Kao Extends Mobile Sales Application 10 Times Faster

Kao is one of the world’s largest companies and a leading manufacturer of premium beauty-care brands that are recognized around the world for their innovation and quality. These include prestige cosmetics and body care products such as facial and body cleansers, shampoos and conditioners, and hair styling agents.

Confronted with a pressing demand for a sales order entry app, Kao’s salon business sector faced a familiar dilemma: replace its existing Mobile Sales system or extend it with new functionality. Kao chose the latter-and the project was the smoothest “ever” thanks to the Mendix low-code development platform and Emixa team.

Mendix’s rapid development and SAP integration capabilities reduced time to market by 10 times, allowing Kao to deliver an iPad application that saves sales reps up to two hours per day.

Concealed Inefficiencies

When the owners of elite salons and spas want to offer their clients the best beauty-care products, they turn to Kao, the multi-billion dollar global leader and maker of such top names as John Frieda, KMS California and Goldwell. But ordering new supplies – for their own use and for retail sale to clients – wasn’t always the smoothest process.

Previously, Kao salon sales reps struggled to use a mobile sales laptop application that lacked integrated connectivity or real-time access to back-end data from the company’s SAP system.

“It wouldn’t be unusual for them to spend two hours at the end of each day transferring the paper orders into our SAP system,” Gordon explained.

Time for a Makeover

“The sales team wanted a simple order-entry system and they needed it right away,” said Gordon. “We were looking at a lengthy and expensive project, so we evaluated a number of application platforms and integration toolsets and selected Mendix.”

Given the tight timeline and complex integration requirements, Kao partnered with Emixa, a certified Mendix reseller partner with proven knowledge on both SAP and mobile apps. Emixa’s knowledge of the salon sales business processes and their skills in Mendix and mobile app development were essential for the project.

“The speed and flexibility of Mendix’s application platform was exactly what we wanted—and ultimately needed,” said Matthias Bartels, Business Application Leader for Kao.

“We had initially estimated about 30 days of development time for each interface. But with Mendix, we had working interfaces in two days. Without Mendix and Emixa, I don’t think that we could have developed this app. It was the smoothest go-live we’ve ever had, so I’m more than happy.”

The New Foundation

The new order entry iPad app is being rolled out to 300-400 Kao sales reps globally. The user-friendly app is fully integrated with SAP, giving them real-time access to inventory information and immediate entry of their sales orders, so customers receive product shipments faster.

“Our people love the app because it makes their lives much easier,” Bartels said.” They’re saving an average of two hours per day over manual order entry.”

Similarly, Mendix’s application platform has made the lives of Kao’s IT team much easier. “It’s so simple that within a few hours, our people understood how to use it,” said Gordon. “We were able to get this application out extremely fast.”