Custom Software Development in Ann Arbor
Grachek, Inc. provides software development in Ann Arbor — whether you need a completely custom software solution, or simply want to extend a commercial software product or service. Reduce the burden on your staff with increased integration and automation of repetitive tasks – while simultaneously helping error-proof your processes.
Commercial software may be a good starting point, but should not be the standard for what is possible. Let us help develop custom reports, add-on applications, and scripts that put your business is in control of its software (not the other way around). Our projects typically have an excellent return on development expenses by saving on labor savings and improving process performance.
The best approach isn’t necessarily to completely replace existing systems, but rather to enhance and integrate them. The system and the organization are then able to evolve over time, positioned for a dynamic future while maintaining continuity with the past. This approach helps manage change within the organization while helping to cultivate agility and sustainability.
We will work closely with your team to design practical solutions that meet or exceed your objectives. Our solutions are intuitive for users, and minimize maintenance and administration. We have the experience, creativity, and passion to help you get to “Wow!”
- Office Automation / Workflow Optimization
Office processes frequently start life as manual tasks of minimal burden. As business grows and tasks become more complicated, it frequently pays to step back and look for efficiencies. We help clients find ways to automate, optimize, and error-proof their office processes. Often this involves “going paperless” where we put a system in place to drive the process electronically, but it is about more than saving trees. For example, one of our clients had a manual process to release jobs to their production floor via a series of Excel documents. The documents were quite detailed, requiring a lot of input from both Engineering and Quality. We developed a software solution that automatically pulls required information from their database and populates the Excel files automatically — all while helping validate that everything is ready to run the job. Now they simply “push a button” to release the job. The solution was simply an enhancement of what they already had; it did not require any changes beyond release of the job. The client liked the solution so much that we quickly applied the techniques to save time and prevent errors in their shipping process.
- Custom Label Solutions
Do you have a customer who wants you to start printing specialized labels for product that you produce for them? We can develop the label to their specifications, then integrate printing into your existing process. This minimizes data entry costs while dramatically reducing opportunities for error.
- Inventory Management
Inventory management can be quite challenging due to the inherent complexity of some businesses. We don’t just develop software; we work hand-in-hand with clients to simplify where possible, and apply lean principles to their warehouse and production floor. Our software solutions are then designed to be a platform to support and enforce proper inventory management. We build custom workflows and incorporate mobile devices to make transactions as effortless and error-proof as possible. Clients know not just the quantity of a given product that they have, but also the number of containers and the precise location of each in the warehouse. Improvements to inventory accuracy and transparency are frequently monumental in terms of efficiency and ability to make on-time deliveries.
- EDI / Electronic Commerce (EC)
Do you need to send or receive Electronic Commerce (EC) / Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) documents with your customers and/or vendors? Common documents include Advance Shipping Notices (ASN’s), Invoices, Orders, and Delivery Schedules. EC documents can be quite elaborate and are often very time-sensitive, which means the more they can be automated within your process, the better! We’ve developed tightly-integrated solutions that automatically compile and send ASN’s automatically as soon as a shipment is finalized. We also developed a system that automatically processes incoming delivery forecasts and helps reconcile them to existing orders (saving several HOURS of labor each and every week!)
- Production Scheduling
We can help you need to improve production scheduling by developing tools that give your schedulers the data they need to make optimal production decisions. It is no surprise that there is no one-size-fits-all scheduling tool, since each operation can have such unique requirements. We help by first identifying the requirements and the opportunities, and then we develop a solution that pulls all the necessary components together. At that point, “the sky is the limit”:
- See part drawings/photos while scheduling
- Use real-time data (inventory levels, order details, production progress, etc.)
- Flag new parts, “hot” parts, quality alerts, etc.
- Distribute your schedule electronically via smartphones or tablets.
- Custom Reports
Is there information you’d like to have, but don’t know how to get it out of your database? Do you have reports that take a lot of tedious effort for someone to compile? We have advanced expertise developing reports that extract information automatically. Even if your software is “off the shelf”, we can dramatically extend functionality so that information is at your fingertips. The new report may reside in a web page, a PDF, an email, or — our favorite — an Excel file that gives you further tools for sorting, filtering, and analysis. This is one of the most valuable services that we provide, as reports frequently provide insight that otherwise would not be available for management decisions.
- Systems Integration
Excellent systems are even better when they work together. If you find that your data exists in more than one place (necessitating redundant data entry, or having to look things up in more than one system to get the complete picture), then we may be able to help you simplify. Where there is a will, there is usually a way to make systems “talk” so that all of your data is where you need it, when you need it. Integration may also include connecting to systems such as PLCs (essentially an industrial computer control), or Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as cameras and other sensors. These technologies, when thoughtfully integrated, can truly make your business “smart”.
Our Software Specialties
- Python enables rapid development of robust automation. For example, we used Python to capture photos of parts as they were packed, and automatically associate them to a job before uploading them to “the cloud”.
- Perl, short for Practical Extraction and Report Language, is an incredibly useful programming language with a rich selection of resources. Using Perl, we developed web-based applications, automated everyday business tasks, and developed logic-rich reports. Perl is Open-Source, and has a long and proven track-record. We’d like to help make Perl do something amazing for your business.
- Microsoft Visual Basic (VB) and Office Integration (COM) Does the flow of Microsoft Office documents drive activity in your business? Did you know that it is possible to automatically create, read, and update Microsoft Office documents? Microsoft Office documents empower users and provide enormous flexibility, but – without automation – can become information silos and an unnecessary burden to manage. We can help your organization tap the power of Visual Basic and COM to automate and integrate Microsoft Office with your other systems. Extraordinary things are possible, and we can help you get there.
- Structured Query Language (SQL)
SQL is a language for communicating with databases. We have decades of experience writing queries that produce advanced reports efficiently and reliably. SQL enables leveraging the power in our computers to do in seconds what might take days for a person to do. We are also experts in database design, so we can develop your database from scratch. We fully appreciate the potential complexity of real-world data, and our databases are designed to rise to each challenge.
- AutoIT is an open source product that can simulate keystrokes and even mouse movement. In other words, it can script actions within Windows and Windows-based applications, including Internet Explorer. If your business needs to make repetitive transactions in a system that it does not have full control over, this may be the perfect tool to automate and error-proof activities!
- Fourth Dimension (4D) is a client-server database & development tool that enables rapid, professional results and is compatible with both PC and Macintosh. With numerous plug-ins available, 4D can accomplish practically anything you need it to. Grachek, Inc. has decades of 4D experience, and is ready to help you build a fresh application or help enhance an existing one.
- x3270 is an IBM 3270 terminal emulator that can be used to automate tasks that would otherwise be tedious or error-prone for a human operator. One common project is frequently referred to as “screen-scraping” where data is systematically collected from the terminal so that is may be used elsewhere (perhaps in another database, an Excel file, or a customized report). If your organization relies in any way to a connection to an IBM mainframe, we would love to explore some pretty amazing possibilities with you!
Customize and optimize with top-notch software development in Ann Arbor! Call Today!