Updated Shopping Cart and Wish List coming to the Microsoft Store – Windows Experience Blog

We work hard to improve the shopping experience in the Microsoft Store, and are always looking for ways to improve the discoverability and purchase of the products and services we sell.  Today, we are excited to announce that customers can begin using our improved Shopping Cart and later this week, our new Wish List – two of the most-requested features from our fans.

Shopping Cart
As we mentioned previously, we’ve extended the existing Shopping Cart to work with games and apps for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.  Today, the feature is once again available for testing.  Whether you’re shopping for games or apps for Xbox One and/or Windows 10 PCs, hardware or accessories, the improved Shopping Cart means you only have to go through checkout once.
How to add a game or app to the Shopping Cart:

Head to the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 PCs, online or on Xbox One (Xbox Insiders only)
Navigate to the product details page for the item you wish to add to your cart
Look for the “Add to Cart” button underneath the “Buy” button
Select the “Add to cart” button
To view your Shopping Cart, select the “Shopping Cart” button at the top of the Store navigation
To remove an item from your Shopping Cart, navigate to that particular item on your Shopping Cart, and select “Remove”

Ready to check out?  Click on the “Checkout” button to the right of your cart to complete your order.
Not ready to purchase a particular item? Navigate to that item in your Shopping Cart and select “Save for later.”  We’ll remove that item from your cart and save it in a handy location right below the Shopping Cart itself for future reference.
Additionally, the updated Shopping Cart is persistent and works across Microsoft Store on Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs and online. So, if you add or remove an item from your cart in one store, those changes will be reflected in the others.
Xbox Insiders can begin using the improved cart today, and shortly after Windows Insiders can begin testing the feature.  In a few weeks, all customers using the Microsoft Store on Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs and online can start using it.

Wish Lists
Later this week, customers can begin using the new Wish List feature, which supports all physical products and digital games and apps in the Microsoft Store.  The Wish List is  persistent and works across the Microsoft Store on Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs and online, so if you’re shopping on the Microsoft Store on your Xbox and add a digital game to your wish list, that game will appear in your Wish List in the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 PCs and online.
Sale pricing and badging is also supported within the Wish List, so customers will quickly be able to see when items on their Wish List go on sale.
How to add items to your Wish List:

Head to the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 PCs, online or on Xbox One (Xbox Insiders only)
Navigate to the product details page for the item you wish to add
Look for the “Wish List” button underneath the “Buy” button
Select the “Wish List” button
To view your Wish List, activate the pull-down menu at the top of the Store navigation, and select the “Wish List” option
To remove an item from your Wish List, navigate to that particular item on your Wish List, and select “Remove”

A customer’s Wish List can be kept private or made public and shared with others.
How to share a Wish List:

Click on the “Settings” link in the wish list
Select “Make the wish list public”
Then, click on the “Share” button to share with friends and family

Note: On Xbox, customers will be able to share their public wish list with a list of their Xbox Live friends.
The Wish List feature will be initially be made available to all customers in all supported markets using the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 PCs and online, as well as to our Xbox Insiders.  The Wish List will be available to all Xbox customers in a few weeks.
Thanks to the fans who provided suggestions and feedback regarding these features on both the Windows Feedback Hub app and the Xbox Ideas site.  And we’d like to give a special shout out to our Xbox and Windows Insiders who tested the previous iteration of the new cart. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can continue to improve your shopping experience.  Thanks!

Updated November 5, 2018 4:40 pm

ID@Xbox Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed – Xbox Wire

We’ve been celebrating ID@Xbox’s incredible milestone of releasing 1,000 games through the program and as a special treat, we wanted to share a handful of sneaky in-game Easter eggs you might have missed hidden within your favorite games through the ID@Xbox program. Take a peek below and let us know if you have a favorite Easter egg of your own!

Cuphead – Try to spot the original 12 Street Fighter II characters when battling Ribby and the Croaks!

“The Ribby and Croaks fight is one giant homage to our love of fighting games. Throughout the battle, there’s a visual reference to each of the original 12 Street Fighter II characters. From the top, Ribby and Croaks’ gi colors reference Ryu and Ken. Croaks’ flaming fire flies represent Dhalsim’s yoga fire while Ribby’s spinning hand attack is from E. Honda and the flying boxing gloves are from Balrog.  In phase two, Ribby claps sonic booms like Guile while Croaks’ spinning is a nod to Zangief’s lariat. When the frogs combine, Ribby rolls into Croaks like Blanka to start phase three. As the slot machine, the snake, tiger, and bull icons denote Vega, Sagat, and M.Bison, while the spiked drums resemble Chun Li’s bracelets.”

Maja Moldenhauer, StudioMDHR

SpeedRunners & No Time to Explain – Can you guess what crossover ties both of these games together?

“There is a fun crossover Easter egg between No Time to Explain and SpeedRunners. The Shark Boss from No Time to Explain has a ship called “SS Royale” in the background. This is the same ship name as in the SpeedRunners level “SS Royale” that takes place on a ship!”

– Alex Nichiporchik, tinyBuild 

Human: Fall Flat – Have you discovered the secret hidden in the Aztec ruins?

“There are countless ways to traverse the weird and wonderful dreamscapes of Human: Fall Flat. Each level’s physics-based puzzles can be solved any way you see fit, and with up to eight players flailing across a level together, you’re bound to come across some of the game’s hidden gems!

One of Human: Fall Flat’s most challenging secrets can be found in the Aztec level, a labyrinth of swinging platforms and perilous walkways reserved only for the most seasoned of Bobs. Once you’ve made your way across the level’s first platform and into the Aztec ruins, ignore the huge opening teasing you forward and turn around. Climb up the cage behind you and use the box above it to access a narrow grass path. Carefully climb to its peak and your reward will be a literal nest of colorful Easter eggs! Pretty clever, huh? Good luck, fellow humans!”

– Jack Gosling, Curve Digital

In case you missed it – we shared some of the Xbox team’s favorite ID@Xbox memories earlier this week, as well as favorite moments shared by our friends across the industry. What’s your favorite ID@Xbox moment? Give us a Tweet and let us know!

With AI techniques, don’t get stuck in the data quantity rut

Machine learning algorithms are often characterized as data-hungry, but Gartner’s Erick Brethenoux said recently that for some AI use cases, CIOs should consider data quality — not quantity — when getting started.

In a recent webinar promoting his new research, Brethenoux seemed off-script compared to most analysts when he asserted, “The size of your enterprise, even the amount of data is not really conducive to whether you should be using these AI techniques.”

It was one example of the practical — and slightly unorthodox — advice he provided to companies just getting started on the AI front. Here’s a closer look at why Brethenoux highlighted data quality over quantity for some use cases, as well as why he believes it’s crucial to start with a business problem. He also shared the five questions he asks of all his clients who tell him they’re ready for AI.

Clean data is greater than more data

One of Brethenoux’s most surprising tips during the webinar: When deciding whether to use AI techniques, data quantity is not a good rule of thumb. He gave the example of a small, regional bank client that’s using AI to not only personalize loans, but also to begin providing a new service to customers with microloans.

“The amount of data they had was not great,” he said. “However, the quality of that data had to be irreproachable.”

In a phone interview afterward, Brethenoux reiterated this point. “The more data you have usually means the better you’re able to find interesting correlations, but it’s not necessary to have a huge amount of data to find something interesting,” he said. If needed, enterprise AI teams can offset an internal data dearth with external data from providers.

Low-quality data, on the other hand, could trigger wild algorithmic goose chases. When an insurance company in Canada wanted to measure the risk of insurers based on how far they lived from work, the analysis produced junk results. It turned out that the distance data was labeled in both miles and kilometers, skewing the results, according to Brethenoux.

While quality is important, he said CIOs should not feel compelled to scrub every piece of data clean and delay getting started.

“What you end up doing is continuously cleaning, and a lot of the data might not be helpful for what you’re trying to do from a machine learning or predictive analytics perspective,” he said. “That’s why I insist you start with a use case.”

Focus on business problems

To introduce AI techniques, CIOs should start with a business problem and work toward a solution. The emphasis is on business problem. “A use case is not a good idea. A use case is a business case,” Brethenoux said.

He recommended CIOs talk to the business to identify pain points and then “scope down” the problem into something they can deliver on in weeks. That’s how CIOs will figure out what they don’t know and what they need to look at, Brethenoux said.

The advice came partly from his observation that “asset-centric companies,” such as those in manufacturing or energy, have seen more success with AI techniques than “service-centric companies,” such as marketing firms.

“Most asset-centric organizations are dealing with engineering-centric cultures that start with a use case and work backward to the data and techniques needed to solve the problem,” he said during the webinar. In service-centric companies, Brethenoux said the process often happens in reverse: Data professionals find trends or correlations in the data and then go looking for a problem.

Brethenoux elaborated on this point during a phone interview, adding that service-centric companies can sometimes suffer from a lack of focus, which can become problematic when introducing AI techniques to the enterprise.

“When you start dealing with a lot more data and problems, it becomes the parochial hammer looking for a nail,” he said. “It’s a little less of a disciplined approach to problem-solving.”

Five questions to ask

When clients tell Brethenoux they want to use AI to solve a problem, he runs through a list of five questions to determine if AI is the appropriate course of action and if the client is prepared to go down the AI path. The questions are as follows:

  1. What is the business use case? Brethenoux said this process should include mapping out expectations and desired results, as well as determining how to measure business value if AI technologies are introduced.
  2. Do you have the skills? CIOs may not need to hire an army of data scientists. Brethenoux suggested they start by taking stock of internal skills and consider training the competent data engineer or subject-matter expert who is a proven Excel wizard. He also recommended hosting a hackathon to help uncover talent. “Or you may want to borrow those skills as well: Hire consultants, in the short term, to help you out and bootstrap some of these efforts,” he said.
  3. Do you have the data? Companies may not need as much data as they think, but they will need data and it should be in reasonable shape. When Brethenoux asked a large insurance company that wanted to take on-the-spot pictures of accidents and predict the type of claim and the cost, he got a stack of manila folders with photographs paper-clipped to them. The company spent the next two months digitizing, curating and labeling the images. “When you address the use case you’re trying to solve, you need to make sure you have the appropriate data,” he said.
  4. What kind of technology do you need? The business problem will drive technology decisions. Brethenoux cited several AI techniques that range in maturity — from probabilistic reasoning such as machine learning, identified as the most mature technique, to agent-based programming, identified as the least mature technique.
  5. How do we organize? Once the company has a couple of proofs of concept under its belt, it should consider where such a team should live, who the team should report to as well as how the team should be supported to advance its skills and techniques.

For Sale – Acer Predator XB271H Gaming Monitor 170hz G-sync 1ms

Amazing 27″ monitor for sale.

This thing is an absolute beast, however I’m upgrading to 4k and need to sell.

It’s really hard for me to part with this monitor as it’s been the central part of my build.

Collection only or if you pay for courier I will get it delivered.

Price and currency: 400
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Paypal Gift
Location: Nottingham
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Hyper-V VM template creation made easy

Even though the actual process of creating a new Hyper-V VM template is simple, there are several best practices you must be aware of before you build your first template.

You can use a Hyper-V VM template to automate VM creation. To create and use templates, you must deploy System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

To create a template, just open the SCVMM console, go to the Library workspace and then click the Create VM Template icon found on the toolbar. Figure A below shows this icon, along with an existing template in the VM Templates container. At this point, you’ll be taken to the VM Template Wizard, which you can see in Figure B below.

Create VM template
Figure A. Click the Create VM Template icon.
Create VM Template Wizard
Figure B. This is what the Create VM Template Wizard looks like.

As you can see in Figure B above, the Hyper-V VM template creation process is relatively straightforward. The process begins by selecting either an existing VM template, a virtual hard disk within the library or a VM to act as the basis for the template. From there, you must give the template a name and then configure the virtual hardware settings and the operating settings the VM will use. You can see the hardware settings in Figure C below and the operating settings in Figure D below. Both of these screens are similar to those used when creating a new Hyper-V VM.

Template hardware settings
Figure C. This is the screen used to configure the template’s hardware settings.
Template OS settings
Figure D. These are the OS settings for a Windows VM template.

Hyper-V VM template creation best practices

By far, the most important thing you must know about the Hyper-V VM template creation process is that, if you choose to base the template on an existing VM, then the source VM will be destroyed by the template creation process. When you use a Windows VM as the source for a VM template, SCVMM will run Sysprep on the source VM. This randomizes the VM, stripping all VM-specific settings, such as the computer name, IP address, accounts and domain membership.

Not every VM is a good candidate for template creation. For example, SCVMM requires the VM’s system partition to be the same as the Windows partition. If the two partitions are different, then the VM can’t be used as a template creation source.

There is a way to base a template on an existing VM without destroying it. To do so, shut down the VM you want to use, and then copy its virtual hard disk to the SCVMM library. Remember, SCVMM enables you to base a template on a virtual hard disk within the library. By using this approach, you’re essentially basing the template on a copy of the VM — or a copy of its virtual hard disk — rather than on the VM itself.

It’s worth noting that basing the template creation on a virtual hard disk rather than on a VM doesn’t negate the need to run Sysprep. You must Sysprep the virtual hard disk prior to creating a Hyper-V VM template. This removes any machine-specific settings and configuration items from the virtual hard disk, thereby making its configuration generic enough to be used in a template.

Regardless of whether you’re creating a template from a VM or from a virtual hard disk, you must deal with the issue of assigning an administrative password to VMs that are spawned from the template. The OS settings screen in Figure D includes a field you can use to specify the password.

Although it isn’t usually a problem to embed a password in a template, some administrators are understandably reluctant to do so. If you have qualms about including a password in a template, then use an asterisk instead. This causes SCVMM to prompt you for a password during the VM creation process. If you were to simply leave the password field blank, then the password creation process would fail.

A new Walmart ‘cloud factory’ will accelerate digital innovation, boost business efficiency | Transform

Walmart is expanding its technology center in Austin, Texas, to accelerate digital innovation that transforms how associates work and delivers more convenient ways for customers to shop.

About 30 technologists, including engineers from both Walmart and Microsoft, will work together side by side in the cloud factory, expected to open in early 2019 as an extension to a strategic partnership announced in July. The factory will be an expansion of Walmart’s innovation hub, a vibrant workplace opened earlier this year in the center of Austin’s growing technology scene.

The Walmart-Microsoft team – known internally as “4.co” for its location at Fourth and Colorado streets – will initially focus on migrating Walmart’s thousands of internal business applications to Microsoft Azure. The team will also build new, cloud-native applications. The collaboration will be part of a multi-year journey to modernize Walmart’s enterprise application portfolio, create more efficient business processes and decrease operational costs associated with legacy architecture.

large, open, modern workplace with colorful mural in background
Walmart’s innovation hub in Austin, Texas.

The work will continue digital solutions already deployed at Walmart, including thousands of IoT sensors on HVAC and refrigeration systems that process a billion daily data messages from stores worldwide. The solution helps Walmart save energy and prevent product loss.

Based in Arkansas, the global retailer is also deploying Microsoft AI in a number of use cases, including internal chatbots that help associates navigate benefits, find mentors and better manage supplier engagements. Walmart has also deployed a natural language processing platform capable of processing 40 terabytes of unstructured text and providing near real-time insights and actions in support of business operations.

To shed light on 4.co and the company’s innovations, Transform chatted with Clay Johnson, executive vice president and enterprise chief information officer at Walmart.

TRANSFORM: Why is digital transformation important to Walmart?

JOHNSON: Technology is changing the way people live, work and shop – and the pace of change is only getting faster. We want to create new and incredibly convenient ways for our customers to shop, and as technology cycles get shorter and shorter, we must increase our speed and agility.

To do this, we’re digitally transforming processes and empowering our associates with consumer-grade technology and tools. Digital transformation is pervasive across the company and we’re pushing the envelope to accelerate innovation.

TRANSFORM: How is Walmart using Microsoft AI? Where do you see it going?

headshot of Clay Johnson
Clay Johnson, executive vice president and enterprise chief information officer at Walmart.

JOHNSON: We’re layering AI across every facet of our business. We have lots and lots of data that represents value we can leverage. That’s where AI, machine learning and Cognitive Services in Microsoft Azure come in to play.

We took our natural language processing platform and a single business case – post-payment auditing – to build out the platform at massive scale and apply it in other use cases. For associates who are tasked with finding that needle in the haystack, machine learning will help them go through unstructured text quickly. But ultimately, it’s not just about efficiency. A lot of this will drive impact to the bottom line.

With our chatbots, associates can use them to find a mentor or ask questions about benefits. They can get simple questions answered quickly. By saving them time, that’s more time they can spend on the sales floor helping our customers.

TRANSFORM: What are some benefits you’ve seen with other technologies like IoT and edge computing?

JOHNSON: With our IoT work and sensor enablement, we’re looking at our energy consumption and other factors to predict equipment failures before they happen. Improving equipment performance can result in enhanced energy efficiency, which lowers costs and our carbon footprint. That’s good for the customer and the environment. Sustainability is a big deal for us.

Putting IoT data into edge analytics lets us look at data at a store level and backhaul it to Azure to look at it across a region or the whole U.S. We started talking to Microsoft about this concept of a set of stores being a “micro-cloud,” and you roll them into Azure for data analytics and insights. A lot of this work is coming out of our Austin site.

TRANSFORM: How did the concept of 4.co come to be? What are the team’s goals?

JOHNSON: With this partnership with Microsoft, we started talking, ‘‘Hey, what’s the best way to accelerate all the stuff we’re doing here? We need help and expertise. We want to move fast. How do we partner our smart people with Microsoft’s smart people?”

Then it was obvious: ”Why don’t we just co-locate the teams together.” We haven’t done something like this before with co-location, but I think the outcomes are going to be huge and strengthen our partnership even more. You’re going to see a lot more co-innovation around IoT, computer vision, big data and real-time analytics.

TRANSFORM: How do you think both companies will benefit?

JOHNSON: We’re going to learn a lot from each other. We’re going to learn a lot from Microsoft –  which apps make sense to get to the cloud quickly and which don’t.

Microsoft’s going to get to see stuff at a scale they’ve never seen before. [Walmart has 11,200 global stores and 2.2 million associates]. I think they’ll learn a lot from our footprint. Co-locating top engineers from both companies will deepen the technical brainpower for creating disruptive, large-scale enterprise solutions for Walmart.

open, modern workplace
Walmart’s innovation hub in Austin, Texas.

TRANSFORM: Why did Walmart pick Austin for its technology office and 4.co? How are you interacting with the community there?

JOHNSON: You see a lot of tech companies and startups in Austin, and we wanted to blend that culture and the universities with our culture as we continue to grow and add tech talent to Walmart. Austin is a huge recruiting opportunity for us. Because our team in Austin works closely with our technology teams in Bentonville, [Arkansas], a pipeline of technology talent into Bentonville has also emerged.

Austin is also a very meetup-heavy city. So we were really purposeful in picking a location that puts us in the middle of the tech meetup scene. We host deep learning, AI and chatbot meetups. We do a lot of Women Who Code events.

We recently did a hackathon with Microsoft and the University of Texas at Austin, where we worked with a no-kill animal shelter. The students really enjoyed doing something for the local community. [The event focused on helping dogs through predictive modeling of the canine parvovirus disease].

TRANSFORM: What’s your vision for the future of retail? 

JOHNSON: I think you’re going to see an omnichannel-type world that is a blend of e-commerce and brick and mortar, where consumers can have access to things at any point, any time. They can order online and pick up in the store or have it delivered same-day. You can see we’re starting to do that with our online grocery right now.

Top photo: Walmart’s technology center in Austin, Texas. All photos courtesy of Walmart. Follow Clay Johnson @ClayMJohnson.

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox Wire

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a global holiday that originated in Mexico where friends and family gather to celebrate the lives of their loved ones and to support their spiritual journeys.

To pay tribute to the holiday, the Forza Horizon 4 team partnered with three artists, Sam Rodriguez, Juan Puente, and Axis, to share their unique interpretations and to help bring their art to life in-game. Below, learn more about each artist’s creation, their gaming connection, and how you can also celebrate the holiday by downloading new in-game content now available through November 8th.

Sam Rodriguez

“Day of The Dead is a celebration of a person’s life and identity. For this piece I wanted to celebrate the various influences of my own art which include graffiti, gaming, and Aztec images. I chose to illustrate a contemporary urban/hip-hop character with these styles so that the piece could feel like an update of our tradition. The mixing of these styles demonstrates who I am as a person. Over the Calaka’s (Skull’s) eyes reads, ‘Vida’ or ‘Life’ because the holiday is about celebrating the lives of our loved ones and accepting death as a natural and necessary life cycle.

One out of a few of my favorite things to celebrate would be gaming. I am an 80’s baby who experienced the evolution of video games. I grew up playing at arcades, laundromats, liquor stores, and home consoles and still look forward to having sessions after work! Aside from the fun I have playing, gaming provides so much visual inspiration and are in my opinion the masterpieces of our time.”

Juan Puente

“Being born in Mexico, day of the dead art and lore has always been around in one form or another. Being an artist for almost 3 decades has allowed me to create many versions of famous day of the dead images. When Xbox and the Forza team approached me to do some art for them I already had an idea in mind.

My wife 20 years ago got me into gaming and it’s been integrated into our family for quite some time. We don’t really watch much tv, but the family will get together to play when we have a free moment.”

Axis

“I was introduced to Day of the Dead, when I was a kid, through one of my teachers. I was already drawing skulls, but when I found out there was a holiday that used them as decorations, I was blown away. My piece celebrates life and death and the banner in my piece is Latin, which loosely translates to “Slow Death”.

I’ve been playing video games since 1978. I had the Odyssey 2 System, and my neighbor got the Atari 2600 soon after. I think back then I played every single game at least once, both on home systems and in arcades. To this day I often wonder how many quarters I spent from the summer of ’81 to the end of ’85.”

To get the Dia de los Muertos inspired Forza Horizon 4 content for yourself, simply follow the steps below through midnight on November 8th:

  1. Complete Autumn #Forzathon Challenges
  2. Go to the Autumn #Forzathon Shop where you’ll see two out of the three shirts available
  3. Purchase the Dia de los Muertos inspired gear with #Forzathon Points!

Then, on Friday, the third shirt will be available to everyone as an unlocked item in the “Character Customization > Tops” menu.

In addition, keep an eye on @Xbox’s Twitter handle this weekend for a chance to win one of these three custom Xbox One X’s. Official rules: bit.ly/2OpAlTF.

 

Forza Horizon 4 is the highly anticipated follow-up to 2016’s breakout hit open world driving game Forza Horizon 3. For the first time in the racing and driving genre, experience dynamic seasons in a shared open world. Explore beautiful scenery, collect over 450 cars, and become a Horizon Superstar in historic Britain.

The game is available with Xbox Game Pass and globally on Xbox One and Windows 10. Xbox Game Pass members can play Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition on Xbox One and Windows 10, as part of their monthly membership. The membership includes over 100 more great games, including highly anticipated new Xbox exclusives the day they’re released, all for one low monthly price.

Haven’t played Forza Horizon 4 yet? Try out the Forza Horizon 4 Demo now.

M-Files QMS implementation helps Farbest Brands wrangle docs

Working with suppliers around the world, Farbest Brands distributes natural ingredients such as vitamins, sweeteners and dairy and plant proteins to companies in the food, beverage and nutritional products industries. So while you might not have bought a Farbest branded product, chances are you’ve consumed something with a Farbest ingredient.

As the hub of a big wheel, the New Jersey company has a lot of information on its distributed products, but had long kept all that information on spreadsheets in a network of electronic folders. With the company already finding it difficult to manage all of that data, an impending government regulation threatened to be a recipe for disaster.

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, as the name implies, aimed to improve food safety with a series of rules to oversee how foods are grown, harvested and processed. Among its provisions was that the FDA would have access to records at companies like Farbest Brands’ customers. That meant Farbest Brands would also have to be ready to hand over its data. Compliance wouldn’t be required until 2016, seemingly giving Farbest Brands time to get its files in order.

But it turned out five years wasn’t enough time. Three different teams of employees vetted content management systems in 2015, and each recommended three different products. It was back to the drawing board when Shakirul Alom joined Farbest Brands in 2016 as a quality assurance and compliance manager. He had to find a system or otherwise the company would run the risk of not fulfilling a customer request to see the records behind an ingredient. The FDA and, in turn, a customer, could need as a many as 30 different documents.

Taming the documentation monster

“We have a global network of suppliers, and we have a national customer base which also sells into these international markets,” Alom said recently. “Combining the new regulations with all the information we have for suppliers and customers, we recognized the amount of documentation would increase exponentially.” He added: “Everything was across network folders through spreadsheets. That model was unsustainable, especially with the regulations changing.”

Head shot of Shakirul Alom, Farbest BrandsShakirul Alom, Farbest Brands

When shopping for new technology, Alom bypassed food industry-specific document management systems because he wanted something “flexible.” For that reason, he chose an M-Files-based quality management system implementation because of its handling of workflows and its ability to improve organizational processes.

Farbest Brands hasn’t yet used the platform’s corrective and preventive action (CAPA) functionality, not because it doesn’t want to improve processes, but because document management was an absolute priority. “We implemented it almost in reverse,” Alom said. “We are using the controlled document modules and customer modules. We’ll eventually do more. We’ve scratched the surface of what it can do.”

Farbest Brands possesses several types of documents that a customer would have to forward to the FDA in a compliance review: product specifications, nutritional information, a risk assessment on allergens and sensitive ingredients, and safety data. “They ask for maybe six different documents, but if it’s a qualification process [to verify how a product is made] it could be 30 documents,” Alom said.

Previously, a customer’s request for documentation — typically in the form of a questionnaire — would come via an email, and it was the quality assurance team’s responsibility to guide the questionnaire department by department before it could be approved. Keeping track of the documents that would support a questionnaire wasn’t easy. Employees didn’t know if a customer’s folder was completely updated or whether certificates needed renewing before expiring.

When choosing a document management system, Alom surveyed how his and other departments handled files. “The word we picked up was ‘workflow.’ Although we wanted to manage documents, we also wanted to manage workflow and processes,” he said.

Success metrics show progress

It gives us visibility; it shows who needs to take responsibility. It saves time in terms of managing these elaborate requests and questionnaires.
Shakirul AlomFarbest Brands quality assurance and compliance manager

Now, the workflow for document requests is mostly automated and transparent with the quality management system implementation. A customer request document is dragged into M-Files and becomes a task that is assigned to different employees. “It gives us visibility; it shows who needs to take responsibility,” Alom said. “It saves time in terms of managing these elaborate requests and questionnaires.”

Before, Farbest staff would process about 60 customer document requests per month, and now employees are processing about 90 each month thanks to the quality management system implementation. They can also see when certifications are expiring.

“With production qualification and supplier qualification, everyone has different notes and an understanding of the process — and all of that was being tracked with separate spreadsheets,” Alom said. “Now, there’s no need to maintain a separate report. As we execute the process, the reporting metrics are generated within the system and are visible in the dashboard.”

Alom hasn’t performed an ROI on the M-Files platform, but between gains in visibility and efficiency he knows he made the right choice, especially after realizing he doesn’t need to hire more help. Before using the platform, he had considered hiring a part-time employee to handle customer requests but now doesn’t need the assistance thanks to the quality management system implementation. “We’re no longer reactive,” Alom said. “What we’re doing is getting most updated information available into our customers’ hands.”

For Sale – Acer Predator XB271H Gaming Monitor 170hz G-sync 1ms

Amazing 27″ monitor for sale.

This thing is an absolute beast, however I’m upgrading to 4k and need to sell.

It’s really hard for me to part with this monitor as it’s been the central part of my build.

Collection only or if you pay for courier I will get it delivered.

Price and currency: 400
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Paypal Gift
Location: Nottingham
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

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This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.