Pokolm Automates Manufacturing Processes

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration improves data quality, sharply increasing productivity and customer satisfaction.
Since we started to implement Talend's solutions, we have seen tangible business benefits (a sharp increase in data quality leading to higher productivity and higher customer satisfaction) as well as technical benefits (increased productivity of the development team and facilitated teamwork). Talend Open Studio for Data Integration has become the standard for all of Pokolm's data integration needs.
Maik Böttcher, IT Manager

A leader in precision tooling

Founded in 1994, Pokolm Frästechnick GmbH is a leader in precision tooling (milling cutter bodies, inserts and arbor, solid carbide tooling) for mold making, die shops, machine building, model making, and tool making. Pokolm's clients include automotive, aeronautics and space companies, and mechanical construction. Markets served by Pokolm include Europe, the USA, Russia, Australia, China, etc.

Half a million references

Precision tooling is an extremely complex domain, with a high number of permutations (shape, size, precision, material, carbide grade, type of coating, type of mount, etc.). To decrease delivery times and to ensure the accuracy of each order, it was critical that Pokolm smoothly process all the ordering, manufacturing, and inventory data. This problem became even more acute with the deployment of an online store.

"€œOur customers and distributors expect a fast turnaround time - a single missing milling cutter can bring a production shop to a halt while they wait for the part to be delivered,"€ explained Maik Böttcher, IT Manager at Pokolm. "However, we produce over 500,000 tooling combinations and we cannot maintain an exhaustive inventory of all parts. We needed to streamline processing of order data and existing inventory to speed up our manufacturing and delivery process."

Data processed to automate the manufacturing process come from a variety of sources - the online store, orders placed off - line by Pokolm's sales representatives and network of distributors, the Sage KHK production shop management system, a Crossbase catalog system, MS SQL Server and Oracle databases, and several custom applications developed in-house.

Open source data integration

"The complexity of the data sources and formats, and the need for fast data processing, drove us toward automating as much of the processing as we could,"€ said Maik Böttcher. "€œThe price tags of traditional data integration solutions were way too high for a company like ours, so we decided to look at open source solutions. We ended up running tests with both Talend Open Studio for Data Integration and Pentaho Data Integrator, but quickly discovered that Talend Open Studio for Data Integration offers much broader capabilities and is far easier to use."

Without a data integration solution, most of the developments would have been performed manually, with very little possibility of reusing and sharing code between the different parts of the system. "Talend Open Studio for Data Integration lets us centralize and streamline the development of our data integration processes," explains Maik Böttcher. "€œThe tool's visual presentation of sources, targets and integration jobs makes it very easy to understand the flow of data and the business rules that apply. The productivity of our development team has been increased at least by a factor of ten, and the resulting processes are far richer than what we would have been able to achieve with manual developments."

Pokolm's developers quickly became involved members of the Talend Community. "€œThe collaborative spirit among Talend users is excellent, and the talendforge.org forum is a great example of this collaborative work,"€ says Maik Böttcher. "€œNot only is this forum already very rich with information, but many community members are actively involved in providing answers and help to newbie users who, in turn, quickly become contributors. We have also used the Wiki and the BugTracker, and Talend's documentation is of excellent quality."

A sharp increase in data quality

Pokolm was able to automate the flow of data between the business applications and the manufacturing systems in record time, and the benefits are already obvious for all parties involved. "€œNot only are orders processed in real-time, which makes planning manufacturing jobs a lot easier, but there is also a tremendous increase in the quality of the data. Machine operators no longer need to go hunting for missing information and that used to cause huge delays and losses of productivity,"€ explains Maik Böttcher. "€œWe have also reduced to virtually zero the number of products that were returned because of non-compliance with the order."

In less than three months, Pokolm's development team has developed and deployed 67 new data integration processes. Every morning, company management receives a report generated by Talend that shows the status of the manufacturing orders. And Pokolm is already finding other ways to leverage their expertise with the tool-mailing list management, direct marketing, trade show leads management, etc.

"€œSince we began implementing Talend's solutions, we have seen tangible business benefits (a sharp increase in data quality leading to higher productivity and higher customer satisfaction), as well as technical benefits (increased productivity of the development team and facilitated teamwork). Talend Open Studio for Data Integration has become the standard for all of Pokolm's data integration needs,"€ concludes Maik Böttcher.