Due to tough economic conditions, the construction industry is facing numerous challenges, including lower customer volume and rising price competition. At the same time, supply chains are evolving, from specialists focused on the lowest price to integrators focused on the lowest total cost of ownership.
Plegt-Vos knew that efficiency and innovation were the keys to surviving and thriving in this business climate. More specifically, the company saw the growing importance of sharing knowledge across the supply chain to ensure that all partners and suppliers could easily contribute their insight and best practices to construction and real estate projects.
Unfortunately, Plegt-Vos’ existing ERP system couldn’t meet these changing demands. “We tried to leverage a single ERP implementation for the entire business, but this approach limited our agility and ability to differentiate in a competitive market,” said Ernst-Jan Companje, Group Controller at Plegt-Vos. “We needed a way to quickly extend our core system with apps tailored to our unique needs.”
Plegt-Vos decided to build multiple business applications that fit specific requirements set by the business. The company selected Mendix’s application platform because of its speed and flexibility. The business could easily create applications in a fraction of the time compared to traditional development methods, allowing Plegt-Vos to meet short-term objectives, while still maintaining flexibility for quick adaptations in the future.
To aid in this process, Plegt-Vos selected CAPE Groep as their strategic implementation partner. CAPE Groep had a strong Mendix track record, ERP consulting experience and integration expertise. Together, the teams defined strategic areas where they would focus, including sales, innovation, building information model (BIM) and supply chain integration.
So far, the team has designed five applications, each with a clear business case, that fit these areas of focus. Moreover, Plegt-Vos’ multi-app strategy relies on a private enterprise app store built on top of its ERP system.
Currently, the app store includes the following Mendix apps:
- CRM: sales and marketing app for industry segmentation, account planning, funnel management, organizations, contacts and tasks
- Housing & buyers: customer app used to connect buyers with potential houses
- Real estate & broker: app to connect partners throughout their supply chain
- Purchasing: inventory app to aggregate all supplier, product and price information
- References: app for project showcases, documentation and photos
As Plegt-Vos’ application landscape grew, the company decided to leverage CAPE Groep’s eMagiz, an Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) built on Mendix, to integrate their ERP, DMS and Mendix apps. Using a message bus architecture, all systems now are loosely coupled, external parties are connected and all transactions are monitored and managed.
In addition to solving connectivity issues between apps, Plegt-Vos wanted to improve the user experience. Taking advantage of the Mendix Launchpad with its single sign on feature, users can easily access all of their applications in one central place with the same login details.
“With the Mendix Launchpad we want to enhance the user experience and further support our multi-app strategy,” said Ernst-Jan.
With the integrated new apps, Plegt-Vos has enhanced service to customers and partners. Moreover, the business case evaluation before each project ensures that the app delivers:
- Value for the customer which leads to higher sales prices
- Process efficiencies which lead to lower prices or internal costs
Ernst-Jan explains that, “Originally, we had one ERP system supporting our internal business processes but it didn’t allow us to connect with our supply chain partners. We chose Mendix and eMagiz to establish connections with our customers and suppliers by means of multiple flexible apps.”
Plegt-Vos continues to build apps and is in the process of designing two new systems: a supply chain self-service app to share information with external parties and a workflow app to monitor event management and BPM interactions. “Mendix is now our go-to platform to deliver new applications to all of our users. The platform is helping us transform our relationships with customers, partners and suppliers so we can better compete in a challenging market,” says Ernst-Jan.