The client, Barrus, is a producer 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 Scandinavia countries.
Industrial companies always race against time. These companies must plan production better, produce faster, and deliver on time to customers to remain profitable.
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 client’s future growth.
For example, with free access to information, the sales strategies and customer base have changed over the years. Therefore, new products were being added to the portfolio to fulfill customer needs. The wood properties were also to be analyzed at each stage of the production process quickly using digital solutions.
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
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.
Moreover, the management needed information to make quick decisions when planning production. Our first major challenge was to digitalize the quality system. Real-time data display allowed data to move in different directions: from the production plant to the management and vice versa. Whereas in the past, interpreting data to make decisions was challenging in a dynamic situation.
Also, we had to use internal resources efficiently to 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.
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.
Results and benefits
Columbus identified the following possible benefits in the short testing period at Barrus:
- Collection of quality data digitally helps focus on problem areas. Because of digital solutions, feedback is significantly faster and visible to the entire company. For instance, digitalization gives the ability to identify and respond quickly to a technical problem.
- Data interpretation can be significantly improved when the data is collected in a structured way, saving time, effort, and energy in making business decisions.
- Assess stocks and purchase material on an ongoing basis to plan the flow better and become more economical.
- Increase internal efficiency because of shorter delivery cycles, improved production planning, error analysis, and time savings.
- Barrus intends to digitalize its production floor in the future.