Header Koninklijke Oosterberg

The assignment

Royal Oosterberg is a top 3 wholesaler in the Netherlands of electrical materials. They have 20 branches with up to 7000 customers and employ 350 people. In recent years they have grown into a national player in the market and crowned Royal Oosterberg. Besides selling electrotechnical items, they offer added value with an extensive package of services and customized solutions.

The wholesaler operates in a different way than a logistics service provider, but with the same functions and resources. Edwin Clijsen, commercial logistics consultant at Oosterberg explains, "We thought we would also use our distribution network to do logistics for third parties." Third parties are companies that maximize the added values of Oosterberg. "Our logistics model consists of fulfillment (picking orders), products of large materials and we have branches and pick-up points. So we recruit customers who need small goods and large goods and they use our pickup base."

"WE HAD UNDERESTIMATED THE NEED FOR API'S"

Edwin continues: "The customer groups we are now looking for are not necessarily the customers of our end station. In fact, we wanted to start doing fulfilment for B2C customers as well. Small items that you buy on Bol.com or on a webshop, that's what we focused on. Gradually we discovered that these types of customers had very different IT protocols. Within our industry we work with SOAP protocols. This is an IP protocol that is used to link ERP systems. Consumer webshops use a lighter technique, a REST API. We had underestimated the need for APIs. Because we didn't have the knowledge to build a REST API ourselves we went looking for a party that could."

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The diagram reflects the function of the API link or middleware

Perfect communication and trust

Edwin says "I started googling for parties who could build plugins for web shops with REST API protocols. We also talked to another party, but they dropped out. Because we had organized a workshop for both parties and Notive was the best, we chose for Notive. The way Notive communicated and the trust we received from Notive were the deciding factors."

Edwin also found the cooperation a big plus. "The cooperation and communication is fantastic. Beyond our expectations. What I really like is that Kevin communicates with my IT colleague in a certain language that I don't understand. That goes super well, but then when I ask my colleague what the problem is I don't understand it. When I ask Kevin, he translates it into human language and I understand it immediately. That is very important when you talk to a customer. It's also nice that he can help quickly if there are any errors."

In every project we work with sprints so we can work in phases. Edwin was pleased with that too. "I think the explanation of extra costs is super good. Extra costs are always a problem, of course, because I also have to explain the costs internally. But the moment you come up with good arguments I just have to show them and then it's agreed immediately. You did that very well. You just make extra costs and the customer is happy! I'd rather agree to 10% with a good story than 5% with a bad story."

The Result

We have made a middleware connection to the Oosterberg Chain Standard Message Service (SOAP). We have also linked the middleware with Lightspeed and Woocommerce and in a later stage Shopify and Bol.com will follow. Thus, orders are forwarded to Oosterberg if their codes match the system. Also, the track and trace code is retrieved through Oosterberg. Through the link, all platforms are synchronized with Oosterberg which saves time.

Future development will continue as well. "We now have 4 major platforms: Woocommerce, Shopify, Lightspeed and Bol.com. If we want to develop further then we might want to make even more plugins for platforms. We have now created a plugin on the outbound side, but would like to do this for the inbound side as well. There are other aspects where transactions run that you also want to automate. There is a need for that in the future."

Edwin Oosterberg

Edwin Clijsen

"Technology is translated into human language so I understand it immediately! This is very important when talking to a customer."

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