Custom Inventory Software Development
Chinook Scaffold has been Western Canada’s top provider in scaffold for over 25 years. With 14 locations across western Canada, they deal with millions of dollars of inventory on a daily basis. However, they found time and time again that inventory would go missing, resulting in millions of dollars in replacement costs. How did codepxl help?
Our first task was discovery: How is inventory currently checked out and returned to the depots, how do foremen manage inventory on site? In order to solve their inventory management issues, we had to first fully understand the current workflow, identify inefficiencies and issues and come up with a useable solution. Bearing in mind that foremen work in sometimes harsh conditions, with little to no internet access, our application had to be able to consume large amounts of data seamlessly, store it locally until the application had internet access again, while maintaining a simple to use interface.
Based on our understanding of their workflow, we architected a mobile application for tablets, which is connected and controlled by a browser based application for each branch office. The web based system was developed in the laravel framework in php, allowing for fast, secure transactions between the 2 systems. Office administrators have complete control, allowing them to add/create new inventory items as needed, approve/deny requests, add new contracts and generate reports; amongst many other features. The core inventory payload comes from Sage ERP, allowing our system to consume the inventory payload via custom APIs we developed. This not only allowed our software to consume data, but also synchronized changes in inventory levels back to Sage every 12 hours using crons.
The tablet mobile application was designed for simplicity and speed, but also holds foremen accountable for inventory management and transportation. A useful feature included a weight management function for transporting inventory, which automatically calculated the weight of total inventory checked out, and even distributed the weight across available trucks at the depot. This safety feature not only ensured the trucks carried the legally allowed weight per truck, but also ensured they did not violate any laws regarding truck weights and transportation. When a job ends, the foremen are required to confirm inventory being returned versus what was originally checked out. If there are discrepancies, they must add a note and select an option for the discrepancy, ensuring the branch office is aware of any stolen items, damaged items or re-purposed items to create new inventory.