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Estonia-based Barrus manufacturers of high-quality joinery glulam products used for doors, windows, stair products and moldings. The company produces 75,000 m3 of glulam annually, 80% of which is exported to Scandinavian countries.

The challenge: Meeting customer expectations and staying competitive

Industrial companies always race against time. These companies must plan production better, produce faster and deliver on time to customers to remain profitable.

It was time to examine existing business processes

Barrus collaborated with Columbus to identify the complexities that existed within the company. We also proposed digital solutions to optimize its processes and ensure the manufacturer's future growth.

As a first step, Columbus conducted a digital audit to map the current situation and created a digitization strategy. The primary goal was to:

  • Harmonize the company’s display system and better plan the timber flow
  • A unified display system was necessary so that all the production information was visible to everyone in real-time to ensure the production goals were met
  • Track raw material in stocks to quickly assess the material that needs to be ordered to achieve cost-efficiency and minimize surplus

Preliminary work was critical for the engagement. We mapped digitization with the business needs and outlined measurable benefits. Teaming up at an early stage of the development helped both the teams fix a common goal.

The benefits Barrus gained

#1: Access to real-time data

The information space must be organized and focused on specific goals to support company growth. Therefore, we started organizing the data model and compiled a list of various software used in the company. We then created a desktop application, where vital information was displayed to the employees in real-time.

We leveraged Power BI to organize the data, combine it into a data model, visualize it, and make it available across the organization. This ultimately transformed the sales strategies and customer base.

For example, new products could now be quickly and easily added to the portfolio to fulfill customer needs. 

#2: Better data collection

Digitally collecting data not only improves data quality and accuracy, but also helps the business stay dynamic. Thanks to the new digital solutions, feedback is significantly faster and visible to the entire company.

For instance, digitalization allows teams to identify and respond quickly to a technical problem.

#3: Improved decision making

The management team needed access to the right information at the right time to make quick decisions when planning production. Our first major challenge was to digitalize the quality system.

In the past, finding up-to-date, accurate information and quickly interpreting it was challenging. Access to a real-time data display allowed data to move in different directions: from the production plant to managers and vice versa.

#4: Optimised resource usage

Any time spent on admin and manual labour is time not spent elsewhere. Columbus helped Barrus better control the flow of raw material, reduce wastage and make the best use of the products. For this, we implemented a solution for constant analysis of the wood properties.

This meant that the wood properties could easily and quickly be analyzed at each stage of the production process, among other benefits:

  • Shorter delivery cycles, improved production planning, error analysis and time savings...
  • ...which lead to improved internal efficiency and time back to spend on other higher value tasks
  • Ability to assess stocks and purchase material on an ongoing basis to further plan the flow better and become more economical
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