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Retail operations in the wink of an app

Marrying outsystems to oracle for albert heijn's 1,000 supermarket stores

Frank Boldingh

OutSystems Developer

What did we do this time?
LINKIT Professionals Frank Boldingh and Wim van den Brink: “We helped Dutch retail giant Albert Heijn merge a confusing jungle of apps into a single employee app called WINK. Supermarket staff can log everything they do twice as fast now. The client seems super pleased, and we won some prizes with our work, too!” 

Very nice! Did we do it alone?
Wim: “Oh no, certainly not. We’re both full-stack developers but for this you need quite a big team. We’re working with a Scrum team of ten people: from Albert Heijn mainly for product ownership, then some from our friends at Soda Studio for the UX and UI, and we at LINKIT took charge of the backend: linking the new app to all the dependent systems.”

Okay. So what did Albert Heijn want to achieve with this?
Frank: “They have about 80.000 people working in their stores. These boys and girls were using a horrifying nine different apps, most of them outdated too - to perform all the digital tasks that go with keeping stock, managing prices, monitoring storage, et cetera. They asked us to help them roll all of that into one app - and we did!”
Wow. How did you go about tech wise?
Wim: “For the backend, we chose OutSystems as the underlying platform at an early stage - mainly because it supports multiple devices with one codebase. Also, Oracle was a given for the backend database in the stores. So we had our Oracle specialists come in and write interface layers between Oracle and OutSystems. OutSystems handles all the native stuff well, so we only use OutSystems and a few Cordova plugins for some specialized add-ons like the in-app browser.”

What was your main challenge so far?
Frank: “Oh, that would be the progressive releases, for sure. We’re replacing old functionality with new stuff gradually - into an app that is being used continuously, every minute, by an increasing number of stores and users. We can’t even just retire the old code while we insert the new, because it's still being used a lot as well. A lot of external processes still depend on that older code, for example. It’s ninja-level version management, honestly.”


What is the benefit of this Low-Code approach for Albert Heijn?

“First and foremost, the business department that is responsible for the item setup process (the process that our system supports of gathering and checking all kinds of item data before sending to the legacy system), is doing less manual, error prone, labour. They currently do the work with approximately 20% less people.”


“Then there is the reduced lead time. The original objective was to reduce the time needed to process item changes from 3 weeks to 5 days. But once our users got the hang of it, together with the users, we identified more manual steps that could easily be automated. Currently, the average lead time is just over 2 days, with 66% of the items successfully processed within 1 day and even 39% fully automatically within 5 minutes. These greatly improved lead times allow the commercial managers (the “customers” of our end users) to be much more flexible in responding to market needs.”


Is the client happy?
Wim: “I should think so. In-store employees can do their work twice as fast now. The case even won the Dutch Interactive Gold award recently – testimony to a job well done, I’d say.”

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Knowledge base

Neo in Wonderland: a toolset to tune your Outsystems architecture and others stuff

29-08-2018

Neo in Wonderland: a toolset to tune your Outsystems architecture and others stuff

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Retail operations in the wink of an app

Marrying outsystems to oracle for albert heijn's 1,000 supermarket stores

Frank Boldingh

OutSystems Developer

What did we do this time?
LINKIT Professionals Frank Boldingh and Wim van den Brink: “We helped Dutch retail giant Albert Heijn merge a confusing jungle of apps into a single employee app called WINK. Supermarket staff can log everything they do twice as fast now. The client seems super pleased, and we won some prizes with our work, too!” 

Very nice! Did we do it alone?
Wim: “Oh no, certainly not. We’re both full-stack developers but for this you need quite a big team. We’re working with a Scrum team of ten people: from Albert Heijn mainly for product ownership, then some from our friends at Soda Studio for the UX and UI, and we at LINKIT took charge of the backend: linking the new app to all the dependent systems.”

Okay. So what did Albert Heijn want to achieve with this?
Frank: “They have about 80.000 people working in their stores. These boys and girls were using a horrifying nine different apps, most of them outdated too - to perform all the digital tasks that go with keeping stock, managing prices, monitoring storage, et cetera. They asked us to help them roll all of that into one app - and we did!”
Wow. How did you go about tech wise?
Wim: “For the backend, we chose OutSystems as the underlying platform at an early stage - mainly because it supports multiple devices with one codebase. Also, Oracle was a given for the backend database in the stores. So we had our Oracle specialists come in and write interface layers between Oracle and OutSystems. OutSystems handles all the native stuff well, so we only use OutSystems and a few Cordova plugins for some specialized add-ons like the in-app browser.”

What was your main challenge so far?
Frank: “Oh, that would be the progressive releases, for sure. We’re replacing old functionality with new stuff gradually - into an app that is being used continuously, every minute, by an increasing number of stores and users. We can’t even just retire the old code while we insert the new, because it's still being used a lot as well. A lot of external processes still depend on that older code, for example. It’s ninja-level version management, honestly.”


What is the benefit of this Low-Code approach for Albert Heijn?

“First and foremost, the business department that is responsible for the item setup process (the process that our system supports of gathering and checking all kinds of item data before sending to the legacy system), is doing less manual, error prone, labour. They currently do the work with approximately 20% less people.”


“Then there is the reduced lead time. The original objective was to reduce the time needed to process item changes from 3 weeks to 5 days. But once our users got the hang of it, together with the users, we identified more manual steps that could easily be automated. Currently, the average lead time is just over 2 days, with 66% of the items successfully processed within 1 day and even 39% fully automatically within 5 minutes. These greatly improved lead times allow the commercial managers (the “customers” of our end users) to be much more flexible in responding to market needs.”


Is the client happy?
Wim: “I should think so. In-store employees can do their work twice as fast now. The case even won the Dutch Interactive Gold award recently – testimony to a job well done, I’d say.”

Als eerste op de hoogte van nieuwe inspirerende cases?

Op dit moment ontvangen 674 mensen direct onze nieuwste cases. Wil je ook direct op de hoogte blijven? Vul hieronder je emailadres in:
Je naam
Je emailadres

Knowledge base

Neo in Wonderland: a toolset to tune your Outsystems architecture and others stuff

29-08-2018

Neo in Wonderland: a toolset to tune your Outsystems architecture and others stuff

Lees meer