After-sales services and diagnostics, particularly in diagnosing previously sold defective tools, are crucial for maintaining good branding as they directly impact user experiences. Research reveals that 83% of consumers abandon a brand after just one negative customer service encounter, while a mere 1% average human error rate can lead to significant financial costs in business operations.
Team Techify comprising (L-R) Jackson Tai, Jordan Sahabudin, Tan Wei Siang (Team Lead), Mr. Victor Khoo Shien Yang (Mentor), and Gan Wei Jun. They are holding pictures of a member and mentor who couldn’t attend the ceremony, Goi Yi Shen & Mr. Amad Arshad.
In light of these findings, Team Techify, consisting of five BSc (Hons) in Software Engineering students from the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), proposed an innovative IT solution titled Improving HILTI’s After-Sales Diagnosis with 3D Scanning and Machine Learning. This solution not only aligns with the challenges faced by the construction industry but also positions the team as the frontrunner for the Grand Champion of the HILTI IT Competition 2023.
With this victory, the team of five claimed the championship title, a distinction that APU had traditionally held since 2020. The team, led by Tan Wei Siang, boasted a formidable lineup comprising Business Lead Jordan Sahabudin, Innovation Lead Jackson Tai, Operation Lead Goi Yi Shen, and Technology Lead Gan Wei Jun.
The HILTI IT Competition is an annual global IT competition that provides a platform for junior talents worldwide to tackle daunting challenges from the construction industry. This year, 187 teams, consisting of a total of 656 participants from 31 different nationalities, submitted their proposals between early October 2022 and mid-February 2023. Team Techify advanced to the semi-finals alongside 15 other teams in March and ultimately emerged as the Grand Champion among seven finalists. The prize ceremony took place on May 12 where the team was awarded a sponsored trip to one of HILTI’s strategic IT locations in Switzerland.
As a multinational company providing products and services for professionals in the construction industry globally, HILTI continuously seeks improvements in its processes amidst the paradigm shift of the fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), aiming to maximise positive impact from the manufacturing plant to the tool service centre. As the competition organiser, the company looks for a rejuvenating force that can transcend the current limitations of digitalisation in construction, while also considering business viability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Based on this context, Team Techify conceived a highly technical solution leveraging 3D scanning and Machine Learning (ML) to achieve better quality control, reduce tool inspection turnaround time, enhance customer experience, and improve new product design.
According to Tan Wei Siang, the team lead, “3D scanning could improve HILTI’s after-sales return process by obtaining the surface deviation of the defective tools and analysing the root cause of the problem. Meanwhile, ML can accurately predict the failure probability of all the parts with a HILTI tool based on historical data patterns.”
In contrast to manual inspection, which is susceptible to human error and results in long turnaround times for after-sales returns, 3D scanning and ML can identify the causes of defects based on the scanning results and historical data. This transformative approach can elevate a business to new heights by enhancing customer experience and satisfaction. Tan added, “It could help increase process efficiency by 30%, thereby contributing to profit growth.”
Team Techify with (Back row L-R) Gan Wei Jun, Jordan Sahabudin, Tan Wei Siang (Team Lead), Jackson Tai, and Mentor Mr. Victor Khoo Shien Yang (front) joyfully celebrates the Grand Championship of the HILTI IT Competition 2023 with the award of a sponsored trip to one of HILTI’s strategic IT locations in Switzerland.
The team received guidance from the university’s mentors, including Mr. Amad Arshad, Senior Lecturer of the School of Computing, and Mr. Victor Khoo Shien Yang, an APU alumnus of Software Engineering. They also benefited from industry mentors from HILTI Group, namely Ms. Christine Schwaerzler-Duerlinger, Cohort Lead Tool Services, Global IT, and Mr. Ng Kim Hoong, Team Lead IT Integrated Operations Centre. Additionally, Mr. Eric Yong Sze Guan, an ambassador from the competition organiser, provided support.
Furthermore, Team Techify's proposed solution aligned with several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By utilising ML, the solution can create a more efficient workforce and generate new job opportunities for analysts, thereby supporting SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth.
Moreover, by enhancing the company’s resilience during crises and keeping it at the forefront of technological innovation, the solution contributed to SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. The team’s focus on fixing and refurbishing tools to promote sustainable consumption aligns with SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption & Production.
By integrating their proposed solutions with these SDGs, the APU team’s proposal demonstrated a broader impact and promoted sustainable practices, making it more appealing to the panel of eight judges, including senior leaders from HILTI and senior academicians from Malaysian public and private universities. APU’s Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer, Professor. Dr. Vinesh Thiruchelvam, was one of the judges.
A nerve-wracking final presentation before the panel of judges—Team Techify sailed through it. (L-R) Tan Wei Siang (Team Lead), Jordan Sahabudin, Gan Wei Jun, and Jackson Tai.
Associate Professor. Dr. Tan Chin Ike, the Head of the School of Computing (SoC), commended Team Techify’s success and acknowledged the participation of Team AR Innovators, who made it to the final round. He remarked, “The HILTI IT Competition provides an ideal platform for APU’s technophiles, as we ensure that APU students not only have the necessary technical skills but a competitive mindset and problem-solving acumen that is sought after by major tech companies. This serves as a testament to APU’s position as the Premier Digital Tech Institution, offering top-notch digital technology courses that ensure the development of highly skilled talents who can meet emerging tech job demands both locally and globally. Congratulations and well done to all the participants.”