Data Portal
A.O. Smith

ao-smith

Client

A.O. Smith

Our role

UI / UX development

Output

Data platform

It quickly showed to be a collaboration in which there was the time and interest to listen to each other’s ideas and combine everyone’s skills, knowledge and wishes.
Wouter Woortman - Product Engineer

From Excel to Online Application

A.O. Smith develops and produces boilers. And lots of them. With approximately 2000 different models, data management is of crucial importance. Together with A.O. Smith, we’ve designed and realised an online application to easily manage the product data and ensure it’s validity.

Starting point

— Context

Excel is a great tool. For many years, Microsofts software provided everything needed to manage A.O. Smith’s product data. With a growth in company size, product range and users, the Excel way-of-working was however becoming a bottleneck.

The data was “locked” in Excel. With 2.625.868 cells, speed decreased and endless scrolling increased. Changes had to be requested to – and executed by one person.
Time for a modern solution.

Lean, what else?

— Process

We’ve applied a lean process in which we iteratively worked from designs to prototypes to final result. By constantly producing someting to test and/or talk about, we were able to gradually define the exact requirements.

The final result is a Laravel-based application called “AOS DataPortal” which fits perfectly within A.O. Smith’s way of working. It’s the main touchpoint for anyone involved in productdata and will function as a hub for future systems.

Project highlights

— Highlights

Highly communicative

The application is set-up to integrate within the existing and future infrastructure. It allows for communication via API and is equipped with flexible export functionalities. Administrators can define export sets themselves.

4 eyes principle

Anyone makes mistakes. It’s better to accept than ignore this fact. That’s why any adjustment within the data has to be double checked by another user with the same privileges.

Intelligent search

So many people, so many preferences. Especially when it comes to searching. Whereas some people know exact productnumbers by heart, others like to search based on specific parameters and other just like to scroll.

To accommodate all types of searchers, the application is packed with an intelligent and customisable search. Users can save presets for themselves or, with approval, for everyone.

Search, find, compare

A major functionality that was discovered within the lean process is the ability to compare products. The search functionality is extended in order to seamlessly switch to comparison view.

Future plans

— Future

We don’t stop here. Together we’re exploring the possibilities to further utilize the potential of this central database. A tablet-app to support production, a specialized interface for support/helpdesk, automated spec sheet and catalog generation—the list of possibilities is endless.

We’re glad the list is endless. Not just because both parties enjoy the cooperation, but also because we love to support this ambitious company with the growth of the upcoming years!