How to Develop a Logistics App for Your Enterprise
Logistics enterprises face many challenges, and being effective means beating your competitors and сoming out on top. Driver management application helps to optimize delivery times, routes, and the order of work processes. All this can save a company thousands or even millions of dollars and improve their service. A logistics app can help you coordinate warehouse drivers and workers in real time.
Logistics apps for enterprises
Only a few years ago, people didn’t actually consider mobile apps to be a good investment for enterprises. Few workers used them, and due to a lack of mobile expertise in enterprises, apps ended up being sloppy and uncomfortable to use.
But now the picture is starting to change significantly. Being mobile-first has become a priority for enterprises, as those who fall behind can’t keep up with the dynamic market. So what are the main reasons for enterprises to develop their own mobile apps?
Communication and red tape are the biggest problems in any large enterprise, where communications can be indirect and take lots of time. Mobile apps can help to solve this problem, as they can exchange data quickly without any delays or unnecessary explanations from any place. A study by Adobe shows that 47% of companies have improved internal communications with custom mobile apps.
Efficiency is the most important factor for any enterprise, and according to Corporate Technologies Group, mobile apps can free up over 240 hours per employee per year. According to Arctouch, 83% of people who use mobile apps for work agree that they’ve helped them to become more productive.
Currently, big companies are shifting toward using mobile technologies during work. According to Digital Strategy Consulting, over 69% of departments in the average company use between two and five mobile apps.
If you want to stay relevant in the market and increase efficiency, you should think about developing a mobile app for a logistics company. In this article, you’ll find out the benefits of mobile apps for logistics, what mistakes you should avoid during development, and what features your app will need to suit your business needs. We’ll also talk about how much it will cost to develop a logistics management app.
Now let’s talk about the reasons why mobile apps are a great solution specifically for a logistics enterprise.
Types of logistics apps
Logistics applications on demand
Vehicles do not always run fully loaded, and if your drivers have extra space in their trucks, they may take extra cargo for delivery. If you are looking to increase the revenue of your logistics company, consider developing mobile apps on demand. This type of delivery logistics applications brings together the drivers of the vehicles owned by the company and the shippers who need to deliver their cargo. Thus, these logistics applications consist of a carrier app, a shipper app, and an admin panel.
With an excessive fleet of vehicles, it is necessary to track information about each vehicle and maintain it in a timely manner. The Fleet management app helps you to record, manage and store all information about your trucks. With these logistics and transportation apps, you can track vehicle maintenance history, fuel consumption trends, maintenance costs, and other critical metrics to gain a deeper understanding of your total cost of ownership. Fleet management apps include a driver app where the user updates vehicle information and a web administration app where you can assign a user role, track your fleet statistics, scheduled maintenance reminders, and more.
If the logistics business owns a warehouse, you need to make sure that all goods are delivered to the right place within the agreed time frame. At the same time, tracking, managing, and updating the status of hundreds of deliveries in real-time is nearly impossible. To digitize warehouse management, consider developing a barcode scanning application. These apps are equipped with third-party APIs to recognize various barcodes and integrate with your storage database to update information in real-time. Barcode scanning applications reduce the cost of barcode scanners, reduce human error, and increase warehouse employee productivity by scanning barcodes in bulk.
The benefits of mobile apps for logistics
Logistics companies have many reasons to use mobile apps for better communication and organization.
First, logistics is a complex type of business that requires quick decision-making in real time. Coordinating a fleet of drivers and updating information about supplies has to happen quickly, and the information has to be precise. Mistakes in logistics are often hard to fix, and each can cost a company a lot.
The second reason is the remoteness of work. In a logistics company, your workers aren’t just in one office. Business operations involve lots of drivers who can be hundreds of kilometers away, and coordinating them can be tricky.
Mobile apps have lots of capabilities that can help with coordinating drivers, from tracking their locations and estimating the time of delivery with the help of machine learning to sending notifications with updates.
But it’s not only drivers who need to communicate and get up-to-date information. Your warehouse employees will also work faster if they have a mobile app that can guide them through the warehouse and help them receive new shipments. With the help of a mobile app, employees can receive products and add them to the database immediately.
But despite all the possibilities a mobile app can provide for a logistics company, these apps often end up being useless. The main reason for this is a lack of mobile expertise in big enterprises. As a development company with over 10 years of experience, we understand the main flaws in enterprise applications. Let’s discuss these drawbacks and see what you can do to avoid them.
Why do enterprise apps fail?
If you’ve never had to deal with mobile development before, you’re entering a new field, and it can be tricky. Here are the main reasons that investment in enterprise app development doesn’t bring the expected results.
1. Choosing the wrong kind of app
Companies want to make their app the best for their business. But sometimes this results in an overly complex mobile solution that includes features nobody actually uses. How can you avoid this?
First, sort out your priorities. Keep your application simple and make sure it serves a specific goal. Think about what you want to achieve with the help of this application. If you don’t know how to achieve this goal with the help of a mobile app, talk to developers and business analysts. They’ll be able to translate your wishes into feasible technical solutions.
2. Bad UX
You can’t just take your desktop application and move it to mobile. Mobile apps have completely different interfaces, navigation, and user flows. The user experience is the most important thing about a mobile app, and if it’s bad, nobody will use your app.
The UX has to be your first priority. To get logistics app design right, you’ll need to acquire mobile expertise within your company or work with a development partner who already has it.
3. Slow deployment
Time is crucial. While you need your app to be high quality, spending years to develop it isn’t an option. Consider a bigger development team that will be able to build a logistics app app quickly, and remember to keep it reasonably simple.
4. Ignoring employees’ needs
Another big mistake is not considering the end users. Your employees are the people who know how your business works from the inside. They know exactly what could be improved. Ask them what software would make their jobs easier and you’re sure to get a working app that your employees will actually use.
Now you know what to avoid when creating a mobile app for your logistics enterprise. Next, let’s find out what features you need for both your driver and warehouse apps.
Features for the driver’s app
The main goal of a driver’s app is to coordinate cargo shipping and to connect dispatchers and drivers. Fleet management features are at the core of the driver’s app, but there are many other features you need to add to your app to make it effective.
1. Personal profiles and authentication
Each driver should have a personal profile that includes their name, photo, driver’s licence data, list of vehicles, tasks, and delivery statuses. Onboarding should include registration through email and collection of personal data.
Drivers need to log their progress at some major points of their route and report about cargo delivered and received. Driver’s logs should be displayed in a dispatcher’s fleet management web app.
3. Vehicle mileage and fuel tracker
This is tied closely to location tracking – mileage lets you see what distance a driver has covered, and the app can track fuel expenses.
4. Vehicle status
The app can include information about transport inspections and the vehicle’s state.
5. Speed tracker
A speed tracker will help you analyze fuel consumption and estimate the exact time of delivery.
6. Location tracking
Location tracking can show drivers the route and connect them to the dispatch center. Through the app, a dispatcher can send new directions, make any updates, and check the delivery progress.
7. Package tracking
Drivers have to know what items are assigned to them and which have been received and delivered.
8. Traffic information
In logistics, each minute counts, so you need to make sure the driver sees what’s ahead and avoids traffic jams.
9. Push notifications
Push notifications are the main instrument of communication between dispatchers and drivers. The app itself can also send notifications informing drivers about changes to the route, traffic jams on the road, new tasks, and so on.
10. Client and order lists
Client and order lists allow drivers to organize their work and see the details of their current assignments.
11. Communication with dispatchers and clients
When push notifications aren’t enough, you can use text or voice chat to connect your drivers with clients and dispatchers.
12. Daily/weekly plans
Daily and weekly plans can help drivers organize their work and plan deliveries. Drivers should be able to see their plans in real time and confirm any changes
Features for the dispatcher’s web app
Your mobile app for drivers should be paired with a web application for dispatchers. The web app should help dispatchers manage the fleet and should provide all the information needed for effective decision-making. To achieve this, your dispatcher app should include the following features:
1. Dispatcher control center
A dispatcher control center should include information concerning drivers, their trucks, their locations, estimated delivery times, and the assets they carry.
A dispatcher needs the ability to both send and receive notifications. Notifications save tons of time on communication, as they can include media files and even maps. For example, if a dispatcher needs to send a new delivery destination, it’s enough to send a rich push notification with a map in it.
3. Driver logs
Driver’s daily logs should give a dispatcher information on delivery progress.
Features for the warehouse app
Warehouse management is another part of logistics. Managing a warehouse is complex and requires tons of data. Lots of paperwork makes the process tiresome and long, but a mobile solution allows you to quickly collect, store, and process data and also share it with your workers.
1. Package tracker
A package tracker can be merely a list of items that your warehouse workers need to collect or it can include a barcode scanner that allows workers to register items instantly.
Notifications can inform warehouse workers about their current tasks and any changes to them.
3. Inventory list
A list of all shipped items should be available to warehouse workers, and it should include information such as delivery destination, weight, and product description.
4. Advanced search and filters
Search by product, category, delivery address, and other criteria will make the work process easier for your warehouse employees.
5. Indoor maps
Indoor maps allow warehouse workers to find items much faster and help with organizing inventory.
6. Data import/export
Great amounts of data people need to exchange can sometimes cause lagging in work. Seamless data import and export saves lots of time for both workers and managers.
7. Online forms
Online forms are another tool that will help you get rid of red tape. Workers should be able to fill in forms from their mobile devices, saving lots of time (and paper).
8. Shortage alerts
Should there be any shortage in your inventory, warehouse managers can immediately get an alert. This will allow them to plan supplies.
9. Delivery status
Warehouse workers can mark items as received, shipped, or delivered.
These app features will cover all the needs of your logistics enterprise. Make sure that data is synchronized across applications and enjoy the benefits of paperless management, which saves time and money.
Mobile apps for logistics offer lots of benefits for businesses. If you want to develop a set of apps that covers your business processes, you’ll need to invest money in it. However, the return you’ll get due to process optimization will be worth it both in terms of revenue and reputation.
If you’re interested in taking your logistics company far ahead of your competitors, contact Mobindustry for more information. Our business analysis department can create the best business model for you based on the latest technologies. Our development team will be able to deliver the app in shortest terms and provide you with a mobile solution for your business.