Mendix, a Siemens business and enterprise low-code solutions provider, has announced that Avebe, the global cooperative of potato starch varieties and potato-based food derivatives, has developed Internal Starch Flow, a software solution designed to streamline logistical and planning processes for Avebe plant facilities and cooperative farmers.
Internal Starch Flow eliminates unnecessary transportation delays and correctly matches shipments of potato-based starch and proteins with the chemical plant best suited to process those specific vegetable proteins. With daily shipments from more than 2,200 growers, the application greatly reduces the chance of product rejection at the factory or other production delays to guarantee an optimal price for Avebe’s cooperative members.
Bringing Different Disciplines Together
The Internal Starch Flow application was built within 10 weeks by a team of six part-time employees drawn from various disciplines, using the Mendix low-code platform. Avebe’s software solution consists of a management environment, with a mobile app for drivers, and a separate interface for logistics planners and factory operators that integrates fully with several SAP backend modules. The integration of business-critical systems that run on SAP systems with digitized logistical processes is unique in this industrial sector and made possible by low-code’s capacity for enterprise-grade connectivity. Low-code is a visual development approach that enables developers of varying experience levels to create applications quickly for web and mobile, using drag-and-drop components and model-driven logic through a graphical user interface.
“Previously, an operator physically walked to the silo to measure the amount of starch to withdraw. With Mendix, we’ve automated this process in a smart and innovative way. More insight into the amount of product stored in the silo helps to ensure a more efficient distribution of starch to production locations, with shorter waiting times for drivers, and lower write-offs due to smaller stock differences at the end of the processing campaign,” said Gijs Bleeker, director ICT at Avebe.
Using Connected Mobile Devices to Improve Transportation Logistics
Avebe’s transportation needs are outsourced to external, third-party providers with off-site legacy systems. As a result, developers had to map out a large number of scenarios and link information with multiple systems via the Internal Starch Flow user interface.
Avebe’s innovative mobile solution guides drivers through their logistical checkpoints, from loading shipments at specific locations to unloading at targeted plants or facilities. Drivers use a mobile app to scan a QR code at the loading location. At the delivery location, the driver scans another QR code to see if he or she should unload the cargo. Via QR code scanning, data is checked with the master list at Avebe and the production control system at the production location. The information is uploaded into the SAP database where stock and inventory figures are automatically updated.
With these innovations, manual freight packing lists with their attendant lack of insight or transparency on inventory status become a thing of the past. The driver’s paperwork confirming delivery and other details is also automated by the Avebe application. Previously, consignment notes were transferred manually by emailed Excel sheets.
With the app, the truck loading and unloading process is reduced to about an hour. Previously, it was not uncommon for trucks to be queuing at an unloading location for longer periods of time. The Internal Starch Flow app uses GPS-enabled timestamps to provide real-time information about the location of the trucks, providing accurate data to improve planning and lower the costs of logistical processes.
Building Unique and Impactful Solutions with Low-Code
Erik Dijck, manager ICT architecture at Avebe, said “Now all parties have real-time insight. This is a real breakthrough in the market. The drivers have all had training and were included in the development process of the application. This proved to be an essential element for success.”
“Our goal is to help companies create applications that deliver an impact today. Internal Starch Flow helps Avebe gain more insight into the logistics processes and stocks to deliver an optimal product for its customers and a fair price for the potato growers. It also shows the almost endless ways in which the Mendix platform can complement existing SAP solutions,” said Dennis Muller, customer success manager at Mendix.