How we saved AccendoLAB 40+ hours a week with automationKris Thain
AccendoLAB are a private laboratory and are listed on the GOV.UK website for international travel providing the latest RT-PCR technology and were set up to primarily support the Healthcare sector with accurate, affordable and reliable Covid-19 PCR testing.
What were they?
Due to the rapid demand in PCR tests required to enter and leave the UK, AccendoLab were well-positioned to take on the supply and testing of PCR testing with a rapid turnaround that is required to comply with the stringent COVID travel regulations.
The sudden surge in requirement and the dynamic nature of the situation meant that Accendo were facing challenges in scaling the operation to meet demands and maintain great customer service.
The main challenges were the ordering, distribution, and obtaining of information and results. This is partly due to the Just-In-Time requirements of getting the test kits to customers, the collection of customer information, and returning and testing of the kits.
The biggest challenge was to build a bespoke system that could scale as quickly as possible. The time frame to get something in place that could cope with the demand was 1 week.
What were the goals?
- Implement a system that could take online orders for testing kits, process, deliver and track them.
- The system should keep customers informed of orders, deliveries and tracking by email and SMS.
- The system should also be able to handle the stock management of the testing kits that are all identifiable by barcodes.
- Once kits have reached the customer the system would need to monitor the return of the kits as well as the electronic forms that are required to be completed.
- The information from the forms should be sent to the Laboratories for testing and results returned on completion.
- The customers should be informed of the results.
This system should be scalable and automated as much as possible to cope with the quantity of the orders and kits required to process.
How we saved AccendoLab 40+ hours a week with automation
First we setup a Database using Airtable so that we could hold, process and trigger automations with the data. Using Zapier and Woo Commerce we are able to add all orders placed from the website into the database.
Using Airtable auto ID generation we were able to generate unique numbers that could be tied to the order. The is required for Government compliance.
In order to communicate with the customer we used Mailersend to deliver transactional emails. We created templates and used Zapier to take the data from Airtable and email customers using the templates along with the data we hold against the order in order to personalise the email and provide them with the unique number required.
In order to ensure customer notifications weren’t lost in spam filters we also sent the SMS messages too using the mobile number taken with the order. For this we used Clicksend SMS and Zapier to automate the process.
The multiple testing kits are required to be sent separately and need to be allocated from batches of barcodes kits uploaded to to Airtable. Once the kits were allocated we needed to send emails with links to electronic forms to record the details. For this we used Jotform and Zapier to add the data to Airtable linking them to the reference numbers created on the order.
In order to send the information to the Lab’s we used a combination of Zapier and Airtable Automations with some custom scripting. Airtable automations are also used to poll the lab for results, triggering automations to inform the customers of their results via email and SMS.
Reports were also created using Airtable to be able to monitor and identify anomalies such as kits not being returned or data missing causing kits to not be tested or invalidating them.
We were able to automate the bulk of the work enabling Accendo to scale and focus on customer service and better delivery. Accendo are constantly working to improve the service provided and are now able to be proactive with the time saved.
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