Lanark is a team of Digital Supply Chain Engineers who implement and integrate digital supply chain solutions. They help companies and their managers to ‘get it all done’ in a world of scarce resources, valuable assets and a continuously changing technological environment. Leveraging Twintag technology, Lanark proves that digital transformation doesn’t have to be a painful, long and expensive journey.
The challenge: improve hands-on-tool-time
Lanark’s focus is on supply network design, warehousing and transportation. Typically, this is within the ‘primary’ supply chain where raw product is transformed to a finished product and delivered to the customer.
However, Lanark doesn't ignore all those ‘secondary’ supply chains that keep an operation running: spare parts and maintenance, facility supplies, sales supporting material distribution, etc...
In the world of technical maintenance, hands-on-tool-time is a key measure indicating how many hours of an 8-hour shift technicians are getting real work done. Studies show that hands-on-tool-time is pitifully low: on average, technicians spend just 35% of their time working on machines. The remaining time goes to administration and information gathering. People lose time looking for manuals, sifting through information on shared drives and walking back and forth to the office to gather necessary information.
“Many of our customers are aware that a digital transformation of their processes would be a good idea,” says Lanark CEO Wim Farasyn, “but they are not necessarily in need of a large, company-wide digital transformation project."
Making sure that people on the factory or warehouse floor have easy access to the information they need to do their job, often already has a huge impact.
“To add to the challenge of creating small-scale digital transformations,“ Farasyn continues, “we recently got a request to find a solution on very short notice.”
Traditional approach not sufficient
When Lanark investigated options, they first looked at the traditional paths to digital innovation: custom app development from scratch or using an existing platform like Sharepoint to make information accessible.
“For a company-wide digital transformation process, these options are great. But to solve information access problems for specific applications and contexts, they are not flexible enough. When calculating the total cost of ownership, these solutions require a budget for setup, hosting and maintenance that’s out of balance with the problem they need to solve.”
Twintag QR codes provide workers with the necessary info where needed
While working on the urgent problem, Wim Farasyn discovered us.“I first learned about Twintag as they were nominated for the Supply Chain Innovation awards. Later, I met Alexander Carpentier, CEO of Esoptra, at the Logistics Hackathon we organised.”
The central concept of the Twintag platform sparked Farasyn’s interest: the virtual folder or ‘bag’ created on the Twintag platform which can be populated with various types of files, links to existing data sources and even live database queries. The information gathered in the virtual folder is then accessed through a QR code or link. The content of the folder is dynamic: new information can be added easily. As a result, information stays up to date, and users can upload content or get in touch by scanning a 'twintag'.
“In his talk, Carpentier shared examples of projects that were done on the platform, such as a track and trace solution in the food industry and a QR code tag system for the maintenance of industrial boilers. These use cases got me thinking if Twintag could be an answer to our needs.”
Farasyn decided to give it a try. “Over the weekend, I created a working prototype for an application that would bring the needed information straight to the technician with the scan of a QR code. The customer was delighted. We had come up with a quick and efficient way to improve a maintenance process: a QR code on various machines gave maintenance personnel access to exactly the information they needed, when and where they needed it.”
Twintag as a technology platform for quick development
After this first positive experience, Lanark adopted Twintag as their go-to technology for quick development in general and solution to improve hands-on-tool-time specifically.
“When we approach a new project, we always calculate which technological path makes most sense for the particular case. For projects with a focus on reducing the inefficiencies of day-to-day supply chain management, Twintag consistently comes out as more cost-efficient than any other way to build, host and manage these types of applications.”
ZAZA works without users having to register or download an app. The information is accessed by pointing the camera of a smartphone at a twintag, and displayed in a browser window.
The ease of use is a big benefit, but the platform where the information is attached to the code is what makes Twintag unique. “For me,” says Farasyn, “the best way to explain twintags is to visualize that each code comes with a ‘virtual bag’ attached, consisting of a small web server and data storage.”
Custom interfaces and a management dashboard as extra functionalities on top of the platform
As a service to their customers, Lanark’s supply chain engineers not only help in assessing the best solution for their customers’ challenges. Their hands-on approach delivers a full solution built on the Twintag platform, including a custom interface and a management dashboard.
Custom interface: while for some use cases Twintag's standard way of displaying content as a list of files is the way to go, Lanark’s customers are more comfortable when what they see on their screen more closely resembles a regular app. To achieve this, Lanark builds a custom single-page app which is uploaded in the ZAZA virtual bag. When the corresponding ZAZA QR code is scanned, the webserver-like functionality of ZAZA visualizes the information in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Management dashboard: to give their customers a central overview of their QR codes, Lanark provides a management dashboard. From there, customers see what’s happening with each QR code, and can update any code with new information or add new functionalities. “The dynamic nature of twintags is a powerful feature”, says Farasyn. “We envision customers starting out by attaching QR codes on machines to simply display a user manual, and upgrading the same codes at a later stage to include a feedback form for example.”
First success stories of the Lanark-Twintag partnership
Having been a partner for just a few months, Lanark is building two QR code-based applications, helping a brewery improve hands-on-tool-time and improving stock management of consumables for warehouses.
In the brewery, maintenance workers can now scan QR codes attached to the various machines. A scan reveals custom and up-to-date maintenance information, saving people time and effort. As a next step, technicians will also be able to make notes on their phone, which will automatically update the information displayed when scanning the QR code.
To improve the efficiency in the warehouse, Lanark enables a “WMS-on-a-tag” to keep stock of pallets, plastic wrap, tape and other consumables. “As happens in many warehouses, the stock keeping of the products they sell was fully automated, but the extra supplies needed for the deliveries still required manual attention”, Farasyn explains. “Stock keeping of these supplies is now done via a smartphone, and when stock is low, re-order requests are automatically sent to the front desk.”
“We’re very pleased that Twintag is now part of our offering to customers. Twintag lets us help more customers, in an efficient and flexible way.”
Twintag is a data logistics platform: it helps you put information to good use. The platform works with the concept of a unique identifier which lets you group various types of information. In most cases, this information is made accessible through a QR code.
A growing network of partners help their customers use the capabilities of Twintag to the fullest by providing services and developing custom apps on the platform.
Unleash Lanark’s team of supply chain engineers in your factory, warehouse, or on any supply chain project. Sit back and watch them come up with creative, actionable and practical ways to improve the way you work. Experience how they also put these ideas into practice.
Lanark proves that digital transformation doesn’t have to be a painful, long and expensive journey. Leveraging Twintag technology, Lanark creates tiny transformations with massive impact. More about Lanark