Back around 2000 - 2001, I was troubleshooting server issues and reached out on an internet forum for some help. A stranger named Matt from Ohio ended up answering that question (and a million more). In the past 10+ years Matt has not only been the official freelance web-programmer for the businesses I've worked for, he has also been a very good friend and the one go-to person for when you are looking for the 'right' solution to an issue.Jani Gyllenberg
One goal I've personally had for 2012 is to improve overall company efficiency and try to simplify workflow while improving quality. We had Matt create a system which generates PDF detail sheets for each of our boats based on an XML feed from our Dealer Management System. A task that would take several hours previously has been slimmed down into just a few minutes thanks to this system. The same task which used to require a Graphic Designer to complete can now be completed by anyone who knows how to surf the internet.Jani Gyllenberg
PDF Detail Sheets
In 2007 as the US economy took a dive, our industry of boat sales suffered immensely. It took some time but we re-structured our business model and attacked (new to us) foreign markets with the flood of repossessed US-built boats. Our website needed to change and we needed tools to make our site foreign-customer friendly, so we reached out to Matthew Wilkin.Jani Gyllenberg
Matt created a currency converter system for our website that allows customers to see boat's prices in 19 different currencies using real-time exchange rates. And instead of the system just relying on one source of data - Matt made it bulletproof, should one source of data fail there are three more and the end user would never know anything has changed. We have not yet run into one other boat dealership (nor automotive dealership) who has developed a currency converter that works as seamlessly as the one Matt created for us.
In 2011 our Dealer Management System platform provider was acquired by another company. The company that once sought to change the internet experience for car & boat shoppers became a stale slug. The website we had designed was locked up in their closed-system and every change we needed to make became a hassle. Before the end of the year we decided we were going to take our website back into our own hands while retaining their systems for our inventory management.Jani Gyllenberg
However, this created an issue of how to get the inventory to display on our homepage (residing on a remote server). The management system were only willing to provide an XML feed. While XML feeds work great for certain situations, trying to load details of 100 boats by parsing the feed on the client-side ended up causing unbearably slow load times. We reached out to Matt for help and he had the perfect solution: a scheduled system task which downloads the XML feed, sorts the boats by the newest, grabs 20 of them and puts them in a ready-to-access, extremely-quick-loading, file. And it works great.
Inventory Feed List