Technology offers businesses of all shapes and sizes an opportunity to create operational efficiency. Tasks that were previously manual can now be automated, through a custom web app, saving not only valuable employee time, but providing them with a better employee experience. Employees who see investments in process technology are more likely to stay and work harder. With this in mind, why do so many businesses wait to automate manual processes? 

Problem

Pioneer Building Services is a building cleaning company that distinguishes itself for its high quality and excellent customer service. Their regular on-site quality inspections are a critical touch point with their clients and the tenants in the buildings they maintain. Each inspection is a careful walk through of the site which results in a detailed report that is delivered to the client. This process was effective for increasing quality, but expensive because quality inspectors had to manually create PDF reports after each inspection. This meant fewer quality visits and higher cost per visit. 

Solution – Custom Web App

Mosaic Software was able to provide an efficient and powerful solution that enables Pioneer Building Services to exponentially scale their quality inspections. This was accomplished by creating a custom web app. 

One of the main design challenges of the app was to not only make sure it performed well on mobile devices, but also to ensure that even when an inspector is in a building and loses the internet, they can still complete their inspection. We decided to use Vue JS for the front end so that we could take advantage of their centralized store (VueX) for better state management of the inspection data. This allowed us to cache data on the device in the event that the connection to the internet was lost. On the backend we used the Laravel framework in conjunction with webpack to compile the vue components. To keep the JS files small we used webpack’s dynamic import feature which compiles each Vue component into its own JS file which is downloaded to the browser only when it is needed. This meant better performance on mobile devices with slower internet speeds.

The app was deployed to AWS EC2. We set up two environments, Sandbox and Production. Pushing changes to sandbox allows Pioneer a chance to preview and approve changes before they go to Production. To manage the different environments we set up CI/CD pipelines using GitLab. This allows us to deploy any branch of code to sandbox. Once approved we can integrate it into our master branch. Deployments to production happen when the master branch is tagged with a build number. Having a scripted deployment guarantees that code is deployed the same way every time, increasing system uptime and stability during deployments. 

By developing and deploying this simple web app, quality engineers can now complete inspection reports on the fly. A PDF report is created by clicking a single button, saving the quality team hundreds of hours a month.

Future

Because of the success of the application, Pioneer Building Solutions has decided to continue to invest in the platform. Mosaic Software is in the process of enhancing the web app to seamlessly integrate the quality and operations team. When the quality team identifies an area of improvement, operational tasks will be automatically created. Once operations tasks are complete, feedback will automatically be delivered back to both the quality team and the customer, distinguishing Pioneer as a leader in customer experience. Not only does this web app pay for itself with operational efficiency, but the Pioneer sales team has been capturing new revenue, demoing the capability to prospective new customers. 

Technologies Used

  • PHP 7.2 + Laravel
  • VueJS
  • Webpack
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • AWS EC2 
  • AWS S3 for file storage
  • Gitlab DevOps for CI/CD