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Plant Parts – Collaborative Software Development Case Study

Plant Parts is one of Europe’s leading independent parts specialists. Delivering an expert service for final drive gearboxes and travel motors, Plant Parts offers new, aftermarket, reconditioned and used parts for a range of construction and industrial machinery

Collaborative software development projects yields tangible business benefits

With expensive construction teams on site, Plant Parts clients rely on a rapid service to get their heavy equipment back up and running. The Ipswich-based firm depends on a reliable back office system and an extensive and easy-to-use public facing catalogue of parts to service their customers and maintain inventory.

Background

Plant Parts is one of Europe’s leading independent parts specialists. Delivering an expert service for final drive gearboxes and travel motors, Plant Parts offers new, aftermarket, reconditioned and used parts for a range of construction and industrial machinery.

The story so far

IJYI and Plant Parts have been working together for over three years. In a partnership built on trust, IJYI has established a close working relationship with the Plant Parts team to ensure effective collaboration.

Sitting at the heart of the Plant Parts business operations is their business critical ‘Final Drives System’. This system is used for two separate sales streams; the Partner Website and the Public Offering.

The Partner Website is used as a sales tool, which includes access for internal sales teams. The Public Offering allows end users to enquire about availability and to request quotes.

End-users and partners have the ability to search the Plant Parts extensive database to discover availability of specific parts – both new and reconditioned.

In the initial engagement IJYI performed a migration of a legacy Microsoft Access Database to provide flexibility, resiliency and disaster recover capability. After the success of this piece of work, Plant Parts asked IJYI to begin adding additional products to the Final Drives System. This involved IJYI working closely with the Plant Parts team to establish an understanding of each other’s working processes.

The next step was for IJYI to rewrite and redesign the Public Offering to improve ease of use and customer experience. This was a major piece of work that had direct impacts on the Plant Parts business.

ijyi’s collaborative approach has meant that we have been fully engaged in the project at every stage. Their team is highly competent and brings a level of creativity and flair, which has meant that we’ve not only achieved the results we hoped for, but the process has been an enjoyable experience”

Richard Finch, Managing Director, Plant Parts

“Instead of pinning everything on a defined scope, or even a technology set, the team (including the client) continually asked two questions: what is the main goal for the business this year? does this work item help to achieve that? This focus ensured that we all moved in the same direction at significant pace.”

John Nicholson, Co-founder, IJYI

Additional functionality and resiliency

IJYI then continued with this programme of work by adding a Hydraulic Pump product set to the Final Drives System, and more products are still being added to further improve the service. Being able to easily add new product sets, often with bespoke requirements, was key to increasing Plant Parts’ coverage of specialist parts and to allow their continued success. The processes that IJYI implemented over the course of the project have meant that development processes have been streamlined and the code base has been made more stable. Automated deployments and regular releases have been introduced, improving speed of delivery and a known cadence for releases.

Why IJYI?

A key consideration when deciding on who to work with on a long-term basis was a combination of technical expertise and trust. IJYI has a highly skilled team with a wide range of technical capabilities. Recognised as Microsoft Gold Partners for DevOps and Application Development, IJYI was able to satisfy Plant Parts’ need for technical expertise.

This, combined with IJYI’s fresh approach to bespoke software development, meant that Plant Parts found a partner that could work with them to deliver tangible benefits to the business.

Using Agile methodologies IJYI worked collaboratively with Plant Parts and adopted a continuous integration process. Daily update calls, and ongoing dialogue throughout, enabled continuous progress tracking.

Collaboration is key to the success of any project and IJYI clients are always invited to work closely with the team on customer projects. Clients are encouraged to be hands-on, making changes and asking questions as the project progresses. This can be achieved in a variety of ways; one of the most successful is when clients join IJYI’s daily 15 minute scrum and planning sessions. Clients are given access to and are able to create work items, and indicate sign-off in project tracking tools – really making clients a part of the development team rather than sitting on the outside. Working this way engages customers in the journey and ensures a successful outcome.

Results
  • Increase of over 37% in unique users to public website 1 *
  • Doubled number of quotes requested
  • Doubled conversion rate of quotes
  • More users are requesting multiple quotes
Technologies
  • ASP .Net MVC. SQL Server 2014
  • SQL Server Reporting Services
  • SQL Server Integration Services
  • Entity Framework
  • NFeature
  • AngularJS