Battery manufacturer in Thurso joins the Regional Scottish pilot

Having just deployed Shoestring’s job tracking solution, the Denchi Group see the potential for Shoestring to help the company move towards Industry 4.0.

As part of Shoestring’s regional scoping study in Scotland, supported by Scottish Enterprise, battery manufacturer, Denchi, has set up a Shoestring solution on site to help move the company towards Industry 4.0. Although still at the early stage of the pilot, Nigel Scott, Denchi Group’s Chief Executive, believes Shoestring could help create a more proactive, creative culture:

I want staff to be innovative and creative. I want people to think different and jump higher – I think Shoestring can help them do that."

Having found out about the Shoestring programme from Scottish Enterprise, Nigel Scott was keen to run a Shoestring company pilot and see how the introduction of a low-cost digital solution would help employees see for themselves how digitalisation could help improve their work environment. Based in Thurso, Scotland, the northernmost town on the UK mainland, the company’s remote location means it is not always easy to join country-wide business improvement initiatives so they were delighted when they realised that they could trial Shoestring with Scottish Enterprise.

At the end of September representatives from Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) delivered the Shoestring Selection & Specification workshop to a team of employees at Denchi, including the Production manager, two production engineers and a software engineer. The SE and HIE representatives are trained to deliver these workshops as part of the Shoestring pilot activity in Scotland. The workshop is the first step in Shoestring’s step-by-step approach to digitalisation that uses off-the-shelf technology to create practical low-cost, low-risk digital solutions.

During the workshop Denchi identified a job tracking solution which they expect will help them keep better track of their production by increasing the frequency and accuracy of job updates and reducing the time spent manually capturing this production data.

Following on from the workshop the Shoestring team helped build and deploy one of Shoestring’s existing job tracking solutions on a subsection of Denchi’s production line. The employees in Denchi’s team were selected specifically so they could learn how to implement the solution and understand the process from a software perspective giving them the skills and understanding to run Shoestring solutions themselves in the future. Nigel Scott explains:

We basically developed a bar code reader system that gives real time data on screen to know amounts of product coming off a particular part of the production process at any time. The clever bit really is the open source software link through the Raspberry Pi computer. This replaces a manual count - so more accurate and real time, also removing paper reports."

During the next stage both Denchi and Shoestring will observe how the solution works and how it could be improved to have the most impact. Nigel Scott is enthusiastic about the potential of Shoestring to help the company start digitalising, acknowledging that Denchi (like many smaller companies) is far away from Industry 4.0, but “Shoestring is a practical inexpensive way to start moving in the right direction.

“For me, Shoestring is about getting people to start to think about the possibilities, it is wider than the particular activity. We are hoping we can start looking at some sort of Shoestring activity once a quarter to look at various parts of the process and where we put digitalisation in to improve performance. I want to get to a point where staff bang on my door to ask if they can spend a small sum of money to try out things, be proactive in identifying the benefits of introducing something digital.


I like Shoestring because it is not imposed on you, as it would be if you started a massive software deployment. It is homemade, built from your own needs and devised to make things happen."

“The benefits of the Shoestring solution are it’s easy to deploy, we did it in just one day, it’s low risk and it’s easy to use. So it’s a win win.”

Adrian Fell | Software Engineer, Denchi

Find out how Denchi got on when they installed the digital solution. Watch this case study video.

Interested in joining the Scottish scoping study?

Find out how your company or organisation can get involved in the Shoestring regional study by emailing us at: contact@digitalshoestring.