Our development team is currently in the middle of a code freeze to upgrade OpenBoxes from Grails 1 to Grails 3. Partners In Health (PIH) has been using this time to revise the roadmap for the next year, and here are interesting product and roadmap discussions we have had that we would like to share with you!
- Tech Debt: Migrate application from Grails 1 to Grails 3
- Tech Debt: Upgrade required dependencies like Java 8 and MySQL 8 (requires migration)
- No new features will be added but may require some features to be deprecated or removed
- AutoSave Everywhere
- e-Requests approvals, alerts and imports
- Workflow & Usability improvements tbd.
- Backdated Data Entry
- More accurate and actionable Planning and Forecasting
- US warehouse issues: cross-docking, imports, tbd.
You can have a look at the updated status of the roadmap here.
We want to (re)introduce you to our Roadmap goals and Personas
In Nov 2022, we selected 3 Roadmap Goals for the next 1 year:
- Accurate data entry: Make everything in OpenBoxes reflect reality thanks to accurate data entry
- Better insights and decision-making: Make OpenBoxes used for decision-making and answering questions about operations
- Expanding clients and implementers: Expanding OpenBoxes as a useful tool for the wider global health community
These remain our valid roadmap goals. We also want to show you that we chose these goals because each benefit one of the 3 key Personas engaging with OpenBoxes.
Get to know who we are working for
Jean Daniel, at the distribution center in Haiti, is a warehouse staff. He could be at different levels of the hierarchy (depending on the size of the warehouse/site). He does all tasks in the warehouse related to Managing Inventory. He is the user who enters data in OpenBoxes corresponding to everything that happens in reality in the warehouse.
Another data entry user is Faith, a procurement staff at our Malawi office. She is responsible of the work related to procurement of supplies, from collecting Purchase Requests, interacting with suppliers, following up on Inbound Shipments and Invoices & Payments. For some of the steps of their processes, she uses OpenBoxes as the system of record. But a lot of other steps are outside OpenBoxes.
Jean Paul, at our Rwanda site, is a Pharmacist (or he could also be an Operations Coordinator). He might work at the warehouse or not. He is responsible of diverse regular reports, for Inventory Management, finance and forecasting. For different audiences: such as direct management, leadership or external programs/donors/institutions. His work overall consists in ensuring that the site makes the best decisions on medical or non-medical supplies needed. OpenBoxes is part of the tools that can support him with data to make these decisions.
Peter is implementing OpenBoxes on a project where they have supply chain management requirements, for the central medical store management in Dominica. He previously considered and selected OpenBoxes as the best choice for their context / use case. They could have decided to roll out the solution on their own or with the support of PIH.
NOTE: While we are confident we understand well who the Data Entry user is. We identified that the Reporting user and the Implementer user have been often interpreted in diverse ways in our past work, therefore we will be working on specifying the right angle to look at them in the next month.
How are we progressing on our goals?
We have delivered Product Synonyms and Improved Data Exports and Imports in locales other than English because using OpenBoxes in a language that isn’t the preferred language of some users or misunderstandings on the naming of products can lead to creation of bad data.
We aim to continue making significant progress on the accuracy of data entry. By fixing usability issues that cause bad data entry. By rethinking data entry in the case where users input transaction data not when the shipment happens but at the end of the day or later. By identifying and fixing bugs and usability issues that are linked to the use cases of very long transactions to enter, or very numerous transactions to enter, or pass-through location (all, Miami warehouse context).
We have delivered the Product Merge and Product Family features that improve how we are able to look at the Demand data, either by ensuring that all the demand data of a product is recorded on the same product (no duplicate), or by being able to classify products in the most flexible way in order to plan the future.
For the next release, we decided to focus on the most critical user for forecasting and planning which is the Boston sourcing user. Because they are at the origin of procurement and work directly to make our fill rate the best.
From a system with very low translatability coverage, not very good French translations, and no Spanish translations at all, we have now delivered a system that is almost fully translatable. This is a key enabler for clients and implementers without restriction of language.
We will now keep improving on two use cases that we know are convincing for implementers of the wider global health community (including the Dominica project). Requests from facilities will be improved with approval capabilities. Autosave (everywhere) will continue our work towards making OpenBoxes usable with little or unreliable internet.
Feel free to share some questions and feedback if you’ve reached this far! Tell us what you want to see in future roadmap updates. You can also react to our roadmap!