Lineas is Europe’s largest private rail freight operator, providing top-quality products and complete logistics solutions. Customers improve their supply chain and can reduce their impact on climate, mobility and air pollution. In other words, Lineas is driving a mindset and transportation shift: from road to rail. Their new planning tool greatly improves the efficiency of administrative and operational processes, allowing both the company itself and customers alike to keep reaping the rewards for many years to come.
”Outsystems and Providit enable more flexible working, ensure our customers always know where their goods are and whether any maintenance is taking place, and save us a lot of time and money on administration.Tom ThijsHead of Software Solutions, Lineas
Good planning and a clear overview
Good planning and a clear overview at all times are essential when you are responsible for handling the freight transport for 200 locomotives and 7000 wagons. Frederic Van Geyt, Technical Manager at Lineas: ‘Our wagon maintenance activities were growing rapidly, but the planning wasn’t yet up to scratch. We were using Excel spreadsheets, and often had to combine that data with information from Microsoft Access and then re-enter it into other systems… which doesn’t allow for perfect processing and monitoring.’
”It was difficult to keep a good overview. We realised we couldn’t give perfect estimates when customers asked how long something would take. It wasn’t always clear how many ongoing maintenance processes there were, or which exact stage they were at. We didn’t even know at any given moment precisely how many wagons we had available.Frederic Van GeytTechnical Manager, Lineas
Two years ago, the company was still working with a small team of engineers responsible for maintaining our own wagons. But approximately 40% of our orders come from external customers now, and the engineering team has tripled in size with work being done throughout Belgium. This impressive growth requires a clear view of how all our ongoing projects are progressing.
Efficient planning with Outsystems
To have a clearer status overview and be able to plan efficiently, we needed good software. But it wasn’t easy to find the right package in which application integration and agile work were central. Tom Thijs, Head of Software Solutions at Lineas: ‘We compared a number of standard packages, but they weren’t easy to integrate with our existing tools. Fortunately, however, the solution offered by Outsystems and Providit, part of the Cronos Group, did allow good system integration. So it’s much easier for us to personalise and quickly produce efficient solutions now.’
Our maintenance engineers can also plan much better, for example because they can see all the technical specifications and locations of the wagons on the app.
”The app allows dynamic planning, so no time is wasted searching for wagons and you know their status at all times.Stefan ParijsICT Project Manager
An example of the team’s improved responsiveness was the delivery of predictive order suggestions into its distributor’s portal. “We delivered this new capability in just a few days,” says Wesly. “This involved integrating CRM and ERP data to build a unique solution. The distributor’s portal now offers predective order suggestions for thousands of bars accross Belgium, improving customer experience and driving more sales for Duvel Moortgat.
The new app means the Lineas teams can plan and work flexibly. Every step of the project is accurately monitored, and it’s very easy to switch back or speed up a bit in case of any changes.
We also have a clear overview of all maintenance statuses and specifications, which is convenient for the teams and also provides peace of mind for customers. They know at any given moment how long the transport will take and what the cost will be.
Thanks to Outsystems and Providit, Lineas doesn’t have to worry about any integration difficulties. All information is automatically transferred to the correct programs, so there is no need for any manual data entry.
Another significant outcome from switching to good planning software is the amount of time it saves on administration – an impressive three hours.
A new app to plan and work flexibly
Tom (Head of Software Solutions): ‘Our initial contact with Outsystems and Providit has been very enjoyable and helped us tremendously. That’s why we are now planning to further implement this tool in a large number of other existing applications as well as in our new developments.