Foxconn is a huge international company with roots in Taiwan and branches all over the world. It has millions of employees and is represented in many countries. The Foxconn branch in the Czech Republic employs about 500 people. It is to this particular branch that we supplied our application for coordinating employees working on orders. For many years, Czech Foxconn managed to dynamically react to clients’ order focusing on the creation of complete IT solutions, as well as production of individual parts for different equipment. Day-to-day coordination of people and production lines and their adjustments for the currently manufactured parts and specific technological parameters represent not only a logistics challenge, but also a potential source of stress. However, Foxconn does its best to care for its employees, which is why it decided to create a mobile application with an easy-to-navigate and efficient overview of shifts. It was discovered that almost all employees of Foxconn in Pardubice use Android phones, so the choice of this platform was an easy one.
Let’s get started
All that was needed was to specify the instructions, tweak the priorities and expectations from the project, propose a concrete solution, and create wireframes and graphics of the whole application. Developing on such a foundation is a piece of cake. We have to highlight the professional approach of Foxconn towards the whole project. While Cleverlance was developing a mobile app, Foxconn took care of the server part of the project. It was a prime example of what cooperation between two companies during agile development should look like.
So what can the new app do? It provides coordination of people on specific workspaces for each shift, recording absences and days off, an easy-to-navigate calendar of shift, as well as automatic notifications.
Surprisingly the biggest challenge was not of technical nature, but linguistic: in Foxconn in Pardubice you will hear a lot of foreign languages. The company cooperates with the Center for Integration of Foreigners for the Pardubice region and organizes multicultural weeks as well as celebrations of the Lunar New Year for employees from Asian regions. This meant that coordinating with employees was not only a logistic but also a linguistic challenge. In addition to the usual Czech and English languages, we needed to add Mongolian and let’s face it, there aren’t that many people fluent in Mongolian here. The translator not only had to find the corresponding Mongolian expressions but also a way to fit the translations into the application design – and apparently, they did a great job.
Spies and us
The world of large businesses is associated with large risks that you need to protect yourself against. Foxconn is an ever-growing company and if they want to keep this trend going, they need to actively protect themselves against industrial espionage. It might seem funny to some, imagining a secret agent whose mission is to find out when Mrs Johnson has to get up for work on Wednesday. However, the leaking of know-how and other sensitive company data represents a real threat. This is why the internal applications for coordination of shifts had to have good security to ensure only persons registered at Foxconn CZ can access them.
Developing this app for Foxconn made us think about efficient planning and about spies, for example from Mongolia. However, judging from the client’s satisfaction, we can say we did a good job.
Furthermore, the cooperation with Foxconn was pleasant for everyone involved. We enjoyed a privilege that we don’t get with most projects: knowing the approximate number of users and being able to test the app with them directly. Such user testing is not possible in some situations, namely for bank applications where the number of users can be hundreds of thousands or even millions. Here we could gradually work on the app to tailor it to the needs of the employees and provide them with a truly customized internal system.