Case Study | App Development for Workforce Management

Mobile Application Development to Manage Day-to-Day Aspects of a Mobile Workforce

Published: 8 May 2023

Our client, a well-established Channel Development enterprise supports clients in more than 23 Countries for over 16 Years. They help clients establish Sales & Distribution Channels in developing and informal economies via their operational organisation and outsourcing strategies. Such economies pose challenges to brands, where wholly owned, locally registered businesses represent 80% of the footprint, and Pan-African Brands find it extremely difficult to enter the market.

The Business Challenge

The client tasked Tangent Solutions to build a Mobile Application to manage the day-to-day aspects of their own client’s mobile workforce. The app aimed to improve how the company assists clients in carrying out the execution of trade by using marketing intelligence techniques which depend on capturing clean data and maintaining a close relationship with smaller retail outlets.

Specifically, our client required the functionality from an Android App providing a client-branded interface in order to:

  • Manage and supply outlet inspection schedules for brand representatives.
  • Manage ad hoc rescheduling flows.
  • Provide questionnaires to the brand reps to enforce data-collection quality.
  • Support the collection of data (such as uploads of images and stock counts) by the brand reps.
  • Enforce location analyses to ensure the brand reps’ data remains accurate (i.e., the data sent comes from the specific, intended outlet).
  • Customise reports for a high-level overview of data collected by brand reps.
  • Integrate with B.I Platforms to serve real-time marketing intelligence to operational stakeholders.

Tangent’s Mobile Application Solution

Tangent developed an Android application using Cross-Platform Xamarin. Development life cycles were supported with full regression testing, and SonarCloud was implemented to guarantee code quality. The product is also fully documented to support client training. As Tangent is a mature service provider, purposeful futureproofing was incorporated into the build.

For example, the use of Cross-Platform Xamarin means that supporting the app in iOS is also an option. Tangent controlled for real-world issues such as network connectivity loss or a temporary loss of available data on the part of the brand rep. When a brand rep is online, submissions are processed asynchronously.

Offline capability is supported using a local SQLite database to upload the submissions on reconnection. Push notifications used to manage the brand reps were implemented using Microsoft Firebase. The data collected is collated into live reports for use by brand managers. The data supporting the reporting and analytics are logged via Azure’s App Center, and access to them is controlled via user management and client accounts, administered via a web console. The app itself is distributed using Microsoft Azure DevOps.

The Outcome

Our client can now empower its own clients with an intuitive Android app to manage brand reps and stock, enforce agreements with retail outlets, and collate marketing data via one unified system. The clients are now better able to manage direct relationships with retail outlets. By ensuring that brand managers have a simplified mechanism to communicate with brand reps, they can now collect all data required for the entire value chain.

Brand managers can now quickly and easily:

  • Add new outlets.
  • Capture information about an outlet.
  • Manage orders (including delivery and remittance).
  • Run promotions.
  • Automate remedial tasks and triggered actions from intelligence gathered in field.
  • Allow crowd-sourced brand reps to pick up jobs as required.
  • Enforce the quality of data collection and submission.
  • Enforce the location of products as per the outlet’s planogram agreement.
  • Navigate the reps to each of their locations scheduled for that specific day.
  • Access reports providing data on stock, outlets, and the brand reps’ activity. Tangent supports clients as their business environment evolves, ensuring top quality and cutting-edge technology with the most recent libraries and best practices.

The app interface allows the client’s brand reps to sell products as well as receive and process cash payments. This, combined with the geolocation data collected by the app, offers huge potential for clients to manage ad hoc sales promotions using temporary staff – all through a single download.

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