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Sustainable sophisticated support of manufacturing business by EX through partnership

Sustainable sophisticated support of manufacturing business by EX

Industry
Technology
Introduction

We helped EX provide the value to the manufacturing industry by leveraging the power of technology.

Together with the manufacturing industry

Founded in 1994, EX Co., Ltd. (EX for short) has been engaged in the development, sales and introduction of production management packages for SMEs manufacturers as its core business. The company’s main product is a production management system called “Factory-ONE Dennou Factory” (Dennou Factory for short).

At the time of its founding, only major companies were able to introduce production management systems. However, with the desire to “have SMEs use the production management system”, EX was established. Over the last 30 years, the company has been developing, selling and introducing production management packages for SME manufacturers

In this article, we interviewed Mr. Suzuki, who is in charge of the product development department, and Ms. Hatakeyama, the product planner, about the current state of EX, the partnership with NashTech, and the future they are aiming for.

The value that EX provides to the manufacturing industry

In addition to their main product Dennou Factory, they also provide “EDIFAS”, a cloud-based Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) compatible service common to SMEs, and “EXfeel”, a solution library for realising digital transformation (DX), in response to the recent trend of cloud applications becoming mainstream.

Improving real-time performance with “EDIFAS”

“EDIFAS” is a cloud-based EDI (procurement/purchasing) service that allows you to build a supply chain at low cost and in a short period of time. By using CSV and API (optional) linkage, you can utilise EDI functions such as quotation, ordering, receiving and shipping. It can be used by not only companies that have introduced the production management system “Factory-ONE Dennou Factory MF” provided by EX, but also companies that have introduced the core system of other companies and companies that have not yet introduced any systems.

“We have supported cost reductions by introducing IT
and optimising clerical work that, until now, relied on
the intuition and courage of on-site workers. However,
our support was limited to back-end support.” 

Mr. Suzuki – Product Creation Headquarters General Manager, EX

In the future, as a cloud native production management system, EDIFAS will be a mechanism that can directly support manufacturing sites by utilising various digital technologies.

Through this, EX aims to support decision-making not only in the field but also by managers and executives by obtaining real-time and highly accurate information. In addition to the concept of a conventional production management system, EX aims to optimise not only a single company but also the entire supply chain by making it a platform.

Cloud development, a new challenge through partnership with NashTech

Dennou factory has a lot of data on the manufacturing industry, but there were some that were difficult to utilise within the factory. Therefore, in order to utilise data more and provide new solutions, they have established a new service called “Dennou Factory Expansion Solution”. They decided to cooperate with NashTech in the development of one of the series, “EXQR actual product verification”.

“EXQR product verification” is a function that prevents incorrect products shipment by using an iPhone’s product check application with a QR code. In this collaboration with NashTech, they added functions to the offline version released in December 2021 and launched it as a new app “EXQR product verification cloud version”.

What made EX Co choose NashTech and what did they expect?

“What I expected was a new technology related to cloud development. Before we started the product verification project, we had actually approached NashTech for another application. While exchanging information, we realised that they possessed the technology that we needed in the future.” 

Mr. Suzuki – Product Creation Headquarters General Manager, EX
Ms. Hatakeyama – Product Creation Headquarters product planning team Chief, EX

NashTech and EX have been working together and exchanging information for a while. During the engagement, Mr.Suzuki said that he chose NashTech for the EXQR product verification development because of our cloud and mobile application-related technologies and capabililties, which were required at the time. 

“In addition to the ability to build mobile applications, one of the decisive factors is the large amount of information and high skill required for building cloud applications on AWS.” 

Mr. Suzuki – Product Creation Headquarters General Manager, EX

Agile development knowledge and high quality of deliverables

“Back then, waterfall development was the mainstream for our company, so we had little knowledge and experience in agile development. However, collaborating with NashTech was a good opportunity to learn about agile development and how to proceed at a high level.” 

Ms. Hatakeyama – Product Creation Headquarters product
planning team Chief, EX

At the same time as gaining knowledge of agile development, EX shared knowledge with other projects in progress in their company, which led to skill improvement throughout the whole organisation. 

Furthermore, she also mentioned the high quality of the deliverables in a short period of time. 

“I was very impressed with the ability to ensure quality and the smooth communication that being developed along the way for both sides. During the communication that transcended language barriers, I was surprised by the high quality of answers to questions, the speed of responses, the few bugs and the high quality of testing and verification.” 

Ms. Hatakeyama – Product Creation Headquarters product planning team Chief, EX

EX mentioned that the quality of the test case pattern was firmly created, and the quality was guaranteed, which led to a sense of security. One of NashTech’s strengths was the placement of test-dedicated members and the repeated testing within a single sprint. 

Ms. Hatakeyama and Mr. Suzuki said that this collaboration has showcased NashTech’s technological capabilities and expanded the scope of future collaboration. They also talked about the future prospects of EX.  

The real beginning is after the introduction. Sustainable sophisticated support for manufacturers

This time, NashTech developed an application for verifying products that can be used on an iPhone, and by using mobile devices to support manufacturing sites, we have received feedbacks from EX that they can see bright future ahead thanks to this application. 

“In the past, the information collected by the people in the field was input all at once by the person in charge of the office on the next day. Therefore, there was no real-time data provided to us. Now, with the new app, by using mobile devices, it becomes possible to analyse the information entered by people in the field while maintaining its freshness. As a result, that we can also support inventory and picking at EX.” 

Mr. Suzuki – Product Creation Headquarters General Manager, EX

Aiming for a service that starts after the introduction

“In the future, the goal is not to introduce the system, but to increase the number of things that can be done and aim for a service that starts after the introduction.” 

Mr. Suzuki – Product Creation Headquarters General Manager, EX
Ms. Hatakeyama – Product Creation Headquarters product planning team Chief, EX

The item verification, through partnership with NashTech, is one of them. This is just the beginning of business improvement for their customers. 

What’s more, they are also working on an “inventory diagnosis” that detects if there is any issue and find out the product number, and an “inventory simulator” that can simulate how to optimise inventory by manipulating inventory figures. 

It is said that Japan’s underlying strength lies in manufacturing. Above all, the number of SMEs manufacturing companies is overwhelmingly large.

It is no exaggeration to say that the steady research, development, and production of these companies support Japanese industry. EX, which supports such companies, also plays an important role.

For EX, it is believed that there are still many things that can be developed to give more companies a brighter future.  

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