Custom Business Process Automation Software – integrating business systems to reduce manual labor and errors

  • Labor reduction
  • Error reduction
  • Business Process Improvement

Client – Custom chemical solutions manufacturer

Problem

Our client would periodically walk paper orders by foot from the customer service department to the manufacturing departments. When customers called back for adjustments to the orders, that required additional paperwork, and subsequent trips to manufacturing. They knew there had to be a more efficient way to do business.

Solution

We developed custom software that integrates two business systems to reduce manual labor and reduce processing errors. This was accomplished by creating a one-way data sync from order processing (Sage accounting software) to a laboratory information management system (LIMS).

It identifies orders in their accounting system and imports them into their LIMS system for production, eliminating paperwork and communicating information between systems and departments.

Results/Outcomes

  • Labor reduction
  • Reduction in errors
  • Improved inter-department communication
  • Paperless strategic initiative – this was the first step in eliminating the need to print orders for internal processing and production
  • Business Process Improvement

Capabilities Demonstrated

Overview

We started by initiating a business process improvement assessment. The high-level flow looked like this:

  1. We sat with the client to review the current process of order entry through manufacturing. 
  2. We held a brainstorming session with the client to identify the ideal system for orders new and changed to be relayed between departments focusing on what would be required to eliminate the need for paper.
  3. Finally we worked with the client’s Sage 100 consultant to understand the Sage process they had developed.
  4. Once we were confident that a custom software solution could be developed to address these issues we provided the client a cost and time estimate.

Then our developers went to work on creating the custom software. At a high level:

  1. The LIMS SQL server periodically polls the accounting software server for order information and “syncs” LIMS with Sage orders. Any note or instruction changes are also handled during the sync.  Users are alerted if an error occurs parsing the data from the accounting software.
  2. The custom software then identifies orders that are new or changed and reviews the order details. 
  3. If the order is comprised of entirely stock products it moved the process directly to shipping.
  4. If the order requires manufacturing, the software alerts the manufacturing staff, allowing them to review and approve the order for production. 

Features

  • Software Integration with accounting software
  • Windows Task Scheduler
  • Exception handling and alerting

Technologies

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • VB.Net
  • Entity Framework
  • Sage 100

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