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Constructing a Smart Bulk Bin Monitoring System

ISTN Co., Ltd.

A well-working bulk bin monitoring system is of great relevance for feed companies in Korea. To discover the end-customers’ unmet needs of order accuracy, on-time ordering and cost saving, ISTN tackled this challenge together with SAP using design thinking. The IoT sensor powered by SAP HANA will enable on-time ordering and increase the order accuracy by 90%.


Kick starting the IoT with design thinking

A well-working bulk bin monitoring system is of great relevance for feed companies in Korea. They have to monitor bulk bin, manage the order history and deliver the  orders to the farmers. As on-time food ordering is crucial, they had implemented an IoT sensor that only a few farmers could afford. However, due to a lack of sensor data it was hard to keep track of the feed consumption and bulk bin usage. Furthermore, the feed companies could not recognize the right amount and best time to order food. The existing solution was neither feasible nor viable, and thus not meaningful.

IoT kick starter and SAP partner company ISTN was working with the SAP Partner Solution Center which enables joint work with a broad range of SAP development and business teams, from strategic alliance initiatives to key proofs of concept. To jointly discover the end-customers’ unmet needs of order accuracy, on-time ordering and cost saving, SAP Partner Solution Center approached the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center to tackle this challenge using design thinking and SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) as a platform & coaching provider for the pilot project.

ISTN project participants

Breaking silos to understand

The DCC conducted a design thinking workshop at SAP Korea together with all stakeholders, including feed company owners, the cattle farm owners as well as SAP designers, solution experts and consultancies. Unlike to usual design thinking workshops, a relatively dark office room was purposely chosen to imitate the bleak farm experience and create a special atmosphere that helps participants to focus. The DCC asked all stakeholders to hold a brief presentation and provided them with typical tools of their daily work. This has encouraged them to explain their problems and needs in a more personal and pictorial way.


Our approach uncovered the power of visualization to communicate and explain complex topics across diverse participants.

– Tay Kim, User Experience Design Specialist, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center

The benefits of the workshop became clear even in the starting phase as this was the first time for all stakeholders to collaborate with each other across silos.

Even though they were well aware of their own needs and opportunities, they did not understand the entire process and the fundamentals of each entity before.

– Joanne Soyeon Bae, Program Manager, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center

The workshop has also revealed dependencies amongst each other. The data of the monthly health check for cows is provided to more than 100 food consultants. The feed companies are relying on their expertise in the creation of recipes which have an impact on the cows and the milk products.

To map these insights, they jointly created a pictogram and a process map.


Designing a future vision

The design thinking approach and the creation of the roadmap have helped designing a future vision of smart bulk bin monitoring and order management. ISTN came to understand the whole value chain, the feed companies’ needs as well as the problems of farmers, and explored new business opportunities. The workshop underlined the importance of communicating with customers and users. Whereas the prior scope did not include the dashboard the farmers have to use, at the end of the workshop one group presented a prototype of the dashboard capturing the remaining feed data. Another group presented a solution for providing sensors at a reasonable price and securing funding for the installation costs, which 90% less than the original price.


After the successful collaboration, prototypes were further developed and designed through SAP HCP IoT services and database interface. Connected with IoT sensor data powered by SAP HANA, the smart bulk bins can track remaining feed and delivery order status in real-time. The dashboard for the farmers uses SAP Lumira to help the feed companies to easily visualize data. iFLOW which is the electronic approval system developed by ISTN, enables the companies to monitor the delivery and credit check process. Moreover, in collaboration with a sensor company, JC Square.Inc, the system can be provided at a reasonable price. The IoT sensor powered by SAP HANA will enable on-time ordering and increase the order accuracy by 90%. The integrated system will overall help control feeding and management.

Following the Design Thinking approach, we were able to discover real problem and come up with creative solutions. We are now expanding the business model to other livestock such as chicken and hog.

– In-ho Kim, General Manager, JC Square Inc.

ISTN found a way of creative thinking and design thinking for the business model, which is also applicable to chicken and hog raising.

Design Thinking helped us to capture real problem in the livestock industry. After the workshop, we took our solution to the next level and developed dashboard that keeps track of the amount of feed. The result of this dashboard was 90% increase in order accuracy and 90% decrease in the cost of the IoT sensor.

– Ki-woong Nam, Senior Managing Director, ISTN Co., Ltd.

As a result of the successful collaboration, Mr Kiwoong Nam from ISTN presented the experience and outcome during the President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye’s visit to the SAP AppHaus Korea in March 2016. ISTN also introduced the project at SAPPHIRE in Orlando, Florida in May and SAP Forum Seoul in June 2016.


Great design works best when we create it together