Simplify and automate the barcode process

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Simplify and automate the barcode process

Simplify and automate the barcode process

Astrup AS is Norway’s leading supplier of metals and plastic semi-finished products. They are the only warehousing wholesaler to supply Norwegian industry with aluminium, metals, plastics, rust-resistant steels, special steels and titanium. Their state-of-the-art automated storage solution ensures gentle, automatic picking of sheets and long goods. With more than 3000 pallet locations, the Astrup automated storage solution is one of the biggest facilities in Scandinavia. They currently have 100 employees, and net sales amount to around NOK 750 million a year. For a supplier of modern production materials, efficient, high-quality management of certificates is crucial. Full digitisation has resulted in a number of positive effects for materials wholesaler Astrup AS.


Tracking of all materials is crucial 

Astrup AS is a wholesaler working with metals, special steels and plastics, primarily supplying companies in Norway who then process these materials. They have customers in many different industries and supply materials for a range of ap­plications. “It could be anything from offshore and machining, construction and facades, to interiors and design,” says David Berge Frogner, Head of Quality Assurance at Astrup AS. For many customers, tracking all materials involved in production is absolutely crucial. The offshore industry is one example. 

“We have to be able to track individual materials all the way back to the crucible. How is a material tested, or how is a material specifically postprocessed? Everything needs to be trackable when it comes to offshore applications,” says Frogner. All this information can be found in certificates that are provided with the products ordered by Astrup AS. A barcode is gener­ated for each individual purchase which is then attached to the material and the certificate issued. This maintains a link between goods in stock and certificates containing information on quality and testing. 

“Originally, we printed barcode labels that were stuck onto the material and the certificate. At the back, this information was punched into the system.” says Frogner. 


The move towards full digitisation 

The first step towards a fully digitised process was to read the barcodes automatically instead of entering the information on the labels. However, it quickly became clear that more could be done. The certificates arrived at Astrup AS electronically. To apply the barcode, the certificate first had to be printed and then a label had to be applied to it so that it could be scanned. 

“We wanted a digital stamp so that the entire job could be digital, and Konica Minolta was able to help us with this.

The solution: M-Files. When we get an order, M-Files identifies the documents we receive. It differentiates between certifi­cates, packing slips and so on. Then we link the certificate to a product line in a purchase,” says Frogner. 

M-Files generates a digital stamp – or labelling of the PDF. This is a kind of barcode that is applied to the document digitally. As a result, there is no need for Astrup AS to print and scan the certificate. All quality information follows the documents digitally. 

“We have to move it to M-Files and mark it as a certificate. The document can then be accessed as a certificate that can be sent to our customers when they buy these materials,” Frogner explains. 


Valuable process 

“The archive system is a turnkey solution, but Konica Minolta has customised it for our work processes and workflow,” says Frogner. “Konica Minolta steered the project with a steady hand and were proactive throughout the entire process. They ran workshops and training sessions that included users of the system and presented suggestions for solutions based on that.” 

“The way in which they included the organisation meant that the solution has been really well received among users. They see that their lives are more efficient and that the system gives them more of an overview and better control,” he continues. For Astrup AS, the value of the project is indisputable – for users of the system, and for customers who are dependent on certificates. They benefit from faster processing, fewer manual errors, better quality and legibility of documents that have never been subject to wear and tear.


A taste for more 

And on top of it all, Astrup AS now has an archive system for which they have a number of potential applications. Retrieval is easy, with full metadata and plain text searchability in the PDF versions of certificates. A link has been set up that locates the purchase number in the ERP system and adds metadata from there to the certificate. 

The system is also secure, with controlled access to all ar­chived information. Astrup AS are now working on extending the use of M-Files to other applications within the business. 

“We’re just starting to consider using it for HR and personnel. It’s important to take GDPR into account – we’re very keen to comply with that,” says Frogner. 

M-Files allows rights to the system to be managed, controlling who can view sensitive information, as well as the option of creating flowcharts. This makes it possible to create processes and reminders in connection with onboarding and offboarding. 

“We’re working on creating personnel folders where we set up documents for each and every employee profile. M-Files can provide us with a good overview of all the sensitive information in our possession and help ensure we do not to store informa­tion for longer than we’re allowed to,” he emphasizes. 

“All in all, our experience of M-Files has been very positive and we trust the processes established by Konica Minolta to implement the project,” concludes Frogner.

David Berge Frogner
quotation marks

The archive system is a turnkey solution, but Konica Minolta has customised it for our work processes and workflow. The way in which they included the organisation meant that the solution has been really well received among users

David Berge Frogner

Head of Quality Assurance, Astrup AS

Challenge

Challenge
  • Printing of barcode labels that were stuck onto the material and the certificate
  • At the back, this information was punched into the system
  • Full digitisation of the barcode process: read the barcode automatically from the certificates instead of inputting the numbers

Solution

Solution
  • Implementation of M-Files: receiving an order M-Files identifies the documents and differentiates between certificates, packing slips etc. 
  • Generating a digital stamp or labelling of the PDF which is a kind of barcode that is applied to the document digitally
  • A link has been set up that locates the purchase number in the ERP system and adds metadata from there to the certificate

Advantages

Advantages
  • Users' work is more efficient and system gives them more of an overview and better control
  • Faster processing, fewer manual errors
  • Better quality and legibility of documents
  • Easy retrieval with full metadata and plain text searchability in the PDF versions of certificates
  • Secure system with controlled access to all archived information 
  • Information is not longer stored than Astrup is allowed to

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