Associated Grocers MIA

Our Approach

We already have a powerful and customizable inspection app we built named Spotter. Instead of building a costly standalone mobile app from the bottom up, we knew we could utilize Spotter’s existing infrastructure to reduce cost and time to complete the project. However, Associated Grocers needed very specific reports, so we created a custom web portal from which filtered data could be exported in the necessary reporting formats. The numerous fields of data multiplied by the scope of the Associated Grocers operation required precise and easily identifiable information. Spotter’s customizable reports provide the ability for dynamic mapping between manufacturers, products, establishments, and their respective IDs. Data entry would be simple, with few steps, and still compile the various essential details in exported reports. Also, knowing there are hundreds of locations, we needed to ensure that users can access the reports specific to their own store from their Spotter-enabled mobile device.

Technology/Skills Applied

  • ASP.NET MVC / C# / SQL Server
  • Mobile iOS Development using Xamarin
  • Windward AutoTag Reporting

Key Features

  • Barcode capture and data parsing within the Spotter app
  • Report generation for particular stores from the Spotter app (linking out to the web portal directly from the app)
  • Submission of solitary actions from the Spotter app
  • Aggregation of submitted actions to form a meaningful sequence of events regarding which products touched which grinders between cleanings
  • Administrative generation of Recall Reports and Grind Log Reports with appropriate filters from the web
  • Manufacturer, Product, and Establishment management for admins

The Envoc Solution

With our Spotter app as the infrastructure, we extended its functionality to support Associated Grocers’ specific report generation needs. Data entry and collection for both grinder and administrator are intuitive and help prevent user error. Each action in the existing workflow (e.g. Add Grind, Materials, Custom Grind, Clean and Sanitize Grinder) is correlated to its own Spotter Inspection entry field. As inspections are submitted, Spotter collects and combines the data to build the corresponding reports and stores it on the Associated Grocers Web Portal. Additionally, we linked data collection to the diverse abilities of any tablet camera to scan barcodes. The barcodes register complex information about each product, including product type, manufacturer, date packaged, and retailer destination, which are parsed into readable names via the established associations. Users only have to enter their initials, grinder number, and scan the barcode. This allows administrators to generate Grind Log or Recall Audit reports with any combination of parameters or filters, and update the table of valid manufacturers, products, and establishments as well as the associations between them. With our existing app, we were able to deliver a user-friendly and dynamic inspection system that assures improved meat and grinder management.

“The Envoc team engaged with our industry experts to fully understand the business problem and process.  They learned the lingo, process, and methods of the Meat Cutting industry. Only then did they set about developing a solution that worked for our retailers.  With the Spotter system, we were able to deliver an easy-to-use, intuitive system to an area of the business that was devoid of technology. Our retailers are able to accurately track the materials used in the meat grinding process and ensure that the consumer only receives the freshest, safest products available.”

David Politz, VP Information Services & CIO, Associated Grocers