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From a tablet into the cloud: smart industry on the shop floor

Written by Pieter Hamans on . Posted in Exact Online


Common practice in many manufacturing companies is to collect shop floor data on time and material consumption to achieve an accurate product costing and to monitor progress. Often, this progress is recorded in writing on the shop paper, or entered on a shared terminal supported by a barcode reader. Where a written record leads to delayed entry and inaccuracies, a shared terminal with barcodes still depends on paper.

What is wrong with paper?

Once a shop order is released to the floor, a printed document such as the shop paper is created. In an environment where priorities change daily and where subtle design changes (replacement components, markings or notes) occur, we are used to re-issue the shop paper. The challenge is to withdraw the previous version from the shop floor to ensure that the latest version will be executed. This process involves a physical search & retrieval mission to the floor. Each time again.

Shop paper

Quite another challenge is with the used technology to retrieve the data from the floor. There are PCs on the floor where data collection software is installed. As with all locally installed software, version management and upgrades become a common chore. PCs with barcode readers are not very mobile technology requiring the operators to make a walk when they switch to the next job.

From a tablet into the cloud

Exact is currently developing a shop floor data collection system that does not require a shop paper anymore, can be deployed on any device (such as a tablet computer), and is cloud based.

No shop paper: The shop order data is available on the device.

On any device: The shop floor app does not require a local installation and is accessible on any device.

Cloud based: All entered data is instantly available in the back office.

Now calling for controlled release customers

Our release schedule caters for two major deliveries. First the functionality for time entry, followed by the functionality for material entry. The functionality for time entry will become available to a limited number of trial customers starting from October 2015. During this controlled release, feedback on usability is collected and based on this feedback enhancements are made. The controlled release of the time entry will last three months, leading to a general availability in Q1 2016. Subsequently, we will start a controlled release for the material entry functionality.


Customers of Exact Online Manufacturing interested in participating in the controlled release may contact Pieter Hamans (email below) for more information. We will start sharing prototypes with the participants as early as August in order to collect feedback and to create readiness for deployment.

More information with Pieter Hamans (pieter.hamans@exact.com)

Picture courtesy Apple Inc. (https://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/daiwahouse/)


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