Working at scale

A large part of Etex’s daily business is the production of construction materials such as plasterboards, corrugated sheets and sandwich panels (to name a few examples). All these products are maintained in their SAP ERP system, but with such a wide range of products and sub-products that vary in dimensions, materials, colours, and many other aspects, the creation and maintenance of these thousands of entries is no small task.

Creating a new material entry in SAP would typically involve excel spreadsheets, a fair bit of time and a whirlwind of emails between the various relevant parties. Here’s where Etex saw an opportunity to innovate! So, in line with their 4.0 program to streamline their business processes, they set to work to find a better workflow, with us as their trusty low-code partner.

A simple solution

What made low-code the weapon of choice for this project? Mainly it’s speed and flexibility, allowing for quick iterations and updates to the app as and when needed. Together with IT and business teams at Etex we outlined their SAP flow from product request to the various data input and approval stages by product-, supply chain- and master data stewards.

We then routed the entire process through Mendix in the form of a simple, user-friendly app, and, after some trial and error, integrated it with their SAP system for a seamless workflow. This resulted in the following key benefits for Etex personnel:

  • all parties can log in to see an overview on the material creation process and follow progress without having to send emails back and forth.
  • everyone has a clearly defined role to play, whether it’s submitting information or approving it, and can take responsibility for their own tasks independently.
  • all data entry is more standardised thanks to clearly defined business practices such as minimum and maximum ranges, set character limits and so forth.
  • a more efficient workflow with less emails and faster results!

The tip of the iceberg

Writing this less than two months after the release of the application, Etex is currently testing it out for their finished products such as plasterboards and fibre cement produced in Belgium and the Netherlands. Through this controlled rollout they’re identifying any pain points that need addressing (such as more specific data entry rules) and evaluating the application’s potential adoption in their UK shop floors and further abroad.

Since our first collaboration (read the customer case here) at the end of 2020 Etex has grown quickly as a centre of excellence in low-code - defining a governance model, discovering use cases and exploring more inclusive ways to digitise processes within their organisation. Stay with us for more exciting customer cases!

Learn more about Etex.