Laborlink: The powerful voice of workers around the world

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“Honestly, the value per dollar spent with SolDevelo is incomparable. They deliver top-notch code, move quickly, are key contributors to our code and design, and are quite adaptable to a changing product landscape.”

Ryan Whitney
Head of Product Development, Good World Solutions

The problem of poor working conditions is still prevailing even in the modern world. If you are lucky enough to have a decent job in a safe space, receive payment regularly and not have to fear harassment, then you might not even realize how many people are suffering tremendous experiences every single day at work. Being exposed to toxic substances or high risk of fire without proper protection, and being overworked or forced to work without fair payment are just a few of the problems that concern thousands of workers around the world.

In this case study we will discuss the actions taken in order to help such people voice the abuse they are victims of and to give them tools to fight for change.

Good World Solutions

laborlink

Good World Solutions (GWS) is a nonprofit social enterprise with a vision: every worker should have a free and anonymous channel to report directly to decision-makers about their working conditions, opinions, and needs. One of their core values is the belief that data insights and transparency have the power to transform workplace conditions and lives.

In order to improve the working conditions of factory workers, GWS introduced Laborlink, a tool establishing two-way communication between companies and workers. Laborlink enables workers to report on conditions anonymously, without fear of retaliation, and for companies to receive real-time data directly from workers 365 days a year.

GWS’ dreamed world is the one where every worker is heard, and where worker well-being is integral to business’ success. In other words, their goal is to create safe and respectful workplaces. Over a decade ago, they started noticing workers using mobile phones more and more often. And they tested what was then a bold idea – that we could use mobile technology to connect directly with workers in real-time.

From 2010 to 2017 Laborlink has given voice to over 1 million workers in 16 countries.

On their path of constant development, in 2017 Good World Solutions decided to join their forces with ELEVATE. You can find further information here.

Our Challenge

Laborlink originally piloted and perfected their analysis and survey validation process through the use of strong manual processes, focused on leveraging excel functionality. While successful, this process proved to be time-intensive and difficult to scale. It was nearly impossible to conduct analysis across the entire dataset. 

Having an eye to the future, GWS chose the path of building an internal data management tool, LaborIQ, to not only help in handling a large amount of incoming data, but also to start automating their proven processes, in order to scale. 

The next step in the process was to automate one of the most time-consuming activities for every survey – the review and validation of survey responses. Additionally, GWS leveraged data collection through multiple sources, which meant data was coming in in different formats and file types.

Another challenge for GWS was monitoring the performance of their data collection efforts in their global operations. To avoid disruptions to their service and improve uptime, the GWS team had to spend considerable time manually monitoring their technical operations, including keeping staff on a 24/7 rotation.

Our Solution

laborlink

After developing the first workable version of LaborIQ in house, GWS started looking for a technology partner to help accelerate development. SolDevelo joined the project during the earlier versions of both, LaborIQ and LaborPulse.

Delivering real-time data requires building a robust and reliable system for processing and managing incoming data. SolDevelo had the necessary technical skills and backgrounds to augment the GWS engineering team. Together, they delivered a custom-built solution to automate key Laborlink processes.

The first initiative was to automate the process of validating responses and building a visual tool for GWS staff to review and monitor the import process

Additionally, SolDevelo worked to further streamline the data import process by increasing the different data formats LaborIQ could manage, building a process queue, and drastically improving the processing time per import.

Ruby on Rails, the framework that was used to build the GWS tools, is not designed for applications that have to process a large amount of data quickly. In response, the SolDevelo team focused on how to leverage the still useful parts of the framework and integrate their own solutions to speed up processing and application performance.

To resolve the issue of manually monitoring technical operations, GWS designed an operational monitoring tool, LaborPulse. LaborPulse monitors all survey activity across GWS’s entire network 24/7, and raises the alarm when issues arise (e.g. high rates of DTMF errors or a high number of dropped calls). LaborPulse is key in reducing staff workload while lowering downtime and decreasing GWS staff’s time to respond to issues. 

SolDevelo played their part in contributing to the development of the first version of LaborPulse and contributed to key underlying frameworks for managing data and communication across all GWS tools.

Our Result

After automating the survey processing, GWS observed a 47% decrease in time spent on reviewing and validating incoming data. They have also significantly reduced the number of errors found during data processing. 

SolDevelo proved itself to be a reliable partner for GWS and has become the vendor of choice to augment the development team. Collaboration with SolDevelo has accelerated the GWS’ development cycle and allowed the client to move faster and accomplish more. The addition of a QA resource has proven instrumental in streamlining GWS’ production deployments, reducing the number of bugs found post-release.

Technologies used

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