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Helping Australia embrace sustainable packaging with APCO

We reimagined APCO’s member centre to build an on-line solution that integrates with their internal systems to save staff time and helps members find the information they need simply and rapidly.

We now have one central, online location for all APCO member content with all the latest news and resources. Our website is aesthetically pleasing, fully searchable, and has allowed us to provide greater service for our members.
Cella Ford, Compliance Manager, APCO

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.

Reimagining the APCO Member Centre

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.”

After our engagement with reinteractive, we could tell that they cared about the project and our goals as much as we did, and they were going to be with us every step of the way. We were never going to be back of mind as a secondary project. The fact that we were assigned a dedicated team for our project exemplified this high level of care and this has continued throughout the project.
Cella Ford, Compliance Manager
APCO

Getting planning & scoping right with an
Application Workshop

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.

Benefits of the Application Workshop:

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:

  1. Detailed Product Roadmap
  2. 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.

Choosing a sophisticated CRM and application solution

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.

The developers were really good at taking feedback and making changes if the specs were not quite articulated correctly at the start of the ticket or story. Everyone was friendly and working together on the common goal of the project.
Cella Ford, Compliance Manager
APCO

Selecting reinteractive as the development partner:

reinteractive’s strength as a development agency is in providing end-to-end services covering every aspect of modern web application development. This includes UX, visual design, development and 24/7 operational support, delivering maintainable and scalable projects. Additionally, reinteractive is expert at building custom applications on the Heroku platform that fully integrate with Salesforce instances.

APCO have no internal DevOps team, so reinteractive’s ability to provide a full-service solution proved key. Alternate solutions would have required multiple agencies to manage the various facets of the solution.

“APCO is relatively small in size but we have a vital organisational goal of making all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable in Australia by 2025.

“After our engagement with reinteractive, we could tell that they cared about the project and our goals as much as we did, and they were going to be with us every step of the way. We were never going to be back of mind as a secondary project. The fact that we were assigned a dedicated team for our project exemplified this high level of care and this has continued throughout the project,” says Ms Ford.

Agile project management — working with reinteractive

reinteractive works with each client as a close partner to achieve their development project goals. Dedicated developers are assigned for the duration of the project. We follow an Agile process, preferring delivered code over processes and specifications. We regularly “release” the application to staging servers where you can test features as they are developed.

We work to get your application delivered and operating as fast as possible, with the viewpoint of incrementally adding features as the site matures and grows. Each feature is then staged on our servers, reviewed, accepted and launched into production. It’s an idea → develop → stage → launch → new idea loop that we have found to be incredibly effective in getting clients up and running with their sites operational in no time.

Part of the Agile process is maintaining a high level of communication with clients, including daily standups and regular status updates. Clients know exactly where their project is at any point of the day.

The end result is a site with all the core features in an operational application solving your business needs and the ability to easily add new features.

Ms Ford was impressed with the close collaboration, communication and skill of the development team:

“The development work went really well. This is my first project in the technology space. I think the Agile project management system and how the reinteractive team ran with it was really efficient.

“There was a high level of communication. The process was very transparent, and our team was on a common journey with the reinteractive development team. We had daily standups which allowed us to know everything that was going on at every stage of the project and what the team was working on.

“The developers were really good at taking feedback and making changes if the specs were not quite articulated correctly at the start of the ticket or story. Everyone was friendly and working together on the common goal of the project.

“The reinteractive team educated me and walked me through all the steps on how to test the site properly. As a result, we were able to launch our new site and member centre smoothly.”

Benefits of Salesforce as the source of truth

Ms Ford explains, “We now have one central, online location for all APCO member content with all the latest news and resources. Our website is aesthetically pleasing, fully searchable, and has allowed us to provide greater service for our members.

“Only 60% of our resources were published on our old website because we didn’t have an efficient way of sharing the resources with our members due to technology limitations. To solve that we were sending our Members emails and posting on social media. We now have a large resource library and we now easily manage that within Salesforce and can easily add new content onto our website using Salesforce CMS.

Salesforce is a fantastic CRM with powerful features which is easy to use and learn and has complemented the functionality of our website.

For example, using Salesforce’s impressive functionality, we now have an automated alert system for members, bringing their attention to important messages and reminders in the Member Centre. This has reduced the number of email alerts we a required to send to our members.

We have also been able to reduce the manual administration of important programs (such as the Australasia Recycling Label (ARL) program) and place confidence in our Members to update their details and keep up with outstanding activities.

This also means we have been able to retire programs such Excel as a management tool and redefined staff position descriptions so we can refocus the saved time resource for more impactful work towards the 2025 Packaging Targets.

Cella Ford, Compliance Manager
APCO

Moving forward

“We have enjoyed working with reinteractive, knowing they are with APCO on the same journey. The great thing about our new integrated platform is we can make feature updates and broaden our service offerings. Most recently, we launched APCO short courses available to APCO Members through the Coassemble LMS, utilising their API. Our next big project includes redeveloping the APCO Reporting Tool, and we will continue to seek reinteractive's support to develop this.”

— Cella Ford, Compliance Manager APCO

Sterling Parts needed a robust website and online store which was user friendly.

Sterling Parts came to reinteractive to modernise their online presence and ensure they were servicing the rapidly growing consumer demand to easily find and buy automotive parts on their phone or computer, any time of day.

What started the process for creating our new online store, was a review of our sales figures which had started to plateau. We realised that a reason for this was because our existing website was not exactly up to scratch at that point and it was presenting poorly. We wanted to create something that was user friendly and engaged with the customer as opposed to having a website for the sake of having a website.
Yi Ho, Manager, Strategy and Marketing, Sterling Parts

reinteractive Services

We build stable, well-tested software, built with Ruby on Rails and Javascript. reinteractive provides a complete solution from project scoping, to UX, design, web and mobile development, through to hosting and maintenance. All driven by our seamless, agile project management processes.

We are experts at large, complex and customised solutions. Bring us your ideas, wish list, integration problem or technical need and we will solve it.

AppWorkshop - Consultation & Project Scoping

We work hard to find the right digital solution for you. Through our AppWorkshop we work with you to identify opportunities and engage in expert planning for business-critical applications. The aim is to get your application delivered and operating as fast as possible, with the viewpoint of incrementally adding features as the site matures and grows.

Learn more about AppWorkshop - Consultation & Project Scoping

Our Guarantee to You

If you are not completely happy with the result of your bespoke development project when we are done, we will give you $10,000 worth of our development time, at no charge, to make it right.

Our OpsCare® and CodeCare® services also have their own simple one month refund and guarantee which you can read in our Terms of Use.

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