How to make a great factory application from scratch

Case Global company

How to make a great factory application from scratch

Bilot was approached by a global company looking to replace a legacy on-premise application with a modern cloud-based web application that could be used in multiple factories around the world. The application is a part of the manufacturing process of product labels. Being a very forward-thinking company, the client was open to new ideas and wanted to improve not only a simple application, but the process around it from start to end. So, the journey began with just one designer.

Version 0.1 - Listen, gather and service design


For the first few months, one of Bilot's designers visited the factory to observe how the manufacturing is done. This involved asking lots of questions and listening to the process needs from end users. At the end of this process, Bilot had created a stand-alone package of information and assets that could be kickstarted any time.

The service design package included:


The proposal was approved and the implementation phase began.

 

Version 1.0 - App ready for production and users are actually smiling


Thanks to well-prepared design and requirements, Bilot’s team had a clear vision of what the first version of the working application should be.

Implementation of the new application was done in a very transparent and agile way. Constant communication with the key users and stakeholders, mainly using Microsoft Teams, allowed the Bilot team to focus on doing the right things and validating every small incrementation from the key stakeholders, end users and product owner.

One of the goals was to set up DevOps practices to allow continuous delivery with high quality software. One of the key benefits of doing this in an efficient way is the ability to rapidly put out test versions for end users to verify data quality and keep the user interface simple. The application included complex calculations and generated drawings which needed to be validated by end users. There was no margin for error in production, since a tiny error could end up being very expensive.

Technologies

React + Redux

.Net Core

Azure DevOps

Azure AD

Azure Functions

Azure API Management

Azure App Service

Azure SQL

Version 2.0 - 你好,世界  We are ready for the world!


Once the foundation was built, it was easy to improve on it. After few months of usage, Bilot’s team already started hearing the next requirements from the end users. Multiple improvements were implemented to ease of use, based on direct user feedback from the factory floor, where paper-and-pen work was now obsolete thanks to the application doing all the hard work with calculations and drawings.

This version added localization to 5 different factory locations, including U.S. and China regions. This allowed the customer to pilot the new application to plan the manufacturing process changes in other locations.

Version 3.0? - The future is full of opportunities


Benefits of this project are, for example, unlocking the open dialogue and giving equal voice to users and business alike, allowing Bilot to think beyond just another quick tool for the shop floor, and thinking bigger to make the tool integrate into core processes of the entire operation.

The key is in heuristic collaboration as a true team: not just being a tech provider to a client, but building a foundation in trust, teamwork, modern tech and user engagement together. This ensures unlimited potential for the future, one version at a time.

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