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Relay Foods – A BetterCloud Case Study

BetterCloud Monitor

June 26, 2013

3 minute read

Relay Foods

relay foods logoEmployees: 100+
Founded: 2009
Industry: Online Grocery
Website: www.relayfoods.com

Relay Foods, an online grocer founded in 2009, sits between local farmers, artisanal vendors, supermarket chains and its customers. Originally founded in Charlottesville, Virginia, Relay aims to provide convenience and locally sourced food to its customers and has recently expanded to serve markets in DC, Baltimore and Williamsburg, VA and has plans to expand to North Carolina in 2014.

Relay provides both delivery and pickup services catered to its customers’ daily routines – pickup locations are conveniently located near offices, gyms and other stops key in the day to day commute. And this year, the company will be relaunching their website and introducing a new mobile app focused on providing more information about where food is sourced, recipes, detailed nutritional information and more.

On the operations side, Relay is adding fifteen vehicles to its fleet and a commercial kitchen, both of which will allow the company to add more pickup locations, develop in-house prepared foods and expand its product offerings from local vendors.

Working from Anywhere with Google Apps

With so many locations already and ambitious plans to expand throughout the mid-Atlantic region in the coming months and years, Relay Foods knew it would need an extensible messaging and collaboration system from the start that would allow its employees to work together even when they’re not in the same location. That’s why Relay was founded using Google Apps.

According to Kase Luzar, who sees to Relay’s day to day management of Google Apps, “Google is Google. The platform has a lot to offer, its not going anywhere and it makes it easy for us to do so many things in one place, from mail to docs to calendar.”

So even as Relay has grown its team and opened more and more locations, Google Apps has been able to grow with them.

Managing Google Apps Across Locations

While Google’s extensible platform has allowed Relay to easily scale, adding more and more employees made managing the suite on an ongoing basis more difficult.

To help with a severe pain point around shared contacts, Relay installed FlashPanel, but has been able to use the application for so much more.

Shared Contacts for Google Apps

“Since we’re not all under the same roof – we’re either spread out in different cities or have multiple locations in the same city, finding contact information for an employee not sitting right next to you was difficult,” noted Kase. As a temporary solution, Relay created and shared out a spreadsheet that required users to enter and update their contact information. Information was either not updated for months or was deleted by mistake – clearly Relay needed a better solution.

According to Kase, “the spreadsheet was a pretty inefficient way of managing our contacts and took way too many clicks to access.”

So in the spirit of experimentation, Kase went searching for a better solution and landed on FlashPanel. “Our time is money and FlashPanel has 100 percent allowed us to make better use of it.” Now using Shared Contacts and Apps Butler, a directory lookup chat buddy, which users can chat with from Google Talk, Kase says, “it now takes 20 seconds or less to find the right contact information.”

Access Control

While Relay Foods was able to retire its shared contacts spreadsheet, the issue of maintaining up to date information persisted. With so many different offices, Relay wanted to give its managers some level of autonomy inside of Google Apps. These managers can add new employees, add and edit shared contacts and create and add to or remove members from Google Groups.

User Profile Self Editing

While setting up access control roles for managers has allowed Kase to delegate some of the day to day domain management tasks, Relay did not want any one group of employees to serve as the gatekeepers. Relay has rolled out FlashPanel’s profile self editing feature to allow employees to make changes to their own Google Apps directory information.

Google Drive Inventory

Using FlashPanel’s Drive Inventory overview, Kase has been surprised to see how quickly use of Google Drive has grown. “Microsoft Office was so ingrained in the way employees worked that people were at first reluctant to migrate to Drive, but now its been a positive change.”

Kase notes that he’s only scratched the surface of FlashPanel’s functionality, but the tool has been really well received thus far and he’s excited to explore more of the functionality soon.

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