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Ametller Origen

How we support almost every business process in a fast-growing food retailer by using IT intelligently in the Cloud.

The project

This is an ongoing project for a fast-growing supermarket chain in and around Barcelona. What started as designing the architecture and back-end applications for the POS- administration system, turned into a large-scale undertaking behind all major business processes of the company (sales tracking, inventory management, HR, management of pricing and product catalogue, tracking of marketing and sales campaigns, etc.)

In addition, because of their fast growth Ametller Origen needed a new platform to build their tools on, that allowed for fast iteration and adaptability to changing requirements while providing rock-solid performance. They did not want to be locked-in to a single technology vendor, thus they also wanted to have their own staff involved in the development of the new platform.

Because this new system was so pervasive, the client knew they needed to develop the new software following Agile principles and wanted it to be built on the JVM. Agilogy was a perfect match because we’ve always worked based on Agile methods, we had previous experience in building software on demanding platforms and also importantly, with co-sourcing. We proposed a micro-services architecture based on RESTful APIs and built them with Scala in a way that their own developers teamed up with Agilogy and learned (and can keep learning) by doing.

What we did

These are some of the things we built for them:

Product catalog

An automated catalogue of all products including pricing policies set by the company. Prices of fresh produce can be changed daily and can be segmented by a cluster of stores or any individual store location. Any single product can be priced in a sale or be part of a sales campaign (2 for the price of 1, 10% off in case of spending 20 Euro’s or more, certain menu’s (pizza and a beverage for X euro’s, etc.) All of this is relayed back to the main office and can serve to make better pricing/sales decisions.

A CRM system for the loyalty program

A CRM system that ties into the Customer Loyalty program
that the company has and can broadcast sales and other information in real time, gathers historical data and is used in the company’s MIS.

A POS backend

A detailed POS software system backend that also tracks cash transactions to increase security and categorizes all this information by date, product and store before it’s fed into the ERP software.

A user management service

A centrally managed, secure repository of users containing the information, powers of access and authorizations of all personnel in the company.

Analytics

A central database containing all historical information (Big Data) on sales, purchasing, vendors, etc. which is updated almost in real time. This is a powerful tool for Business Intelligence and serves many needs and very specific questions of management.

And more

Elaborate centralized inventory management software that can track very specific lots of fresh produce, date of entry/date of sale, waste, returns, etc.

We also developed new cash management software and built a mobile hybrid application using pictures which helps area-managers in their daily quality control. The information they supply is then used by purchasing managers in the back-office to make better buying and logistics decisions.

In the last two years there’s practically not a business process in the company that Agilogy has not reviewed or automated, integrating everything seamlessly in the Cloud with the ERP software that the client had in place.

It’s also a great example of co-sourcing where we work very closely with the in-house programmers meeting as often as is needed, on location, covering the areas they need support in. We have helped in creating a team that is known in the organization for their reliability in delivering business value in the short term while keeping the long term vision.

Technology Stack

The main goals for the technology selection in this project where to have a platform that offered high developer productivity with absolute reliability.

This is why we chose the Scala language and the well-known and stable Java JAX-RS Standard API for the backend and AngularJS for the frontend web applications.

Remarks

  • Our developers work with the client as a single team

  • The platform has enabled quick iteration that adapts to business speed

  • The stack and the cloud deployment has been key to keep the operation costs low

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