The leading family company Aartsen has been a household name in the fruit and vegetable trade for more than a century. The company has branches in Breda, Venlo, St. Katelijne-Waver and Hong Kong. Aartsen has more than two hundred employees, a total of 3,500 m2 of office space and 30,000 m2 of storage and distribution capacity.
From receipt to final settlement
Previously, some business processes in the old ERP system were still supported by paper documents. Aartsen wanted to eliminate the use of paper altogether from its business processes. These processes involve the registration of the incoming goods through to the final delivery to the customer. During these processes additional data had to be entered manually into a digital file, which required a large number of actions to complete the file.
The registration of sales to customers was already automated in the IBM AS/400 system, but there was still room for improvement in terms of reporting and flexibility. The digital file was linked to these sales and used to produce daily sales results and final settlements for the suppliers. Until recently, this process was supported by paper summaries, which we now present digitally to both the employees and suppliers.
Proof of Value project
In order to replace the existing business software and automate processes, Aartsen decided to carry out a so-called Proof of Value (PoV) project with enterprise low-code platform vendor Thinkwise. During this pilot project, Thinkwise modernized several application screens of the AS/400 system, free of charge. After Thinkwise successfully completed this pilot within just three weeks, Aartsen decided to use the Thinkwise Platform to completely modernize and optimize its legacy business software.
Jack Aartsen, CEO of Aartsen: “With the Thinkwise Platform we are able to automate the most complex processes within our company, without the implementation placing an extra burden on the organization.”
The fact that every grower has different communication requirements, such as what information an sales report e-mail should contain, posed an additional challenge during the digitalization project. Jack Aartsen: “We have to accommodate so many requirements from so many different growers. This means that a standard software package is not an option for us and traditional custom development is also not a viable solution. That is why we chose the iterative and practical approach of Thinkwise to develop new software using their low-
code platform. This helps when optimizing the business processes of a fruit and vegetable company like ours.”
During the first phase of this project, Thinkwise developed an application that has digitalized an important part of the manual offline process. At the moment, only the first part of the expected delivery and transport needs to be entered manually into the customer file, after which it is scanned for integration into the digital process. This will also be done digitally by the end of this year. The rest of the new digital process has been delivered in full, and includes among other things a temporary link via a direct interface with the AS/400 system.
Digitalization ensures streamlined work processes and more efficient and error-free working methods. It also created new possibilities, such as a confirmation to suppliers in different formats and in various languages (Dutch, German, English, French, Spanish and Italian). And Aartsen can now produce digital overviews of statistical data all year round instead of just once, manually, at the end of the year.
The new business application went live at the end of 2019. Aartsen and Thinkwise intend to complete the digitalization project in 2021, including the definitive replacement of the AS/400 system. The next phase of this project, is to digitalize the customer file and everything that goes with it. “We are very satisfied with the progress we have made together with Thinkwise in this digitalization project,” says Jack Aartsen. “Our ultimate goal, which is to make our company entirely digitalized and paperless, is getting closer.”
Robert van der Linden, CEO of Thinkwise: “We are thrilled that Aartsen has decided to use the Thinkwise Platform to modernize its entire ERP system. We hope that other companies in the fruit and vegetable sector consider this sufficient evidence to also take a much-needed step into the future.”
When it comes to fresh, Aartsen goes beyond the extra mile. We offer everything in the world of fruit and vegetables. Literally. Every day, we make sure that our range of fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world finds its way to our customers. We call this NONSTOPFRESH. This makes Aartsen the one and only true international gateway for fruit and vegetables.
Nothing is too far or too crazy for us. We can even make a kiwi fly. Aartsen will do anything to deliver fruit and vegetables fresher then fresh to one of our Benelux destinations or to Hong Kong 24 hours a day, 7 days a week we aim for the very best quality and service. Here too we go further than everyone else. Partners based in all corners of the world make this possible. They grow the finest fruit and vegetables for us. And we ensure that their businesses continue to grow. For more information go to: www.aartsen.com.