Our team had another week of great progress! After last week we had created the virtual column with all of the correct fields included. However, it required extra steps for the clerk to access it and had a lot of extra space at the end of the screen (the opposite of our original issue of not being able to fit all of the necessary fields!). This week we focused on optimizing this solution for both sets of stakeholders: Kokoa Kamili (specifically the clerks) and the cocoa sellers who will receive the receipt. First, we worked with the formatting of the virtual column, clearly demarcating sections on the receipt. This change in format was largely for the cocoa sellers who will be the ones actually reading the receipt - we’re hoping it will now be even easier to read and understand. Below you can see the screenshot that will be printed!
The other major change we made this week was to the method of accessing the virtual column. To optimize efficiency we changed the app to include the receipt information on the last tab that the user accesses while inputting the transaction information. This tab is already part of the existing workflow for documenting each transaction; thus, the extra time and effort for printing the receipt is minimized, which is very important in order to not slow Kokoa Kamili’s cocoa transaction rate. Furthermore, we are very pleased because this will also minimize the number of new steps that the clerks will have to learn in order to implement the receipt printing.
Overall, we are nearing the completion of our project and we are all getting very excited to put it into motion with Kokoa Kamili! Our next steps will be stress testing the receipt printing process and working on the documentation of our solution so that Kokoa Kamili can have a smooth transition.
This week, we’ve made a lot of headway in producing the screen display needed for printing a
receipt using a screenshot. We met with Brian and Simran and Landan, and appsheet
consultant, to get some advice on the best way to proceed. Though initially stumped as well by
the exporting option, he did give us some useful advice.
Landan recommended concatenating all the fields we are interested in, into 1 new column to
save space and give us some control over whitespace and formatting. It’s not an ideal solution,
but flexible enough to accommodate new fields in the future, and the removal of any fields that
may not be needed as the company changes.
Now, when we go to view recent transactions we can scroll to the bottom of a given receipt to
see all the relevant information to be printed for the farmer. This virtual column will also allow us
to make fields bold if the printer has visibility issues, and is easily editable if additional fields
need to be added in the future. Details on this process are below. From here, we will refine
how/when this virtual column is displayed based on feedback from Brian and Simran, stress test
the printers, and make sure everything still works without an internet connection.
This screenshot shows how we can configure this column, and what the result looks like in the
app, via the “emulator” - which is simply the screen displayed on the right hand side.
This is what the formula looks like:
The team has hit the ground running this quarter and is excited to apply the final touches
to the screenshot solution in order to get it ready to ship. During the first week back, we met with
our community partners in order to receive feedback on our current prototype and discuss
expectations. We also met as a team a few times to debrief after our partner calls and give each
other constructive feedback, which we found very helpful.
During the second week, we had a call with our community partners and an appsheet
developer to discuss improvements to our current solution and potential alternatives. Overall,
the appsheet developer agreed that our solution was one of the only options available to us in
an offline setting. He also gave us the idea of finding transaction information on the cache of the
device we are using - an idea that we will research after completing the screenshot solution.
This is a picture from an appsheet work session where we dedicated time to developing a
‘view’ containing all transaction information necessary on a receipt. We will continue to work on
this with our community partners during the next week(s).
Overall the team is very excited to continue working with our community partners and
finish developing our solution!
The big update this week is that the Android Tecno Pop 2 Plus phones have safely arrived from Tanzania! Brian and Simran were able to send us two of Kokoa Kamili’s phones. Due to the odd, remote circumstances of this quarter, we split up the phones - keeping one on Stanford campus where Jesus and Amanda are currently located and sending one to Southern California for Jenny. We also received the thermal receipt printers we ordered in the mail. We’re all set up and ready to start implementing our solution!
Thus far, we have already been able to sync a personal iPhone with a printer and have printed out a screenshot of the iOS appsheet interface. This is very exciting as a preliminary result indicating that our method of printing screenshots is viable! Next steps will be to download the printer-specific apps onto the androids and identify their specific capabilities. One potential shortcoming that we have identified is the blurriness of screenshot text. We will be doing printing trials to identify if differently sized text will mitigate this potential issue. We’re hopeful that a bigger font will do the trick and are overall very excited to be moving forward to tackle the actual implementation of our proposed design!
Since blog post 1, we’ve met with Brian and Simran who are Directors at Kokoa Kamili to learn about Kokoa Kamili’s work and impact in Tanzania. We learned about Kokoa Kamili’s commitment to treating farmers fairly: they pay farmers a premium for cacao, and provide price transparency by publicizing the price they’ll give farmers each day.
We also dug into the specifics of what to do next. The problem we’re focused on is how to print physical receipts for farmers at the time of sale. This is important for transparency (making sure that farmers are properly compensated for the quantity of cocoa beans sold), for tax authorities, and keeping track of farmers’ loan balances, if any.
We also are working on acquiring phones that are similar to the phones that farmers and Kokoa Kamili team members use in their day-to-day. This way we can ensure that our solution for printing receipts will work in Tanzania too, not just for us in the United States.
Brian recommended the techno pop 2 plus, but all online retailers only ship within the continent of Africa - so we are in the process of getting phones directly from Brian and Simran.
Additionally, we are working to purchase 3 printers, each at a different price point to understand the pros/cons of each, and make a recommendation for Brian/Simran.
From here, once we get the equipment (android phones and printers) we will work on finding a solution for exporting the information in app sheets to a physical receipt.
The team is excited to start working with Kokoa Kamili, an organization based in Tanzania dedicated to bringing real economic development to rural Tanzanian Farmers through the production of superb cacao, while ensuring that every farmer is fairly compensated for their invaluable and arduous work. During the first two weeks of winter quarter, we have been meeting with other ESW members and working to establish a line of communication with our community partners with the goal of better defining the potential problems and issues we will attempt to tackle throughout the next several months. We have also begun to create an agenda for the next few weeks as well as define roles and delegate responsibilities.
From Top to Bottom: Amanda So(MBA Student @ SGSOB), Jesus Meza Rosales(Sophomore@ Stanny), Jenny Levitt(Junior @ Stanny) Although our knowledge of our role in working with Kakoa Kamili is limited we have begun to use the knowledge we have gained so far to begin brainstorming ideas for potential solutions and hope to successively refine these solutions as we continue to gain knowledge