12K+ hour savings annually in production and warehouse management with Infor Enterprise Automation and Infor AI

Infor Enterprise Automation e o Infor AI


Ring Container, a prominent and award-winning manufacturer of environmentally friendly plastic containers in the United States, adheres to the guiding principle of 'Stronger, Faster, Lighter' throughout its production process. The company, producing and delivering over 1.5 million bottles annually, is committed to crafting superior-quality containers that not only possess increased strength and reduced weight but also swiftly reach the market. It is likely that Ring Container products already grace your pantry, given the company's predominant focus on serving the Food and Beverage industry.


Aligned with this ethos, the IT department is dedicated to delivering applications that embody the principles of 'Stronger, Faster, Lighter' to end users. This approach aims to streamline operations and enhance customer service as the company expands. This commitment involves harnessing appropriate technology to promptly provide robust applications requiring minimal user input. The goal is to empower plant users to concentrate on manufacturing containers that meet customer specifications, rather than being tethered to a computer.


“If we were to imagine running our business today without the support of Infor tools, including artificial intelligence and enterprise automation, it would be challenging, if not inconceivable, given our company's growth. Our expansion relies heavily on these tools, as we don't grow with traditional resources but rather depend on leveraging advanced technologies to navigate and enhance our operations,” says Michelle Kelley, IT Director.



Leveraging Robotic Process Automation to standardize


With 19 plants operating independently worldwide, there was an opportunity to standardize Bill of Lading management across all plants using Infor Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Existing paper-based, siloed bill of lading management not only was inefficient but also negatively impacted the customer experience.


 “We process approximately 1500 Bill of Lading documents from shipping every week. Each plant stores these documents in different ways. Some plants file them away, some scan them and store them on a local file system, and some take the time to scan and upload them into Infor Document Management (IDM). These processes are not only time-consuming and can introduce errors, but also present a problem when having to locate documents to resolve a customer issue promptly. Today with RPA, we trust that when users are researching our customer's problem, they're giving them accurate information,” says Jaime Zepeda, IT Technical/Functional Analyst.


Infor RPA is an integrated service with Infor OS Platform, providing Ring Container a fast solution to automate the digitization and management of all Bill of Lading documents within a centralized IDM repository. This repository ensures easy accessibility through Infor CloudSuite ERP whenever there is a customer inquiry. The efficiency gains from streamlined document processing and retrieval allow users to redirect their time and efforts toward the production of high-quality bottles.


In minutes per plant, Infor RPA efficiently processes hundreds of documents without requiring any human intervention, eliminating the need for paper documents altogether. By linking all documents to customer, order, and shipment details, customer inquiries that used to take days are now resolved within seconds or minutes. Ring Container, experiencing rapid implementation in less than six weeks, reaps the following benefits from Infor RPA for Bill of Lading management:

  • Lower operational costs – $102K annual savings with 2700 hours saved annually in centralizing documents online, and 4125 hours saved annually in customer inquiries
  • Better customer service – 96% faster customer resolution for inquiries on shipment or traceability (seconds over hours/days)Enhanced customer service – Achieving a 96% faster resolution for inquiries related to shipment or traceability.
  • Improved employee satisfaction – Employees can now focus on manufacturing high-quality bottles rather than spending time shuffling and searching for documents.
  • Rapid value realization – Witnessing tangible benefits in under 60 days



Zero business disruption using Artificial Intelligence


“One of the requirements of moving to the cloud is that we did not disrupt the business and we were 100% successful in in that goal. But that goal goes forward as we further automate so as not to disrupt the operation in our plants because their primary focus is getting a quality product out the door to the customers with the appropriate documentation,” says Kelley.


With a focus on zero business disruptions, Kelley recognized the potential to enhance the precision and efficiency of post-production inventory management using Infor Artificial Intelligence (AI). This AI application, aimed at reconciling physical inventory with the ERP, is in harmony with Ring Container's manufacturing strategy of creating stronger, faster, and lighter bottles. Within less than 90 days, an AI dashboard provides warehouse users instant insights when logging into the ERP, enabling them to swiftly take action to address inventory discrepancies.


Physical inventory is reported into the ERP by accounting for each finished goods unit by its unique identifier. It’s common to have a missed label scan with this unique identifier due to a very busy and loud plant floor or crumpled label. Users need to know which finished goods were not accounted for promptly and reconcile this because it impacts the accounting of raw materials and the availability of inventory in our ERP to fulfill a shipment when it's needed.


In a matter of minutes, AI finds missing unique identifiers in the sequence that was expected in the past so users can quickly reconcile all the inventory with an audit trail of how that process was working. Before AI, it could take users a day to find that there were gaps in physical inventory because they were taking information collected at the end of each shift or day and then cross-referencing that against reports that were given to them the following day to find gaps in inventory.


“If you don't know that inventory is there, then you are not able to ship a load of goods to meet a customer requirement. The AI dashboard updates hourly so that users find a resolution promptly as opposed to days in the past,” says Zepeda.


Ring Container is now managing inventory more accurately and more dependably with the AI dashboard providing the following value:

  • Swifter operations – 24X faster inventory reconciliation (daily to hourly)
  • Lower costs - Improved on-time delivery, precise procurement of raw materials, automated/accurate reporting(save 4,940 hours or $75K annually)
  • Optimal operations – Proactively resolve post-production issues contributing to missing/damaged inventory
  • Enhanced Employee Satisfaction - Empowering employees with trusted and readily available data on demand, eliminating the need for guesswork or manual searches for inventory gaps
  • Rapid Value Realization - Experiencing tangible benefits within under 90 days



With AI insights available on demand through an Infor Birst dashboard, users have self-service access to perform their business intelligence reporting and analysis. Users have already proactively started identifying patterns in missing data, and this is helping them to troubleshoot their manufacturing process and avoid having this missing inventory data in the future. Notably, one plant discovered a recurring pattern where data was consistently missing at the same time on the same day every week, attributed to planned equipment maintenance causing downtime.


“Another benefit of the AI dashboard is that users don't have to come to me for help every time there is missing data because they trust that the data in the AI dashboard is accurate every time,” says Zepeda.


How did Ring Container select the right use cases to innovate using Infor OS Platform? According to Kelley, she constantly goes back to the manufacturing motto ‘stronger, faster, lighter’ in quickly delivering robust, easy-to-use application capabilities. Kelley also advises knowing your end users and bringing the plants together through regular meetings where everyone shares their experiences and collectively identifies an opportunity for improvement that can be repeatable across all plants.


“The technology works, but it is only successful if our users find value in it. And our users don’t want to interact with a computer on the plant floor. The innovation must reduce the number of keystrokes to ship a truckload of plastic bottles produced,” says Kelley.


What’s next for Ring Container? “From this experience leveraging Infor AI and Infor Enterprise Automation capabilities successfully, we know that Infor will be a partner with us as we embark on our integration between manufacturing, robotics, technology, and IT,” says Kelley.


To clarify any doubts or questions, please use our contacts.


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