Sheela Foam speeds customer service with machine learning

An Indian mattress manufacturer used machine learning to identify defective mattresses in photos sent by customers, at a time when staff couldn’t inspect them in person.

Charu Bhargava, VP-IT at Sheela Foam
Charu Bhargava

Just a month into the COVID-19 related lockdown, mattress manufacturer Sheela Foam saw a growing pile of unattended customer complaints. The pandemic had left the field force unable to visit dissatisfied customers to inspect their mattresses, and all a customer could do was register a complaint with the customer care team—and wait.

Sheela Foam’s customer care team, the Sleepwell Care Cell, identified the problem during one of their functional calls and, together with the sales team responsible for inspection visits in pre-COVID days, concluded the company needed a quick technology fix.

As it turned out, the IT team led by Sheela Foam’s vice president of IT, Charu Bhargava, already had experience with some of the key technologies needed to solve the problem. The company already used 3D image processing, image analysis, and machine learning to spot problems on the production line.

“The customized 3D cameras throw images of each mattress produced. These images are then compared with the images of ideal mattresses. The system checks if the mattresses pass all the quality parameters before they proceed to the next step of production,” says Bhargava.

To apply the same technology to inspecting mattresses in customers’ homes would require changes in the 3D object creation process to make use of images taken by customers using their mobile phones.

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