Supercharged Supply Chain: Arkite Transforms The Traditional Assembly Line Into A Human-Centered Supply Chain

Rosina Geiger

If you’ve ever bought a ready-to-assemble bookshelf or put together a child’s birthday gift, you already know what it’s like to work on an assembly line at an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Admit it. At some point, you mistakenly attached widget A to thingamajig C. Then, after looking at the printed instructions (which you did not read in the first place), you had to retrace your steps, take your product apart, and start over.

For you, that experience probably cost little more than an hour of frustration. Repeated mistakes at an OEM, however, can cost the company its very existence.

Human-centered manufacturing

Enter Arkite. The Belgium-based startup’s Human Interface Mate (HIM) quietly looks over operators’ shoulders and thinks along with them as they perform tasks and processes. If something goes wrong, the system alerts operators and gives them an opportunity to self-correct. By focusing on the actual work with constant error checking, employees not only perform better – they’re also more relaxed while they’re working.

Arkite’s HIM is currently running in more than 50 companies, including the Ford Motor Company in Cologne, Germany, and its supplier Benteler; CNH in Antwerp, Belgium; Reynaers Aluminum; and Commscope. These OEMs manufacture 10 or more variations of the same product, posing a constant challenge for workers.

In the past, employees had to interrupt their work every time they received a new set of assembly instructions and checklists. Arkite operator guidance has eliminated these redundant activities, allowing people to go about doing what they do best.

The living, breathing supply chain

In the hands of an operator, Arkite HIM is a powerful tool. But once it is integrated into the broader business software landscape, it transforms the traditional assembly line into an extension of a digital supply chain – with the intelligence to perceive and react to any given manufacturing scenario.

For example, Arkite has successfully integrated a number of tools and components for a richer user experience and a more transparent global supply chain:

  • By exchanging data with the ERP, production orders, and materials management, Arkite helps both manufacturers and suppliers monitor market changes, order levels, and assembly instructions. They can even automatically update supply and materials requirements.
  • Carmakers are creating smoother, more intuitive tasks by eliminating manufacturing checklists, redundant process steps, and trips to the instruction manual.
  • Electronics manufacturers use Arkite to empower workers with the tools and instructions they need at any moment, including specific assembly instructions for specific models.

Perfection per million

OEM customers routinely visit factories to check defective parts per million, process compliance, and quality. Arkite-powered assembly lines automatically produce a higher level of trust and confidence.

“When you supercharge your manufacturing processes, you’re differentiating your company from the competition – and turning your global supply chain into a strategic weapon,” says Bart Lamberigts, head of development for Arkite.

Arkite is part of the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain.


Rosina Geiger

About Rosina Geiger

Rosina Geiger is the Director of Startup Engagement at SAP. She has worked at the Hasso Plattner Institute before joining SAP in 2016 to establish the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain in Berlin and Palo Alto.