InnoTech and Costa Nova: Digital Transformation in Production Processes

By InnoTech
April 26, 2024 — Case Study

In an era where digital innovation is reshaping industries, the manufacturing sector keeps on evolving and driving digital transformation.

In this case study, we delve into the realm of digital transformation within production processes, focusing on Grupo Costa Nova’s journey towards modernization. Facing the challenge of managing complex production workflows across multiple factories, Costa Nova sought innovative IT solutions to enhance planning, execution, and control. Partnering with InnoTech, Grupo Costa Nova embarked on a transformative journey, leveraging digital tools to streamline operations and drive efficiency. This narrative unravels the challenges encountered, the solutions devised, and the implementation journey undertaken, offering insights into the power of digitalization in revolutionizing manufacturing environments.

The Challenge:

Grupo Costa Nova has four factories where the production of their articles takes place. These factories produce ceramics for the Costa Nova brand, but there is also production for other brands, that place orders for the factories to produce. So, at any given time the factories have large workloads to place.

One of the challenges the factories were faced with was the planning and management of the producing process. Although the group already had some digital processes in place regarding the stock management, for example, the planning of the producing process was being handled via Excel and paper sheets, which were not very efficient techniques.

The production of these pieces is systematized to ensure a consistent process. Some are common to most pieces, for example, the shaping of the piece, but along the way there are other stages, such as glazing, decoration, which may imply different techniques among pieces. Whether it is the type of glaze, color, how many colors, time to wash the machine, etc. All these steps have to be planned in terms of which pieces go to which machine, at which time, to streamline each process. Upon opening the Excel document to do this planning or to alter it, depending on machines that may be down or took a bit longer to wash, it took a long time to open, due to the volume of data and lack of response from the program.

The challenge proposed by the client was for InnoTech to make an app that replaces Excel to facilitate this planning phase. The aim was not to automate the planning process, but to make it easier for the people who were managing it.

With the success of ProPlan, the planning app, Grupo Costa Nova defied InnoTech for yet another challenge, which was to develop another app that was fed by the planning app. The aim of the second app was to manage the shop floor and track how the pieces were moving between each machine or process. As there was a lack of visibility into the movement of pieces between machines, leading to difficulties in tracking and optimizing production flow. These challenges hindered the company’s ability to meet customer demands efficiently and to optimize their manufacturing operations.

The Solutions:

Proplan Application for Planning: The company collaborated with InnoTech to develop the Proplan application, which replaced Excel spreadsheets for planning purposes. This application streamlined the planning process by systematically organizing the production stages for each order, considering factors such as piece characteristics, glazing requirements, and machine availability. Although the goal was not to fully automate the planning process, Proplan significantly facilitated manual planning execution, improving efficiency and reducing the time required for planning tasks.

Shop Floor Application: In late 2022, the company initiated a project to develop a shop floor application. This application integrated with the Proplan system to provide real-time visibility into production schedules and tasks. Each machine was equipped with a monitor displaying upcoming tasks based on the planning data. Operators could then execute tasks accordingly, facilitating smoother production flow and reducing downtime. Importantly, the application allowed for tracking the movement of pieces between machines, enabling better control and optimization of production processes.


Grupo Costa Nova is a long time standing IT partner for InnoTech, and in the implementation of these solutions there came the realization that we needed a totally scalable team, as it’s usual in a Team as a Service delivery model. As such, we started of with a Solution Architect, but as the project evolved and demanded more expertise, the team was scaled up or down. At one point the team counted on the Solution Architect, a Developer, and an UX/UI expert.

The implementation of these solutions involved several key steps:

Development and Deployment of Proplan: The Proplan application was developed using the .NET Framework and C# programming language, with a WPF-based desktop interface for seamless user experience. The application followed a client-server architecture, leveraging SQL for data modeling. The implementation involved thorough testing and training to ensure smooth adoption by the production team across all factories. Since its deployment, this application as shown no need for additional support.

Deployment of Shop Floor Application: The shop floor application, designed to complement Proplan, underwent development and testing before deployment. Integration with existing systems and equipment was crucial to ensure data accuracy and real-time functionality. The application was initially tested in the fourth factory to assess its effectiveness and gather feedback for further improvements.

This aplication had the particularity of needing the instalment of several monitors in the shop floor, placed in strategic places to facilitate the tracking of the pieces between machines, carts, and shelves. Moreover, as the factory environment is not the best for digital apps, there was carefull consideration regarding UX/UI.

User Experience Enhancement: In the previous year, the company conducted a user experience review to identify areas for improvement in their digital tools. The feedback gathered from this review informed the development of user-friendly interfaces for both Proplan and the shop floor application, enhancing usability and increasing user satisfaction.

Overall, the implementation of these solutions aimed to modernize and optimize the company’s production processes, enabling better planning, execution, and control, ultimately leading to improved efficiency and customer satisfaction.