Tulip is more than just a manufacturing app platform. It’s really a tool that allows you to create pretty much anything that you want to collect data or information about. The best part about it is that you don’t even need to know Python or HTML to be able to make it do and feel as you want.

I’m a member of the Customer Operations team here at Tulip and I’ve been building applications ever since I started here. Actually, I’ve been building applications even before I started (I was an end user before), but that’s a story for another time. I’ve created many applications with our end users that target anything from machine monitoring to 5S audits. However, the door to Tulip extends beyond the manufacturing shop floor.

Once your eyes are opened to the world of digital, it’s very hard to go back. As an industrial engineer, I think of the most efficient way to get things done. That’s why I built a Tulip app to organize our internal company potluck.

The Potluck Challenge

I was inspired by a potluck at a client site, and decided to organize one in Tulip’s office. The first step, as with any project, is to define it. I wanted the potluck to be well-balanced, and I wanted it to be all-inclusive. Not everyone is a hard working chef. Some of us have families, and others are fueled by ramen noodles.  So, I decided to have 2 options, colleagues could either contribute money to the potluck fund for catering, or bring a side dish.

I realized paper sign-ups would be difficult to manage. Where do I post the sign-ups? How do I make sure each person pays the money they opted to contribute? I ruled out paper sign-ups, and started to build my Tulip app. In the app, a user’s name is automatically stored once they log in. This made name sign-ups unnecessary. The application just needed two easy steps. The first step prompted the user to choose their contribution type via a form.

Potluck App Form Step

Form step on Potluck App

Depending on their choice in the ‘I will bring:’ step, the user is routed to one of two next steps. If ‘side dish or dessert’ was selected, the user was brought to the ‘Complete’ step with a review of their submission. If the user selected the ‘$10’ option then they were brought to a payment option.

step two of potluck app

Step two for users that opted to donate money

With three simple steps I gathered all the information I needed for the potluck via Tulip analytics.

data visualization from potluck app

Data collected from the 2-part potluck app

Continuous Improvement

Good potlucks have a variety of dishes. In order to achieve this, I decided to embed real-time analytics onto the first step. This information empowered users to decide what to do based on what others were bringing, and how much money was in the potluck fund.

potluck app analytics

User analytics to improve potluck decision making

Continuous improvement is a well-practiced lean technique. Using Tulip you can really iterate on existing applications. Small changes make a huge difference to a process over time.

The best part about the potluck app is that keeps getting better. The office manager asked if we could incorporate sign-ups for cleaning volunteers. Within 5 minutes, there was a cleaning crew sign-up ready for the next potluck. An engineer suggested connecting to the Venmo API in order to automatically send the Venmo request to users. It’s a team initiative!

Don’t have time for improvements but want another Potluck? That’s fine too. Just filter your analytics for the next potluck’s date range and you’re good to go.

With Tulip, companies can digitally transform their shop floors and gain real-time visibility of their production in days. Try implementing Tulip for continuous improvement or other lean applications yourself with a 30-day free trial.