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Case Study

Furniture Manufacturer Implements Cost Effective Site & Plant Visits via Custom App

Overview

A furniture manufacturing company came to C/D/H with an issue: they were spending too much money on travel costs for their staff when vetting out potential supplier locations. Their team was flying all over the country just to take a look at properties, and they wanted to leverage technology to learn as much as they could about these properties without leaving the office. Through consistent communication and iterating, the App Development and User Experience (UX) teams at C/D/H delivered an end product to this client that has streamlined their business processes significantly. 

The Solution 

The final deliverable was an app that allowed sharing through the App Store, so potential suppliers could download the app, and login with a specific username and password. After they were verified, they were able to take photos of their property and fill out a questionnaire to send back to corporate for approval – all within the app’s framework. This solution alleviated the need for a large portion of their travel, while allowing the client to get all the information they needed from potential vendors in one simple platform.  

This was a beneficial solution for the furniture manufacturing company for a few reasons. The mobile-friendly nature of an app allowed these vendors to use it from anywhere – even Europe, in some cases. It also gave the user the ability to use their phone’s camera easily and efficiently – a feature the client was lacking when they came to C/D/H. 

 It helped them so much, in fact, this client worked with C/D/H to develop another app with a similar framework for their Quality Assurance team to log and address any product issues. For that project, stakeholders determined early on that they needed something mobile for their team members to use onsite, to remove any communication gaps. C/D/H even built facial recognition software into the app to meet the standards of some countries this client consistently works with. 

Communication is Key

In order to create a tailored solution that truly fit the clients’ needs in both situations, the App Development and UX teams had to work together seamlessly. One of the ways they did that was through theprototyping process. The UX team worked closely with the App Development team to make a prototype they could run by end users and stakeholders and get active feedback on.  

 “This process was beneficial for stakeholders. They could experience the application without waiting for implementation,” Karina Myers, a C/D/H UX consultant, explained. “The client is involved and talking to us at every step. By the end the development team has a great idea of what’s needed, and the client already had a preview of what the end product would be like.” 

 Myers also stressed how important it was to have fluid communication between the UX and development teams during this project. “We were constantly starting brainstorming sessions where everyone had great ideas that took things a step further,” Myers said.  

 “It went really smoothly,” said Clay Osborn, a C/D/H software development consultant. “It allowed us to give the client what they were looking for in a seamless process.” 

 The App Store approval by Apple was practically instantaneous, with little feedback or revisions needed. Now this client is actively using the app with their employees. The next phase of this project will include video and audio capabilities, so suppliers can walk through a property and provide notes that way. C/D/H will also be keeping track of all client feedback on the apps, so they can fix any issues in the next phase of work.  

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What We Learned

Both Osborn and Myers had takeaways from this project that they’ll take with them to all projects to come. For Osborn it was all in the process he and Myers used to deliver the end solution. 

 “It’s important to get everything very well designed up front, with user experience and ease of use as the cornerstone of any decisions for features added,” Osborn said.  “Storyboarding the app and prototyping what it would look like and how it would function made the following development phase straight forward and fun.” 

 Myers also learned a lot about the varying expectations for different platforms. 

 “”The UX you get in a web app can be very different from what you get in a mobile device,” Myers said. “Really think about keeping it simple and easy to use. The expectation for a mobile app is fast and easy use, so that what you should deliver. And it’s obvious if you’ve missed it. 

 

  

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