Woodland Trust

About Woodland Trust  

The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity and they’re on a mission to conserve and restore our green spaces. They protect and restore our ancient woodlands while planting new woods, to create a greener future and safe havens for wildlife. Established in 1972, the charity has grown to become 500,000 members strong planting millions of trees every year. They aim to lock up 143K tonnes of carbon every year by working with businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. 

The challenge 

After a devastating cyberattack in 2020, The Woodland Trust needed to get back to operations as quickly as possible. They were relying on manual, time-consuming processes to connect their tree nurseries with orders and dispatch. Inefficiencies in the process not only wasted employee time, but left gaps for errors, miscommunication, and confusion. With new nation-wide tree planting initiatives coming up, the team needed to get their new infrastructure up and running quickly. 

Driven by tight timescales and the volume of work needed to recover from the cyberattack, The Woodland Trust turned to Transparity to deliver a solution. With 16 Gold Accreditations and 10 Advanced Specialisations, they knew our experts were ready to deliver the apps they needed quickly and reliably. 

The solution 

Using PowerApps we developed several bespoke apps to link complex back-end processes with customers, to enable the easy administration of UK-wide tree planting initiatives. The first is an admin app for The Woodland Trust’s Free Trees for Schools and Communities scheme. The app allows their team to review all applications made through the website and amend them if needed. The status can be updated to move the application through the process from initial application to placing the order with the nursery with automated email confirmations along the way. 

We also created a series of four apps to enable The Woodland Trust to administer their planting schemes for landowners and farmers with similar functionality to the Free Trees app. Viewing and amending application details, along with templated document generation sit within a central Admin App. This connects with an app to record the tree order associated with each scheme, and a pair of back-office apps to provide an overview of stock use, delivery bookings, and to identify species mixes for hedgerow planting schemes. 

The apps connect with The Woodland Trust’s internal databases which govern which trees they have in nurseries available for supply. This stock information is pulled through and allocated to customer applications with an order form generated by Power Automate flows within the App. 

The outcome 

These apps have enabled The Woodland Trust to become more efficient, improve user experience and has allowed their teams to focus on growing their conservation work without being held back by their infrastructure. Senior Project Leads noted the deployment of the apps has made admin processes more intuitive than ever with scheme data presented clearly, filtering irrelevant data based on the task at hand and removing duplicate data entry. 

Just these two initiatives involved over 12,000 applications, to plant over 1.8 million trees and 100,000 metres of hedgerow. The Free Trees App enabled the team to process 4,477 applications from schools and 4,354 from community groups. Those 8,831 applications will result in 1.3 million trees being delivered to schools and community groups between November 2021 and April 2022. 

The apps that enable the planting schemes for landowners and farmers have also had some impressive results, handling a total of 3,283 applications since go-live. This breaks down into four main projects across the UK; MOREwoods, Crofting MOREwoods, Our Trees for Your Farm and MOREhedges. Combined, these projects will deliver 362 hectares of woodland, 542,065 trees and 500,000 hedgerow shrubs between October 2021 and May 2022. 

The development of the apps has fed into The Woodland Trust’s conservation work directly. They have enabled their teams to manage application processes to fulfil thousands of woodland creation and community planting projects, getting trees into the hands of many thousands of people, facilitating planting experiences and helping to inspire a deeper connection to nature. 

“Our Technical Consultant, Olly, was an absolute pleasure to work with. Olly was responsive to the challenge and very understanding of increasing pressures on our own internal resource. He was quick to seek clarification on development options when needed and his communication couldn’t have been better. Olly and all of the team working on our account got their head into the detail quickly and ultimately provided us with solutions that met our immediate requirements to get our schemes up and running again.” – Simon Thompson – Process Development Lead (Outreach)  

“As someone who has gone out of the team and the systems, and then come back in to essentially a whole new thing, I’m really impressed how quickly it has progressed and developed and how much faster the process is becoming because of it” Jack Starbuck, Outreach Adviser 

“The app has been really useful for moving our projects through the season. It gave us a much clearer overview than our previous system, and although there is room for improvement in our processes, I feel confident that the app has helped us identify these gaps much quicker than the previous software we have used. We found the app to be user friendly and when training new starters, it was easier for us to move through the process with clarity.” Victoria Gray, Team Leader (Woodland Creation) 

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