Mobile application supporting process analysis using Lean tools
Leanpassion is a company that introduces the Lean Strategy in leading manufacturing and services organizations. They asked us to develop an application that would make it easier for both the employees and clients to analyze their processes using Lean tools. Leanpassion needed an analytical tool that would support their clients in assessing the quality and effectiveness of their internal processes. This tool had to work offline and after performing the analysis it was supposed to send the gathered information to the website service, where further analysis could be run by the Leader.
Lean Process Excellence is an application allowing progress monitoring of processes, including effectiveness of people on different positions and performing different tasks. By introducing this tool, which simplifies and boosts the management transformation the Leanpassion company can offer their clients thorough management analysis and improvement of their financial condition.
Creating a reliable application with an intuitive interface that would enable gathering and interpreting data of various form and structure.
“Due to the short implementation time and possible expansion to multiple platforms,we decided to base the application development on the Ionic framework. The back-end was created using Django with Django Rest Framework. This combination of tools allows us to keep developing new features easily, as it is flexible and scalable.”
Each analysis can consist of a number of chosen modules. Collected data is automatically synchronized with the server. The way each module is based on inputting data such as selection lists, text, sound, pictures and videos captured directly on mobile devices. Using the management panel on the website service the application allows browsing through historical data and remote analysis (for instance the consultant from Cracow can work with the analyst in Warsaw on the same process). Additional features include managing the team during creating audits.
Each analysis consists of modules studying the processes in the company from different angles. One of the most interesting features are registering wastes based on images and video files, defining the efficiency of processes through drawing routes used by employees on the plan of the office (for example the route an employee has to take to print an invoice or serve the client), creating block diagrams related to specific activities leading to achieving the goal and measuring their time.
We have started the Lean Process Excellence project by researching technologies that would help simultaneous development on multiple platforms and allow implementing custom and unusual features. Next, we worked on the usability and the interface (UX / UI) of each view. Afterwards, we were responsible for the full implementation of both the application and the web service. As a final stage, we deployed the system to the client's server.
The application allows inputting data not only as text, but also sound, images and videos using interfaces available on mobile devices (in this case, mostly iPad mini). In many cases during the data gathering process this approach turned out to be rather unusual and needed new creative solutions or experiments, such as adding information on a previously recorded video or painting shapes on collected images.
Most of the analysis methods in the application was based on original ideas of the Leanpassion company. Before we began working on the design, each feature and element of the LPE application had to be sketched and thought through thoroughly in terms of usability. This allowed us to create the initial version of the application with a simplified user interface, which was later replaced with the more sophisticated, final design.
The project was divided into stages related to specific features being introduced. As a tool used to manage work, communicate with the client and create project documentation we used Active Collab. Thanks to it we could monitor the flow of work in the team and project progress easily as well as discuss with the client whenever direct meetings were not possible.
The target platform for the implementation and design for Lean Passion Excellence was iOS (the device currently used by client's consultants is iPad mini). However, by using the Cordova/Ionic hybrid application framework, the application will be easy to port to Android devices, which will serve as an important feature during the application development process.
Along with the application, a website service was also launched, where the gathered data can be analyzed on-line. The service also provides multiple features needed to manage the team of coordinators.