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EAC Digital Pioneers – Enhancing Production through Automation of Industry Processes

In today’s era, it is important that the needs of the industry are met by the result of practical teaching curriculums and research initiatives of the academia. Businesses are constantly in search of skills that accelerate the digital transformation. For this reason, AtoZ Textile Mills in Arusha, Tanzania established a close collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA) through its Young Professionals Programme which makes use of digital skills of students to drive innovations for the partners organisation.

AtoZ Textile Mills comprises of a group of manufacturing companies that produce products and services ranging from bed nets, agro fertilizers, garments and reflective safety wear to agriculture, horticulture and value-addition services. Currently, AtoZ is one of the largest manufacturing companies in East Africa. With technology growing at a fast pace, AtoZ needs to keep up by reviewing its ICT infrastructures. In this process, the company determined a need for enhancements and redesign of systems responsible for warehouse management and gate pass management.

Many organisations, including AtoZ, depend on web-based gate pass management systems which requires users to have access to a computer for security authorisation for staff and visitors, thereby eliminating all manual work of keeping record and tracking movements. Nowadays, users prefer to use mobile applications running on a small hand-held mobile device which is accessible from anywhere and any place. Therefore, CENIT@EA young professional Hillary Rambo has provided AtoZ with enhancements of its gate pass management system by integrating a mobile application to meet user demands and requirements. The integration incorporates barcodes that enhance user experience and interaction with the system, saving user time, quick notification of gate pass request and approval, eliminating manual entry of entrance and exit time data.

Meanwhile, warehousing is another necessary key component of AtoZ’s manufacturing activities and processes. With the expertise of young professional Beatus Mbunda, AtoZ has been able to implement a warehouse management system which works via a mobile application. The platform will enhance AtoZ’s production cycle by imminently predicting the availability of raw materials, utilizing time to make goods available according to demand and store surplus of goods to meet future demand. Furthermore, it helps to prepare goods for sale through packaging and grading.

Due to COVID-19, AtoZ is shifting its focus from manual operations with regards to tracking of delivery to web-based applications. With the mobile application the organisation is now able to remotely track goods in real time. “We want to improve customer experience and service delivery by helping clients plan for the sales being informed on the delivery route of their goods avoiding delays”, states Srinivasan Kumar, Information Systems Lead at AtoZ.

With the support of the CENIT@EA young professionals, the developed mobile applications will still undergo a series of coding, system testing, and validation even after the completion of the internship. AtoZ plans to further engage the young professionals from CENIT@EA to assist in development and enhancement of other systems in the organisation. Stay tuned for updates!

Background:

dSkills@EA, implemented by GIZ, is proud to have made a remarkable impact in the upskilling and training of young professionals in digital skills relevant to the industry’s needs, across the six EAC Partner States via its support to CENIT@EA. The fully-funded Master’s programme in embedded and mobile systems is a distinct example of skills development for the digital transformation of the industry in East Africa. The collaboration between academia and industry has been one of the unique components of the programme, ensuring the quality of a practice-oriented teaching and industry-proven curriculum that enabled CENIT@EA students to transfer knowledge to the industry through internships. dSkills@EA will continue to ensure that the employment and innovation-related digital skills of young EAC citizens are strengthened, in continuous efforts to increase support to youth development in the region.

Find more information on the Master's programme and the possibility to apply under https://www.cenit-ea.org/.

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