A pioneering developer of pumps for the processing industry
Turo Italia has manufactured industrial pumps and valves for many different processing industries for over 50 years. The company is part of the Egger group that has a sales network with global reach. The pumps conform to the demanding quality standards and operating requirements for gasses, powders, and liquids containing large irregular solids. In 2016, the Egger group decided to grow their market share in the African continent. Turo Italia took charge of this new and challenging goal. Since then their sales have doubled.
The continuous rise in product demand revealed shortcomings in their ERP software, especially in the reporting of non-conformities within the quality management system. The reporting tool forced operators to perform a lot of time-consuming and error-prone manual work, which posed a challenge for keeping up with the rising production expectations.
A drive to streamline operations while growing the business
The old quality management system was commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, customized to Turo Italia's needs. However, over the years, it has not been able to adapt to changing business needs. It had numerous known issues and the development team uncovered more during the requirements-gathering phase. They found the following categories of problems:
- The system lacked software logic to guide operators to create the reports in a structured way.
- Operators needed to assess and input data manually, because the integration with the ERP system was inadequate. In addition, the manually-entered data produced a duplicate of the ERP data entered in the quality management software database.
- The system did not generally enforce validation rules to ensure all data is well-formed.
The project team consisted of two domain experts for the ERP system and its processes, and three application developers. The team started to develop a new and improved system that could reach the following goals:
- Integration with the existing ERP system should be as simple as possible.
- The application should support the process and guide user operations.
- The application should be aware of and enforce the correct structuring and validity of data.
- Application delivery should be low-friction for a multitude of devices (mobile and desktop).
- The application should emphasize user-friendliness.
After a short and successful evaluation period, the team chose Vaadin 14 as their web framework.
Vaadin 14 with Java backend focus and data-processing features
The application backend is built on Spring Boot with Tomcat. Vaadin's first-class Spring integration and Vaadin's data provider APIs that efficiently load large sets of data, were used to create performant data listing functionality.
The flexible features of Vaadin’s data grid allowed the team to build sophisticated filters that quickly let operators filter thousands of rows of data. The built-in data validators and custom-implemented logic, enforce data validity and consistency. And with the seamless integration with the current ERP system database, most of the information can be filled automatically with only a few user inputs.
One additional big development time saver was Vaadin's internationalization (i18n) capabilities. With i18n text placeholders and language file resources, the user interface offers two languages (English and Italian) for all the UI elements.
Finally, thanks to the mobile-first Vaadin components, the new application can now be operated from any modern smartphone. The non-conformity report often requires photo attachments, and the operators can upload these directly from their devices.
From specifications to production in three months
The project started in March 2020 and was completed in June 2020. The development team organized the project roughly into the following sequence of milestones.
- Gathering and analysis of requirements.
- Defining operation login and data structures.
- Migrating the old software database to a new database that runs together with the AS400 ERP database.
- Web application proof of concept.
- Development and testing.
The result: Happy users and accelerated business operations
Almost instantly after the new software became operational, the development team started receiving positive feedback from happy users. Reporting that sometimes previously had taken them an hour to complete, now only takes a few minutes. The substantial increase in efficiency is possible thanks to the user interface that facilitates creating the report by filling in only three fields. All the rest are now fetched directly from the ERP database.
Quriosity is an intuitive and easy application; it perfectly meets the needs of operators by means of quickly available information. The user interface is so clear and well-arranged that it can be used also by people not so skilled in informatics. By means of it, we have considerably reduced the time necessary to create new non-compliancy reports and we can better keep control of our job.
- Gianni Gonzo, Quality Control Manager
- Michela Peron, Quality Department Manager