Startup ThinkIQ Partners with UST to Enhance Supply Chain Operations for Smart Manufacturing

February 22, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

ThinkIQ and UST partner to streamline supply chain and manufacturing processes through cloud-based software that provides materials visibility and traceability.

ThinkIQ is a software as a service (SaaS) venture-funded start-up driving digital transformation through a secure cloud-based system. Recently, they announced a partnership with IT consulting company UST.

UST is based in Silicon-Valley, California, and provides digital transformation solutions to businesses and focuses on enterprise resource planning (ERP) for configuration, installation, and management. UST intends to utilize ThinkIQ’s cloud-capabilities to enhance its product offering for its customers in retail, smart manufacturing, and consumer packaged goods (CPG).


What Does the Partnership Mean for UST?

ThinkIQ’s software platform brings together siloed data (which can be from multiple plant locations) for a given manufacturer. It combines it with a unique modeling technology that can detect material movements. 


Video courtesy of ThinkIQ.


This provides manufacturers and enterprises with supply chain visibility and traceability. This can optimize supply chain operations, which can result in lower costs, improved time management, and optimization of production yields.

“What we’re hoping to see come out of this relationship is that UST will be able to service their existing customers far more effectively by adding ThinkIQ to their portfolio,” said CEO of ThinkIQ, Doug Lawson. 

Lawson added, “We think that the combination of our platform and UST’s expertise will deliver unprecedented traceability and insight into ways to improve yield, quality, safety, and compliance while reducing waste and achieving Industry 4.0 status.”


ThinkIQ’s Solutions and Drive for Smart Manufacturing

ThinkIQ can provide a complete material-centric view of supply chain operations. To do this, the company utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as part of its cutting-edge software. The process involved to arrive at visibility and traceability of materials starts with ThinkIQ’s Next Generation Historian.

The historian maintains manufacturing and supply chain data for analysis by modern data mining tools. Data is pulled from ERP, automation, IIoT, customer relationship management (CRM), and other digital data sources.


A predictive analysis diagram showing the stages of smart manufacturing. Image courtesy of ThinkIQ.


The next step in ThinkIQ’s process utilizes its Semantic Model to provide the context for the data. This clarifies what sensor data is linked to raw materials, physical plant equipment, manufacturing processes, and finished goods.

ThinkIQ sets to work to query the data of a given enterprise or manufacturer through its Semantic Model. ThinkIQ uses its TIQQL query language along with proprietary manufacturing data analytics algorithms to undertake this step. 

ThinkIQ employs its Material Ledger to trace materials and any other recorded material-related information when moving through the supply chain and manufacturing process. 

Lawson provided his comments on how he believes ThinkIQ will transform smart manufacturing in 2021, “The way we’re now able to layer on manufacturing intelligence on top of data and tie together events in the supply chain, we think that over the next year, we’re going to have a substantial amount of our customers leveraging this capability. We want to make it common knowledge in the industry that focuses on a product and material centric view in your manufacturing processes is the right approach to achieving smart manufacturing.”

ThinkIQ aims to help companies like UST understand its raw materials and any product integrity issues through clear, accessible, and safe monitoring. 


ThinkIQ Cloud Capabilities

ThinkIQ uses a public cloud platform for its customers. This means that it can run on a remote server. To make sure a company’s data is completely secure, ThinkIQ sends data using protocols such as OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA).


A visual representation of how the ThinkIQ platform gathers and organizes data from machines, sensors, and more. Image courtesy of ThinkIQ.


This architecture involves a machine-to-machine communication protocol used for industrial automation and has been developed by the OPC Foundation. It helps to simplify industrial connectivity so that devices, automation systems, and software applications can be integrated using a secure and platform-independent standard. 

ThinkIQ primarily works with the Food and Beverage industry and has supported clients such as General Mills on their path toward Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing. The company is in talks with a customer working in the aerospace industry and believes that its cloud-based software platform may be a key stepping stone for other industrial players wishing to transition into the world of Smart Manufacturing.