Seed testing is a vital part of the agriculture industry, allowing producers to sell their seeds with confidence and gain a better understanding of their product. Founded by a small team of industry professionals, SoDak Labs, Inc. is a relatively new competitor in the seed testing field. However, the lab is by no means an inexperienced operation—it’s powered by a staff with collectively decades of experience and serves some of the most prolific seed producers in North America.
In addition to testing seeds, SoDak Labs also frequently engages clients and prospects to answer questions and holds educational courses, such as webinars and workshops. With such a stacked plate, everyone must operate as efficiently as possible. There is little to no room for error or downtime, and employees typically find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities on a daily basis. This is particularly the case for Jared Baszler, Software Developer at SoDak Labs. As the key developer and engineer, Baszler is responsible for designing solutions for both lab and customer use. He needs to work quickly and effectively to ensure the startup can stay ahead of the curve in a field that’s always evolving.
As Baszler set out to develop the software and technology solutions that would power the company, he knew he needed a comprehensive toolbox that could provide all the necessary capabilities along the way.
From the outset, SoDak Labs turned to Progress as its solutions provider. There was already some familiarity with the brand, as SoDak Labs worked with a consulting group that used Progress tools to build the lab’s website in just a few weeks. After the consulting group introduced SoDak Labs to Progress® Telerik® DevCraft™—specifically, Telerik UI for ASP.NET MVC and UI for WinForms—sticking with Progress was a natural next step.
Since SoDak Labs was building everything from scratch, Baszler had already started developing some in-house solutions using native Windows Forms before he was introduced to the suite. However, he quickly converted this software to Telerik controls simply for the built-in features and functionality. This included even some of the company’s most-used forms in the lab software—the benefits were just that apparent. Converting was easy and gave SoDak Labs access to sorting, searching, filtering and paging capabilities, without Baszler having to develop them himself or do much extra coding. Three of the five main pages of the SoDak Labs backend now use the grid controls. “There was no reason not to use the DevCraft suite,” Baszler explained. “DevCraft was a really good fit, the web-based grid systems were perfect for our industry. The sorting capabilities, the filtering capabilities—they were all built in. We gained functionality by converting. It was a match made in heaven.”
SoDak Labs originally went with Progress for the feature rich tools and controls, but the responsive customer service and comprehensive documentation wound up being pleasant surprises as well. Whenever Baszler has questions or encounters issues, he knows he can rely on prompt customer service to quickly overcome challenges and get back to work with minimal downtime. “The prompt support has been just as valuable as the controls themselves,” Baszler added.
For a small lab, being able to do more with less is a requirement. The DevCraft suite empowers the SoDak Labs development team do just that, enabling Baszler to design and develop many of the technologies and applications that power the lab. The time saved in development is apparent with each project. For example, Baszler recently used DevCraft controls to convert a form to help the lab search on more columns, saving four to six days of full development.
“DevCraft has more than paid for itself many times over,” Baszler explained. “Depending on what I am looking to do, I can save a couple hours here and a few days there. Overall, I’d say the DevCraft suite has helped us cut our development time by 40%, which is pretty significant.” Beyond that, the tools have made the lives of clients easier as well, particularly the feature-rich website. It is easy to use, fast and information can be submitted and retrieved in a simple and straight-forward manner.
Moving forward, SoDak Labs expects to get even more value out of its DevCraft investment. Baszler plans to explore other ways to use Progress tools to further improve the SoDak Labs website and applications, with reporting and testing features being particular points of interest. SoDak Labs may be small, but with a team of industry veterans, the expectations are high. The lab strives to compete with other major players in the field without compromise. With Progress tools, the lab is able to punch above its weight and develop powerful technology solutions and software, even with a small development team.