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European waste company turns to ‘low-code’ applications for competitive advantage

July 27, 2021
Mendix’s suite of graphical user interface solutions deliver data-driven insights that help ensure safe, efficient waste transport

Indaver, a European company that treats hazardous industrial waste, is using the Mendix software development platform to create a suite of low-code applications intended to maximize the efficient management, transportation, recycling, and disposal of multiple waste streams across international borders.

According to Mendix, a Siemens business, Indaver’s new apps include a native mobile app for waste collection, a digital solution that uses QR code scanning to fully track and trace the waste management supply chain, and other Mendix-built apps that enable graphical planning of waste treatment and document flows to ensure hazardous waste is handled in accordance with government regulations in European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Globally, governments are increasingly adopting regulations to promote efficient waste management systems embedded in the circular economy to extract new energy sources from waste and maximize the recovery of reusable materials. Researchers, citing this trend, predict the international waste management industry to become a $2.3 trillion market within the next five years, Mendix said. Indaver, by adopting low-code technology to leverage its data to streamline field operations and business processes, is positioned to be an enabler of the circular economy. 

Indaver handles industrial and municipal waste for customers all over Europe, varying from closed loops for recycling waste, to incinerators with energy recovery for waste that cannot be reused. The company has an annual revenue of 540 million euros and facilitates more than 200,000 waste movements per year. Due to strict regulations in the waste market, Indaver turned to Mendix to improve digital business processes.

To start working with the platform, Mendix-partner Mendify created a competence center at Indaver. Meanwhile, it also configured the SAP backend integration. In order to make sure the apps that were going to be created are the right solution to the problem, stakeholders from both IT and business at Indaver were assembled in one team. Mendify coaches and supports this team, which uses App Factory guidelines to build applications at scale.

Native mobile registration

The new track and trace app allows Indaver to transparently map the entire route of waste recipients to its own facilities, Mendix said. The legal and security aspect of waste transport is important, and the solution provides clear insight into this process. Now, the waste data is captured in real-time on a mobile device—even in an “off-the-grid” situation where goods are collected. With its “offline-first” native mobile capability, the Mendix platform supports this kind of field registration. Previously, as the waste moved through different countries, the contents had to be re-registered, re-weighed, labeled, and certified at every storage location. The Mendix solution now stores and synchronizes all data in the backend system, which is easily viewed with dashboard reporting.

“Indaver operates in a strongly regulated business, and compliance and customer engagement is key,” said Annick van Driessen, international director supply chain operations. “We have to make sure waste is treated efficiently and handled according to legal regulations. Clients are required to maintain their ‘producer responsibility’ until hazardous goods have been destroyed. Although the Mendix platform was new to us, Mendify trained our staff and enabled us to quickly learn how to use the low-code platform. Because these new applications are critical to Indaver’s competitive standing, we were pleased it only took three months to build them.”

Safeguarding data

Besides the track-and-trace app, Indaver and Mendify built the Waste Property Passport. Waste is typically composed of many complex characteristics. These data are stored in multiple systems, including SAP. The Mendix backend integrates all data. This is particularly important for the handling of hazardous waste streams.

Customers can do the final check themselves in the app. “Until recently, waste characteristics were checked by the customer and Indaver by means of e-mail, phone and face-to-face visits,” said Gregory Cloquet, international sales and marketing systems manager at Indaver. “By using the Waste Property Passport, the error margin of interpretation has decreased.”

The app is an efficient communication tool, but also has value in terms of securing data and consistency, Mendix said. According to Cloquet: “In the past, information from email could differ from the data in the ERP system. Now the app provides one version of the truth, which also further decreases our risk exposure. We can be more confident that the hazardous waste which arrives at our facilities is in line with what we expect. This also means that the risk for all people involved with handling the waste is reduced. Safeguarding this data is essential so we can take good care of people and of the environment.”

Managing expectations

Indaver also created a mobile solution to support field operators handling and treating sludge (containing all kinds of waste). The app connects with the company’s core SAP HR and accounting systems, allowing operators to oversee work hours and prepare invoices, Mendix said.

Finally, a fourth app connects the SAP ERP system with the capacity planning tool “Arkieva.” In addition to the functionalities provided by this system, Indaver enhanced the complete planning process bolmy developing an intuitive app to plan for the short and medium term. The Mendix app correlates Indavers’ treatment capacity and the supply of waste. The app can respond to a suddenly increased supply caused by waste-creating calamities such as floods, fires, or chemical spills.

“Mendix provides a graphical drag-and-drop solution, which makes it very easy to use,” said Stephan de Bruijn, business support manager at Indaver. “Using this application helps us streamline the planning in the supply chain and has increased customer satisfaction, as they no longer need to be put on a waiting list but get a clear view of when they can dispose of their waste. This way, the solution also helps us manage expectations.”

Added Mariken Reijs, customer success manager at Mendix: “Indaver shows that low-code enables you to automate business processes drastically and truly transform an industry. Coworkers and customers can dispose of waste more efficiently, reducing the number of errors and at the same time adhering to compliance and security regulations.

“With the Mendix low-code platform and its focus on innovation, Indaver is not only bringing greater efficiency and profitability to its operations and its customers, it is setting new standards for the waste industry as a whole.”

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