The Client and its context
Randstad is an international employment agency. The request for the following project came from the national Belgian entity. From within the regional Randstad offices (= units) on average 20-30 training courses are planned daily for attendees who are temporary workers. The training packages are short, recurrent, and ready-made training courses (driving licence, safety, forklift, etc.) required by the employer and/or valuable for the profile of a worker. ±100 training courses from external suppliers can be requested immediately.
Each unit (700) could decide where to order training courses, invoices were paid blindly without an official approval flow, and no budget or framework was available. In addition, there was no checkup on the quality of the training. They needed a funnel through which everyone would have to request training from a limited list of selected and validated training providers.
They created an in-house solution based on spreadsheets, which worked very slowly and was not stable (people from the field started clicking and updating the spreadsheet without structure). They needed a more efficient solution, so Appsheet was considered a solution.
Streamline the process of booking training for temporary workers: There was no process flow to organise training sessions, every department applied its own rules for training, requesting training with different levels of quality, etc.
There was a first attempt to centralise/structure the process using Google Sheets, Forms and some Apps Scripts. It turned out that this solution was not performing as expected and was very sensitive to user errors and mistakes: the interface (a spreadsheet) needed to be more flexible. Given the above: user adoption was poor and they turned back to the old (bad) behaviour.
The goal was to create a stable and performing solution to support the process in a user-friendly way. So they could easily be managed by the non-tech-savvy Administration Department without lots of development work and low infrastructure costs.
After reviewing the Sheet/Forms/Apps Script solution, they decided to go for an AppSheet app to ensure a more stable and user-friendly UI for the users in the field.
In the back-end, the data is stored in Google Sheets to allow easy access for reporting. Some existing Apps Script functions could be re-used and optimised for sending emails.
- The first step was the design of the tables, and fields and gathering/organising the fixed data sets (training suppliers, courses, …).
- In the second step, creating the views for data entry to optimise the user experience and minimise the effort.
- Next was the setup of the automation in AppSheet and Apps Script. This included setup and parameterisation of email templates (in different languages), a Google Forms integration (to gather confirmation of the external training suppliers), and the creation of proof (certificate) if needed.
- The final step was testing, bug fixing, and process/design optimisation.
The application was created and deployed within a time frame of 1 month! They now have an AppSheet app available for all users within the organisation, enabling them to plan and organise training for one or multiple temporary workers. The interface is stable, there is only one go-to address. The administration department can maintain the application: make small changes and updates, and monitor users via the connected sheets. Since all data is stored in Spreadsheets, they fulfil any reporting needs in real-time.
From this version on there have been several requests to add additional functionality and make some changes following local regulations. These functionalities have all been implemented within days and a minimum of (no) user/application downtime.