital Signage solution. The client’s need for an effective and efficient Digital Signage system – a display technology application that will support the overall team atmosphere right from the foremen to the manager. This technology will be vital to all employees in maintaining a safe, efficient environment in the manufacturing plant.

The client searched for a solution that will display real-time ERP production data at various display points throughout the plant. The client’s developers will be required to write the data links to the ERP system to extract the required data for use upon execution. On the other hand, Excellarate’s developers will call the extraction mechanism and then manipulate the data to meet the specific signage requirements.

These resulting visualizations will be accessible via a browser that displays a web page of the sign with built-in refresh/update mechanisms to refresh data.

For Encore Updater:

Having to deploy code manually to around 300 clients was a pain and consumed resources time to log on into the client’s production machine and deploy code. There was a lot of communication that had to be required with the client to deploy code as they had to schedule downtime for the production environment. This process was tedious, so client approached Excellarate to provide an optimal solution which would suit their needs. The client also tried options like Jenkins, TeamCity, etc., but these would not help out.

For Encore/ Imaginera:

Support for code developed in Gupta SQL (Windows Based Application) and Web-Based Application developed using WiseJ framework.

The Solution

A large part of the BI Dashboard implementation challenge was how to provide the client with easy, innovative, and intuitive design tools. These tools would make them visualize and analyze data from across their organization on the dashboard, helping them gain valuable insight and drive accurate decision-making.

Ultimately, the challenge for Excellarate was to develop an enterprise-level, self-service dashboard that lets the client monitor and measure performance and business metrics in real-time. The most prominent challenges we faced were how to achieve better data integration, bring more flexibility, and provide easier distribution of data and better visuals. Excellarate provided a solution that provides an engaging experience and empowers business users to create and personalize dashboards and reports independently.

Excellarate implemented a common and generalized data mart that helps in maintaining data from across various product streams and different business areas of the client. A BI dashboard and a reporting system were established that allowed the business users to generate faster and accurate reports sent out to their users/clients with 100% accuracy in billing.

We understood that the client needed a little extra help with the solution. We understood their technical environment and served as a single point of contact to resolve issues as they arose. Ultimately, we offered several possibilities for technological changes and room for innovation and flexibility that digital technologies can help manufacturing organizations achieve excellence in manufacturing operations.

Excellarate offered the following solutions for BI Server Remediation and Maintenance implementation:

  • Captured the organization’s Business Intelligence reporting needs
  • Built Business Intelligence reporting dashboards to meet the organization needs
  • Flexible solution: Users/clients can continue to configure their dashboard according to their need (see screenshots/figures below for reference)
  • Dashboards allowed to filter, sort, re-visualize, group, drill-down, and perform advanced calculations through an easy-to-use interface
  • Allows you to browse all of your measures and dimensions
  • Enabled real-time dashboard performance metrics
  • Plant selection and metrics – sales, including performance & budget analysis, quote hits, and sales & cost analysis

As part of a custom-made Digital Signage solution, Excellarate developed a very slick data visualization tool that allowed monitoring, analyzing, and displaying smartly. The user interface does more than looking good; it allows staff to personalize individual dashboards with very little training by creating personalized dashboards with great visualizations for analysis and planning, facilitating specific, meaningful improvement.

Excellarate offered the following solutions for BI Server Remediation and Maintenance implementation:

  • Changing the visual appearance: any visual aspect of the dashboard can be modified to fit own custom dashboard designs
  • Easy, intelligent design tools: offers complete control over various visual designs
  • Responsive design options and a wide range of visualizations, styles, and themes
  • Fully customizable visualizations to create personal and professional dashboard views
  • Save preferred styles to apply them to other data visualizations
  • Visual Analytics platform post-remediation
  • Wide range of visualizations, styles, and themes

Excellarate provided a custom tool for the deployment process, keeping in mind clients’ needs and bottlenecks of the deployment process. Excellarate offered the following solutions for Encore Updater:

  • Automatic deployment capability
  • Capability to schedule deployment
  • Capability to test application after deployment
  • Notification for each stage of deployment manage IIS and app pool
  • Ability to manage multiple servers using a single application
  • Instant report to download build log

The Outcome

With the completion of this project – by leveraging our expertise in .Net C# development and the DevExpress framework, in addition to our prior experiences in Business Intelligence development and state-of-the-art QA practices – our client was able to launch a robust BI Dashboard & Reporting and Custom Digital Signage solution to their client base for immediate use.

  • More diverse ways of accessing and distributing reports and dashboards
  • Getting a bird’s eye view of the plant floor
  • Plant operations and production saw overall efficiency increases with higher operating margins and a decrease in unscheduled downtime
  • Plant officers could quickly and effectively respond to demands with information regarding safety, material sources, etc.
  • BI software changed the way the client’s businesses handle and leverage data
  • Optimized processes and improved efficiency in the manufacturing process. Increase in overall operations productivity by streamlining communications
  • Ability to dynamically modify content as per the changing client profiles at specific locations
  • Greater client interactivity and digital signage support
  • A viable medium to communicate with the target audience
  • Helps management to understand productivity in the plant
  • Identify issues with machinery and take corrective actions
  • A single application to monitor plant machinery, which would reduce turnaround
  • It helps the client gain valuable insight and drive accurate decision making based on real-time data
  • Helps in presenting and analyzing the data using dashboards & reports in a user-friendly way

Right from the start, Excellarate knew that the devil was always in the details. Therefore, we provided the client with the right kind of setup, customization, and scalability that greatly enhanced the ease of using the enterprise-level web-based application. We made sure that the business intelligence tools we have developed for the client relieve a lot of the headaches associated with monitoring and evaluating programs and outcomes.