Computer vision replaced manual routine work at HyTest
AI transforms the order processing of supplier of lab test key components
For over 25 years, HyTest has manufactured antibodies and antigens mainly used as raw materials for in vitro diagnostics. The company is renowned for uncompromised quality, from product development to safe and secure deliveries worldwide.
HyTest’s and Codento’s joint journey started at an Artificial Intelligence (AI) event, where Codento approached HyTest with its Value Discovery Workshop concept. The idea of these workshops is that in a compact two hours, Codento’s experienced specialists comb through the customers’ digitalization pain points. Then, the teams jointly identify the best possible areas for applying Google’s advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and applications portfolio.
Already before the workshop, the thinking process was valuable for HyTest, as Niko Västilä, Head of Digital & Ecommerce at HyTest, admits: “Earlier, we had used AI-based marketing technology, but we had not thought of AI as a solution for many other of our challenges. While we knew the possibilities and usage scenarios, we had not realized how such technologies could be applied to our specific use cases.”
“According to Codento’s instructions, we had identified several scenarios before the workshop,” says Antti Kulta, Logistics Director for HyTest. “Some of the scenarios were very complex and had not been thought through, but a few were conveniently narrow focus, and the pay-back of investments to AI-related tools was straightforward.”
From manual routine order processing to thriving on automation
“The processing of our sales orders included a lot of manual steps,” explains Kulta. “Our product range consists of 1,500 different products, and each purchase order is unique,” he continues. “We also need to adhere to the order processes of our customers – especially the largest ones, which means that each order, coming from all corners of the world, is different.” Due to the unique nature of HyTest’s customers’ orders, the process required a lot of time and manual routine work.
We want to enable our people to do something more meaningful with their time.
HyTest is obviously an organization where people thrive and enjoy themselves. Antti Kulta has been with the company for 17 years, and Niko Västilä is approaching his 12-year milestone. Both identify a family-like culture and authentic caring for the employees as secrets behind the long tenures of the HyTest workforce.
Bearing this in mind, it is natural that the first application area for HyTest was the cumbersome task of processing sales orders. Codento introduced HyTest’s team to the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solution utilizing Google Cloud’s DocumentAI platform.
“We saw this computer vision system could automate the entire purchase order extraction, validation, and entry process. We want to enable our people to do something more meaningful with their time,” says Västilä, further exemplifying the culture of caring for people and their motivation levels.
The humble approach gives room to Codento’s competent experts
Kulta and Västilä describe the project with Codento in many positive words. “The project team was extremely responsive and nice to work with, and what was agreed upon was done within the schedule and budget. They also swiftly comprehended what we were looking for and delivered near-ready solutions for testing, sometimes unexpectedly quickly,” Antti Kulta says. While the qualifications of Google’s platform and tools are undeniable, Kulta still accounts for most of the credit to Codento’s team: “There are all kinds of platforms and tools, but it is about who knows how to use them.”
There are all kinds of platforms and tools, but it is about who knows how to use them.
Codento delivered the solution to HyTest as a turn-key solution, which meant that HyTest’s IT resources were not eaten away in this project. Codento’s commitment to the client continues after the implementation phase, as they deliver ongoing maintenance and support to ensure sustained efficiency. Also, Codento’s humble way of approaching its customers stepwise is praised: “We appreciate the way Codento’s salespeople gave room to the experts in their team. We were not pushed something we didn’t need then,” Kulta says.
Training the algorithm on a trustworthy platform
From an information technology perspective, HyTest mainly operates in a Microsoft environment, but the OCR solution was built on Google’s tools. HyTest is a perfect example of a company that open-mindedly looks for ways to employ the newest technology to run its operations more efficiently but is unwilling to jeopardize any of its values in the process. “Codento convinced us of the suitability of Google’s tools for our environment. The uncompromised data security of the platform was especially vital for us, as security is imperative for us and our customers in all that we do,” Kulta says.
“The uncompromised data security of the platform was vital for us.”
During the project, the HyTest team learned much about the possibilities – but also limitations – of AI and using computer vision to interpret sales order coupons automatically. “During the project, we understood that all of these algorithms need a lot of training data from each order type, and one or two orders per year are not enough for that,” Västilä continues. “It became evident to us that not everything could be automated. Nevertheless, Codento was very agile in making changes to the scope of the solution. This first phase of the solution will not include all scenarios, and we may learn that we will never be able to automate everything. But we have now included the most common order types of the largest customers, and this will already mean huge annual savings in the manual work our people were doing.”
Genuine business talks also revealed future targets for AI
Codento’s Value Discovery Workshop concept collects kudos from both Kulta and Västilä. “We liked Codento’s workshop concept a lot, and it was a great fit for our situation,” says Västilä. Even though HyTest knew that the workshop was, in fact, a sales call for Codento, Kulta and Västilä agree that with HyTest’s sales, IT, Logistics, and Ecommerce represented, the session was precious for them as the client, too. “During the workshop, we jointly crystallized our predefined ideas and found several potential development items. Codento was not pushing technology to us. Instead, we were genuinely talking about our business and its challenges,” Kulta praises.
“Huge annual savings in the manual work our people were doing.”
The best part is that as this first project is now successfully done, HyTest has many other exciting AI opportunities lined up related to sales and marketing, among others. “It is great to have more ammunition in store. Now, it is just about reloading and going hunting again. I am convinced we have not seen it all yet,” Kulta concludes.
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