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Industrialized Construction Innovator ERP in OutSystems

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An OutSystems North American client since 2015 has a revolutionary vision to combine virtual reality, industrialized construction, and sustainable design concepts to build more adaptable interior spaces. With OutSystems, the company built CRM and ERP capabilities that support sales, scheduling, manufacturing, and logistics across numerous factories and design centers. The company chose OutSystems to escape the constraints of packaged applications and slow-coded development.

  • App Modernization
  • Digital Transformation
  • Web Apps and Portals

“We chose OutSystems because we didn't want off-the-shelf software—we're not an off-the-shelf kind of company. We needed to define our own processes rather than having them dictated to us by an ERP vendor. OutSystems helps us do that faster and with fewer technology barriers."

Product Manager

When Nothing is Off-the-shelf, Packaged Software Doesn't Fit

Over 17-plus years, this company grew to become a global leader in industrialized construction. Its mission is to empower organizations to build high-performing, adaptable interior environments through a combination of advanced digital solutions and the latest in integrated prefab construction.

The company serves the commercial, healthcare, education, and public sector markets, and its approach provides total design freedom and greater certainty in cost, schedule, and outcomes.

Its revolutionary approach, which combines the best of prefab with 100 percent custom production, proved a poor fit for off-the-shelf ERP, as their product manager explains.

“Every interior we provide is 100 percent custom. We don't have standard stock-taking units or catalogs. What's extraordinary is that we have a 10-day lead time to deliver on-site, regardless of order size."

Product Manager

Off-the-shelf software was a poor fit for a firm that broke from traditional construction practices. The company needed to define its own processes rather than have them dictated by off-the-shelf ERP or other software packages. So, the company has custom-built many of its critical software applications since its formation.

The company's OutSystems journey started in 2015. It wanted a low-code application development platform to overcome software development and infrastructure challenges.

Why OutSystems:
  • Speed-up development and improve agility
  • legacy system modernization iconModernize legacy systems
  • Enable continuous delivery

From CRM Replacement to Full ERP Development

The company's first project with OutSystems was to replace its Salesforce CRM suite. "We were using a fraction of the full Salesforce platform, and it was hard to adapt it to suit the complex nature of our opportunities," explains the product manager. "We decided we'd get a better fit and much more agility by building a completely customized system for opportunity management."

OutSystems professional services delivered the initial development project in a 22-week assignment using 2.5 FTE developers.

“We delivered a completely customized opportunity management system that captures the information we need rather than conforming to off-the-shelf CRM constraints."

Product Manager

Since 2015, the company has gradually grown its in-house OutSystems development team, including five developers, a UI/UX specialist, a front-end developer, and a communications specialist.

As the company's OutSystems team grew, it tackled increasingly strategic projects. The company now has an integrated suite of 14 OutSystems applications in production.

The company's most important OutSystems project was to replace a legacy manufacturing scheduling system built originally on Access and SQL Server. "Schedule" controls the whole manufacturing process, taking CAD data from the company's virtual reality design software and translating this into precise manufacturing specifications scheduled across numerous factories.

The “Schedule” project started in 2017, and initially, the scope was just to use OutSystems to create a modern web UI on top of the SQL backend.

However, to prepare the company for greater growth “Schedule” needed completely rearchitecting. The project team included four developers, a project manager, a UX/UI specialist, a designer, and colleagues in communications, training, and documentation roles.

“Without OutSystems, development would be slower, and we'd have to hire additional DevOps and IT operations roles. OutSystems deals with all of that thanks to the built-in DevOps capabilities."

Product Manager

Innovator's Application Suite Supports Business Agility

Now that the company has over seven years of experience using OutSystems, the product manager says, "Having our main applications on OutSystems allows us to be much more responsive to changing business requirements. We're building increasingly large and strategic applications."

Talking about the difference OutSystems provides to his team, the product manager highlights, "Without OutSystems, development would be slower, and we'd have to hire additional DevOps and IT operations roles. OutSystems deals with all of that thanks to the built-in DevOps capabilities. We use the OutSystems Cloud, which takes away most of the IT administration effort required to keep our development tools continually updated and secure."

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“OutSystems allows us to be much more responsive to changing business requirements. We're building increasingly large and strategic applications."

Product Manager

The company's custom virtual reality software, built using traditional development methods, provides an immersive design experience for customers, who can walk around their designed space, making changes on the fly. The VR design system outputs manufacturing orders accurate to the last millimeter.

That data integrates into the “Schedule” application, which cuts-up projects into smaller orders spread across numerous factories to optimize capacity. The system allows operators to fine-tune manufacturing plans before committing them to production. Then the Schedule application sequences delivery of the required elements onto customers' sites for construction.

"Every interior is custom built and delivered in 10 days," explains the product manager. "It almost sounds crazy, but it sets us apart. We're faster, cleaner, and more sustainable than traditional construction, especially as our interiors are more adaptable to meet customers' changing needs."

Hearing the company's ethos for manufacturing, it's clear why OutSystems fits so well with its business approach.