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The journey of Sara Harper: Modernizing the UrbanBox Shopfloor Process

Ronald Haantjes

Ronald Haantjes - Commercial Director Americas

Join us again in the journey of UrbanBox Living CIO Sara Harper as she achieves the next step in the UrbanBox enterprise application modernization journey, in line with Gartner’s Pace layered model. This episode focuses on her efforts to replace shopfloor customizations, demonstrating her ability to combine strategy with innovation.


As a mid-sized company with a modest IT department, UrbanBox’s former CIO strongly emphasized that one ERP system should handle all business functions instead of composable application strategies. However, it quickly became evident that the legacy ERP system needed tailor-made enhancements to streamline the Kanban operations for restocking bulk shopfloor essentials like brackets and fasteners and to keep track of the location of serialized subassembly parts. In addition, specialized customization was crafted to intelligently devise optimal milk run routes across various warehouses and shopfloor locales. Sara is now facing the challenge of lifting these customizations from the ‘Systems of Record’ layer into the ‘Systems of Innovation’ layer.


Given Sara’s prior experiences with Vanenburg’s Rappit Developer solution for accelerated development of license-free software, she decides to investigate if Rappit Developer can support the more complex needs of the required replacement functionality. She again turns to her project manager, Matt, and business analyst, Priyanka, to capture the requirements for a custom-developed solution on top of the vanilla ERP system.


Matt and Priyanka waste no time. They complete interviews with stakeholders to capture requirements in Rappit Developer in a few days. Priyanka registers a detailed data model in Rappit Developer, followed by workflows and the required legacy ERP system APIs. She uses this information to generate an initial instance of the solution for subsequent testing of the layout and look & feel of application screens.

Call to Action

After verifying the generated application screens with key users, project manager Matt enlists the help of Rob, UrbanBox’s in-house developer, to add the algorithm code for optimized route generation, implement several custom user interface enhancements, and complete the integrations with the vanilla ERP system.


With Rappit Developer’s integrated CI/CD process, Rob can quickly update the application with his code additions for iterative testing and final acceptance by key users. After data migration, UrbanBox benefits from vastly improved shopfloor functionality with optimized routing advice, reducing manufacturing lead time by 10%. In addition, by making the application accessible as a Progressive Web Application on mobile tablets, UrbanBox daily work order preparations no longer require personnel to distribute printed work orders, as each operator has immediate and continuous access to relevant and up-to-date information.


In line with Gartner’s Pace Layered Approach, Sara and her team eliminated the need for the existing shopfloor customization from the Systems of Record layer. In addition, this approach allowed Sara to free up another 25 end-user licenses for the core ERP system for reassignment to future employees, representing about $75,000 in savings.

By treating the overall solution stack as a Composable Architecture, UrbanBox successfully added the shopfloor functionality as a new, integrated component in the Systems of Innovation layer, eliminating yet another customization.

Stay tuned for future updates following Sara’s successful transition to Gartner’s Pace Layered model, opening up many new opportunities to streamline and expand UrbanBox’s business.

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