Business Automation Suite

CMTP

 

We partnered with CMTP to design and build a business automation suite which enables users to customise their products. This reduced the time taken for this process from two days to ten minutes. 

The Client

CMTP is a leading Australian manufacturer of crates, cases, pallets and other packaging solutions for the transport of bulky and fragile goods. While many of its products are available in standard specifications, CMTP takes pride in its ability to rapidly produce customised containers made specifically for their customers’ needs.

CMTP has been operating for over 42 years and now spans eight national locations, with manufacturing facilities in Melbourne, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Their key demand industries are manufacturing, fresh produce, livestock, automotive and various export markets.

The Problem

While CMTP was equipped with the people, tools and production system necessary to deliver customised packaging solutions, the process was frought with manual calculations that inevitably slowed the process and introduced high risks of error.

When a customer specifies the dimensions, materials, thicknesses and padding of their bespoke product, the technician must determine the dimensions of each constituent component, the positioning and quantity of reinforcing ribs, and several other calculations. When this is performed for each order, this adds up to a significant amount of time to achieve, which in turn affects operational costs and detracts from CMTP’s ambition towards becoming a speedier and more efficient supplier.

Because the workflow for designing a case from a set of specifications is relatively consistent (albeit complex), and the calculations necessary are predictable, this process is a prime candidate for automation. CMTP had achieved this to some extent by creating a custom excel template workbook, which allowed them to input various dimensions and in turn output component dimensions and quote-prices by using cell formulas. However, even with this method in place, the quoting process took about two days

 

The Solution

We designed, built and deployed a custom web application that takes CMTP users through each step of the quoting process. Dimensions, weights and logistics types for the products are entered according to the customer’s needs, which are then converted into parts lists from an inventory of standard timber cuts. This is done in such a way that minimal waste is produced by selecting the optimal configuration of timber cuts. It also evaluates the weight of the payload to be contained, to ensure that the product will be adequately reinforced, allowing engineers to override calculations for increased weight bearing if needed.

The customer may specify extra features for their product, such as paper lining, fumigation of the wood, heat treatment or hermetic sealing. The application will calculate the cost, margin and wastage of the end-product based on each of the customer specifications entered and the calculated/optimised outputs. The resulting quote can be emailed directly to the customer via the platform.

Additionally, the web application displays a 3D render of the finished product, which CMTP staff can use to demonstrate how the product will look to their customers. When quotes are sent to customers, there is also the option to include an image of this 3D render.

We took a process which used to take two days and reduced it down to 10 minutes. 

 

The Technologies

Laravel

The web application is built on the Laravel framework, which handles all business logic and calculations.

Ajax

Ajax is used to accept inputs from the user, such as dimensions, and dynamically output calculations on the same webpage with no need to refresh or otherwise.

Three.js

Three.js is the JavaScript library used to generate 3D renders of the finished product with the given specifications. At its core is WebGL (Web Graphics Library), which consists of JavaScript control code and shader code written in OpenGL Shading Language.

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