Working with the world’s leading global logistics provider is no easy task. You must be at the top of your game.
A company that already employs exoskeletons for its warehouse personnel and is developing its own drone obviously accepts nothing but the utmost level of technical quality. And as a technology provider, you’re sharing a great responsibility: over 100 000 shipments need to be delivered on time, and these include anything from fashion items to much needed medical supplies.
So we were excited by the challenge when our client approached us with the need to remodel their last mile delivery logistics mobile app.
Last mile delivery refers to the transportation of goods from a warehouse to the final delivery address. And although a mile can look trivial compared to hauling a package safely from the other end of the world, it presents a set of unique business challenges.
Since parcels often don’t get delivered on the first try, this results in:
- Increased cost for the logistics provider,
- Complicated routes for drivers,
- Difficulty tracking parcel information and whereabouts,
- Additional paperwork that explains the delivery attempts and next steps,
- Issues for sellers’ reputation and customer satisfaction.
The process needs to be managed carefully and can be optimized with the help of new technology. This is something both our team and the client believed.
Our focus was set on the mobile app that drivers used. The previous solution was slow, clunky, and was compatible only with old operating system versions without support. This made working with the app slow and inefficient. The drivers had to use a lot of paper documents, in order to fully detail and organize the collections and deliveries.
We started working on the details right after we received the proposal request. We quickly developed a rough release plan and defined user stories per sprint. The client’s feedback showed that we had the big picture figured out well, so we went into full work mode.
Our choice of technology was Flutter, .NET Core, MS SQL, and SQLite and we used Azure DevOps to manage the project as an overall. As a common approach, we try to re-use as much of our experience with the tech stack as possible and thus lower the risk of unpleasant surprises for our customer.
Almost every project of ours relies heavily on cloud infrastructure, but in this case, we needed to create the solution within the on-premises infrastructure of the client. We were still aiming to achieve a similar level of availability and performance.
Each sprint was planned together with stakeholders from both Zingasoft and the client. Our Agile Project Manager made sure we had all questions around the sprint’s stories at the ready so that we could discuss with the Product Owner, technical and logistics expert on the client side.
Then at the end of the sprint, we showed a working demo and got some invaluable feedback that helped us move quicker in the next iteration. Within a month and a half, we already had a working solution ready to be delivered!
The pilot and the results
To test things out, the client ran a pilot release for a selected number of drivers in their local fleet. The feedback was positive, and drivers validated that we’ve achieved the initial goal: to make their work easier and more efficient by speeding things up and lowering the amount of paperwork involved in last mile delivery.
With the implementation of the app, we managed to save the printing and signing of over 1000 documents per week. And this is just for the initial pilot cohort of drivers. Overall, drivers reported close to a 60% decrease in documents to sign!
Now, the last mile tracking app is used by many more drivers and is making last mile delivery easier for employees and more cost-effective for the business.
And with the world around us changing rapidly and making personal interactions more complex, deliveries are bound to change, too. So the world of logistics is changing, as well. We’ll be helping our client go through that change with additional software solutions – we’re already working on a dashboard module for the back-office employees of the company.
Just in a couple of weeks, drivers started feeling and reporting positive feedback about the benefit of the modern and convenient app they were provided with and how it significantly decreased the paperwork.
The project could not be implemented in a better time. It became really useful to have remote acceptance of documents and fast, remote status updates.