Say Hello To MAI

MAI specializes in designing and manufacturing sub-assembly modules for automotives. With their team working over 100 hours on one report in a month & other challenges which includes scattered data across spreadsheets, hindering historical analysis and trend spotting, it set back their scalability and delayed decision making.


– Power Apps

Technologies & Integration

– Power Apps

– Power BI

– Azure Data Lake


MAI’s Mission

The mission was to find a development company to help with their first cloud-based project, something they had never done before. This was a significant step for them, so they needed a partner to guide them through the process. They aimed to use cloud tools for better reporting and automation because their existing data was scattered across spreadsheets and lacked strong reporting features. With an expected 40-60% reduction time taken in report making, they needed an impactful solution

So, MAI partnered with Sunflower Lab to resolve this, most importantly because we had experience with the Microsoft Azure environment, a large team, and were based in Ohio for face-to-face interactions which was vital to build trust.

Sunflower Lab partnered with MAI to work on the following pain points:

  • icon MAI pageOver 100 hours spent per month on one report (data in several excel sheets)
  • icon MAI pageDelay in data reporting due to manual data entry due to fragmented data and led to delayed data-driven decision making
  • icon MAI pageConstant crashes in excel based system. In case a file was accessed by one team member which caused frustration (it blocked others from accessing the same file)
Modular Assembly Innovations Timeline

Our team was willing to work in a phased manner and supported it with a proper project timeline

MAI was looking to move its on-premises system to the cloud. It was considering Azure data lake given its inclination towards the Microsoft suite of products. A few of the workforce in MAI used Linux but 99.9% of the employees worked on Windows 10 or Windows 11.

With most people using Office 365, Microsoft was the preferred choice.

What was expected?

The subsequent step is to mirror the QAD database and flat file to Microsoft Azure.

Modular Assembly Innovations Data Migration Data Migration
Modular Assembly Innovations Daily Reporting & Analytics

MAI aimed to recreate/create new Azure SQL reports and Azure Dashboards using existing CyberQuery, Excel and Insequence reports.

Further on, it looked to create data visualization and analytics of these reports using Power BI

What was expected?

Deploy Power Automate data collection flows for ERP, Operations, and Manufacturing data and create Power BI data models for reporting.

Create a web app for data entry using PowerApps to replace existing OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) reports and other manual entry items. With this application users from each department could be a super user and access PowerApps or normal web app to serve their purposes.

The internal department of MAI is using Power Automate to automate its repetitive tasks for Accounting and Finance.

What was expected?

Build PowerApps or normal web apps for OEE data collection.

Modular Assembly Innovations Data Collection

What was MAI’s scenario?

Before MAI partnered with Sunflower Lab to work on the project, it had already started migrating to the cloud with Power BI licensing. Even though it had all its licensing in place, it hadn’t started using it. The prime reason for this was –

The data was unstructured and needed to be aligned for Power BI reporting.

There was a need to work on data governance to identify which user had which role.

It needed to streamline how frequently the vendor needed to sync its data with the database.

With an interconnected ecosystem of websites and applications where MAI users could access their reports, apps, etc. all in one place and fetch data from legacy systems making the process quicker.

What MAI was expecting?

With reporting we had some reservations. Sunflower Lab had its UI/UX developers take a look at it. What SFL presented was great and we really liked it. If there was any concern SFL went back and solved it. You guys have made it a painless process.

Cote Watson Testimonial

Cote Watson

ERP Supervisor – Modular Assembly Innovations


Data Silos & Outdated ERP

Modular Assembly Innovations has multiple plants with each plant having its separate common drive (data storage system). Each plant has its own departments, so the access level is managed at the plant level. None of the plants follow a common folder structure or layout. Out of the common drive folder, an Excel sheet is managed where different data is placed for production, quality, and finance that is managed at plant level leaving behind the synchronicity at organization level.

MAI has QAD 2010 SE which is its ERP software for ordering, purchasing, and scheduling. It is running on an outdated Operating System, that runs into frequent problems and often time falls out. Being of legacy systems, it is not possible to install new packages and APIs thus stunting sync with cutting-edge technology. This makes pulling out data all the more challenging.

Modular Assembly Innovations Data Accessibility

MAI has certain 3rd party integrations (CyberQuery) to pull data and store it in Excel and ODBC connectors that enable querying against the progress database QAD is running on. Also, in case one is not on the VPN or connected to the internal network, there isn’t accessibility to the reports.

Our Approach

Data configuration needed to be done across multiple manufacturing plants which included production data, shift data and downtime data. With Power Apps, the entire process was simplified

  • icon MAI page Employees could fill data and create a new configuration
  • icon MAI pageAdmins could edit the configuration data & employees will be updated with it for report generation
  • icon MAI pageShift reports can be made by directly entering production, shift and downtime details through Power Apps (data validation is applied to avoid false data)

What won us over was your understanding of the scoping and then really trying to understand our idea is what we’re trying to accomplish because since we don’t have a budget, it’s hard for me to just go in and say hey here’s everything that we want to do and let’s just do it. What helped me was that the Sunflower Lab team really understood that and they were really on board with trying to help us get down that road map and trying to make sure that we could segment things into multiple phases

Cote Watson Testimonial

Cote Watson

ERP Supervisor – Modular Assembly Innovations

Watch Detail Testimony Here


Unreliable Reports & Production Downtimes

The reports are stored in Excel format from where they are extracted in HTML. However, due to the heavy size of reports, there could be issues like – what if the spreadsheet, excel, macro for reports breaks as the process of updating happens every hour.

As the server is old it leads to performance issues with QAD. With the advent of time, the requirement of accounting and finance departments also increased leading to the necessity of more data causing slowdown and performance issues. This results in crashes that drive downtime for production MP&L (Material Planning and Logistics)

Here’s what we did

To resolve the issue of unreliable reports & production downtimes, Power BI and Power Apps were used:

  • icon MAI page The users could fetch data by prompting.
  • icon MAI pageWe structured the data and made it accessible by Power BI.
  • icon MAI pageWe built an application in PowerApps which was connected to the database
  • icon MAI pageUltimately the users could easily fetch reliable reports on Power BI making decisions and strategizing easier.
Modular Assembly Innovations smart factory

Our Project Management Tool- Jira

We used Jira to track the internal project process. In each sprint, we laid down the foundation to what was the next target to be achieved and tracked progress as the project proceeded.

Modular Assembly Innovations Jira

If I had to rate Sunflower Lab on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d go by 9 which to me seems near perfection. I don’t have any bad thing to say for you guys.

Cote Watson Testimonial

Cote Watson

ERP Supervisor – Modular Assembly Innovations

Meet the Project Team

Sunflower Lab handpicked professionals until we were convinced that the proven team would best fit for MAI by assessing our
and MAI’s strengths.

Where Sunflower Lab Stood Out

Several reasons aligned in the process where Sunflower Lab was a strong contender to work with MAI.

MAI Number 1Finding a company that could propel and hold hands with MAI in every step since it was the first time they were going on cloud.

MAI Number 2Not many local companies had expertise in the Microsoft suite of products.

Data spread all over the place needed streamlining.

Someone who could handle the database from setup to end.

Is your organization’s data unstructured and is slowing down your business?

We have a proven track record of satisfied service/solution partners from 30+ industries. As a part of our collaboration, we would be honored to have you on-board.

COntact our team

You might also like

PCP Images

Aligning sales team with its goals using Power

Web App

case study Contact us today

Philips light play

A New Way To Find The Right Bulb

Mobile App

case study Contact us today