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Interface or 3rd Party For Possible Internal Org Use Case? Training Records

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Spencer_Mullane
6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

Finally have gotten fairly complete on a prototype base design for tracking training records for our company (construction industry) and while I have a decent interface setup for showcasing what we could potentially do, I am wondering if sticking with airtable native or moving to one of the 3rd party form and/or front-end platforms (fillout, noloco, softr, jotform, etc) is the right approach (costs being a consideration as well).

The general use case is a base with a couple of tables used to track employees, what training they have taken (CPR/1st aid, scaffold, trench excavation, fall protection, etc) and which of those are active, expired, or expiring soon. It also logs and tracks incident reports on the various sites (what project was it on, what employee involved, what happened, corrective actions, etc).

I have an interface set that has:

  • A dashboard for our training metrics (% of training complete, what trainings are delinquent the most, filter by project/division, etc)
  • A gallery list view for pulling up any employee and looking at their safety records (all trainings they have ever taken, status of those trainings, what incidents they have been involved in, etc)
  • A gallery list view for pulling up incident records and looking at details
  • A form form entering a new employee into the base (would like to find one of our other systems to tie into and do this automatically in the future)
  • A form for entering a new training (what class was it, trainer, location, date, attendees)
  • A form for reporting a new incident on a project (minimal info provided, just notifies management that something happened ASAP but before all details are documented)
  • A form that prefills to update a previously notified incident with any missing info
  • Need to add a dashboard with incident metrics for incidents per man-hour rate, incidents by type/project/division/etc

The prototype interface works "great" as is and showcases what we need, but obviously is limited visually by the integrated airtable abilities. Aside from that though, my question is around having an internal portal/access for the following user-base:

 

  • ~1000-1500 employees (more in the future) could be in the employee list
  • ~200-400 employees (currently) in that 1000-1500 above are project management or foremen and would have emails/laptops/iPads/etc
  • ~50 (currently) employees in the 200-400 are safety managers
  • ~50 (currently) employees in the 200-400 are office/business managers

I would probably have the following access needs as a general starting point:

 

  • Anyone with a company device/email (200-400ppl) would need to be able to initiate a new incident report or update an existing but incomplete one. Ideally somehow the system would know the user doing the data entry (everyone has an account?) and flag it, otherwise it could be a manual field in the form
  • Office/Business managers would need to be able to enter new employees
  • Safety managers would need to be able to enter new training instances
  • A handful (10 or less) employees like the safety director, some IT folks, and myself would need to be able to access the base itself if we needed to change/updates something and they would not all need to be actively working at the same time
  • Everyone with a company device/email could review training records (but maybe possibility to limit the project you are assigned ?)
  • Everyone with a company device/email could review the metric dashboards
  • Ideally access to the dashboards/employee data/forms would not be publicly accessible and need a PW of some kind
  • Incident report details would likely want to be limited to either just safety managers and senior management

I think I have a relatively complete (maybe 80%) grasp on what interfaces can do for this, but my understanding is we would need to have an airtable account for every single user - is this accurate? That would be wildly cost prohibitive in this case since anyone MIGHT need to look but the reality is that very few people would actually be doing stuff on a regular basis. Paid accounts for everyone would be a non-starter for approval.

I'm starting to look into the above 3rd party stuff but curious on where people would recommend to start. This is basically an internal portal/dashboard/training record database. At the moment we have ~30 trainings possible (more to be added) so up to 30,000-45,000 Employee-Training combos in one table. In a perfect world there are no incidents to report so no records to add/forms to fill out, but realistically for an org our size its anywhere from 1-25/month. Training we probably have 10-50/month as some are individual.

Making the forms "prettier", adding some conditional logic (where was the incident A, B, C or Other, if other then freeform field for "where"), simple upkeep and limiting different platforms to a minimum (it will be a challenge to get people to understand that you may need airtable, Make, and noloco to build out a decent product but that is also totally normal) would be key. For the access needs above - I assume to some degree any of the 3rd party systems can handle that but is one more suited to this than the others?

 

long winded, any input here appreciated. I am trying to replace a very antiquated, always error prone spreadsheet that has existed for this purpose since before I was in high school 20 years ago.

2 Replies 2

It sounds like you could do all of that internally with Airtable's interfaces.

However, if you're going to choose an external interface tool, my personal favorite is Noloco's interfaces & portals for Airtable. My #2 favorite portal & interface for Airtable is JetAdmin.

I've spent the most time working with Noloco, and I gave a brief demo of Noloco on this Airtable podcast episode

I also gave an entire one-hour webinar on Noloco called Building a Client Portal on Noloco powered by Airtable.

The CEO of Noloco gave a demonstration of his product on this BuiltOnAir podcast episode.

p.s. If you have a budget for your project and you’d like to hire an expert Airtable consultant to help you with any of this, please feel free to contact me through my website: Airtable consulting — ScottWorld

Mariam_Ispiryan
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

First off, kudos on your project—it sounds like you’re doing some impressive work!

I wanted to share a suggestion with you regarding your toolset. While Airtable is great, I’ve noticed that as you add more users, costs can start to add up. That’s where Softr comes in as a potential 3rd party solution.

Here’s why Softr might be a good fit for you: we seamlessly integrate with Fillout and Jotform, and we’re continuously expanding our feature set, and soon will introduce new form options with advanced contidional logic. With our security features like Visibility Rules, Conditional Filters, and Access Levels, you can tailor access permissions to your needs without worrying about extra costs for each user.

Another benefit is our CRUD functionality, which makes it easy for your team to add/edit/delete content directly within the Softr portal. This means no need to purchase additional seats for every team member in Airtable.

Our pricing model is designed to be more accommodating, especially when it comes to paying for both internal and external users/employees. If you want to learn more about the pricing, you can check out Gareth Provonost’s video comparing Softr's and Airtable's pricing!

We also have this Softr vs Airtable Interfaces comparison guide if you want to go further!

If you’re open to it, we’d love to schedule a quick call to discuss your specific use case in more detail and see how we can help kickstart the building process together.

Hope this was helpful!