Alpha DevCon 2018

Case Study: All American Grease Services


Robust web-based solution with native mobile capabilities helps All American extend legacy Microsoft Access data and eliminate messy paper processes








About

Web App Express Ltd designs and builds mobile and web applications for companies, organizations and government entities across the globe.

Web App Express client, All American Grease Services cleans grease traps and recycles grease for food-related businesses.

When All American initially partnered with Web App Express its primary service area was New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, All American is a substantial player in a $2 billion dollar industry. It provides services across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Its customers include some of the largest companies in the world.

The Challenge

Al American's ownership crafted plans to substantially expand the business. Growth would come both organically and through acquisition. At the time, company operations were run with a combination of manual processes, a Microsoft Access database and lots of paper. As growth opportunities arose, All American's controller, Bobbie Breaux, knew immediately that inefficiencies inherent with these systems would prove to be problematic. "Challenges that may be acceptable for a local operator, like inefficient scheduling of drivers, insecure record keeping, and time wasted on manual tasks, would become serious issues in a rapidly growing regional operation." She recognized that scaling the business would require powerful, flexible, systems that could scale ahead of growth.

To manage the growth and make the transition to being a regional operator, All American Grease Services needed a robust Web-based business infrastructure that provided native mobile capabilities.

Solution

Ms. Breaux researched solutions extensively and decided that Alpha Anywhere would be ideal for the task. She was impressed with its flexibility and the power it provided to build Web-based and mobile solutions efficiently. Its ability to quickly prototype systems was also a key factor, since she would need to sell the entire concept to company ownership and some prospective customers as well.

She contacted Alpha Software Corporation, which put her in touch with Web App Express.

"I asked Web App Express if they could immediately create screenshots of what the system would look like, because I had scheduled a meeting for the next day with a prospective customer," Breaux remembers. "They delivered, giving me exactly what I needed. Based on the Alpha Anywhere mockup the customer saw, we won the contract."


I asked Web App Express if they could immediately create screenshots of what the system would look like, because I had scheduled a meeting for the next day with a prospective customer. They delivered...Based on the Alpha Anywhere mockup the customer saw, we won the contract."


— Bobbie Breaux, Controller, All American

Web App Express then built All American a comprehensive Web-based and mobile system that takes care of every aspect of All American's operations, including scheduling drivers work and routes, report-writing, and more. It is driven by a SQL database.

Paper, paper-based reports, and manual work have been almost completely eliminated. In the past, Breaux and her staff had to print out tickets for drivers to determine what work they had to do each day. That has been eliminated. Instead, drivers use an intuitive mobile app that works on any device. "A lot of the drivers were worried about moving to the new system, because some had never even touched a computer before," Breaux remembers. "But it's so easy to use and saves them so much time and frustration, that now you can't get the app away from them. Before they were inundated with paper — they could have had 100 tickets. Now they just use a tablet."

Monthly reports are now run in minutes. The Alpha Anywhere system designed and built by Web App Express also integrates with All American's accounting software, making for a seamless solution.

"The system Web App Express built for us using Alpha Anywhere was even better than I thought it would be," Breaux remembers. "It's delivered everything we wanted, and then some."


Understanding business challenges and crafting targeted solutions is our specialty. Alpha Anywhere gives us the platform we need to quickly and affordably build powerful, flexible systems that are perfectly tailored to the individual goals of each and every client we serve."


— Tom Simon, Co-owner, Web App Express

Benefits

All American has reaped considerable productivity and financial benefits from the new system. With the old system, Breaux and her staff spent at least two days a week printing out paper tickets. Now it takes less than ten minutes a month to create driver schedules that work across a range of mobile devices. Drivers are more productive, because they easily use the mobile app versus handling paper tickets. They also don't need to drive to All American's headquarters twice a day to pick up tickets in the morning, and bring completed ones back in the evening. Some drivers only need to go to headquarters once a month. In addition, staff does not need to manually enter information from paper tickets into the system — the drivers enter updates themselves from the road on their mobile apps. That reduces errors, speeds customer service and saves on time and paper.

"Because of that time savings, we can now devote ourselves to higher-value tasks," Breaux says. "We're also much more secure, because tickets can't be physically lost — they're in the system, not on paper. And with the new system, I can go directly into the SQL database to fix errors, which I couldn't do in the past."

Customer service is substantially improved with the new system. Customers get invoices more quickly than previously, and the invoices are more accurate. "We now know the real-time status of every customer's needs and can respond to unscheduled service calls with unprecedented speed," she says. Because the new system isn't paper-based, Breaux can dispatch drivers to customers more quickly in case of an emergency — she only needs to flag it in the system.

The system has increased customer loyalty and made it easier to attract new clients. The system even allows customers to remotely view service and scheduling related data, as desired.

"It's been a big winner for us," she says. "With Alpha Anywhere, Web App Express has delivered an ideal system that is truly tailored to our business and our unique processes. Without it our dramatic growth would have been impossible.

I have worked with many programmers in my business career. Web App Express is the most professional I've ever dealt with. I would recommend this company to anyone who needed a new system."


Because of that time savings, we can now devote ourselves to higher-value tasks. We're also much more secure."


— Bobbie Breaux, Controller, All American