COVID changed things…
At the beginning of the pandemic, in the Spring of 2020, I received an email from a prospective customer, a specialty egg distribution company. The email mentioned the following:
We have a business of selling specialty eggs. During this Covid crisis we have a need to get real time updates when the truck drivers pick up eggs from our farms. We have an access database to enter the records, then run reports, but the issue we have is, the truck driver has to turn in a sheet of paper with the inventory, which delays the information getting into the system quite a bit.
What they were looking for
The egg company’s truck drivers were no longer allowed to fill out paper forms, so they were looking for a digital solution to replace the paper forms, in short order/very fast implementation. Their form was simple, nothing complicated. They also wanted an easy integration of the data in near real-time into their own internal systems, for further data processing. Finally, they had reference lists that neeed to be available as picklists within the mobile app, with ability to update these programmatically.
- A mobile app that’s easy enough for truck drivers to use efficiently, with ability to complete a form within a few seconds per delivery.
- Reporting dashboard illustrating basic stats.
- Two-way APIs that can be used to update reference lists used in the mobile app, and extraction of submitted form data as JSON objects, for further processing within their own internal software
What it looks like
Here’s a gif illustrating what the mobile app looks like in action for them.
And here’s what the reporting dashboard looks like.
What mattered most to them
Funny thing is that they never even use the reporting dashboard. They just wanted something that was easy enough for their truck drivers to use that they would actually use it, that it worked in both online and offline mode, that the data collected would be inserted into their own internal tools, the system would be reliable, and the price fair. They didn’t care about PDFs, or anything other whiz-bang feature.
This company still uses XForms today, 3 years after the COVID pandemic ended. For them, it just works exactly as they want it to work. No fuss, no hassle, affordable, and most importantly, it’s simple enough for their truck drivers to adopt easily.
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