GJ Stats built an end-to-end administrative system for CWE (Crowle Wharf Engineers Ltd) to handle everything from initial job enquiries, through design and manufacturing, and then to invoicing. The system is built on industry leading low-code and no-code software from Alpha Software.
Finding the Right Low-Code Software for Complex Development Projects
The hardest part of being a tech consultant or programmer isn’t necessarily finding work. As often as not, it’s finding the best tools to make it easy and fast to do whatever job you get – and do it so well that you turn one-time clients into long-term customers.
U.K.-based Glen Schild, founder of GJ Stats, turned to Alpha Transform, Alpha Anywhere and Alpha Cloud years ago and he hasn’t looked back. Armed with those tools, he’s built a thriving consultancy and created systems for his clients including databases, web applications, mobile apps, and complete end-to-end systems.
At a session at Alpha DevCon 22, Schild offered an in-depth look at how he built a complex ERP-like system for a U.K.-based company called CWE that makes parts and equipment for the rail industry and for power stations, including nuclear-powered ones. The end-to-end administrative system is designed to handle everything from initial job enquiries, through design and manufacturing, and then to invoicing. Schild custom-built it with Alpha Transform, Alpha Anywhere and Alpha Cloud. CWE uses it to build parts to help transform the U.K.s’ rail system. Much of what they manufacture is safety-critical, so there needs to be absolute traceability about the materials they use. That was a key requirement for the system.
(There’s not room in this blog post to delve into many technical details about how Schild built the system, but if you’re interested in the tech behind it, you can get an in-depth look on his Alpha DevCon 22 session here on YouTube.)
Using a Combination of No-Code and Low-Code Software to Build a Complex ERP System
Potential customers send information to CWE using the system, and that information includes detailed drawings and specifications about what they want built. Using that information, CWE determines what materials will be required for manufacturing. With the system, CWE also figures out the processes that need to be done for manufacturing, and determine the order they need to be done in.
Based on that, CWE puts together a quote. If the customer agrees, CWE builds a detailed roadmap of the parts and assemblies, and a list of step-by-step processes that need to be done. That then goes through an internal review, including creating and double-checking cost estimates.
At that point, the system automatically generates purchase orders so CWE can buy whatever materials are required. The system then tracks all the materials that come in, and ultimately creates invoices.
“Alpha Transform is at the center of the entire system,” Schild explains. Alpha Anywhere is also used, as is Alpha Cloud.
In a previous interview, Schild explained that the only way he could build systems as complicated as this is using Alpha Software low-code technologies. That has allowed him to take on larger clients than he otherwise could have.
“For example we have a client with 1,500 data fields on a single form – and they wanted me to build multiple forms and get it done in a very short amount of time. Without Alpha Software, we wouldn’t be able to do that,” he says.
Flexible, Worry-Free Cloud Deployment
Alpha Cloud also helps him in building the complex systems as well. And It brings him an additional revenue stream, typically for clients who pay for cloud-related services on a monthly, recurring basis. He says, “Some of my clients have run my applications on their own infrastructure, and I don’t have the desire or expertise to manage it for them. But with Alpha Cloud I can run them in the cloud, and don’t have to manage infrastructure, or have to manage the servers, either, because they’re running in the cloud. That way, I can manage the applications for my clients, and let Alpha Cloud take care of it for me.”
All in all, he says, Alpha “has been a game-changer for me,” including because he can use Alpha low-code platforms to build complex systems like the one he developed for CWE.
Read about Schild's innovative public service app for the UK government, built using Alpha TransForm.
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