SOFTWARE FOR MODERNIZING FOOD BANK AFFILIATES
The project consisted of designing and developing :
- Association Tool: A software to manage the stock and distribution of food aid, as well as the recipients of aid.
- AMS: A centralized platform allowing food banks and the FFBA to monitor and validate the activity indicators reported by the associations.
Total project duration : 10 months
The total cost of the project was 400 man-days.
Details of the project :
The aid received by the Food Banks is stored and then regularly redistributed to local associations (e.g. Saint Vincent de Paul, Emmaus, etc.), whose role is to distribute the aid directly to the beneficiaries.
As part of the reform of the PEAD (European Programme for the Most Deprived), an interministerial inspection report was submitted in 2008 on the organisation and management of the public support system, which recommends, in particular, an IT modernisation of the associations distributing food aid.
(Link : http://www.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/rapports-publics/094000083/index.shtml)
The Associations Tool application should allow associations to :
- To ensure the traceability of the products received
- To better manage their stocks
- To better manage the final beneficiaries of aid
- To monitor the distribution of food products to the beneficiaries
- To provide the State with information on their activity, in particular on the number of beneficiaries served and the quantity of products distributed.
The AMS application for food banks and the FFBA allows them to :
- To consult and validate the activity indicators of the associations assigned to them.
- To compile statistics on the activity of associations.
For the realization of the project, 5 persons have been allocated :
- 1 project manager, technical and functional manager
- 1 architect
- 3 development engineers
This contract was executed entirely with Tana Corp resources dedicated to the project.
Main characteristics of the client
Since 1984, when the first French Food Bank was set up in Paris, 79 Food Banks have been created to cover most of France.
Thus, thanks to their location and their network of 4,850 associations, the 79 Food Banks provide food aid every year to nearly 650,000 people from rural and urban areas.
Conduct of the project
Advice and support role provided throughout the project
- A real force of accompaniment: The organization of the project gives a primordial importance to the quality of the accompaniment, to make the customer benefit from the expertise and the know-how capitalized by Tana Corp on its projects of the same type.
- Consulting strength : Our solid experience on management applications in the field of distribution and fixed-price projects has enabled us to provide the customer with the best market practices in this field. Moreover, Tana Corp is a force of proposal in the highlighting of functional options likely to bring a strong functional added value.
Methodology proposed to validate the stages of the project from a customer’s point of view
Proposed project reporting
A monthly steering committee enabled us to steer this long-term project in close collaboration with the client.
Tools chosen for the project management
Project Management: MS Project
Incident follow-up : BugX (based on Mantis) http://www.mantisbt.org/)
Version and configuration tracking: SubVersion (http://subversion.tigris.org/)
Business processes covered by the solution
- Beneficiaries and product references,
- Stocks and distribution, Traceability and alerts,
- Parameterization, Statistics and Indicators.
What were the most difficult features to implement ?
Given the large number of users of the applications (more than 4,000 associations and 79 food banks, with up to 20 users each) and their very varied technical knowledge, the emphasis was placed on the ergonomics of the applications. Sleek and intuitive interfaces allow novice users to get started very quickly, while standard keyboard shortcuts and predictive input offer experienced users greater productivity in their tasks.
Another issue due to the large number of associations, their variety in terms of their main activity (distribution of meals, parcels or “social grocery” type operation) and their mode of operation, is that the tool should not impose a particular mode of operation, but should stick as closely as possible to all possible modes of operation of the associations. The result is therefore a tool with a very high degree of functional customization, the application having about 50 parameters that allow the tool’s behavior to be adapted to the existing management of each association.
Technical platform elements
Software package, software or development languages used
After analysis of all the constraints, Tana Corp proposed the realization of 2 custom applications, based entirely on a Microsoft solution:
Rich client application for associations
- Microsoft .Net Framework, C# language, WPF
- SQLServer 2008Compact Edition.
Web application for food banks at the FFBA
- Microsoft .Net Framework, ASP.NET and C# languages, AJAX
- SQLServer 2008 Express Edition
- IIS 7 Web Server
Reasons for the choice
- Microsoft .Net Framework with C#: development platform allowing an excellent cost/delivery time/quality implementation ratio.
- SQLServer 2008 Compact: free local database, perfectly integrated with the .Net framework.
- ASP.NET and AJAX: scripting languages allowing the development of WEB interfaces with a strong ergonomic aspect.
- SQLServer 2008Express: free, high-performance database server, perfectly adapted to the target data volume
- IIS 7 Web Server : Microsoft’s Web server for ASP applications hosting
Share of pre-existing developments used on which the Supplier has capitalised to complete the project
This project was carried out entirely from scratch
Challenges and key success factors
- Ergonomics: daily use of the application in a production context,
- Diversity of the user population: more than 4,000 associations using the application.
- Net improvement in the management of associations
- Indicators and statistics monitored in real time
- Net reduction in use-by date losses
- Better traceability and more accurate monitoring of the activities of associations