Client business description
As a leading provider of manufacturing food products, this FMCG company in USA offers an array of product categories. These include tea, coffee, ice cream & frozen desserts, health food drinks and other innovative products.
Being a manufacturer and distributor, their direct customers include professionals from various sectors, retail stores and chains, e-commerce websites, and distributors.
- This company receives several invoices for raw material every day from multiple vendors for the preparation of their food. They had a manual process for receiving and validating raw material every day that consumed too much of the staff’s time.
- Their standardized food processing lifecycle consisted of tedious, manual steps. The process was errorprone and led to challenges tracking their final packaged product. They were interested to get every detail like which vendor ingredients were present in which batch of the final product.
- Also, they wanted to see if employees on the shop floor were following every step of the process and user -wise activity.
Overall, they wanted an internal application that could perform end-to-end tracking of every activity on the shop floor. It was important that the application was mobile responsive and could handle multiple logins at the same time.
We developed a PowerApps based Lot tracking application which was deployed on their tenant and shared with relevant team members. The app was accessible on the mobile phones. The Production team on the shop floor and purchase department used the application to scan and track items across the stages of food preparation
Employees used Power Apps on their mobile devices to observe strict food processes and product dates. The app helped with:
Every day, the client team received raw ingredients from multiple vendors. Previously, their team manually checked and entered the number of ingredients in the system. This manual check-in process was cumbersome and took a lot of the time of the staff.
To automate this process, Beyond Key developed an AI-based OCR system, which scanned the vendor invoices. The system (model) saved time and effort because it was trained to read the required values from the invoice and copied the values in the system. The automated process also reduced human error because all the team members needed to do was verify if the boxes with the physical ingredients were prepared correctly.
The extracted data tables from the invoice scanning are stored in the database.
QR code generation & Cloud printing:
The application performs an important function of generating QR codes at every stage of food processing. This is real-time. At every stage, the user has the option to print out a new QR Label which is pasted on the boxes. Employees can track the details of the items in the box without opening them. The application shows the tracking details from the received invoice to final product creation. In the tracking details, the user can see the Activity Name, Activity Date, and Activity by the user.
A new QR code for each stage tracks the food quality if it was compromised at specific stages, and what was the cause. This takes the food safety and quality aspects to next level. Once the QR code is generated, the file is sent to the cloud printer machine which may be located remote.
End-to-end tracking of Food processing lifecycle:
Another main function is tracking the processes throughout the entire food processing lifecycle and the users who are responsible to conduct these processes. This helps if any stage is missed or there is less or more time taken during any step which could harm the quality of each product. The tracking is done on the raw material, each step’s time duration, and output quality. Users can use the QR code generated on any previous stage and scan it. It will give the user activity, raw material information used, vendor details, date and time of processing, and several other details
Integration with ERP system
The Lot Tracking app is also integrated to the third-party ERP system using Azure data sync services. The system contains all the master data of raw material, vendors, processed final products, customers, and more. Later after processing, some of the information is again updated in the system to ensure everything can be managed within one database.
- Saved Time: The lot tracking Power App helped the client team monitor production output more effectively and faster than their previous system. Raw material receiving was simplified and automated, which saved the time and efforts of the team.
- Improved Food Safety & Quality: It is now easier to check the quality of the product and determine which stage did not have the right food quality.
- Better Monitoring: They got an application that could provide end-to-end tracking of their entire food processing lifecycle. The stakeholders received easy reports and detailed tracking of processes that helped them make informed business decisions.
- Improved Accuracy: The solution reduced human errors because they did not need to add information manually.
- High Efficiency: OCR increased their employees’ overall efficiency, which helped them focus on completing high-value task.
Form Recognizer (REST API V2.0)
Azure Blob Storage
ASP.NET Web API (Azure Hosted)
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