Oakland Unified School District

Oakland Unified School District streamlines asset tracking with mobile computer vision-enabled smartphones equipped with a Salesforce Mobile App and Scandit Express.

Salesforce.org is a nonprofit social enterprise pioneering an integrated model of philanthropy. Salesforce.org affordably gets the market-leading Salesforce.com technology in the hands of nonprofits and educational institutions so they can make a bigger impact. It reinvests profits back into technology and communities, creating an endless circle of good.

Salesforce.org recently announced Education Cloud for K-12, a platform which helps schools connect their data, systems and stakeholders so that educators, staff and families can work better together to support students.

A related part of Salesforce.org’s mission in working in K-12 is to proactively contribute to the success of the public education systems where its employees live and work, including the Bay Area where it is headquartered. Given this focus, Salesforce.org provided the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) with an asset tracking app using the Salesforce platform. Based in Oakland, CA, OUSD operates 87 schools serving approximately 37,000 students and employing more than 4,000, including teachers, school staff and central office staff.

Starting Point – Tracking deliveries from warehouse to classroom

OUSD operates a central warehouse where it stores more than 3,000 boxes of science course materials for elementary school students. The boxes, or “FOSS Kits,” are part of the Full Option Science System (FOSS), a research-based science program developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science at University of California, Berkeley. FOSS Kits are used in all OUSD elementary school classrooms. OUSD employees place the boxes on trucks, which deliver them to schools. Finally, the boxes are distributed to individual classrooms to ensure all students have the materials they need for hands-on science coursework.

Through the Salesforce.org Pro Bono program, Salesforce volunteers developed the mobile asset tracking app to streamline the process of tracking boxes at each step of the delivery process – loading trucks at the warehouse, unloading trucks at schools, placing boxes in classrooms, and then placing boxes on trucks at schools for unloading back at the warehouse. To facilitate adoption, OUSD implemented a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy, enabling employees to download the app to their own smart devices and avoiding substantial hardware and maintenance costs.

Vision – Eliminate manual labor from the process

While OUSD found that the Salesforce mobile app simplified the task of tracking assets from its central warehouse through school locations and then back to the warehouse, there were still issues. Most significantly, the app required OUSD personnel to type in the unique identifying code each time they needed to take action on one of the thousands of FOSS kit boxes.

As a result, even with the mobile app, tracking warehouse shipments was still a time-consuming process subject to human error. In order to improve tracking accuracy, OUSD and Salesforce.org decided to enable the app to digitalize all the manual activity involved in tracking FOSS kit assets. This improvement would substantially reduce human error and cut down on the labor required to carry out asset tracking operations.

Solution – Enable app users to scan asset barcodes without integration

Since all FOSS kits shipped within the OUSD supply chain were identified with barcodes, Salesforce.org determined that equipping the Salesforce mobile app with barcode scanning functionality would be the best way to fully digitize asset tracking. To allow OUSD to maintain its BYOD app deployment strategy, Salesforce.org recommended a mobile data capture solution that leveraged the commodity camera of a standard smart device to perform barcode scanning activities.

As a provider of best-in-class technology, Salesforce.org strives to recommend other best-in-class solutions to its clients. Looking at the specific barcode scanning needs of OUSD, Salesforce.org concluded that Scandit, the leading enterprise technology platform for mobile computer vision-enabled barcode scanning, would be the ideal source of mobile barcode scanning functionality for the OUSD asset tracking app. Salesforce.org based this decision on the speed, robustness and accuracy of Scandit’s barcode scanning platform, as well familiarity with Scandit as a longtime solutions partner.

Initially, Salesforce.org advised OUSD to integrate the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK into its mobile asset tracking app. While OUSD was impressed with the performance of Barcode Scanner SDK, it did not have the development resources to integrate the Scandit engine into the Salesforce.org enterprise back end.

Salesforce.org then recommended OUSD test Scandit Keyboard Wedge, a turnkey application that allows enterprises to add the barcode scanning functionality of Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK to a mobile app without any integration. OUSD was able to conform Keyboard Wedge to their Salesforce platform without any in-depth development work.

Results – Less time tracking assets, more time teaching

Since implementing Scandit Keyboard Wedge, OUSD has eliminated all manual processes from its asset tracking efforts for FOSS kits. Now, OUSD employees simply scan FOSS kit box barcodes with their smart devices at key points, such as loading and unloading of trucks and placement of boxes in classrooms. While OUSD is early in its Keyboard Wedge implementation, it is on track to save over 500 hours per year of science teacher leaders’ time across 54 schools. This powerful combination of Scandit and Salesforce is returning that precious teacher time to where it belongs ¬- inspiring the next generation of scientists.