In the previous blog post, we discussed the value of IT business analysis, as well as one of  the examples of work done by BALANCED+ for its clients. In this post, we will discuss another such example in detail.

About The Company

Nuform Building Technologies Inc. is a leading company in developing and producing wall forming systems, extruded from PVC. As is any manufacturing process, there is a certain scrap percentage in production, which shows the head of manufacturing the overall process efficiency.

Helping Nuform keep track of productions in real time

When BALANCED+ came into the picture, the existing process to collect scrap rate data was entirely manual: employees would pencil down production data, manually calculate the scrap rate, and – once again, by hand – enter the data into a spreadsheet viewed by head of production. Moreover, data entry was happening with a 2-week delay, that is, information was reaching the production manager much later than it would be useful.

BALANCED+ identified this area for improvement, and delivered a solution through the following steps:

  1. BALANCED+ IT business analyst spent time learning the current production tracking process, from A to Z, including shadow sessions with the Nuform associates that were doing extrusion data collection. This allowed to get a clear picture of what happens “in the field”, i.e. a clear understanding of the actual existing business process.
  2. BALANCED+ created the specifications, including process definition, suggested process improvements, and demo-screens of the new EPT app, and approved them with Nuform Inc.
  3. The software was developed by a software development team managed by BALANCED+.
  4. A BALANCED+ implemented the app, and a Commit100 associate performed and coordinated extensive user acceptance testing to make sure the software works as expected, according to specifications.

The Result

The result was a browser-based application called Extrusion Production Tracking (EPT). The Business Analysis process allowed to conclude that the app need be accessible from a wide range of platforms, from the Android tablet used by production staff to enter data, to personal computers used by production staff to monitor the scrap rates. The application was placed on the Nuform Intranet, an online internal website platform used by Nuform (also developed by BALANCED+).

Use login screen for the Nuform Intranet

The Nuform Intranet has several applications, one of which is the EPT:

The main menu in EPT shows the data entries for all operating extrusion lines for all dates, including a search function that allows to find a certain entry.

The EPT allows Nuform employees enter data using a Wifi-connected Android Tablet. Data is fed directly into an existing Nuform MS SQL database (the application was designed to integrate with this database, removing the need to create and maintain another database).  

The “Last” button links the current record to the previous one, allowing to calculate the amount of production that took place in between the previous and current entry. The “Now” button is a quick way for employees to enter the current time (the current time is pulled automatically from the server and populated in the field). Other fields are filled as needed, with error trapping to ensure that data is not misentered or entered incompletely. BALANCED+ also introduced an automatic production calculator, which removed the need to calculate the actual production volume by hand.

The Interface used to enter data:

A list of production records for a particular extrusion line, with buttons to delete or edit records.

Nuform Inc. was pleased with the application, as the data is immediately available and accessible for the production manager after it is collected. That is, production feedback occurs much faster, so proper adjustments can be made operatively, if needed, and the business can run smoother and more efficiently.

Through the Extrusion Production Tracking app developed by BALANCED+, Nuform Inc. was able to track its production process in real-time, leading to increased efficiency and timely feedback. This is just one example of how IT Business Analysis can help streamline business processes.