The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. They have been charged by the Australian government to lead the 2025 National Packaging Targets, to make all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
To achieve this important goal, APCO works closely with government and industry to deliver a range of sustainable design, recycling, waste to landfill reduction and circular economy projects. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading product stewardship organisations, with a strong national and global collaborative network, APCO is committed to reducing the environmental impact of packaging on Australian communities by moving towards a circular economy.
The APCO Member Centre is a web application with a strong Content Management System function coupled with a CRM, Event Management solution and a Learning Management System. The Member Centre plays a crucial role in educating their members and in providing the resources and tools that enable them to meet their packaging sustainability goals.
The original APCO CRM, Member Centre & Website were built on a platform originally designed for small clubs. The solution lacked the sophistication and functionality to suit more complex requirements as APCO grew.
Compliance Manager for APCO, Cella Ford explains, “Our old technology stack lacked integration to third-party tools and elements along with the ability to handle record duplication and validation rules. There was risk of data integrity issues, which resulted in significant manual entry and quality control checks. We wanted an exceptional user experience for our members, with all resources available in one location on our website. The limited functionality of our old website made it difficult to publish all content and resources, so we communicated content by email and social media and answered inquiries by email and phone.
“With these limitations, we found ourselves working around the existing Member Centre and CRM to get our functions done. We needed a full technology solution that was sophisticated enough to handle the complexity of what we were trying to achieve and one which would help us adapt and grow.”
Developing any software is a significant investment. If the foundations aren’t there before development begins, the investment required to bring a Minimum Viable Product to market can blow out.
APCO first undertook a reinteractive Application Workshop to comprehensively explore their business requirements and to fully determine the scope and features of their project.
APCO received an in-depth consultation and complete discovery of all business challenges, processes and goals and explored the viability of the various solutions available. APCO were provided with:
Detailed Product Roadmap
Highly detailed Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document. This document details the features required for each element of the application and is then passed on to the development team to produce. The SRS document is owned by APCO and can be shared with stakeholders and can be taken to tender as required.
Ruby on Rails was the recommended framework for the new Member Centre/Website to be built in. It is a solid, reliable platform with a rapid development cycle and is quick to market. It was also ideal for adding a future API layer to interface with third-party tools if required.
APCO reviewed available CRM solutions and chose Salesforce due to its significant functionality, and the ease and depth of integration possible with the Member Centre/Website. APCO wanted one fully integrated system. The Salesforce Heroku® platform easily allows custom applications to be built in open-source languages with a full and rapid synchronisation with Salesforce. This architecture allows Salesforce® to be the control centre for all Member interactions and communication. This provides APCO with greater transparency and control.
The final solution was a custom-built proprietary web application deeply integrated with the Salesforce suite of cloud products, providing a powerful tool kit and significant flexibility both now and in the future.