The Sault Ste. Marie startup wants to make life easier for Canadian companies with their digital solutions
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a variety of unique challenges stemming from the pandemic that required creative solutions to overcome these daunting issues.
In fact, one of the challenges Canadian businesses faced was the growing need to implement COVID-19 testing programs in their workplaces, as recommended by the Government of Canada website.
trakrSuite, a software development company based in Sault Ste. Marie, invented their own solution to the screening program problem when they created their smartphone app, trakr Safety.
trakr Safety is a digital health screening and contact tracing tool that trakrSuite has created for businesses to ensure safer working environments.
Brenda Saunders, chief operating officer of trakrSuite, says the COVID-19 pandemic definitely inspired the creation of trakr Safety, although she also says the app is for much more than COVID-19 alone.
“It was definitely a product of the pandemic. There was someone looking for help with their screening questions and how they could do it paperless, ”said Brenda. “COVID released our new solution called saniTrakr (the original name of the application before trakr Safety), and we switched to trakr Safety because it is a safety tool within your organization and not just something to use temporarily while we are in the midst of this global pandemic. “
So how does trakr Safety work?
Well, trakr Safety works as an easy-to-use smartphone app that allows companies to customize their own unique set of health screening questions that their employees must answer before entering work.
trakr Safety also uses QR codes to provide efficient contact tracing by registering all potentially ill employees / guests with potential areas of a business where they may have been, as well as notifying other people in the area who could potentially be at risk from contact.
“We learned from trakr Counting (trakrSuite’s other digital solution) that we could create areas within our solution that would help better identify who comes in contact with others,” said Brenda. “We realized early on that if you want to control the spread of something, it’s all about contact tracing and how quickly you can reach people who may have been at risk.”
When starting their business, trakrSuite, Brenda and Robbie Saunders (co-owner of trakrSuite and husband of Brenda) also own and run the Canadian division of an American company (in Sault Ste Marie) that sells barcode scanners that integrate with iPods, iPhones and iPads. .
Aspiring to another profession, Brenda and Robbie decided to add applications to hardware products, creating complete solutions instead.
“Robbie has always said that we can build our own software for people who don’t have a development company or development department where they build their own solutions,” said Brenda.
“So that’s where trakrSuite comes from. We chose the name because we were going to offer a suite of products specializing in counting and reporting. And our plan was to offer, say, three to five different solutions that companies could contact us and say, “hey, do you have something like that?” And we would have another solution for them.
The first digital solution created by trakrSuite was trakr Counting, a smartphone app that allows companies to count products by area / category, directly scan barcodes located on product shelves, as well as send product information. count directly to a spreadsheet for reporting purposes.
“With trakr Counting, we offer the ability to capture and provide a snapshot of the current state of your inventory. So, for example, we did a pilot at some local Tim Hortons franchises because we saw an opportunity because the managers would do the tally and it would take three or four hours at a time, ”said Brenda.
“So that’s where we came in. The application allows you to create zones, categories, to really personalize your product catalog according to your activity. And after the inventory is counted, you can either print the count information or email it immediately to anyone in your organization who needs the information. “
Back then, counting trakr was Brenda and Robbie’s primary focus. But, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it prompted them to expand their catalog of digital solutions by creating the aforementioned trakr Safety, an app that needed external assistance along the way to help it. to start smoothly.
Brenda said one of the main reasons trakr Safety was able to launch successfully was the funding and support from Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Center, a non-profit organization specializing in business development and growth.
“We were introduced to the Innovation Center very early on, when we came up with ideas for saniTrakr and tried to find ways to get our name and information known,” said Brenda. “The big way they’ve helped us is by taking over some of the expenses that I think early on in startups, you wish you had the money to do it because I want to do it now, instead of waiting for you to reach it. a certain size as a company.
And thanks to the generous support that the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Center provided, in the form of the IAP (Innovation Accelerator Program) and BTIF (Business Technology Improvement Fund) funding programs funded by FedNor (Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario) and administered by the Sault Ste . Marie Innovation Center — Brenda says the support has helped saniTrakr in many ways.
“BTIF helped us set up our support through Zendesk. So now we have in-app support and similar items to larger companies like Rogers. We set everything up from the start, so that we know what our problems are, how we can change our solutions, and so we can reduce future support calls. And so, without the funding for them (which covered 50% of the costs), these would have been crucial things that we could have left. “
With all the help and support of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Center has provided trakrSuite and its innovative advancements as a growing company, Brenda says trakrSuite will not hesitate to consult with the Innovation Center for future projects.
“Now whenever I think we need to invest in something, I contact the Innovation Center first. Whether it’s to see if there’s any funding I missed or something important I should be doing? They were very helpful and that is why we always return to Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Center. They tell me what I need and if there is anything that I missed. They’ve been really great that way.
And so, with everything the company has already accomplished, what’s the next step for trakrSuite?
Brenda says the company will focus on growing its current products, while also seeking to inspire people who may have business aspirations, but who don’t reside in large metropolitan cities.
“We’re currently focused on trying to get as much traction as possible with trakr Safety and making trakr Counting a place where it can be ready for rapid growth, which we hope,” said Brenda.
“I would like people to know that it is possible to come here to Sault Ste. Marie and you can have a very successful business that extends far beyond the region in which we are. It would be great if we could help build Sault Ste. Marie with this idea of being a great technological center and an ideal place to come to live and work.
To learn more about trakrSuite, you can visit their website at trakrsuite.com. For any inquiries about trakr Safety and trakr Counting, you can contact one of their sales representatives at trakrsuite.com/contact.