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Modernising Engelhorn’s supply chain with low-code

A set of low-code applications helped Engelhorn modernise and improve their supply chain processes in a couple of weeks’ time.

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Engelhorn

Engelhorn is a German retailer of fashion and sports gear founded in 1890. With more than 1,500 employees and 7 locations, Engelhorn stands for high quality and passion for setting new standards and creating a unique shopping experience with social responsibility in mind.

Industry Retail
Technology Low-Code, Power Platform, Azure

Key Achievements

  • Simplified management of supplier contracts
  • Complete transparency of goods received and local warehouse management
  • Faster and more efficient issue resolution when there’s a need for delivery clarification
  • Centralised database that allows Engelhorn to derive added business value from supply chain data

The problems 

Business Needs 

As a fashion and sports gear retailer with multiple locations, and an online shop, Engelhorn needs a resilient and agile supply chain to cooperate with multiple suppliers. The client identified several areas in their supply chain that could be improved with modern technology.  

Their supplier contract management was based on Excel spreadsheets, which caused inconsistencies and bottlenecks. The contract conditions were transferred from Excel to the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP). This system wasn’t free from human errors which occasionally led to disagreement with Engelhorn’s suppliers.  

Engelhorn’s logistics centre records the received goods and processes incoming goods for each location. The information from multiple sources is uploaded and synchronized. This information was only available from the time the goods consignments were recorded in the ERP system. Until then, no information about the incoming deliveries was available to employees. 

When there was a problem with a specific delivery, it was handled with an overly complex, non-customisable ticket system. Moreover, this delivery clarification solution required access to the ERP, which wasn’t available to everyone involved. The process, which regularly had to go through several teams, was not properly tracked, resulting in unnecessary delays and extra effort. 

The solutions 

Project Details 

Having already implemented Microsoft’s Power Platform in their organisation, Engelhorn decided to solve their supply chain issues with Power Apps — Microsoft’s low-code technology. Objectivity created the applications as a series of small projects, each taking no longer than a couple of weeks. 

Supplier Management 

Moving the supplier contract management from a spreadsheet-based process into a simple application. The completed solution allows Engelhorn’s employees to easily find specific contracts, add new ones to the repository, and edit existing records.  

There’s access to earlier versions of annexes, giving Engelhorn the insight into how the terms have changed over time, which can help them evaluate their suppliers. Additionally, automated notifications about upcoming expiration dates let them renew their contracts on time and ensure business continuity.   

Thanks to the use of cloud hosting, all users can access the most recent versions from multiple devices, and all changes are updated and synchronised in real time. As the hosting model doesn’t utilise reserved instances, both the total cost of ownership and environmental impact are as small as possible. 

Goods Receiving 

The low-code app has been installed on Zebra Scanners used in Engelhorn’s goods receiving department. From the scan of a received package, goods are tracked throughout storage locations and documents related to their delivery. The consignment is also assigned to a warehouse location and all further movements of the goods inside the warehouse are tracked. 

As requested by the client, the application is lean and easy-to-use as possible. The team eliminated long searches for status updates and additional information. The process can be dynamically adjusted as new information becomes available. 

Case Clarification 

All case clarifications are now entirely handled in a single application, eliminating the need for moving between multiple solutions. The workflow within the app is flexible and customisable to fit the team’s needs.  

Management now has clear visibility of the statuses and results of all delivery clarifications. This leads to shorter, more efficient processes, reducing the time needed to handle hundreds of clarifications every week. 

The results 

Business Benefits 

The applications have improved efficiency and visibility of multiple Engelhorn’s supply chain processes. They support the client in their daily operations related to supplier management and accepting deliveries. The solutions simplified the processes of supplier management, tracking received goods, and delivery clarification. All this resulted in reducing the amount of time needed to complete tasks and limiting the number of errors.  

Beyond the direct benefits of each application, Engelhorn now has the long-term advantage of storing all data in a single central database. They can use the newly received data for better insights into their business and a better overview of their supply chain.  

The data generated by the applications is processed in PowerBI dashboards for the needs of individual departments, such as logistics, finance, and merchandise planning. It provides important KPIs for the commercial departments and personnel deployment planning. 

The delivered solutions are easily extensible and customisable, so they will support Engelhorn’s business for years to come. Thanks to the advantages of low-code development, which speeds up the provision of solutions by up to 30%, Engelhorn has already identified additional processes that can be supported with this technology. 

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