Our client is a global leader in apparel branding and retail packaging, with 25 manufacturing and service locations globally, and offers a complete portfolio of apparel labeling products to enhance brand identification. The client modernized their legacy spreadsheet-based calculators for calculating the production costs to a serverless solution built on AWS.
The Business Challenges
The client has developed complex calculators using spreadsheets that contain the business logic to determine their products' cost of production (pricing, costing, and consumption data). The spreadsheets had a large number of formulas, constants, and lookup tables to calculate various costs with multiple variables of material information, raw material costs, and printer hardware specifications that vary by location. The input data is updated manually in multiple spreadsheets coming from discrete sources. The company was facing several challenges with the spreadsheets, such as:
- The spreadsheets were difficult to maintain and update, especially when there were changes to the cost structure or the manufacturing process
- The spreadsheets were not easily accessible to all stakeholders, and multiple versions of the spreadsheets were in use
- The spreadsheets were prone to errors and inconsistencies and were very complex to verify the accuracy of the calculations.
To address the challenges, the customer decided to modernize their spreadsheet-based calculators into APIs that could be integrated into their existing IT systems.
AWS Serverless solution helps customers innovate quickly by building and deploying applications faster, reducing time to market. The solutions built with serverless are fault-tolerant, scalable, and cost-effective. With no underlying infrastructure to maintain, it lowers the maintenance and complexity of the deployment. In addition, Serverless offers flexibility in using different programming languages and frameworks to build your applications.
The Arystech Solution
We implemented an API-first strategy to innovate and deliver solutions faster.
- We chose a serverless approach and used Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform for the development.
- The development team worked closely with the business stakeholders to understand the requirements of the calculators.
- Based on the requirements, the team designed the APIs with the inputs required for the calculations and generated the required outputs. In addition, the design included error-handling mechanisms and security features to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the calculations.
- There was no documentation of the formulas in the spreadsheets. The developers converted the formulas into lambda functions.
- The quality team tested the APIs extensively using Postman.
- We built microservices using AWS Lambda, API Gateway, and MongoDB as the NoSQL database. We used Serverless Application Model (SAM) Framework to deploy the application.
- The front-end web application leverages the APIs to build a portal for business users to perform the calculations.
- The company created a centralized solution by converting the spreadsheets into APIs so stakeholders could access them through enterprise IT systems, enabling the sales, finance, manufacturing, and operations teams to make faster decisions.
- The APIs handled errors and inconsistencies, reducing the risk of miscalculations and inconsistencies in their quotes.
- The APIs are easily maintainable and updatable, which reduced the time and effort required to update the cost calculations where there were changes to the materials, cost, or manufacturing process.
- An interface is available for the business and operations team to update the constants, making a single source of truth for all input parameters.
- The serverless approach helped reduce operational costs and complexity and resulted in building highly scalable solutions with faster development cycles and a pay-as-you-go model.
- Drive efficiency by developing and deploying independent APIs