SPAR Group’s ordering system which was used at trade shows had become outdated, and the decision was made to replace it. SPAR opted to use the CA Plex development tool that was already used for internal development; however, there were no developers available to move this forward.
SPAR Group of South Africa, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2005, has a turnover in excess of 30 billion Rand (currently approx. £2.5 billion). SPAR operates under ‘voluntary trading’ principles, meaning they encourage independent retailers to take advantage of SPAR's trading power, but these retailers are not obliged to buy from the Group. A key strength of the SPAR model is that the stores are owner-managed, and that is why each store has its own regional personality. Today, the Group operates six distribution centres, supplying goods and services to around 800 stores in South Africa.
Why did they need us?
The company’s distribution centres run a number of trade shows each year, where the Group’s retailers can view and order new products displayed by suppliers. The ordering system used at these shows had limited functionality and integration with the main warehouse systems. Once the decision was made to replace it, SPAR opted to use the CA Plex development tool. However, they didn’t have the developers on hand for a three to four month project, and so decided to use it as trial offshore development project.
What we did
After SPAR produced a user requirements document internally, we were present at the workshops held on-site in Durban. We then produced functional and technical design documents, plus a project plan which formed the basis of the engagement contract. Once the system was complete, SPAR carried out their own testing and then went to pilot stage, for which we provided on-site support. The system has been in use for a number of years now, and is maintained and enhanced periodically by SPAR’s own developers.
Why they chose us
We were selected from a number of Plex development companies because SPAR felt we had a good depth of experience in the Plex IDE as well as experience of project work for a variety of customers. Additionally, they liked our proposal to use the YouEye Plex pattern to achieve a modern, Microsoft Outlook feel to the screens.
What they said
“As can be expected with a first off-shoring project we had some challenges with connectivity, but the Desynit people were committed and worked with us to overcome these.”
“One of the big benefits we got from this engagement was the new perspective on the use of our Plex IDE (particularly the YouEye pattern) that Desynit shared with us from their experience in different environments.”
“Of course, there is now an established relationship between us and Desynit that allows our developers to seek advice from a wider pool of skills.”
Software Development Manager,