Over the last two decades, CID has built a continuously evolving enterprise platform for global work and utility wear company Engelbert Strauss. We’ve also collaborated closely with them, applying our hybrid approach and SMART FACTORY! Principles to achieve efficient and successful project results.
It started with a simple e-commerce solution when the company decided it was time to try selling its iconic work and utility wear (which it had been selling via catalog for 50 years) online.
This was 1999. The internet wasn’t what it is today – and, unsure of how big an appetite their core audience would have for online shopping, they wanted to start small. So, we built them a basic e-commerce solution.
It didn’t stay bare for long. Online sales soon began skyrocketing – and we began automating and adding new features to the solution. Over the next two decades, what started as a nuts and bolts e-commerce solution became an enterprise platform touching every part of Engelbert Strauss’ business.
Building a bespoke Enterprise Resource Planning system
The metamorphosis of our solution (and relationship) was kicked up a notch when – five years after we started working with them – Engelbert Strauss asked us to build a bespoke Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system tailor-fitted to their established business processes.
Engelbert Strauss knew that, in the short term, going bespoke would be costlier than adapting their processes to a pre-built ERP. But they also believed they would be best served in the long term by preserving the methods that had made them successful and having a highly flexible infrastructure.
To build the system Engelbert Strauss wanted, we worked closely with the developers of their previous ERP, a more traditional mainframe. We learned about the system we were replacing: what already worked and what the business couldn’t achieve without us making changes.
We gained deep insights into the wider business and processes beyond e-commerce by delivering the ERP. We’ve drawn on and compounded that understanding to provide solutions that mesh with Engelbert Strauss’ business objectives and ways of working.
An ever-evolving platform for an ever-growing business
As we successfully established a new enterprise platform, we introduced a product-thinking approach to software development. In close collaboration with Engelbert Strauss’ business departments, we continuously identify potential for change and optimization, which we prioritize and execute. This way, the modern enterprise platform has developed constantly for over two decades, providing capabilities to every part of Engelbert Strauss’s business (including its end customers).
The platform, rooted in e-commerce, now covers everything from sales and invoicing to call center integration, product management and omni-channel support. And, like the business itself, it’s ever-expanding.
Engelbert Strauss is a fast-moving, ambitious company. It’s constantly selling into new territories and markets (increasingly, non-professionals wear Engelbert Strauss to work, relax, and socialize).
The enterprise platform has to evolve to keep up with this growth. Each new territory, for example, brings its own set of regulations to build into the platform. On top of this, there are always new features (e.g., payment modules and device classes) to add.
The ultra-granular architecture beneath Engelbert Strauss’ software services allows it to update discrete areas of the business in an agile manner without touching other parts of the system. This increases flexibility and operational stability and significantly reduces the time it takes to roll out changes. Engelbert Strauss can continuously evolve its services to fit business and market development needs with minimal disruption to business functionality.
As a result, Engelbert Strauss has rapidly expanded its operations, locations, and offerings, fully confident that its internal systems can support and scale with its ambitions.
The dividends of deep collaboration
Deep collaboration is standard practice at CID. It works. And in the 20+ years we’ve worked with Engelbert Strauss, we’ve become more and more closely aligned. Our partnership has led us to work as a hybrid team effectively.
The platform and partnership we’ve built with Engelbert Strauss show how productive deep collaboration can be when solving the most complex software problems.
- shortened time-to-market for new ERP and e-commerce capabilities to enable business growth rooted in an agile operating model and decoupled software product and services architecture
- increased stability and flexibility – continuous evolution of software services and products to fit business and market development needs with minimal disruption to business functionality thanks to the microservices architecture
- The SMART FACTORY! Principles – Strauss owns and understands their proprietary platform while benefitting from CID’s technology expertise and software engineering talent.