Shop Service Center is the leading supplier of non-food goods in the Benelux countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg. With more than fifteen hundred customers and an annual turnover exceeding eighty million Euros, the company has grown to be a prevalent player in the industry. A product range of over one thousand items and a growing number of customers makes data management a complex and vital initiative. E-Vouchers make up one segment of Shop Service Center’s offering that requires flexibility to connect with new vendors and new customers.
Shop Service Center states the following message to its customers: “The retail industry is constantly changing; your success depends on the degree to which you are able to respond to any changes that you are faced with.” In a true example of business agility, the company relied on Mendix software to practice what they preach. The decision to work with Mendix was a collaborative effort between business and IT divisions. Mendix competed with Atos Origin, who offered a full Java Implementation, and won due to the flexibility and speed of Mendix’s application platform.
The business challenge for Shop Service Center was to replace an existing system to distribute and sell e-vouchers such as prepaid telephone cards and entrance tickets. The old system was not flexible enough to connect with new vendors and customers. Furthermore, the inventory costs could be lowered using more sophisticated inventory management concepts.
The technical challenge in Shop Service Center project involved creating a system that could integrate with a variety of other systems as well as new, unknown, systems. These integrations had to be seamless, and avoid changing the original system itself. Therefore, all integration points had to be configured within the Mendix solution, rather than the older systems. Due to direct integration with their point-of-sale systems, the new solution would have to be able to respond to any buy request. Because internet connections in Eastern Europe are not reliable, a distributed inventory system that communicated a-synchronically was required.
The realization phase of the project took only two months to complete. The project consisted mostly of Atos Origin developers, who did not have any experience using Mendix software. The system built on the Mendix platform manages the stock of all e-vouchers. It generates purchase orders to suppliers of Shop Service Center, provides an interface to their point-of-sale system, and then provides this information to an SAP system. The application is hosted in the Mendix environment. Delivery of the system was in time and on budget.