Identifying the need for change

For the past 8 years, DSM Engineering Materials had used a workflow solution which took a one-size-fits-all approach to managing and maintaining different workflows and master data. This led to unnecessary steps involved in their master data flow, and coordination challenges when working with different departments in different countries that all had a part to play in the process.

But the challenges that led to the idea to create a new tool were:

  • The cost and time needed to make changes
  • Limited possibilities for updating authorisations reducing their ability to scale the tool with ease.

Low-code to the rescue

Owen Burg, the process and data manager within DSM Engineering Materials, led the initiative for a new master data tool, and thus our collaboration began. Through co-creative (online) workshops we outlined the ideal solution for DSM’s specific needs and began building the application.

The end result is Panda (an acronym for Process ANd Data Administration thought up by Owen’s team), a master-data tool that allows users to define workflows at-runtime so making changes to them doesn’t require further development and redeployment of the app. Panda also allows you to organize tasks both in sequential and parallel order, and facilitates assigning tasks to users. In addition the set-up provides a coherent user experience as we utilized organisational elements of DSM Engineering Materials made available in Mendix modules.

Panda took around 8 weeks to build and went live in September 2022. Since then it’s slowly been rolled out one department at a time through DSM Engineering Materials with great success.

Collaboration is key

When asked about the highs and lows of the project, Owen told us that “the open communication toward each other was key. Our collaboration wasn’t so efficient at first, but we were able to discuss and adapt the way we worked to get the most out of it. Great teamwork in the end!”

He also appreciated our insights and suggestions along the way, such as the initiative to name and brand the app to help it stand out from some of the company’s other apps that lack a visual identity. “It was an unexpected idea that the team really enjoyed, and has made PANDA much more recognizable.”

Learn more about DSM Engineering Materials.