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software development

Meyer Terrace Planner — Digitizing a Traditional Trade

In a nutshell

We contributed to a significant innovation with the development of the terrace planner and completely digitized the complex planning and ordering process. The detailed online planning and calculation of material for terraces makes it incredibly simple for users to design their terraces with absolute precision. Meyer was able to secure a future-proof position in their market and set up an additional, scalable and digital business model as SaaS provider. In addition, the tool relieved the sales team by saving a significant amount of time in complex planning processes. Thanks to that, the team could more successfully support the offline business model.

Meyer Business Challenge

Digitize and simplify the elaborate planning process of terraces. Create a detailed calculation of costs and stock lists based on the plans. Develop a new algorithm for cutting out floorboards in order to minimize waste.

Project overview

Duration

2016 — ongoing

Team setup

cross-functional team of 2-4 software developers (FE, BE, CMS), 1 QA engineer 1 DevOps engineer and 1 product owner

Technologies

Coldfusion, HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Typescript, gulp, webpack MySQL, Node.js, AWS Lambda, Docker, git

Services

conception backend & frontend development algorithmic optimizations UX optimization internationalization upgrade to cloud-based SaaS white labeling

About Meyer Parkett GmbH

Since its foundation in 1890, Meyer has become one of the greatest and most popular full-range suppliers for wood and wood look floors in Austria. The company is also present in international markets such as the USA, Scandinavia, Slovenia and Croatia and is market leader in the sale of terrace floorboards in Austria.

Challenges & objectives

At the beginning of our collaboration, the trade had still been a far way off from digitization. There were no technical solutions available to automatically make calculations for designs that also take into account factors such as material-specific offcuts, aesthetics and complex layouts. Before our cooperation, the range of tools was limited to cost and stock calculators for constructions with beam elements. Those could only deliver approximate calculations for default layouts (rectangular, L form, U form). For detailed cost calculations that also worked with complex layouts, users had to contact the distributor who in turn had to manually make calculations at great effort and with no guarantee of receiving an actual order.

Together with Meyer, we developed a high-quality and intuitive online terrace planner. It is the first of its kind to facilitate fully automatic calculations of any layout within minutes. The tool calculates the ideal floorboard cuts and considers the various laying restrictions of the respective laying types.

Our solution

One of the biggest challenges was the development of the necessary algorithms that could take into consideration laying restrictions, laying types, custom layouts and offcut optimization. An example of that would be calculating if offcuts that result from cutting out floorboards can be reused in a different part of the terrace. To that end, the algorithm has to loop its calculation, simulate the different possibilities and compare them so as to achieve the most efficient use of materials.

Among the most important features was the creation of a complete stock list with products, amounts and prices as well as the respective layout of the floorboards and the necessary underconstruction. The system should thereby also give laypersons the possibility to fully design their terrace in accordance with all the technical requirements despite a lack of technical know-how. The application therefore fills an important gap in the way to digitally ordering a technically complex construction.

We researched and developed
the following features of the terrace planner from scratch

01

New algorithms for the automated calculation of the layout and the additional offcut optimization as well as the creation of said layouts
02

Innovative algorithms for the assessment of the aesthetics of a layout
03

A system that for the fully automated calculation of the entire material requirements with cost optimization in mind
04

Interfaces for an intelligent connection of different external systems for supplying calculation-relevant data (e.g. availability of articles)
05

Prediction algorithms for stock planning

End results

With the most recent feature extensions, we made several technical and functional adaptations. Chief among those was adding additional laying types and patterns that are used in other countries. In addition, the planner is not limited to the products of Meyer and can be adapted with any product portfolio. We also took into account localization, different units of measurement and an optional connection to existing ERP systems and separated the app into distinct modules in order to satisfy the various country-specific needs and budgets.

That is how the terrace planner has been turned into a marketable digital product which thanks to its modularity can cater to different international target markets and allows our client to take on a new position as provider of cloud-based SaaS software.

60K
plans in 6 years
+54%
conversion from planning
+22%
shopping cart increase
28%
less returns
+75%
time saving between planning and offer
+90%
time saving during subsequent product changes
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