Do you know what the best logistics strategy is?
The best logistics strategy results in effective freight & warehouse management, inventory control, order processing, fleet management, demand forecasting, and customer service. Seemingly, creating a plan that guarantees it yields estimated outcomes within all the logistics touchpoints is humanly impossible. That’s why logistics businesses need an app, a software solution.
Besides, logistics companies play a vital role in the global supply chain, which is rapidly transforming, leaning on emerging technologies. Hence, adopting technology and developing efficient logistics strategies have become obligatory for companies to remain competitive. Introducing the latest technologies in the logistics processes, however, streamlines operations and reduces expenses in several areas.
Developing a mobile app for logistics businesses, for example, comes in handy in many ways. Evidently, logistics mobile applications also helped enterprises to pivot to working-from-home culture in the Coronavirus crisis quickly.
So before we dive into your logistics app development process, let’s validate the benefits you will reap along the way;
Logistics mobile app development benefits:
- Integrating GPS technology in the app, you can make transportation services more transparent for customers as well as owners. Not only in crisis but logistics mobile app development is also a savior for the transportation industry in all seasons.
- Say bye to the paperwork as logistics mobile apps provide real-time access to a company’s database across the enterprise departments.
- Enhance customer satisfaction, reducing delivery time and costs by scheduling shipments, predicting fuel expenses, and reducing empty miles.
- Warehouse management becomes easier with built-in data and barcode scanning app features that boost stock storage and freight dispatch.
- Efficient Fleet management is another advantage of logistics applications. You can record vehicle and driver details, track procurement costs, fuel transactions, route optimization, and overall fleet performance through reports and charts.
Now we know why logistics businesses need a mobile app. But what about the app needs? Whether it’s business or business application development, there will always be basic steps you need to take to achieve the desired outcome.
Here we dig into what logistics app development fundamental steps are that every logistics company should consider. So, let’s get started!
Stages Of Logistics App Development
As an on-demand logistics app development company, we often see clients confused about where to start their app development. Confusion is apparent when you are new to something. It’s only researching and consulting with the right app development team that can help you create a solution for your business needs.
In other words, you must be aware of the development process of your logistics app. Because then only you can make better decisions on your own. So, to begin with, the step;
Step1: Pick the type of your logistics application
The first thing you want to do is identify what type of logistics app suits your enterprise as per your business model. Since logistics companies tend to have various departments, app types vary by purpose, required functionalities, and end-users. Check out the different types of apps considered in the digital logistics market.
- Fleet management app: Such an app is valuable if your priority is to record information regarding your vehicles, as these apps allow you to organize, manage, and coordinate with the vehicle through a central information system.
Its major features include;
- Real-time inspections submissions
- Issues reports
- Barcode scanning for automating data updates
- In-app gallery with photos, docs, etc.
- GPS for vehicle tracking
- Submission of Work Orders
- On-demand logistics app: As the name suggests, on-demand logistics apps help companies offer their vehicles to customers as required. Customers book the delivery service, track their orders, and pay for everything through the app.
Its major features include;
- Delivery services list to book
- Customer profile
- Shipment tracking
- In-app communication
- Online payment options
- Warehouse management app: Such apps optimize your warehouse operations digitally and accelerate delivery with utmost efficiency via storing goods information in an accessible manner.
Its major features include;
- Barcode scanner
- Integration with other resource management systems like ERP
- inventory management
- Order fulfillment
- Transportation management
Step2: Outline the project requirements
Once you realize what type of logistics app your business needs, it’s time to prepare a project requirement document. A PRD is a comprehensive statement consisting of the actions, processes, and project conditions. For example, milestones to achieve with timeline, criteria to validate project deliverable quality, etc. By the way, the practice also helps in project management.
However, you will need experts in your team to carry out this step as it includes,
- Brainstorm over problems and desire solution;
- Prioritize and rank high-value ideas;
- Collect feedback from stakeholders or end-users;
- Create context diagrams or wireframes to describe the system functions;
- Create prototypes to test and validate requirements with the project progress.
Step3: Hire logistic mobile app developers
You partner with vendors and drivers to carry out your business processes and serve customers better. Likewise, to carry out the logistics app development process, you need seasoned developers and designers.
When you have an in-house development team, you can augment the team by hiring remote app developers. On the other hand, when you don’t have a team, you outsource the project from anywhere in the world. Because building an app development team from scratch for a single project can suck up your whole budget.
There are mobile app development companies providing custom logistics app solutions. So, your job is to search for a reliable software company with an innovative development team. Clutch and Good Firms are among the famous sites where entrepreneurs find the right technology partner.
Step4: Handpick the technology to develop your logistics app
Technology selection has to align with the project requirements. You create an app for desktop, mobile, and operating systems, all directly influencing the technology requirements. Besides, there are two ways you can choose from for your logistics app development, i.e., Native app development & Cross-platform app development.
To clarify, the core difference between both approaches is that with Native, you are required to create apps separately for each operating system (Android, iOS, Windows). In contrast, you can write code once and reuse it to develop an app for every platform you want to launch it on.
As for the Native approach, you use specific technologies, for instance, Java for Android and Swift for iOS. In cross-platform, however, SDKs like Flutter provide you with everything you need to create a reusable codebase. Evidently, the cross-platform approach is highly recommended for startups as it saves time and cost.
Apart from the app development approach, you are also required to check in on current technology trends in the industry. Top 14 Logistics and Supply Chain Trends to Follow in 2021 are:
- Internet of Things
- Artificial Intelligence
- Warehouse automation/Robotics
- eCommerce & Last-Mile Delivery
- Warehouse Automation
- Big Data & Data Analytics
- Cloud Computing.
Step5: Develop the app, test & iterate
Last but of course not least, when your application is ready to kick off, your quality analyst needs to kick in. Your logistics application has to be easy-to-use, high-performing, and bug-free. Furthermore, you might need to test your app multiple times and iterate the process until everything is as it is supposed to be.
Nonetheless, you can release your app and keep acting upon the user feedback. Because there always be some improvement areas that are recognized after deployment by users more often than not.
Alternatively, you can also choose the MVP approach to validate your project requirements are aligned with your app objectives. This way, you can polish your final app version down the line.
“Logistics is simple, but not easy.” ~ Joe Lynch
Ah! It’s been a long blog. Isn’t it? We understand how nerve-racking it may seem to try when something is not your forte. But digitalization is the only way you can make your logistics business future-ready. In addition, logistics mobile app development also lets you have control over entire logistics operations. Not to mention, analytical reports will help you forecast demand and make the right decisions significantly.
On that note, let us bid adieu with the hope that you find this piece helpful for your logistics app development adventure!