Data Value Hub | Exitex

How a leading Irish manufacturer, Exitex, implemented AI-powered OCR technology to automate their sales order process & save up to 8,000 human hours per year.

In a bid to reduce time & labour-intensive, repetitive tasks and free up staff for more valuable work, Exitex were eager to find a solution to automate & reimagine their existing sales order process. Through our hands-on AI Project Incubator programme, we partnered with Exitex to create a custom OCR solution that streamlined and improved their data efficiency and increased overall profitability and agility.

Meet Exitex

Exitex is a leading manufacturer with 40+ years of experience supplying weather-proofing, intumescent and acoustic products to the construction industry.

Industry: Manufacturing

Location: Dundalk, Ireland

Company Size: SME (approx 80 employees)

Key Project Goals

  • Digitise sales orders to automate & improve an extremely labour-intensive process.
  • Introduce a Smart Inventory Management (SIM) system to create better transparency and agility across the procurement, manufacturing and dispatch processes.
  • Implement a data-driven automated approach to existing manufacturing processes, allowing the greatest impact on overall profitability and agility.

“Through our collaboration with the Data Value Hub, we now have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art technology in our sales order process while also expanding the knowledge in our company”

Karl Gray, Software Engineer, Exitex

The Challenge

“We pride ourselves on providing an efficient ordering process for our customers. Although we provide a quick service to our customers, the process is inefficient and error-prone as there are currently 4 employees that work in the sales office full time to manually enter sales orders into our ERP system” – Karl, Exitex

Exitex manufactures high-end weather-proofing seals for windows and doors, sills and conservatory frames for the construction industry as well as intumescent and acoustic products. In recent years, their product range has grown significantly to become a one-stop shop for their customers. As a result, Exitex now offers over 1,000 unique product variations, an accomplishment that brings its own challenges.

Throughout their 40+ years in business, Exitex’s processes have grown organically without a review of best practices. This has resulted in many inefficiencies throughout its manufacturing and business processes, costing the company up to 8,000 human hours per year on repetitive manual data entry tasks.

To ensure these inefficiencies do not continue to scale with the business and to increase the overall quality of their manufacturing and business processes, Exitex required a custom automated system that could grow with them.
And that’s where the Data Value Hub came in.

The Solution

“We have always been excited by the prospect of using new technologies such as machine learning to benefit the business. However, until we got in touch with the Data Value Hub, we never had the time or knowledge to attempt to implement machine learning into our processes” – Karl, Exitex

Eager to find an innovative, scalable solution, Exitex turned to us.
After an initial consultation, we recommended our AI Project Incubator programme.

We implemented a Pathfinder Framework to develop a data and AI strategy to improve Exitex’s control, insight and decision-making ability. Through this framework, we identified three core project goals:

  1. Automate an extremely labour & time-intensive process by digitising Exitex’s sales orders
  2. Introduce a Smart Inventory Management (SIM) system to improve transparency and agility across the procurement, manufacturing and dispatch processes.
  3. Adopt an automated data-driven approach to manufacturing processes, ensuring the most significant impact on profitability and agility.

Using the Azure Cloud Computing Platform, we will create a bespoke Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solution to automatically extract and sort text from Exitex’s sales orders and input that data into their internal ERP system. For cases where the OCR system is uncertain about the data extracted, we will introduce a human-in-the-loop system to provide additional oversight & safeguard against risk.


The use of custom OCR models will allow us to reduce a huge amount of manual work in our sales order process. This means that the employees that usually enter sales orders will have more time to work on tasks that will further the growth of the business” – Karl, Exitex

While it’s still early into the project implementation stage, we predict the following key results for the Exitex team year on year: 

Save up to 8,000 human work hours per year: The successful integration of the OCR solution for processing sales orders frees up personnel for more important tasks to drive business growth.

Reduce costs by €160,000 per year: As OCR is a cloud-based solution, no new hardware installations are required. This, combined with internal training, will allow Exitex’s IT department to manage the new data system in-house, significantly reducing outsourcing costs.

Team upskilling opportunities: Through our AI incubator programme, the Exitex team are exposed to several new skills, advancing their knowledge and understanding of machine learning algorithms and Python programming language.

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