Introducing The Online Vendor Survey 2.0

Created on Monday, 02 July 2018

By: Elsie Tanadjaja

FishWise launched a new version of our Online Vendor Survey (OVS) in mid-October last year. This survey is the foundation of our business partner work; we use it to collect a vast amount of information on their seafood products so we can then make our sourcing, traceability, and social responsibility suggestions for improvement

Before we talk about some of the innovative features of this new version, we would like to first thank the more than 150 vendors who have logged in to provide seafood data and to complete traceability and social responsibility questionnaires. Without their active participation, we would not be able to have made this update, nor would we have the data we need for our partner work. Fortunately, the vendors are definitely coming through for us and the retailers they supply to.. One of our retail partners had a 100% success rate, meaning that for our fall 2018 survey cycle, 100% of their vendors completed their product surveys and their traceability and social responsibility questionnaires. This gives us a complete picture of the entire seafood sourcing for the year and we gained invaluable knowledge about the traceability and social responsibility practices that their vendors have in place.

So what’s the deal with this new OVS? This model is sleek; it has a cleaner design, it’s pleasing to the eyes, and has an easier workflow. These things are easy to take for granted. Our data team was working on a myriad of little things to achieve these, from the placement of texts or buttons and the color scheme, to the back-end organization of data and more.

And yes, you read that right. Data team. FishWise has a team that focus on data and the technology that enables us to effectively collect, manage, and assess essential seafood data from our partners and their vendors. This team is small but it’s our little engine that could; in fact, it’s the engine that runs our organization. We need seafood source data to understand whether seafood products are sustainable and whether our efforts across our business partnerships are having the impact they want. But collecting and analyzing this data is a complex job, and there there’s no off-the-shelf application that can meet these needs. Our in-house data technology team is able to develop applications like the Online Vendor Survey.

Other features to highlight are the progress bars, document upload, and source confirmation button. When vendors log in to the OVS, the first thing they see is the homepage that shows their to-do list of product surveys as well as traceability and social responsibility questionnaires. In this version of the OVS, we have added progress status, due dates, and date of last update all in one place so vendors can easily scan the page and quickly figure out where they are at in the process. There are nifty progress bars on the top of all pages that show the relative progress of users completing the surveys and questionnaires without having to go back to the homepage. Now, vendors can upload documents to the site to support their seafood certification claims. This has cut down the number of follow-ups that our partnership leads had to do with vendors. Last, but not least, is the source confirmation button. This button may sound simple but it’s mighty. It’s part of a bigger vision of wanting to provide vendors a way to cut down redundancies. When a vendor receives a product survey of the same products they were questioned on during the last process, this new survey is prepopulated with the seafood source information from before. They can click this button to confirm that seafood sources have stayed the same; no need to start from scratch. This has saved vendors’ time and we see a faster rate of survey completion.

Now that the survey season is slowing down, we’re looking back at our development cycle and thinking about what improvements we can do for the next version of the OVS. This article is our way to pause and celebrate the things we were able to build to help make things easier for vendors, and most importantly to thank them for not only using the OVS but also for helping us and our partners achieve their sustainability goals. Thank you!