Plieger Group — bathroom wholesaler streamlines master data using Mendix

What do you get when you have 150,000 products, 20 showrooms and 67 pick-up points across the country? That’s right — an immense amount of master data. Plieger Group, the leading bathroom and technical installation wholesaler in the Netherlands, struggled to unlock this data for new and existing applications. Thanks to Mendix, the process now basically runs itself.

What was the challenge?

Developers at Plieger Group are constantly working on new apps for both employees and customers. For this, they rely on an immense amount of organisational and master data stored in a central data warehouse. This data comes from a number of completely different systems within the organisation, leading to questions like, ‘Which data is where?’ and ‘What do all those fields and tables even mean?’

Finding, unlocking and updating data often proved to be a time-consuming process. Integrating new apps with the ERP system posed a major challenge, for example, and developers frequently spent more time on peripheral matters than their core tasks.

What solution did we deliver?

Together with Plieger Group, we developed a Master Data app to act as a bridge between the data warehouse and all other applications The app retrieves data from the data warehouse and converts it into a common data model. This information is made available to other applications through standard REST APIs, greatly facilitating implementation and reuse.

The common data model also makes it very easy to find data and see what a certain field or table means. New apps no longer use their own version of product or customer data and always have access to up-to-date information. Plieger Group’s data specialists now know exactly which data originates from where and how to make it available to the Master Data app, reducing their reliance on external experts from the ERP system or elsewhere.

The Master Data app clearly helps our app developers achieve results faster, giving them time to focus on developing features that add value.

Andrea Berkhout – IT-manager Plieger Groep

Where did the complexity lie?

The two main complicating factors were the sheer amount of data and the technical nature of our solution. We connected the Master Data app to the Plieger Group data warehouse, a PostgreSQL database running in Azure Cloud, using Mendix’s Database Replication module. The module establishes a safe connection between the environments, retrieves metadata from the data warehouse, registers data queries and links warehouse tables to objects in Mendix.

The Master Data app is the only application that needs to be kept up to date with changes in the data warehouse. Changes to a data source generally don’t affect REST APIs or the applications using them. This significantly reduces the amount of maintenance work required when changes are made to systems providing the central data warehouse with data.

How did we make the difference?

Plieger Group’s developers previously had to spend a lot of time retrieving, unlocking and updating data. This left little time for their core task of developing robust apps with useful features that add value to the business. Our Mendix solution changed that.

The outcome is better results with less effort. Data specialists know exactly which data originates from where and how to make it available to the Master Data app, reducing their reliance on external experts. Mendix saves Plieger Group a lot of unnecessary time and effort, allowing the organisation to focus on what really matters.