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Royal Wagenborg chooses the Thinkwise low-code platform.

Royal Wagenborg, one of Europe’s largest multipurpose shipping companies, has chosen the Thinkwise Platform to modernize its legacy business software. The most important reasons are the high speed of development, flexibility, sustainability and the fact that Thinkwise is the most mature low-code platform for the realization of a complete core system.

Royal Wagenborg is a family-owned business that was founded in 1898, and currently has a fleet of 180 multipurpose ships and branches all over the world. The company ships various types of dry cargo for their customers, especially between North-West Europe, North America and the Mediterranean region. During the past 18 years it has developed its own software platform using LANSA and AS/400. This platform supports all the unique business processes for the many divisions within this international organization.

This solution has now become technically obsolete, creating the need for new business software that better supports modern technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence and industrial data processing. Following an extensive selection procedure Royal Wagenborg decided embark on a project with Thinkwise to modernize all its existing functionality using low-code. By doing so, the organization will be ready for the future, and able to create opportunities for process automation and making data-driven decisions.

Berend Hut, Corporate ICT Manager at Wagenborg: “Thinkwise is an accessible no-nonsense organization that speaks the same language as Wagenborg. Their low-code platform is the only one that is mature enough to be able to replace our entire software platform. We expect to quickly redevelop the existing functionality and gradually bid farewell to our current systems.

Intensive selection procedure

The strategic choice for Thinkwise was not made lightly. Royal Wagenborg approached more than 50 vendors of standard software packages and some low-code platforms.

The initial idea was to select standard software packages for all the sub-processes within our business operations and then link them together” Berend explains. “But there was simply no suitable combination of packages available that covered our entire process, or even its various components.

Implementing this best-of-breed strategy turned out to be extremely labor intensive and expensive, which made redeveloping the software a far more realistic option. Berend was highly impressed by the low-code approach, and especially by the high speed of development and flexibility of the software.

Berend Hut: “We wanted to create a future-proof IT platform. This was impossible with so many different software packages, apart from the fact that it was incredibly expensive. We often had to pay for all the functionality, even though we only used a small part of the solution.

In the end Wagenborg carried out a Proof of Concept with three software vendors, from which Thinkwise came out on top: “The platform appealed to both our end users as well as our developers. Thinkwise quickly gave us the confidence that we can realize all the software solutions we need using their low-code platform. In addition, the speed of software development is extremely high, and the platform is continuously being improved with new functionality and technology.”

Industrial data processing and AI

Following a training session, provided by Thinkwise, Royal Wagenborg put together a separate team consisting of two members from its senior development team, three junior developers and one program manager. Experienced Thinkwise consultants provide support during the first phase of the project. “We are currently in the middle of development,” says Hut. “We expect to have the first part of our platform operational in October, but we have recently already delivered the initial results to the business with a piece of CRM functionality. This result was delivered within two weeks and was very enthusiastically received. We could never have achieved that so quickly with a traditional development tool.

The Thinkwise Platform enables Royal Wagenborg to develop its business software with far greater consultation with the business and ensure that the resulting applications better fit the requirements of the organization. “We now develop exactly the software that we need much faster and more focused,” Berend explains. “And because we do everything in one platform, we can now automate many processes and manual operations. It is also far easier to implement new technology such as IoT and AI. By automating certain processes, you no longer need to think about them, and our employees have more time to generate new, better business development ideas. This has led to tremendous improvements in efficiency. This is why Thinkwise has become a very important partner for us.

Listen to the presentation 'Navigating the tides of digital transformation' of Royal Wagenborg during the Thinkwise Summit 2022. In this video they explain the principles by which they use the Thinkwise platform for everything, except accounting, to lead the maritime industry.

About Royal Wagenborg

Royal Wagenborg, founded in 1898, is an international maritime logistics conglomerate. The family-owned business provides a diversity of maritime services. With a fleet of approximately 230 ships Wagenborg is active in shipping, offshore, towage, maritime and management services and they maintain the ferry services to Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. In addition Wagenborg is active in storage and transshipment, crane hire and special and heavy haulage. From their head office in Delfzijl, Wagenborg has built up a strong global commercial network with offices in Sweden, Finland, Greece, Spain, Canada, Russia and the Philippines.

Wagenborg employs around 3,000 personnel and as one of the largest shipping companies in the Netherlands it serves customers in the Baltic, North-West Europe, the Mediterranean region, America and the Far East.