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Case Study

Gardner, Inc.

Services Provided

  • Custom E-commerce
  • ERP Integration
  • Web Development
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Gardner Inc, based in Columbus Ohio, is one of the premier national distribution companies servicing the mechanical services industries. They represent a catalog of more than 20 different recognized brands, including Kohler, Echo, Ryobi and many others. They service the entire North American continent through their three distribution houses in the US.

The Problem

The Gardner site had several issues that needed to be addressed. The foremost one, was the site had been maintained internally by a single web developer who was asked to address the needs of a varied internal audience (sales, marketing, warehousing and management) on short time frames. As a result, the structure of the site began to erode over time, as functionality overrode strategic architecture and planned builds/rollouts. What Gardner found when they moved into a functional updating and visual rebranding of the site was that the framework underneath began to crumble as old code sections were brought into play. Even minor changes caused large portions of the site to begin disrupting the other business segments of the Gardner business. They needed a team that was capable of upgrading a large legacy IT infrastructure while keeping the business running.

The Solution

Switchbox worked with Throttle for the unique web design the new Director of IT to do a full code review of the site to determine what parts could be salvaged and what parts had to be rewritten or rebuilt from the ground up. The changes approved by the client initially included the integration of new site imagery and visual layout, but soon took on far more complex requirements. The site’s architecture was completely overhauled. Code for specific functionality previously lived locally on each page, making the code for that page up to several thousand lines long and impossible to efficiently update. Then, that code became centralized, built in modules that allowed a single piece of functionality to be served to multiple pages. A more organized methodology for creating new items in the ecommerce cart was implemented, along with a new method for the company to create and publish specific promotional programs, even ones that pulled inventory from multiple vendors or unrelated lines of inventory.

The Results

The Gardner solution, while larger and far more complex than initially anticipated, was the right solution for the client. Over the course of 6 months, Switchbox was able to take a site that was visually outdated and functionally fragmented, and create a streamlined tool that looked modern, was architected for a better client experience, and central management of the site and its contents infinitely easier. The site was brought up to current code standards, making the addition of new functionality significantly easier and without the fear of new code breaking existing work. The client was continually happy with the progress made on the site. While the timeline extended once the site analysis was complete, they understood that the time and capital invested in the work would only serve to give them a better platform to serve their clients and grow their business going forward.