Merial (now Boehringer Ingelheim) is a world-leading animal health company with a proven track record in producing pharmaceutical products and vaccines for livestock, pets, and wildlife. With continuous innovation in product development, Merial has provided millions of vaccines worldwide to keep livestock and pets healthy. It is an innovation-driven leader in the provision of products and solutions which enhance the health, well-being, and performance of animals. In 2017, Boehringer Ingelheim acquired Merial, uniting the strengths of two leading players in animal health into one strong business unit.
Merial, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, took an initiative to help millions of small farmers in Africa to digitally transform their business and increase sales. To enhance the effectiveness of the program, the field service team would visit farms and conduct surveys of the products being used and the training material available with the farmers. If a farm was not listed in the program, the team would get it listed along with geo-locations. This whole process would have been extremely cumbersome and time-consuming if it was completely paper-based.
Another challenge was the timely reporting of farm visits. Since field service agents worked on their own, Merial wanted to track their activities and productivity in the field.
It wanted to develop a mobile solution that would digitize this entire workflow, simplify and streamline data capture from the field, and help optimize the effectiveness of its field team. However, before going into development, Merial wanted to determine the usability and effectiveness of its concept. Having heard great things about Folio3’s App Discovery Process, Merial decided to partner with Folio3 to help them make a prototype of this solution. The prototype was called the Last Mile.
The Folio3 Solution
After evaluating the requirements, Folio3 developed a prototype for the Last Mile app that would allow field personnel to schedule and conduct field surveys and submit data directly from their smartphones. Key features of the prototype included:
The ability to view a list of registered farms and add new ones along with geo locations.
The ability to add farm data against pre-configured fields such as the total number of cows, goats or sheep, the total number of dairy cows, the total number of calves less than a year, etc.
The ability to check-in or check-out to record a farm visit.
The ability to schedule farm visits.
The ability to record direct sales to farmers.
The ability to take notes and pictures during farm visits.
The ability to complete pre-configured surveys on the spot while visiting farms.
The ability to view available training or share new ones with farm workers.
After going through the App Discovery Process proposed by Folio3, Merial was able to quickly determine the usability and effectiveness of the Last Mile app. The overall process took only a few weeks. The end result was a clickable prototype, giving a clear view of how the actual app would look after development.
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