The main business of Irsslinger is to produce, buy and sell pot-plants. Customers are flower shops home depots and supermarkets in Germany and several European countries. Due to rapid international organisational changes and to increasing external influences (VAT problems with EC customers, increased orientation towards graphical user interfaces of third party software, growing customer and supplier requirements, ascertaining the market position) new developments updates and upgrades of our warehouse system grow with such magnitudes that we are facing ever-increasing problems. The disadvantages of our current software development process confront us with tasks that are nearly impossible to handle.
The overall objective of the experiment is to introduce, test and evaluate strict development guidelines, standardisation rules and object oriented methods ("Object modelling technique", J. Rumbaugh) and tools, to restructure and improve our software engineering process. An automatic increase of the stability and reliability of the developed software is expected, as well as a general improvement of the development efficiency and speeding up of development times.
To realise the objectives above, a portion of the Irsslinger warehouse system, the purchasing module is considered for experiment.
3 out of 6 software developers (Irsslinger employs 110 people) are involved in the experiment. Following a well defined workplan, they will first be trained on the basics of object oriented technology. Further on, there will be a practical part to increase the quality of the developers. After this, the purchasing module will be re-engineered and redesigned. The redesigned model will be fed into a data dictionary. Based on this data model, the application model will be designed and implemented.
During all phases of the experiment the results will be measured with special attention on "the quality of results" and "the time needed to complete each task".
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
The order processing for the flower distribution requires a high degree of flexibility and has to be able to react quickly to the demands of the customers. Between the order and the delivery can be no more than a few hours. This requires suitable support through operative software systems 24 hours a day. An improved, more stable and more flexible computer assisted organisation will therefore have direct effect on sales and customer service. Another effect we expect is the "cultural change" in the internal software development. Better communication with the end-user, more coaching and training than coding, higher motivation and skills of all staff members.