A growing independent wholesale distributor of online asset management software, Apex Industrial Automation offers customers real-time inventory, pricing and electronic ordering of manufacturing solutions. Their team conducts field inspections, identifies plant part numbers and stores all that information in custom catalogs for their customers’ future reference. That’s because when a machine breaks down or a part is needed, those customers will call on Apex for the information and replacement parts required to keep their job moving.
As one could guess, data collection is just about the most important part of Apex’s work—and, before Cloudbakers came to the table, it was also the most tedious.
The Hurdles of Analog Asset Management
Armed with only paper and pencils, the Apex team was faced with the daunting task of cataloging the entire inventory of their manufacturing plant, full of bearings and other power distribution materials, spanning hundreds of thousands of part numbers. Too tedious to sort through, the information collected was rarely digitized, making data collection a next to impossible task.
It was a serious problem, as Apex’s customers rely on their custom catalogs to identify engineering issues, address single points of failure and understand exactly what parts are running in their shop. That’s tough to accomplish when the necessary data is buried under stacks and stacks of handwritten papers.
There’s Got to Be a Better Way
That’s exactly what Apex was thinking right when we came along. Referred to Cloudbakers by a happy client of ours, Apex had an idea of what they were craving, but it was on us to bring that idea to life through application development.
What Apex lacked was an efficient way for field engineers to easily survey inventory parts and automatically add them to digital catalogs for their customers—and that’s easier said than done. Most applications aren’t built to handle over one million records, let alone instantaneously sort and display them. Our task was to whip up an API that could take on all the data Apex could throw at it and seamlessly convert that information from the CMS to the customers’ apps.
To ensure their team was ready to hit the ground running when the app was complete, we worked side by side with Apex, hosting regular calls and meetings to keep them involved and informed from start to finish. Their team was especially eager to put the camera feature to use, a game-changer in how their departments document and sort their inventory.
From Pen and Paper to an App from the ‘Bakers
With increased plant productivity, reduced inventory stocking requirements, improved data insight and the elimination of tedious data entry, the app is working even better than the Apex team thought possible. The cataloging process, which once took anywhere from 1-2 hours per part, is now instantaneous, allowing inventory to appear on ecommerce catalogs within minutes of scanning. All in all, 895,000 part numbers spanning 89 suppliers are available in-app, and its number of users is likely to triple by the end of this year.
Now, Apex is looking to the future, hoping to expand their API to analyze data, standardize products and minimize the number of manufacturers sourced. Lucky for them, Cloudbakers is ready whenever they are.