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 |  January 17, 2018

Florist.jpegEditor’s note: In addition to his role at the Flower Academy, Mikael serves as Chairman of Sweden’s Florist Association of Professional Industries, an organization that provides training and certification for upper secondary education students. He also plays an integral role at FlorCert, a European-wide quality assurance program for vocational training and education, and coaches Sweden’s national florists competing in the Euroskills and Worldskills games.

Here is how Mikael is using AppSheet’s app maker platform to improve the floral certification process in Sweden:

Visitors to Sweden are often surprised to learn that our country offers so many interesting and beautiful flowers. Some of these include the popular Hibiscus, the dramatic purple Pasqueflower and of course the Sorbus Hybrida with its distinguishable red berries.

Sweden is also a great place to launch a floral career. I started here in 1976 as an apprentice, and have since worked as a shop owner, operator and business consultant.

Much of my success can be attributed to my early days as an apprentice, where I received the necessary training and guidance for continuing in the industry. Now, I am working to improve the process for the next generation of incoming florists.

Our Challenge

At FlorCert, we provide final onsite examinations for about 20 different secondary education schools across Sweden. These examinations critique students for competency in multiple categories like composition, color, variety and technique.

If students pass the exam, they can use this certification to help get a job at a flower shop. So it’s an important test, and one that we want to make as fair, efficient and comprehensive as possible.

Awhile back, it became apparent that we needed to overhaul the way that we collect data during examinations. At first, we were using a paper-based system which was very inefficient. Paper exams, after all, can get lost, damaged, stolen or manipulated. So eventually, we moved on to Google Sheets which was far more efficient.

But there was still a problem: Google Sheets is not easy to use on a smartphone or tablet. And during a floral examination, it’s very inconvenient for our assessors to use a laptop or desktop. We needed something that our team could use while walking around.

We found AppSheet’s app maker platform and everything changed

I found AppSheet in an advertisement while using Google Sheets. I clicked it, and was immediately sold.

We selected AppSheet because it’s easy to use, even for novice designers like me with little to no coding experience. But we also selected AppSheet because we are a small, independent organization that does not generate any income. AppSheet matched our sensitive budgetary requirements, and allowed us to move forward with a high quality mobile solution.

We made a simple application that allows us to collect data during examinations and then come together to compare notes after as a team. AppSheet also lets us store photos, which is very helpful when assessing floral arrangements.

A work in progress

Right now, the app is still in its early stages and there is still some work to be done. I am in the process of communicating with team members, assessing feedback and tinkering with the app to make it more intuitive and user-friendly.

So while I do not have a great deal of results to report on, I do want to mention the design process — because I think that is one of the most powerful parts of this program. If I were to work with a private developer, I would — in addition to paying a lot of money — have to wait a long time for changes to come back. But now, I can simply open the AppSheet portal and make changes in real-time.

Say, for instance, there was an important last minute update to an examination that we needed to incorporate. Without AppSheet, it would be very difficult to change our process. We would have to collect some of the results in the app, and other results manually. But with AppSheet, we can go in and add a field if it’s necessary in no time at all.

Best of all, AppSheet is secure and tamper-proof. So students can rest assured that their data is protected and backed up in AppSheet’s cloud-based servers.

Looking back, I wish we had something like this when I was a student. By streamlining the examination process, we are improving the way that students can receive floral certification in Sweden. AppSheet is a platform that any global organization can use to improve the way that they collect and process data during examinations.  

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