For those manufacturing companies that are more entrenched in the sector, the productive output is often sluggish due to a bulky, extensive, and aging infrastructure that can keep them from synchronizing progress with the current pace of innovation. As these legacy organizations start to shed their cumbersome infrastructure for more agile and nimble business processes, there is an opportunity to address their challenges with low-code development platforms. These platforms enable manufacturers to use their current talent for building new applications and digitalizing different aspects of their business operations. With applications that exactly match business and production requirements built in-house, manufacturers can improve operational efficiency, manage their product lifecycles, and create digital threads and digital twins, while also enhancing the user, supplier, and customer experience. Among a multitude of low-code platforms, the one that rises to mitigate the technical challenges of today’s manufacturer with its sophisticated yet easy-to-use visual development environment is OutSystems.
The OutSystems platform enables users to develop high-performing front-ends and fit-for-purpose apps that meet order fulfillment, demand forecasting, inventory control, logistics, warehouse management, material requirements planning, and other manufacturing needs. These applications can connect legacy back-end systems to new warehouse management systems and front-end apps to offer predictive maintenance. “With OutSystems, developers can build custom-fit applications— exploiting cutting-edge technology like IIoT and robotics—that integrate with their existing business processes and systems and deliver agility and innovation,” says Forsyth Alexander, senior product marketing manager of OutSystems. “Many manufacturers are already using OutSystems to deliver mobile apps and dashboards for product planning, manufacturing, distribution, and sales. Further, these applications support barcodes and RFID scanners, and deliver continuous field operations with offline access.”
OutSystems also employs quality checks to help both professional and rookie application developers uphold the standard and effectiveness of their business apps. When it is time to deploy these applications, OutSystems checks dependencies for issues. If there is a problem in the application, OutSystems alerts developers and halts the deployment of the app until the issues are addressed.
Further highlighting the capabilities of OutSystems, Alexander adds, “On an enterprise scale, OutSystems platform allows its users to deliver front-end applications and systems that manage inventory and supply chain processes throughout their global factory sites. These solutions built with OutSystems control their machine configurations, production lines, and quality control.” To this extent, developers can start with a small application development project on the OutSystems platform and then deploy it across the organization using the integration capabilities built into the platform.
With OutSystems, developers can build custom-fit applications— exploiting cutting-edge technology like IIoT and robotics—that integrate with their existing business processes and systems and deliver agility and innovation
If the app needs to be updated or modified, developers can make the changes in the apps and deploy it again.
Recently, a global provider of computer, gaming, and mobile accessories approached OutSystems because they needed to replace their in-house Lotus Notes-based apps. When the client first contacted OutSystems, these apps were outdated compared to the apps their employees used in personal lives. The client tasked a team of four in-house developers to use OutSystems and build new solutions that consolidated the functionalities of Lotus Notes apps into much smaller but more powerful apps. The pilot project immediately made its mark. After this success, the team has now developed a Product Launch Application Center. This application brings all of its product development data—which had historically spanned numerous systems and spreadsheets—into one consistent and consolidated view. The Product Launch Application Center is presently the company’s most prominent app and plays an integral role in getting new products to market. With the application center, executives and product stakeholders have gained a centralized, single view of the activity and status of products that the company has in its development stage.
Basking in the glory of many such success stories, OutSystems has announced new capabilities that, according to Alexander, “will soon be available in early access programs and will expand the OutSystems footprint.” To that end, OutSystems has developed an Experience Builder capability in its low-code platform that offers pre-built application templates as well as full-baked screens for logins, onboarding, and password recovery to eliminate complexities of creating superior user experiences. The company has also announced a tech alliance with Nexmo, the Vonage API platform, which makes it easy to integrate voice, text, camera, authentication, and verification with field and other apps. “The time is ripe for manufacturers to modernize legacy systems and build innovative apps. With these new features, OutSystems is poised to help those businesses achieve business excellence,” Alexander concludes.