Modernizing global business operations for Pittsburgh Company

Profile

Headquartered in Pennsylvania, this international inspection company specializes in the analysis and transport of precious metals used to build, expand and modernize a range of facilities in the manufacturing industry.

 

Situation

The client's business had grown leaps and bounds in recent years, but internal tooling and processes had not grown with them. Once a domestic company tasked with simply testing metal samples extracted from local refineries, they quickly became an international leader in the testing of precious metals. They also began managing the shipment of the metals globally, ensuring that the materials made their way to the right facilities on the right timelines.

The client had rapidly outgrown the archaic “systems” that were once effective in supporting its earlier efforts. They once used spreadsheets and whiteboards to collect data for their samples. The same spreadsheets and whiteboards were used to track where there samples were located as they were being transported from refineries to testing laboratories and on to job sites where the metals would be used.

The risks created by this process were numerous, and exacerbated now that the business – and the precious cargo they were managing – was increasing in size and value. A simple computer crash, or even a member of the janitorial staff accidentally erasing a whiteboard, could destroy valuable and unrecoverable data.

In addition, although it was not as significant a business risk, inefficiency was also an issue that needed to be addressed. The aforementioned business processes slowed staff members’ productivity considerably. The time it took to manage and exchange spreadsheets, and to ensure everyone was receiving and referencing the most up-to-date versions of the data, was a point of frustration. Further, global relationships presented unique challenges that required the client to manage project deadlines and timesheets differently.

The client needed a scalable software solution.

The need was evident; however, the client had never worked with a software provider and was reluctant to start now. The first step was understanding what a software company could deliver. Somewhat skeptical, the President of the client’s U.S. operations agreed to a meeting with Forge Ventures. At that same table, he recognized that a web-based software solution was a necessity for his growing company.

 

Solution

Forge Ventures successfully delivered a high-quality responsive web application that unified the previously isolated business operations into one holistic solution. It was a single application that allowed the office teams to do their jobs better. They were able to communicate, coordinate and easily track samples as they traveled from their starting locations to their end points – from refineries and laboratory analysis locations to manufacturing work sites where the metals would be used in construction.

Forge Ventures also rolled out additional features that the client had never before enjoyed. A full auditing system provided visibility for managers – and accountability for associates. Managers were now able to see all of the data relating to each sample and shipment, including the names of the associates making updates to the information.

The solution also included a timesheet management application that incorporated responsive web technologies. Previously, workers were emailing completed spreadsheets to the home office for manual entry by the office administrator. The new software allows the global team to quickly submit their timesheets through their PCs or even their mobile devices. It then lets managers review and approve the time entered if they so choose.

As with any critical line-of-business application, data resiliency is key. In response, Forge Ventures also devised a full disaster recovery plan in the event of server failure. This plan included both full database back-ups, as well incremental back-ups, to prevent data loss - while minimizing impact on business operations throughout the day. A separate server environment is also available at a physically separate data center in the event of a full network outage at the primary data center.

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