With the help of EU funding CodeIT has perfected its solution that solves the difficult conundrum of how to seamlessly combine document management with data management.
CodeIT develops, delivers and supports business-critical, flexible and scalable web-based solutions for industrial process-related ICT. The company’s technical solutions handle large amounts of data and make its customers’ process lines more profitable.
The success of CodeIT is due not only to their innovative ideas and insights, but also to their attitude towards sharing and openness. In connection with the EU granting CodeIT several million NOKs in development funds, CodeIT became a member of NCE iKuben, the National Center for Expertise in Norway specializing in rapid and continuous restructuring, with administration based at Molde University College. The Center has special focus on digitalization, sustainability and business models. Here, several of Norway’s most innovative and competitive businesses from different industries meet to share knowledge and experience.
Streamlining documentation and traceability
– Documentation requirements for manufacturers for all aspects of process lines are increasing. This is particularly noticeable in the food and pharmaceutical industries, but the trend is clear across all sectors. The software we create helps streamline documentation, labeling and traceability, says Bjørnar Torsnes, founder and CEO of CodeIT.
With over 20 years personal experience with process lines and IT solutions, he has amassed extensive industrial experience from all areas of production and related processes, everything from the factory floor to system level. Today, major players such as TINE, Marine Harvest, Volkswagen, Boliden and Elkem are among the company’s customers.
Making the match between academia and business
Large volumes of documentation are generated and processed at all stages in a product’s life cycle. Efficient Supply Chain Management is important for operating profitably. That’s what made Torsnes react when he heard that up to 60 ring binders with documentation was the norm of what was sent along with service parts to the oil and gas sector.
– I didn’t believe it, but it was true! When the engineers must sit down to collect all the PDFs, they begin to wonder if that is the meaning of life. The work is both demotivating and inefficient, says Torsnes.
– We had to ask ourselves why the big guys, such as SAP and the like, had not solved this. We think the answer is that they see everything from high above, and we came from below, with an automation background, says Torsnes.
The solution was a new software, and the development process led CodeIT to the EU via the town of Molde on the West Coast of Norway.
– NCE in Molde appeared our radar when we applied for support from the EU research and innovation initiative Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation program ever. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. We needed academic partners and through NCE we established very good contact with Molde University College. To our delight, we experienced the college as very professional, says Torsnes.
Becoming an NCE iKuben member was a very unbureaucratic process. We got a “yes” the day after we submitted our application! says Torsnes and smiles.
Meeting cross-industry technology challenges
All NCE iKuben members must contribute to the success of the other members. So, what does CodeIT bring to the table?
– Technology development is universal. If our solutions are used in a bakery or on a fishing vessel, its still the same thing. We are industry independent. If its to do with production, with a process line, the sector doesn’t matter. The experience and expertise we have will hopefully give value to others, at the same time as the interactions at NCE give us value too, says Torsnes.
Won coveted EU-millions for digitalization solution
CodeIT ended up receiving 1.2 million Euro (approx. 11 million NOK) in support from the EU and Horizon 2020.
With it they completed the development of the CodeIT eMRB solution, where eMRB stands for Electronic Manufacturing Record Book. It is a program that significantly simplifies and streamlines how to meet the documentation requirements for virtually any industry.
CodeIT eMRB has since been launched on the international market, and major players in the oil and gas sector are already among the customers.
– The EU’s Horizon2020 is the highest level you can get, it’s extreme sports with razor-sharp competition. We competed against 361 companies and it was a tough process, says Torsnes.
Openness as a winning business philosophy
Software development for process automation means that the code must work well with a wide range of machines and equipment.
The fact that the CodeIT solution works together with a customer’s existing equipment regardless of age, brand or technology of the equipment is a value choice for CodeIT.
– We have chosen to base ourselves on standards and open source, as opposed to many of our competitors who are based on custom tailoring. Many large IT vendors depend too much on selling consulting hours, and then they reap again on the ensuing chaos. When we install at a customer, we do no programming, we do everything through configuration on a case by case basis. So, if we have two or a thousand customers, we still have the same single source code says Torsnes, and continues:
– Otherwise, if we had a thousand different source code variants, maintenance would become very dependent on individuals in the organization. Our philosophy of openness is one of the reasons why large industrial companies choose CodeIT Enterprise as a business-critical solution in their process, says Torsnes.
Today’s business models will not last forever. Adapting to rapid changes in technology, industries and business is not only demanding, but necessary.
Torsnes likes to show how CodeIT’s cross-industry experience can benefit customers. It can be as easy as demonstrating labeling machines and Styrofoam boxes used for salmon in CodeIT’s development workshop in Oslo. When the boxes in question are used by the world’s largest aquaculture company, Marine Harvest, you know it must be a good value proposition. Furthermore, CodeIT has been appointed as Marine Harvest’s technical partner and has carried out multiple installations in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, USA and Canada.
Bjørnar Torsnes, CEO at CodeIT, has led the development that is now reaping accolades. (Photo: Marit Letnes)
FACTS ABOUT CODEIT
Founded in 2011.
Specialists in industrial traceability solutions.
Develops, delivers and supports software for process lines.
Offices: Oslo, Norway; Gothenburg, Sweden; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Front Page Photo: Marit Letnes