AdoptAClassroom.org

Streamlining dozens of manual steps into one automated task to save time and money

Services Provided:
  • Strategic Consultation
  • Ruby on Rails Development

About

Adopt A Classroom provides flexible and accountable funding for teachers and schools through its proprietary and easy-to-use fundraising platform.

Challenge

Adopt A Classroom’s web-based application serves as a middleman between the data from several vendors and an ecommerce platform, providing a fundraising platform where schools and teachers can purchase tools they can use in the classroom.

Any new vendor partnerships or changes to an existing partner’s online offering required a new data file to be uploaded to the application. This was a 17 step process which often needed up to 48 hours to complete.

With the upload process cumbersome and technical, AAC had to rely on a specialized contractor to manage it.

With a database containing over 100,000 products, the application frequently struggled to handle large batch files, causing it to go offline from timeout issues.

Right before the bustling back-to-school season, AAC struggled to update listings because the tool kept failing. Because they couldn’t push new product files, AAC was missing out on new product vendors selling critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for schools.

"Each task required an individual command. You’d have to run a task to upload it, run a task to compare the new file to the previous file, then run a task to delete items that no longer existed, then run a task to create new items, then run a task to create new price schedules. With each task taking about ten minutes, the whole process took place over the course of a couple days."

Solution

With the back-to-school timeline on the horizon, it was important to stabilize usability and baseline functionality quickly, as well as improve the data intake process so the AAC staff wouldn’t have to spend so much time dealing with it.

AAC felt the challenge of finding a skilled partner within their budget who could work on a tight timeline and produce quality results.

JMG cleaned up the code, organized messy historical data, and rebuilt the tool with added efficiencies like error reporting functionality. Now if the application experiences a problem uploading a file, it can tell AAC where that issue is, making it easy to resolve.

"We talked with a couple different vendors, and as a non-profit, of course, budget is our top concern. But we also needed this application worked on quickly, so we were looking for someone who could leverage a resource on the quick side. What’s the saying, you know, usually you can have something done cheap, fast, or good. You can do two out of the three but not all three. So it was a challenge to find a partner that was in our price range, that was also able to do it quickly, and that we also felt had the skills. And JMG stood out as the one we felt most confident with based on our conversations with Tim and Rob."

Results

JMG took the headache of a 17-step, multi-day process and simplified it into a single step process which takes 45 minutes to complete.

With all tasks now tied together into one command, a specialized skill set for uploading vendor data files to its application was no longer needed. AAC was able to move management of the process out of the hands of a contractor and into the hands of an internal employee, saving time and, most importantly, money.

“If someone I knew was looking to have similar development work completed, I would not hesitate to refer them to JMG. The team was organized, thoughtful, and thorough in not only completing the scope of work presented but in adding additional expertise to leverage even more efficient solutions.”

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