In this article, you will learn:

  • How to combine multiple paper documents into a single app

  • How to create apps that are easy for operators to use

  • How to build apps that will fit multiple use cases on your production floor

Note: This topic is featured in the "Introduction to App Building" course in Tulip University. 

The Tulip Terminal allows you to combine work instructions, defect reporting, maintenance requests and production visibility into one app for operators.

It provides a single interface that will not interrupt an operator’s daily tasks, but still provides an easy way to:

  • Log every work order that they complete

  • Record defects and any rework necessary

  • Report production issues

The Tulip Terminal uses Tulip’s “Base Layout” feature to allow you to present each quality check and work instruction in a continuous flow.

An operator will not need to manually advance through every step before completing the work order. Instead, they can skip around to any step where they need further instruction, and complete the work order at any time.

Or, if you want to ensure that the operator reviews every step, you can disable the Complete button until the last step.

The Terminal works well in production environments where operators are expected to complete a variety of tasks at their workbench and communicate with other employees on the floor.

The Terminal is located in the “Sample Manufacturing Apps” folder in your account. 

After selecting the app on the left sidebar, you can duplicate it and then begin creating a new app.

It contains the following steps which you can edit:

  1. The “Base Layout” step which will be automatically applied to every new Step in the App

  2. The “Scan a Barcode” step which allows operators to scan a barcode or type in a work order number before continuing

  3. A “Defect Report” step that allows operators to report issues with some pre-selected options

  4. A “Send Message” step which allows operators to contact a supervisor or maintenance team member

Here’s how to use the Terminal. Before using this tutorial, open the app in the Tulip Player on your computer so you can scroll through each step and see how they work together.

An Individual Instruction Step

In the “Base Layout” section at the top of the Step Menu, you can adjust the layout that will be automatically applied to every new step. Here are the 10 parts that are included by default.

Work Order Section

You can add high-level details about the part that is being described in the app. By default, these are text fields. But, you could also use a SQL Connector to pull dynamic data based on the bar code that is scanned by the operator at the beginning of the app. The sequence of events would be:

  1. Operator scans barcode

  2. Tulip communicates with your SQL database and pulls dynamic information about the part

  3. That information is injected into the Base Layout, and populated on every step

Parts Needed

You can add a full list of materials and tools that the operator will need to complete the work order. If this is a long list, you may want to add relevant details to an individual Step, and then copy and paste it into the following steps.


You can add tips and warn about common mistakes on individual Steps, or give an overall note in the Base Layout.


Add an image and instructions on each individual Step related to a work instruction or quality check.

Process Timer

You can change the Timer in the top right to the duration that you expect the operator will need to complete the app. Select the “Process Time” widget in the top right, choose the “App” tab in the right menu, then set a “Custom” time.

The “menu button” allows the operator to restart the app or choose another app from a pre-approved list. Select the button, then click the “Edit” pencil in the “Triggers” section on the right menu to see how it works.

Call for Help

The “Call for Help” button allows an operator to contact a supervisor via email. We will describe this in detail later.

Report Defect

The “Report Defect” button allows the operator to fill out a form that describes a defective part and restart the app for a new work order. We will describe this in detail later.

Send Message

The “Send Message” button allows the operator to notify a maintenance tech or other employee.

Left/Right Arrows

These buttons allow the operator to advance to the next instruction. In the Tulip Terminal, all steps occur in one linear path. You can add dynamic buttons where needed.

Completing the App

The “Complete” button allows an operator to finish the app at any point. This is more operator-friendly than asking a user to click through every step before completing the app. Read here for more detail on “completing the app”.

When you want to create a new step in the app, click “Add A Step” in the left menu, and the formatting from the Base Layout be automatically applied.

How An Operator Navigates the Tulip Terminal

Operators know most, if not all, steps that they need to follow in order to complete a work order. 

However, if an operator is just starting a new role, or they need to refresh their memory on specific steps, they will need instructions that are easy to access.

The Terminal supports both methods reviewing work instructions- it either allows an operator to read each individual step, or skip around and complete the app at any time.

This is why the Left/Right arrows and “Complete” button are included on every step.

Additionally, you may have multiple sets of documentation around your floor, like:

  1. A paper binder of work instructions

  2. A quality inspection checklist

  3. A time sheet to track completed parts.

The Tulip terminal combines all three of these documents into one continuous flow. Operators are presented the appropriate quality checks before and after they complete work instructions. And, once they complete the app, the timestamp and total parts completed for the day is automatically tracked.

Configuring the Bottom Navigation Buttons

The default Terminal layout can only give general design guidance- you still need to fill in a few details based on your own situation.

The Menu button in the bottom left should not need any custom configuration.

It uses a Trigger to direct operators towards a standard menu. Here’s what the trigger looks like:

The “Report Defect” button has a trigger that will lead the user to a Form Step called “Defect Report”.

Here’s what that step looks like by default:

You can edit each existing input in the right menu:

Use the “trash” icon in the right menu to delete a form field.

Use the top menu to add a form field:

Finally, you may want to add some logic to the “Next” button. If the operator indicates that their part cannot be repaired, you may want to cancel the app since the operator will be starting over with a new part.

If they indicate that the part can be repaired, then you may want to allow them to continue with the app.

You can adjust this logic by choosing “Custom Action” in the right menu, and then adding a Trigger with if/then logic.

The “Call for Help” button has a trigger that will send an email to a Tulip user with the name of the operator, the step name and the app name.

It will also pause the app. So, if the operator needs to wait 1 minute before getting help, that will not be counted towards the app completion time. They can hit “Resume” after they have received help.

The “Send Message” form has a single field that allows the operator to send a text message to a predetermined Tulip user, like a maintenance technician.

The “Next” button has a custom Trigger called “Send Message” that allows the operator to automatically text their message to the right person.

In order to send a text message, the recipient must be a Tulip user and have their cell phone number added to their profile. Here’s a guide on how to do that.

How To Scan A Work Order

The first step of the entire App has a slightly different design. It allows operators to scan a work order or manually enter a work order number before advancing. Just like the steps above, you must adjust the logic within the Triggers to fit your specific situation

In order to scan a work order, you must set up your barcode scanner from the Factory Kit or integrate a 3rd party barcode scanner,

To connect the app to a barcode scanner, use the Trigger on the step called “Order Barcode Scan”.

Here’s how to set up the trigger:

In the dropdown at the top, select a barcode scanner that has been integrated into Tulip. Then, create an expression that parses the barcode number. Store that in a variable called “Order ID”.

If you haven’t already created this variable, you can do it from this screen using the dropdown menu next to “location”.

“Device” contains the barcode number from this particular barcode scanner. 

After that, add another “Then” statement that allows the user to advance to the next step.

If you haven’t set up barcode scanners, you can allow employees to manually enter a work order using a Form Step. The “Search for a Work Order” step is automatically included:

It updates the same variable as the barcode scan step, “Order ID”.

How To Run Analytics

When operators use Tulip Terminal, you automatically collect data that will help you answer the following questions:

  1. How long does it typically take each operator to finish a specific task?

  2. What’s the average cycle time for a product?

  3. What are common defects during each stage of production?

Every time an operator completes an app, Tulip stores the duration that the app was open. And, when you use Tulip at multiple stations on your line, you can combine data from multiple apps to see the full cycle time.

Here’s how to build the three analyses listed above.

Click the “Analytics” tab for the specific app. Then, choose “Create or Add Analysis” to build your first Analysis.

App Completions

Under the One Operation heading, choose the option “Process Cycle Time by User”. This will give you the average app completion time for each user of the app.

Then click “Save and Close” in the top right to save it.

If you want to adjust this graph, check out our guide to modifying an analysis.

Cycle Time by Product

You need to add multiple apps into an Analysis in order to look at the full cycle time. Choose the “Table” option on the “Suggested Templates” screen.

Then, add all the apps that are involved in manufacturing a specific product. In this case, I chose three apps.

Change the grouping to “App”, and then you will be able to see minimum, maximum and average process cycle times.

Common Defects by App

To find common defects by app, you just need to know the form field that stores the defect name. Choose the “One Operation” template, then adjust the X Axis category.

Navigate to App Forms, and choose the field that stores the defect description.

If you have any more questions on how to use the Terminal, feel free to ask via the chat button in the bottom right of the screen.

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