Kingfisher kicked off a new project to improve the inventory management system used at B&Q stores with a newer version. One that would bring better support to the in-store staff and therefore provide a better service to B&Q’s customers. And, building on that goal, Kingfisher planned that, in time, this project would be adopted by different brands and in different markets, aiming to consolidate their inventory management system in just one application.
Working closely with the Kingfisher team we helped them to improve the inventory management system in-stores with one able to communicate over WiFi from mobile handsets to a centralised service based in a UK data centre, rather than to stock inventories based on local servers at each store. By building scalable and resilient services we provided the right functionalities for the new inventory management app, plus the agility and adaptability needed for Kingfisher businesses to quickly implement new services while improving any needed to match the wider mission’s necessities of different brands and markets.
Originally the entire business logic was left on the centralised service, but this was proving problematic for any larger roll out, so we experimented with moving certain parts of the business logic to the Node.js API rather than managing it through SAP. The key was to balance how much of the logic needed to be in the Node.js layer; through iterative testing we were able to refine this to a successful overall performance level. As very few scanner based transactional data systems run using a centralised remote data centre and because of the bespoke nature of the Kingfisher systems, our solution was considered an advance in the technology of computer software.
In August 2018, the Store Colleague App is used by B&Q UK, Castorama France, Castorama Poland, Brico Dépôt France and around 740 stores. In the next iteration of the Store Colleague App (SCA), it will be renamed ‘Digital Colleagues’, and will merge all the different apps used in-store, becoming responsible for all the in-store operations.