DEEN develops two PowerApps in a week
In 2018 and 2019 Macaw held quite a few successful “App In A Day” workshops. During these sessions, participants learned how to build a business app in a day with the Microsoft Power Platform as well as discovered the possibilities of PowerApps. As a result, over 65 organizations have become acquainted with Microsoft’s Business Application Platform, one of which is DEEN supermarket – a family business with 82 branches (2019) in Noord-Holland, Flevoland, Gelderland and Utrecht.
“At DEEN, we were always used to developing various applications ourselves,” says Hugo Kreuk, Office 365 & Azure specialist at DEEN supermarkets. “But with the future in mind, we wanted to experiment with low-code and no-code development. Which is why we decided to take part in Macaw’s workshop.”
Kreuk looks back at the “App in a Day” workshop experience as very positive. “The platform, including PowerApps, Flow and Planner – all available within Office 365 – offered even more than I knew. This encouraged DEEN to take a closer look at the possibilities of the Power Platform and join Macaw’s “App in a Week” programme.
Within Macaw’s “App in a Week” programme, we managed to develop not one but two apps: one for the bakery departments and one to support the private label projects of DEEN.
“The Power Platform offered more than I knew” – Hugo Kreuk, DEEN Supermarkets
A PowerApp to support private label products
The private-label app helps the team, which is responsible for the development of private label products at DEEN. “We have supported this process for a number of years using SharePoint 2013. But because we have now switched to Office 365, we wanted to stop using this SharePoint version,” says Kreuk. “In the new app, the standard tasks associated with all private label products are included not only in SharePoint but in SharePoint Online. Not to mention, by using Flow, standard tasks can be made project-specific in Microsoft Planner and assigned to employees in the Private Label department. We’ve built an app around this, with which all those involved – from the applicant to the person with final responsibility – can follow each step and make adjustments if necessary.”
A PowerApp for bakery products
The second app that DEEN developed during “App in a Week” allows the bakery departments located in the supermarkets offer customers the freshest possible bread and rolls. “We are currently still using a self-built ASP.Net application that extracts historical customer data from our data warehouse,” says Kreuk. “The application gives the bakers recommendations on how much bread and buns to bake and at what time of day”.
With the new PowerApp, the bakery departments instantly receive recommendations five times per day on which goods should be baked and in what quantities. This way, they can offer freshly baked goods all day long and customers won’t ever run into a shortage. The app directly contributes to the prevention of food waste as it offers tremendous insights into consumption.
The bakery app also takes into account special offers as well as the flow of customers throughout the day. “If there are additional considerations that should be included, the employees always have the option of changing the numbers themselves,” explains Kreuk. “I hope that we can get this app up and running soon. We’ve been working on the switch to Microsoft Dynamics AX as a new ERP system for some time now. As soon as the bakery departments’ products are included, we will be able to start using this app and discontinue the old customization.”
Easily create apps with Microsoft technology
The decision to do more with PowerApps is in line with DEEN’s decision to standardize as many apps as possible with Microsoft technology. “This makes applications more future-proof than custom work that always requires maintenance and accurate documentation,” says Kreuk. “Within Office 365, apps are quick and easy to create, and you need fewer licenses. Therefore, they don’t put any extra burden on the IT department and costs. The apps are especially useful for supporting very specific and defined processes, without large investments. As a result, they can also be extended for the use of supporting short-term activities.”
“However, since users can easily build their own apps within Office 365, it’s important to provide them with good guidance. Making sure that this is controlled and monitored to prevent proliferation is essential. This can easily be done within the Office 365 platform.”
All in all, Kreuk looks back on a great collaboration with Macaw. “Macaw and DEEN have been successfully working together for a long time now, as Macaw also helps us with additional tasks, such as our data warehouse. Macaw has provided us with exceptional support in the development of these apps.”