So, after a lot of thinking, you have decided to digitize your logistics process.
In today’s competitive times, getting the right product delivered at the right time is crucial for your business’ success. And a mobile solution helps you manage the fleet, routes, shipment details, drivers, goods, and much more effortlessly from a single app!
This blog aims to help you begin with logistics mobile app development. We have covered every necessary information including key technologies, and features.
Before we begin discussing that, let’s have a closer look at what are the major hurdles that logistics businesses face, and why a logistics app is the right choice.
Here’s what the blog covers:
- Issues Blocking the Growth of Logistics Business
- Uber for Trucking
- Benefits of Transport and Logistics App Development
- Deciding the Type of Logistics App
- Logistics App Development Technologies
- Basic Features of Transport and Logistics App
- Features For The Admin Panel
- Logistics App Security Components
- Design Tips For Logistics Mobile App Development
- How to Monetize Your Logistics App
4 Issues Blocking the Growth of Logistics Business
We think that we can best help our clients only when we understand where the problem lies. When we were trying to understand the challenges in logistics management, we realized that the problems are many. Delays in delivery, unsatisfied customers, mismanagement, to name a few. We shortlisted 5 major hurdles that most traditional logistics companies face. Let’s explore them in detail.
- Lack of Automation
One of the biggest challenges in the logistics industry is human intervention. At times, it leads to costly errors in supply chain management. This includes wrong delivery, shipping delay, damaged products, etc. Automation aims to reduce this human intervention in applications and process, thus saving the company from labor. Further, it allows businesses to reduce the time they spend on manual work. From documentation, tracking, processing operations, automation has already benefited many logistics companies.
- Difficulty in Tracking
Logistics management requires tools to track the process. Does this happen to you – when a truck leaves the warehouse, you keep wondering where are the goods? Is the driver driving safely?, etc. Moreover, logistics has a decentralized approach. This means, it’s not possible to synchronize the information that you get from multiple parties without a digital solution. How would you keep a track of what product is out for delivery, if the customer has received the product? A tracking tool with GPS gives you all updates from driver behavior to timely delivery on your mobile screen.
- Warehouse Management Error
One misplaced item can cost you billions. For example, in 2013, world’s biggest retailers, Walmart, lost US$3 billion. The company was struggling because of messy storage places and a surplus in goods for years. But that year things became worse. The CEO Bill Simon said: “We run out quickly and the new stuff doesn’t come in.”
Learning from their mistakes, the company entered the world of innovations. In 2014, Walmart launched My Productivity App to help managers get a holistic overview of the supply chain. Recently they launched a high-tech grocery warehouse. In the same way, logistics companies need innovations to optimize space, identify items, analyze produce, and prioritize customers.
- Ineffective Fleet Management
When managing a fleet, fleet managers face several challenges that impact profitability and productivity. Let’s take a simple example of time spent on administrative tasks. According to a study by TomTom Telematics, 59% of fleet managers agreed that reporting working times took up too much time. Now, spending hours on such menial tasks can impact your revenue generating activities. Embracing digital solutions will reduce both time and errors.
To deal with all these problems is having a mobile solution. According to McKinsey Global Institute, the supply chain management sector has the third-highest automation potential. Let’s explore in depth how you can unlock this potential with the help of a logistics app.
Uber for Trucking – Has it Caught Your Attention Yet?
If you are reading this, there are less chances that you do not know the ‘Uber for X’ model. Seamless navigation, good UI/UX, effortless payments is what Uber gives and that’s why it’s a hit among customers. Following Uber’s footsteps, many startups have started to build a similar model, and they are more than happy. In the US alone 30% of the population have used on-demand services like Uber for X.
Thinking why are we discussing this?
We would like to highlight the fact that there are many Uber-like apps for food delivery, or taxi booking in the market. But transport logistics has fewer apps which means you have a good chance to launch an app with relatively less competition.
Do you know what the market says?
Reports expect the global Uber for trucking industry to reach $12,256 billion venture capital by 2022, with an increase in CAGR of 3.48% for the forecast period of 2016-2022.
Related Read – Uber Clone App: Reshape Your Taxi Booking Business
The logistics sector is booming with innovations. If you want to bring your idea to life and build a logistics app, we can help you.
Benefits of Transport and Logistics App Development
The aim of a logistics company is to offer good speed, flexibility and predictability to improve the service quality. That’s why many companies are going for mobile solutions that help them with diverse functions. From improving productivity to profitability, a logistics app has good potential. Let’s find out what you can achieve with transport and logistics app development.
- Good-bye Paperwork: logistics applications by providing access to every data will eliminate the need of paperwork. This automation of paper-based processes will save time and ensure safety of your data.
- Smooth Supply Chain: Drivers can share real-time updates regarding any delay in operations. This way, with a logistics app, you can enhance the supply chain operations.
- Flexible Delivery: you can change delivery schedules or routes on the go. This flexibility creates an opportunity for cooperation between you and your customer.
- Simplify Order Entry: it becomes easy to simplify your internal as well as customers’ order entry procedure.
- Less Errors: you can get live updates of your freight vehicle through GPS innovation. This will help rectify and reduce errors in delivery. Moreover, you can send assistance rapidly in case a trouble occurs.
- Easy Warehouse Management: Automating warehouse will enable warehouse managers to reduce errors and simplify their tasks.
- Improves Speed: A logistics app will get invoicing done fast. This smoothens the communication between the headquarters and logistics team, it saves fuel costs, and speeds up the arrival of shipments.
- Reduce Costs: As compared to traditional methods, mobile solutions save data, time, cost, and energy. By having a logistics app, companies can handle different operations within budget.
Now if you are convinced that a logistics app can do wonders to your business and there’s no giving second thoughts, it’s time to start talking about how you can proceed with transport and logistics app development.
Deciding the Type of Logistics Management App
Logistics includes managing various aspects like warehouse, vehicle management, etc. The first thing is to decide the type of delivery logistics application you wish to create. Here, there are two main scenarios
A. If you are a business owner looking for startup ideas then you can create a marketplace app like Uber Freight. This model works similar to Uber taxi service where shippers place their orders, and truck drivers choose the ones that suit them.
Is this what you are looking for? You can directly jump to the features and technology required for a logistics management app.
B. If you are a logistics company, consider creating an app based on your business needs. Here are some popular delivery logistics app types:
- Fleet management – Do you have a huge fleet and you do not know how to track each vehicle? Then a fleet management app will be of great help. The purpose of fleet management is to oversee all fleet operations and improve productivity. This type of application is useful to record and organize data and information related to vehicles and fleets to keep the overall fleet operation hassle-free. This solution helps fleet managers gain real-time visibility into their operations while increasing driver satisfaction and decreasing fuel usage through predictive analytics and accurate reporting. With these applications, you can reduce costs, and boost performance.
- Warehouse Management – If your business owns a warehouse, you know that that’s a very busy place. You need a digital solution which will help you manage assets, track inventory, shipments, and warehouse operations from anywhere at any time. Warehouse mobile apps makes warehouse management an efficient task by storing and managing huge amounts of data related to the products stored. The app even facilitates you to manage the workers working in your warehouse and even evaluate their performance metric.
- On-demand Logistics – on-demand applications are the latest trend. With on-demand logistics app development, you can deliver products or services to customers as and when they need. However, you need to build another app for drivers or service providers who satisfy the delivery requirements.
- Real-Time Forwarding & Tracking – just like you track an Uber car, real-time tracking enables you to get real-time updates on deliveries, and routes that the driver takes.
- All-In-One Logistics and Transportation – this consists of all features of the above-mentioned types. Transport and logistics app development is in huge demand. They benefit enterprises with cost-effective transportation, location tracking, fuel management, and more. We suggest all-in-one delivery logistics app development to enhance productivity and meet delivery benchmarks.
Curious to know more about logistics mobile app development? In the rest of the blog we discuss all the important points you need to consider. Keep reading!
Do you have a logistics app idea? We can help you plan, and build a mobile solution.
A. Logistics App Development Technologies
For simplified and smooth operations, you need technical support. Let’s find out what are some technologies you need to consider for delivery logistics app development.
1. Location Tracking
Location tracking is one of the crucial technologies in logistics app development. Here are two ways it can help your business:
- Both you and your customers can see the location of trucks and the estimated time of arrival.
- In case of emergency, you can guide or send help to the truck driver.
Let’s find out how this works. Location tracking relies on two types of signals: cellular and satellite. Cellular tracking works best only where the cellular network coverage is better. This means that if there is no network, there’s no data available (temporarily).
We suggest satellite tracking. It’s a preferred choice in most logistics apps. Satellite tracking provides fleet managers with clear accuracy for location and activity information. Location tracking enables you to monitor the location of the truck and make predictions about the timing of its arrival. This way, location tracking facilitates accurate communication to avoid further delay in the shipping process.
2. Map & Route Navigation
How will you get real-time updates about traffic or road accidents? By implementing Google Map services, you can get live traffic data. For better performance, it’s good to partner with a logistics app development company who can help you integrate this in your app.
Next what you need is route optimization with traffic information. Logistics is majorly dependent on time. Suppose the driver doesn’t receive any information on the traffic congestion ahead on his route. This will delay shipments and your business will suffer loss. Therefore, a key option necessary is route optimization with the help of traffic information. This way, drivers can find out the fastest route possible to reach their destination.
Make sure to include the following features during logistics app development:
Google Maps integration
Consignment tracking modules
GPS vehicle tracking
Mileage tracking tool
Locate service center
Telematics is the method of tracking an asset with the help of GPS and onboard diagnostics. This helps record movements on a computerized map.
Let’s simplify this.
Imagine there’s an intelligent computer in your vehicle that reports every detail – speed, fuel, tire pressure, etc. With this information, you can save maintenance costs by monitoring the vehicle.
Telematics provides fleet operators with the information they need to manage fleets. Fleet management is a crucial part of the logistics industry. With live fleet monitoring, you can monitor your vehicle 24*7. This way, you stay updated about the delivery process, and can take immediate actions in case of an unethical activity. This option also improves fleet performance by raising awareness about the wear and tear that takes place on vehicles.
4. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult to change, or hack the system. This decentralized distributed technology is transforming logistics operations. It helps in creating an efficient system. Secondly, the technology is highly effective in enhancing security by reducing frauds and errors.
Here’s how blockchain is improving the logistics industry:
- Brands like Walmart, and Nestle are experimenting with blockchain to track their inventory.
- Blockchain-enabled platforms allow easy coordination of documents on a shared ledger.
- Blockchain is proving to be useful in invoicing and payments. It ensures prevention of frauds and errors without the need of a middleman. Moreover, blockchain ensures secure data across the logistics ecosystem.
5. Artificial Intelligence
The main purpose of implementing AI in the logistics industry is to automate actions and save money. For instance, automated warehouses: you can use Artificial Intelligence to organize inventory, collect data, predict demand. Other examples of AI in logistics include:
- Self-driving cars: Waymo was the first company that decided to integrate a commercial taxi service with self-driving cars.
- Smart roads that can sense traffic volume and patterns. These before-hand predictions help deliver faster.
Wondering how to use technologies in logistics app development? We can provide you with a realistic solution considering your requirements.
Further in the blog, we discuss how integrating AI in several features of logistics apps can help you. Keep reading!
B. Log-in, reviews, chat, and more – features that matter
Features for transport and logistics apps fall into three categories: driver, admin or manager, and end customer. In this section we have listed some basic features to include in logistics app development.
Sign-up is a crucial step for identification. You need to add this feature to all the three categories that we discussed above. We think it’s better to provide the standard options such as phone number, name, and password for sign-in. This way, you can make use of the phone number (especially of the drivers) to carry out further procedure.
For admin, sign-up is a good way to collect important information. Once you have it, you can assign shipping requests, manage trucks, and more. We recommend using artificial intelligence and machine learning. It will help analyze the data, and thus give the best vehicle or order suggestion.
2. User Profile
Again, this feature is for you, driver, and customer. If you want to collect the client database at an early stage then the user profile can help you. However, if you wish to ask the client to create a profile only after they sign a deal, you can do that too.
A personal profile for a driver is necessary because it will equip you with all necessary information to link a driver to a specific delivery. Therefore, ensure that the driver profile includes:
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number, type and date of its expiry
3. Shipment Information
This feature provides the drivers with the essential information on transportation orders. The Screen with essential info on the current transportation orders. To avoid any confusion, make sure the driver has access to the following details.
- Current and scheduled orders list
- Pick-up and drop-off locations
- Estimated time/day of arrival
- Total distance
- Details of cargo including weight, pallet number, etc.
- Customer details
- Payment information
- Map screen
Now what if the driver has a doubt and wants to contact either you or the customer? This brings us to the next feature
4. In-app Chat/Call
The option to chat via the platform is a critical functionality that logistics apps must incorporate. There can be a combination of chatbots and human agents in this segment. For example, a bot can handle simple queries that require instant solutions, whereas a live agent can deal with complex problems.
While live chat through the app is becoming immensely popular. Many customers are still old-school and prefer to speak to a customer service agent in case of queries. Having an in-app call facility can connect them instantly without having to leave the app.
This is a must have feature to keep you, your staff, and customers updated. You can utilize notifications to assign new orders, make changes in any order, communicate with the end user, and more.
C. Make your task easy, admin!
It is a smart choice to develop an admin panel along with on-demand logistics app development. An admin panel will help your business grow more effectively by giving insights into data. Given below is the set of features that you need to consider during logistics mobile app development.
A dashboard is basically the home screen of the admin panel that provides access to all the features. The dashboard screen gets updated in real-time. This will help you make timely decisions.
What goes on the dashboard depends on your needs. It may include things such as revenue and costs, recent orders, shipment status, fleet status, etc. Since this place requires too much information, we suggest using menus and filters to simplify the data you are viewing.
2. Order management
An order management feature fulfils two goals: (a) simplifies the process of order management, (b) allows you to analyze your business activities. With this feature you can view all the essential data related to shipping, and can allocate new orders to the drivers. To optimize the process, we suggest using AI-powered technologies. With AI, the system will automatically assign orders based on pre-set rules.
3. Fleet & Driver Management
You would want to keep a track on your drivers and trucks too. Such screens will provide you with information about vehicle type, assigned driver, maintenance updates, etc. Do not compromise with this feature. The real-time updates about the vehicle can help you foresee the possible errors.
4. Revenue Management
This panel is all about making your billing process manageable. You can access, analyze, and fulfill all the expenses with ease. Here again, you can get insights on revenue with the help of AI. If you partner with a reliable logistics app development company, you can create this panel based on your requirements. For instance, setting different rates for different types of goods or exempt certain charges.
What all features you want depends upon your budget and requirements. However, these are some essential features that your app can’t do without.
If you want to customize the features, you can connect with a logistics app development company. Our team will help you integrate all the features you want in your logistics app.
Security is not only for the goods. During logistics app development, you need to consider data protection, and security of drivers too. Let’s discuss the topic in detail.
1. Data security
Security becomes of prime importance when there’s sensitive content involved. Since your logistics tracking app involves the data of your clients as well as order, driver other details, a solid security strategy is essential.
Here are some common security practices that logistics tracking apps adopt.
- Use server-side and multi factor authentication. This will make sure that the data is available only after authentication.
- Follow cryptographic algorithms to avoid encrypted related breaches. We suggest using algorithms that the security community approves.
- Another way to ensure security in a logistics app is by using obfuscation and minification. To put it simply; the key is to make the code less readable.
2. Driver Safety
At times, distracted driving leads to accidents. But fortunately, there are ways to prevent unsafe driving. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Technology (ADAS) technology is a good solution to ensure safety. The technology utilizes mobile device cameras and in-vehicle motoring. ADAS allows you to sense and track sudden movements. You will immediately get to in case of over-speeding, sudden braking, etc. Using a GPS in logistics app, you can decide the speed limit. Plus, the driver receives real-time voice and visual warnings to prevent accidents. A well-integrated telematics and GPS can ensure that your employees are safe on the road.
Appearance Matters – Design Tips For Logistics Mobile App Development
‘Good Design is Good Business’ – Thomas John Watson Jr, chairman and CEO of IBM
A well-thought app design improves your business performance and market position. So, it’s necessary to pay attention to the UI/UX component of your logistics app. The bottom line is to keep the design simple, smooth, interactive, and without any error.
We think Uber itself has a good UX lesson to teach – Uber’s design is consistent throughout the user base and the app is engaging. So, let’s explore Uber’s strategy in detail.
If you think that Uber’s UX is ‘simple’ then you are wrong. An app that tracks hundreds of vehicles in real-time cannot be simple. On the contrary, it’s complex but easy to use – and that’s the basic rule of UX design.
‘Complex but easy to use’ – what does it mean for you?
That, you should aim to deliver an experience that is appealing and intuitive at the surface without hampering the complexities that lie underneath. A powerful UX is where you hide the complexities in such a way that your users tend to think that the app is simple and they love using it.
Now, a lot of people tend to believe that having a minimalist approach creates a simple design. Not always. Let’s say to keep things minimal, you just add the icons and not the text. How confusing will that be for the user? Always remember, a simple design shouldn’t come at the expense of clarity.
Going back to where we began, ‘a well-thought app design’ – what your logistics app needs is some time, brainstorming session, and a clear strategy. If you think you need help to develop a UI/UX strategy for your logistics app, we can help you.
Create a Logistics App with Biztech
At Biztech, we assure you affordable pricing for developing a logistics app. The cost of logistics app development depends on the platform (Android or iOS) you choose, and the features you want. However, here’s an analysis of estimation for Logistics app development.
Our hourly rate would be around $25 per hour. If you want to customize a logistics app, we can discuss your requirements.
How to Monetize Your Logistics App
The most popular monetization strategy is targeted advertisements. Here, you display relevant advertisements on the app, and wherever a user clicks the ad, you get paid. Note that advertising banners can disrupt the user experience. Therefore, we do not recommend going for it. Instead, another solution is choosing a freemium model. In this model, you distribute your logistics app for free and generate income from users who are willing to subscribe for the premium version for better experience.
Other than these two options, the monetization strategy for logistics app depends on the type of app you create. Let’s say you develop an on-demand logistics app then you can generate revenue through direct channels. When a user books your service, you get commission on the earnings of the driver. If you build a warehouse management app the you can earn.
Another simple way to monetize your logistics app is by charging commissions. For instance, Cargomatic charges around 20%. On the other hand, Uber Freight commission charges are based on distance.
At Biztech, we are familiar with different monetization that are both legal and profitable. If you need help to decide a strategy for your logistics app then we can help you.
In a nutshell, you have a good chance to improve the efficiency of your business by creating a transport and logistics application. To develop a logistics and transport app, you are likely to need help for a team of experts. If you have any questions, get in touch with us, and we will help you plan, and develop a logistics app.
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