Bespoke Digital System & Mobile App with Spark

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Design Tribe
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An online system integrating features for internal departments, connected to a mobile app for use by engineers on the road.

The Challenge

The Journey

We quickly established that G&R had a broad list of requirements but no clear route to get there. Their existing processes were split across spreadsheets and paper-based methods. We offered advice and guidance, and created a clear brief to design and develop a web-based solution to efficiently manage and administer stock both centrally and remotely.

A Solution for Everyone

The final system was to be used in different ways by the whole Smart Meter Division – from admin staff to the warehouse team and senior management. The biggest challenge was to enable engineers – working in the field across the UK – to quickly and easily assign their stock to jobs, exchange spares with colleagues, and return faulty hardware to HQ.

The Technical Challenge

The use of smart devices for engineers seemed obvious – but their working locations could sometimes be out of mobile signal with no WiFi.  A key question was how to enable functionality in remote locations.

Couple with this the fact that engineers used their own variety of makes and ages of smartphone. A native application for iOS and Android didn’t seem feasible because of the budget. The options were narrowing. Could we make a browser-based solution that would work, regardless of access to a mobile signal?

The Solution

A Smart Solution

We explored various options relating to web and mobile technology considering factors such as data input methods, data storage, cloud systems, and mobile platforms to find a feasible solution that would achieve everything outlined in the brief in a cost effective manner on a tight budget.

Leveraging the versatility of WordPress CMS, we thoughtfully designed a digital solution that would work across browsers, facilitating use for all users regardless of their location or device.

Truly Mobile

Our development team skillfully developed a progressive Web app capable of running with or without mobile data or WiFi connection that runs on Android and Apple iOS devices. This would give G&R’s engineers the freedom they required.

Simplifying Complex Scenarios

As the project progressed, we found that there were a range of scenarios that could happen depending on the route the stock took between the various parts of the business and teams. We mapped these variables and routes to ensure that the app and system always knew where items were geographically. We also ensured that the user experience was as intuitive as possible to minimize button clicks and transitions between screens.

Quick Data Input

As all stock carry barcodes, we utilized a mobile phone camera as a barcode scanner. Using a phone in this way allowed us to cross-reference an engineer’s assigned stock. For engineers, such phone use would allow them to allocate stock to a job, transfer it to a colleague, or carry out a range of other status updates, as well as reduce the likelihood of human error while items were in their care, and speed up their workflow. The warehouse team also used the scanner for packing and dispatch.

Dashboard Overview

We designed a simple and user-friendly reporting dashboard for the office administration team to monitor and manage jobs, stock and engineer activity and to use the data to generate on-screen overviews and KPI reports for management and their customers.

The Result

An integrated digital stock control system that has improved efficiency and reduced administration time and cost returning twice the amount of initial investment within the first year.

We loved collaborating with G&R on this project, helping them to evolve their business with new digital ways of working, and seeing the tangible benefits of the system. We continue to work with them across various aspects of their digital systems and marketing.