Before a transportation app development company can start building an app, they need to think in specific terms. Starting the process of logistics app development won’t get anywhere if you don’t start with prototyping, and one of the earliest necessities there is coming up with the technology stack you’ll use. If you’re wondering how to define a technology stack, it’s simple. The stack constitutes all the necessary technology you need to develop your app. We’ll look at the fundamental components that you should consider when deciding how to choose your mobile app technology stack.
The right tech stack for any logistics app development process is going to involve telematics by necessity. While the word telematics may make this feature sound overly complicated, it’s actually one of the most prevalent features in modern apps. Telematics refers to the sort of GPS tracking services available through platforms like Google Maps, but the breadth of application through such a simple format in logistics is impressive. Incorporating telematics into your mobile app will allow your fleet managers to keep a track on all shipments in real time, and it can help drivers directly by alerting them when they’re approaching their destination, establishing routes before they ever leave the warehouse, and providing real-time responsive rerouting in time with live traffic conditions.
But telematics can be just as useful in the warehouse. More and more logistics businesses are making use of RFID technology for tracking their stock. This lets everyone in your warehouse know where the products they need are when they need them through the use of the app. RFID tags are cheap and can be easily attached to stock to reduce the need for paperwork, create a more thorough inventory system, and help you prevent issues with over- or understocking.
Finally, telematics can give fleet managers a more meaningful sense of management over the vehicles in their fleet. An accurate telematics system can identify driver behavior, helping managers determine when their drivers are going too fast, braking excessively, or idling. Many insurance companies are even offering discounts to companies that make use of this technology, so it’s becoming a big priority for every logistics development app agency.
The disparate nature of a logistics company means that communications are especially important. Even if fleet managers have all the GPS information from their drivers right at their fingertips, they still need a sensible means for staying in touch with the warehouse and their drivers on the road. Integrated messaging functions in an app can expedite the process significantly. Fortunately, in-app chat functionality has a lot of precedence in the app industry, so functions like one-on-one channels and group communications shouldn’t be too hard to integrate.
Fleet management chat features can generally get by with fewer bells and whistles than more dedicated social media messengers, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure your users have all the tools they need. The ability for drivers to receive their messages all at once when they go online is a necessity since they’re likely to be passing in and out of coverage zones, and just as important is the ability for managers and drivers to see what messages have been read or delivered and which have failed to send. Push notifications are another important aspect to consider during the development process.
Machine to Machine Analytics
Machine to machine communications is being used more and more by automotive manufacturers, but it can be just as useful for logistics companies. Through machine to machine learning, the internal computers in a truck are tied directly to the hub logistics management software, and it can alert managers and administrators about routine maintenance while also keeping them in the loop whenever a computer triggers a check engine alert. That allows managers to oversee fleet maintenance so that drivers can focus on getting to their destination. It can also prevent the downtime from having to take vehicles off the road or dealing with unexpected emergencies during delivery. Typically, these analytics will be converted into data visualizations that can be accessed through the platform’s main dashboard and let managers assess the big picture with little more than a glance.
Payment Processing and Shipment Approval
A smart logistics app can do away with the need for paper invoices entirely. But that means that you need to have the tech in the driver’s apps to handle customer signatures and the means to read and process credit card information. Fortunately, this sort of technology has become prevalent in the retail sector, and integrating it into your apps is easier than ever before. And it’s worth doing. Having these systems in place can prevent errors in the payment system and provide more autonomy to your drivers so that fleet managers can focus on the big picture operations.
A big advantage of the features you’ll want to integrate into your logistics app is about gathering information, but without the databases to store this information or the machine learning to put them into context, this information won’t be of much use. On the front end, you’ll want to develop a dashboard that puts all the critical information front and center and displayed in visualizations that can be easily understood by users.
But the real technology powering this system comes in the back end. With a functional database and real-time analytics built into your app, you can achieve a lot of important things with your app. These are the functions that will take your inventory information and allow you to better understand your supply chain and automate the process of placing orders. It’s what allows fleet managers to get a fully comprehensive view of their fleet’s efficiency and make changes. And it provides the financial information necessary to really comprehend the company’s bottom line and chart future trends.
None of these components will work without cloud technology to power it all. A good logistics system comes down to the ability to transfer information from warehouses and trucks to the central hub and back in real time, and that can’t be accomplished without strong cloud infrastructure. It’s the cloud that allows all of the features to be integrated into a single app interface and to facilitate the real-time communications necessary for a 2PL business.
Building Your Stack
There are a lot of complicated and interrelated functions you need to consider when you’re working in logistics app development, and that’s what makes your technology stack so crucial. But there are a number of existing services you can use in your stack so that you don’t have to build everything from scratch.
For the deeper functionality, platforms like Hadoop, BigData, and Apache Flink are some of the leaders in terms of analytics. And these will stack on top of your cloud platform, which can be incorporated through the use of Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. For the database management software used to store all your information, MongoDB and Cassandra are two of the big leaders. PayPal and Stripe tend to lead the pack when it comes to putting together payment gateways, while Nexmo and Twilight can provide an added sense of security for authentication and credentials.
While the process of putting together an app may seem like a lot, you don’t have to do it alone, and it’s worth investing in third-party services that can streamline the development process and provide a higher level of quality in the services that you need.