Sowing the seeds of franchise growth with OutSystems
Improving a portal
Intratuin is a well-known chain of 65 franchise stores in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Working with a soft franchise formula, these stores sell an impressive assortment of 80,000 products in the home, garden & pet categories to 12,500,000 customers.
Franchisees use an online B2B portal called Winkelportaal to buy certain products. However, there were new feature requests which lead to the decision to build a new Winkelportaal in OutSystems. One of the main factors contributing to this decision was the ability to build a native Android App using the same platform.
That's why Intratuin wanted to rebuild this portal. OutSystems was chosen, 3 LINKIT experts got involved in the overall project and the work commenced.
Improving the portal
As part of the franchise agreement, stores have to purchase a certain part of their assortment from Intratuin headquarters. For their non-living products (everything except animals & plants) franchisees have to use Winkelportaal which is run by Intratuin HQ. This was developed in Mendix, a low-code tool.
A new portal gives the ability to implement new features, improving performance and also to support new types of orders. It should enable employees to work with Zebra barcode scanners. These scanners are used in stores and during Intratuin fairs.
Rebuilding the portal in OutSystems
Better performance and more features called for rebuilding the application in OutSystems. This new portal had to have at least the same user interface and features as its predecessor.
To make sure performance would improve the data model was rebuilt from scratch. For this new model, the team focussed on the processes and needs of the business. With newly developed SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) interfaces, the team made sure all necessary Intratuin systems are now connected to the portal using Microsoft BizTalk.
Support for the new order types has also been added while a mobile scanner app has been created to support the Zebra scanners. The users can also scan articles they come across during Intratuin fairs and want to add to their assortment at a later date.
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How Intratuin benefits
All this means the performance of the new Winkelportaal has improved significantly. Both franchisees and owner Intratuin benefit enormously from being able to order and supply products faster and easier.
That may sound easy, but it's no mean feat to pull it off. Just add up all those mundane, repetitive tasks Intratuin and its franchisees need to perform every day to keep a system like this going. Ordering, scanning, re-ordering, waiting for deliveries and on and on it goes. If you cut down the time spent on each manual task and automate as much as you can, you score significant efficiency wins for everybody involved.
How the LINKIT experts helped
OutSystems lead developer Diana van Eijk and both a senior and junior OutSystems developer from LINKIT were involved in the project. They managed to bring the project to a successful end, gradually introducing agile working methods to speed up development time.
What Diana liked was introducing agile working methods in what started as a waterfall project. Together with the rapid application development capabilities of OutSystems, this enabled a drastically faster achievement of results.