Cogiscan: Automating inventory management with Zoho Creator

"I am really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in implementing Zoho Creator. Not only are we saving an enormous amount of time by no longer relying on outdated, manual processes, we’re reducing our footprint by transitioning into a paperless office. We’ve set a strong digital infrastructure to coordinate, communicate, and collaborate across multiple teams internally."

- Silvia Kern, Digital Transformation Manager, Cogiscan

Created by : Cogiscan

No. of employees : 63

Use case : Inventory management system

Industry : Professional Services

Implementation Partner : BSP

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The company

Cogiscan is the leading connectivity, track, trace, and control (TTC) solutions provider for the electronics manufacturing industry. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Bromont, Canada with satellite office worldwide, Cogiscan’s solutions have helped to transform and optimize manufacturing operations in over 450 factories. Cogiscan's main offering is based upon a scalable Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform that perfectly integrates with all major equipment types, and is highly configurable to suit each customer’s specific production needs.

As part of Dürr Group's Digital Factory, Cogiscan operates alongside their parent company, iTAC Software AG. Cogiscan celebrates collaborative client relationships with both Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) providers worldwide, in a variety of industry sectors, including aerospace, medical, automotive, new energy, and more.

The challenges

As the company grew in scale, it struggled to manage its inventory and streamline other processes. They faced the following challenges in their operations, too.

Inefficient inventory management and error-prone processes:

Cogiscan's legacy inventory system lacked integration with their accounting system, leading to inaccurate tracking and outdated records. Relying on spreadsheets for inventory management resulted in inefficiencies and manual work. Additionally, their periodic inventory update processes conducted through spreadsheets were time-consuming and prone to errors.

Multiple-level BOM management:

Managing inventory levels for different levels of bill of materials (BOM) posed challenges for Cogiscan. The complex relationships and dependencies between components and sub-assemblies made it difficult to track inventory accurately.

Lack of integration and automation:

Their operations lacked integration and automation, particularly in linking sales orders to purchase orders and calculating landed costs. They needed a system that could accurately track multiple purchase orders associated with a single sales order and automate cost calculations, including shipping and taxes.

Reporting and analytics:

Since Cogiscan is owned by a publicly traded company, robust reporting and analytics capabilities were required to process complex reports and KPIs for decision making. Their previous systems did not meet these requirements effectively.

The solution

Cogiscan summary
Cogiscan company
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Cogiscan summary
Cogiscan company
Cogiscan solutions
Cogiscan summary
Cogiscan company

In 2021, Cogiscan sought a comprehensive solution to address their challenges. As a long time Zoho CRM client, they started looking for a partner who could analyze their processes and explore other Zoho applications. That's when they encountered BSP, a Zoho Creator Partner with expertise in optimizing business processes.

After considering various options, BSP recommended Zoho Creator as the optimal solution. BSP utilized Zoho Creator to build a customized inventory management system. This included integrating Zoho Creator with other Zoho apps such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Analytics. This allowed Cogiscan to automate their processes and achieve seamless operations.

Here are a few of the main modules that BSP developed for Cogiscan.

Sales order module:

This module guides customer orders through distinct stages, starting with the creation of draft orders. It carefully evaluates the customer credit limit and sets aside inventory for items in stock. When the credit limit is met and sufficient inventory is available, the order receives the status "Clear to Ship."

The module is empowered to take proactive actions, such as initiating the creation of purchase orders or work orders when necessary. Once linked, purchase orders or work orders are successfully fulfilled and the sales order is automatically designated as "Clear to Ship." This coordination ensures sales orders move smoothly for timely fulfillment while avoiding any possible delays.

Shipment and invoicing:

This module streamlines the final steps of order fulfillment. It ensures accurate confirmation of shipment quantities, generates essential documents like packing slips and commercial invoices, and oversees the process of confirming and printing invoices for completed shipments. By integrating these tasks, the module minimizes the possibility of errors and enhances customer communication by providing transparent and well-documented information about their orders.

Purchase orders:

Purchase order module offers versatility in creating supplier orders. Whether initiated manually or automatically generated from sales orders, or minimum stock level, the system ensures seamless processing. The module allows for both partial and complete receiving of purchase orders, providing adaptability in managing inventory. Additionally, if a product requires sampling, the system ensures the necessary sampling step is executed before joining the inventory, ensuring quality and accuracy. This streamlined approach empowers Cogiscan with greater control over procurement and inventory management.

Bill of materials and work orders:

This module simplifies the production process for products requiring assembly. A multi-level BOM hierarchy allows for the organized structuring of components. When generating work orders, the system automatically verifies component availability. If components are in stock, they are reserved; otherwise, a purchase order is initiated. As inventory becomes accessible, it is allocated for assembly. This systematic approach optimizes production efficiency and ensures a smooth manufacturing workflow.

Booking/debooking (reporting):

This system maintains a comprehensive record of customer-driven modifications to sales orders. This tracking report captures crucial information such as quantities, total amounts, and dates of each alteration. For instance, it logs the initial booking of a sales order, subsequent quantity adjustments (bookings), and any revisions that lower the order (debookings). This meticulous tracking ensures an accurate historical record, providing valuable insights into the evolution of sales orders and enhancing transparency throughout the order management process. This tracking is used as a basis for complex financial reporting requested by financial stakeholders.

"Zoho Creator has empowered us to create a highly customized inventory management system perfectly aligned with Cogiscan's business processes. Its standout feature is its adaptability, allowing us to tailor the solution precisely to our client's current needs while ensuring it remains future-proof as their requirements evolve."

- Denis Carrier, General Manager, BSP

Benefits and ROI

The adoption of Zoho Creator has truly improved the operations at Cogiscan, providing a range of benefits that have positively impacted their business, including the following aspects.

  • Real-time inventory management: Cogiscan gained real-time access to inventory values, reducing stockouts and improving overall inventory control.
  • Enhanced order processing: Zoho Creator accelerated sales order processing and shipment, simplifying purchase order processes and reducing fulfillment time.
  • Improved accuracy and control: Accurate BOM information and better control over minimum and maximum inventory levels, reorder points, and sampling processes improved operational efficiency.
  • Integrated processes and analytics: Cogiscan achieved seamless integration with Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, and Zoho Analytics. Zoho CRM streamlined lead management and customer relationship management, while Zoho Books handled accounting transactions and inventory tracking. Zoho Analytics provided a robust platform for generating customized reports and KPIs.
  • Streamlined revenue recognition: Using Zoho Creator, Cogiscan managed revenue recognition, particularly for software and services, ensuring accurate accounting and revenue calculations.

"As suggested by BSP, Zoho Creator 6 was precisely what we needed to develop a customized inventory management system. The Creator 6 environment allowed us to build, develop, test, and tweak without hindering our real-time operations. Additionally, Zoho Creator's low-code feature was crucial in maintaining our aggressive timeline and going live on schedule."

- Benoit Ouellet, Senior Director - Technology, Cogiscan

Looking forward

Cogiscan plans to continue leveraging Zoho Creator to further enhance their operations. They aim to set up additional processes and functionalities such as integrating their project configuration process into Zoho Creator to streamline their sales operations. This would simplify the process by allowing the sales team to focus on customer needs, while the module automatically assembles the right product SKUs for the quote. Once the quote is confirmed by the customer, it will seamlessly synchronize with Zoho CRM. As Cogiscan's requirements evolve, they are confident in finding effective solutions with Zoho Creator and BSP.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zoho Creator?

Zoho Creator is a low-code application development platform that allows users to create custom applications on their own, with minimal coding experience. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface empowers developers and business users to build web and mobile applications that satisfy all their unique requirements with ease.

Are applications built on Zoho Creator scalable?

Applications built on Zoho Creator are built to auto-scale—the back-end infrastructure seamlessly scales as business demand grows. Currently 14,000+ customers across are using over 6 million applications built using Zoho Creator, a testimony to the power of the platform.

Does Zoho Creator have a free plan?

Yes, Zoho Creator has a free plan. This plan comes with a limited feature set and allows for one user, one application, 250 MB of storage, and 1,000 records. However, you have the option to upgrade to a paid plan whenever you wish.

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