Creating an Offline Mobile App for the Factory Floor

Automotive | Lumbee Enterprises

Lumbee Enterprises inspects 20 million parts a year inside auto manufacturing plants for such clients as BMW, Volkswagen, Caterpillar and Volvo Truck. The company’s workers inspect—and sometimes rework—all those parts by hand. Until recently, this process was logged with pen, paper and cameras then taken back to the Lumbee office for manual data entry.


Gaslight partnered with Lumbee to create an offline mobile app called LiveSort that manages and records this entire process, boosting productivity, transparency and accuracy. Even better, the new software sets Lumbee apart from less tech savvy competitors to land new clients.

Work Made Easier

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Increased Productivity on Factory Floor

eliminated-paper-usage

Eliminated Paper Data Entry

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Created Competitive Advantage

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“The best thing about this project was engaging with the Gaslight team. In two days, we created a vision for where we wanted the app to go.”

Michael Delaney

Director of IT, Lumbee

Research and Planning

The project kicked off with a two-day planning session split between the Lumbee office and an auto factory. To understand how the app needed to function, the entire team observed the inspection process. Then they met with Lumbee leadership for a story mapping session, where they mapped out the initial workflow for the app.

Offline Data Collection

There’s no Wifi access on the factory floor, so the app needed to collect data offline on the device. Lumbee’s primary web app is built in Ruby on Rails. The team chose the Ionic Framework for the mobile app and extended the Rails API to share information. This Ionic Framework pairs Angular with Cordova and a mobile-friendly UI, creating a standalone mobile app for Lumbee’s Nexus 7 tablets. To upload data to the main Lumbee app, workers simply head to a Wifi zone and hit the sync button.

Increasing Productivity

By eliminating manual data entry, the app saves valuable staff time, provides immediate sorting results to the customer and reduces data errors more efficiently. These same efficiency gains extend to the factory floor. Instead of shuffling papers, inspectors flip through a few screens with a simple intuitive interface to enter inspection results. Images are taken right in the app and saved directly to the report. Instructions for completing each job can be found right in the app, too.

Creating Competitive Advantage

Lumbee competitors are still stuck in a paper inspection world, so the app creates a key differentiator. In sales meetings, potential new clients have been impressed by the company’s ability to capture and report defects in near real-time. Current clients also love the new app.

Recruiting and Retaining Employees

LiveSort helps Lumbee attract and retain employees who expect software at work to match the high quality of the consumer apps on their phones. This new technology also boosts retention by creating an advancement opportunity. Now Lumbee promotes inspectors to handle device setup and audit inspections.


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