The leader in food safety and testing

Executive Summary

Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) is the leader in food safety and testing with labs across the continental United States. They are a customer-focused testing company that provides nationwide services for the food safety, consumer products, and the nutraceutical industries. As part of their customer-focused mission to provide word-class testing services, FSNS wanted to have a customer portal that would allow customers to access test results and detailed reports. Their existing reporting solution did not meet the needs of existing customers and required a lengthy onboarding process for new customers.

In the existing reporting system, reports were emailed to users and were not available on-demand. Many of these existing reports were also customer specific one-off reports. There was a business need to unify the reporting system, making it easier to maintain and more accessible to clients. JBS developed a system that automated generic reports for customers, making it easier to onboard additional new clients and standardizing reporting practices. These new reports were available in a portal that allowed users to customize and schedule reporting of their test results. The architecture produced for the new portal enabled FSNS and JBS to continue to refine development efforts, including updates to meet new customer feature requests and platform updates.

Challenges

The major issue faced by FSNS was a lack of automation, reusability, and consistency across their reporting solution. As a customer-centric company, they wanted to make sure that they were providing a world-class product that exceeded the expectations of their clients. Reporting of test results was not automated, nor was it accessible to clients on-demand. The existing reporting solution sent report details directly to customers but did not allow them to access reporting data in any form of portal or dashboard. The reports themselves had been customized per-client and also needed to be generalized and enhanced so they could meet the needs of all of FSNS’s current and future clientele.

In addition to the inflexible nature of their existing reporting, customers also experienced delays in receiving their reports. A key challenge was the inability for clients to be able to access reporting data in real-time, via a customer portal. They needed a centralized data warehouse that provided pre-built reporting for new customers and ad-hoc, customizable reports for existing clients. FSNS had a wealth of subject matter experts with an understanding of their business and technical abilities but needed a technology partner to be able to turn that information into a solution that would meet the needs of the modern customer.

How JBS helped

JBS worked closely with knowledge experts at FSNS to gather requirements for their portal application and learn about the data points that were crucial to their customers.  There were three key aspects to the solution - the data warehouse, pre-built reports, and ad-hoc reports. These requirements were used to create an Enterprise Bus Matrix and define the structure of the data warehouse. The data warehouse was built using Kimball Design methodologies and standards, a bottom-up approach that focuses on providing value to users as quickly as possible. Since meeting deadlines was crucial, the new data warehouse was also kept up to date during development in near real-time using Change Data Capture via SSIS.

The portal front end was built using Aurelia, ASP.NET core, Node.js, and C#. It provided functionality for reporting, data access, help, and admin functions.  The reporting portal displayed SQL Server Reporting Services reports that could be scheduled for automatic delivery, allowing both on-demand and scheduled access. In addition, the portal allowed access to completed test results and certificates for users to view. A new internal user site allowed publishing of FAQ articles and videos, user management, and impersonation functionality, all which improved customer experience and support.

Results

The data in the data warehouse was now accessible via a robust ad-hoc reporting solution which allowed users to build custom reports and save them for viewing later. The new portal’s reporting capabilities allowed customer to access a wider range of data with less need for manual report generation from FSNS. Generic reporting was fully automated for customers, making it easier to onboard new clients without having to customize reports. By investing in a modern data warehouse solution, FSNS managed to reduce overall cost, streamline new client onboarding processes, and provide a rich feature set of reporting functionality to internal and external users.

The platform took pressure off the existing source data systems and allowed for much more rapid development of new functionality. Development could extend the new platform which provided a performant integration with access to the underlying source system data. As such, the architecture of the data warehouse solution was also used after launch, to include new customer features and requests. As a direct result of partnering with JBS, FSNS now has a modern, extensible platform that offers an improved user experience. Encouraged by their success, JBS and FSNS continued their partnership with additional projects including a direct integration between their lab machines and their new lab reporting solution.