Mobile Application With Superpowers! 8 Popular Functionalities for the Logistics App
2020-03-20 | Weronika Masternak | development mobile app
The rational use of new technologies contributes to growth and long-distance planning. Check 8 frequently chosen logistic functionalities of the mobile application. Meet the challenges of managing logistics processes online way right away!
From the article you will learn:
- what effectively affects the development of digitization in logistics,
- about the next valuable functionalities of the logistics apps,
- why investing in new technologies is a good direction.
The use of a mobile application for logistics effectively affects the transparency of the entire organization. Mobile technologies increase agility, introduce predictability, and enable decision making based on real, structured data.
This article is the second entry in the series on functionalities for mobile app for the logistics industry. Go to the first part to keep up to date.
What drives the digitization process in logistics?
Before moving on to the logistics mobile app features, it is worth to know what is the main factor in the development of logistics and transport. There are many factors, but you can close them in 3 areas:
You must remember that your clients are already familiar with the online space. They move freely in it, share their data and understand the functioning of the Internet. That's why there are some expectations for companies. They are mainly related to:
- "keeping pace". Regularly examining client needs,
- staying in constant contact with the customer,
- as well as customizing services. Updating them and making necessary Customer Experience corrections.
Digital technologies are constantly evolving and every company should be up to date with news. The results of the survey as part of the 2019 Logistics Tech Trends report say that most logistics and transport companies use technology. They do this to transform their business and digitize the supply chain.
What's more, the report indicates that 56% of companies spend over 100,000 USD on software and improvements per year. And they don't intend to stop at that! 81% of respondents say they expect an increase in spending on software over the next two years.
Modern technologies and the Internet affect:
- operating costs,
- data processing and protection,
- internal and external communication,
- employee productivity,
- establishing cooperation and building customer relationships.
The dynamics of changes in the field of technology can be both a great motivation and stress factor. An experienced Technology Partner is a good support in choosing the right technological solutions. The tasks of the Technology Partner include selection and assistance in making the final selection, of course - beneficial for your company.
The logistics industry is nothing but a network of interrelated services that aim to transport goods within and outside the country. Intensive operations mean that the entire logistics industry is valued at $4.3 trillion globally. The effective flow of goods from pickup to destination are key factors for commercial and economic growth.
The market is dynamic and rewards those who support innovation. The benefits of adapting to market expectations are real, and investments related to digitization take place every day.
According to a study by Aligarh Muslim University, the economy and society are demanding digitization. This is because digitization can:
- increase access to knowledge and information,
- improve the quality of services,
- give services a whole new form.
Services that until recently required manual work are transformed into automated operations; error-making and time-consuming tasks are reduced. All this has a real impact on the economic situation and economic indicators.
What functionalities should the mobile application for logistics have
If you run a logistics company, you certainly know that digital transformation and the purchase of software are necessary in order to stay on the market and improve your competitiveness. You are probably thinking about how to develop a logistics app that suits my company. Well, let’s dive in!
The logistics app development process should definitely be user-focused. It can have several types of end-users, depending on your business models, such as customers, drivers, office workers, warehouse workers or application administrators. Each person will have different needs and will handle the solution in a different way.
Customer and driver panels are extremely important. Therefore, you should carry out appropriate UX audit or empirical tests to get a personalized list of your mobile application's features.
So, if you are planning to create a software for your logistics company, be inspired and check out the next top logistics app features.
Goods flow and product management
Did you know that you can track your goods to one meter per second? This is made possible by a mobile application with a delivery and product management panel. The mobile logistics software allows you to track your goods in the warehouse, loading area, vehicles or pickup point. This smooth transfer of goods between points is possible by using QR codes scanning.
The packaging and product protection elements may contain QR codes, which, after scanning, send the relevant data to your app. Scanning is done through your mobile device's camera, QR-code application or mobile scanner like that. In this way, automatic notifications are sent out, which immediately show whether the whole process is going according to the established plan.
Here you can also use one of the recommended alternatives in the form of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or NFC (Near Field Communication) technology.
RFID uses frequency or radio waves to scan and identify goods. RFID tags can be active and passive and, depending on the type, allow data transfer over a distance of 25 meters (passive) to 100 meters (active).
This ensures that the recipient's details (e.g. recipient's name, contact details, destination, copy of the invoice), as well as the shipment itself (e.g. content of the shipment, method of transport, product properties, weight), are always in one place.
Offline and online support
The logistics industry must be prepared for all conditions, especially when it comes to network access. Many of the processes are based on the use of the Internet. However, what if free access to the network is disrupted or hindered.
Imagine a driver who is in a place where the Internet fails. His work continues, the order must be completed on time, so the system used - indicated as the technological support - must not fail him/her. The application for logistics should be tailored to the expectations of end-users and provide the same experience both online and offline. Otherwise, it becomes useless and constitutes an ineffective, even compulsory, addition to work.
A properly constructed logistic mobile application is supported offline. It will certainly make it easier for the user, e.g. to enter necessary data, regardless of the location or network access.
Transport and logistics activities involve the processing of huge amounts of data. Their storage may be difficult due to the type of data or the storage space. Here, in turn, an application based on cloud solutions is useful.
You can add cloud services to your mobile application. Data is processed and stored in real-time in the cloud. Access to information about users, drivers or resources is quick and easy (of course - only for authorized persons). It is true that running cloud functions in business will increase the cost of creating apps for logistics. However, there is no denying that in the long term this will generate the desired revenue and increase control over resources.
Automation of operations and reduction in errors
Manual work is associated with mistakes - employees are people and anyone can make an unfortunate mistake. By using the mobile application for everyday logistical tasks, you will minimize inaccuracies and block errors resulting from manual work.
Thanks to the mobile application for logistics and the provided creation function (e.g. of the forms, queries, tasks), your employees can perform a number of activities, e.g:
- add and edit current/new orders for products and services,
- measure business performance indicators (e.g. KPIs, ROI),
- go to historical data and compare it with any period,
- plan actions and verify their effectiveness,
- estimate the time and cost of running processes,
- create reports and documents for managers.
All information is stored in the company's database as well as in the application itself. The data is easily accessible and, above all, secure thanks to additional cybersecurity measures.
Paper orders for both services and products can be lost, damaged and overlooked. The solution to this are e-forms, in which all data necessary to execute the transaction are included. Once the information has been entered in the appropriate fields, it will always remain in the correct and legible form and for as long as your company needs it.
Thanks to automation, there will never again be a scenario in which a customer complains about a lack of response to the inquiry from you or about delays in the order information flow. Introducing automation into the company and into existing processes improves productivity of team members, saves their time for manual preparation of documents and allows for immediate generation of mobile documents.
Update of information
One of the most important aspects of conducting logistic activity is keeping information up-to-date. The mobile application should be equipped with a dashboard (something like the main panel), from which key information is available.
The information contained in the dashboard should be personalised and adapted to the specific type of user, e.g. other messages will be displayed to managers, customer service staff, warehousemen, and other to drivers.
A mobile solution for logistics should support the driver's journal and daily activities. Through the logbook, the driver is able to record every movement and declare the duties performed. Moreover, the journal allows you to keep track of such data as:
- mileage and number of kilometers travelled,
- hours spent on work,
- the charges paid, e.g. for fuel, for a toll road,
- the number of routes made,
- the number of shipments received and delivered during a given period.
These are just a few examples. You can actually observe any data. All you need to do is to specify what you are interested in and then add it to your application as part of the functionality.
Security in the company is paramount and takes place on many levels. For example, personal data, sensitive data, the software used, know-how, tender information or recipes must be protected.
A mobile application should be developed in compliance with security standards (e.g. OWASP, ASVS) and meet global digital security requirements (e.g. ISO 2700x, GDPR). Ideally, an application should pass penetration tests, application security audits and GDPR compliance audits before it reaches end-users.
The logistic application should also include safety aspects for employees, especially drivers. With dedicated mobile software, you can monitor your driver to ensure 100% protection. The application tracks the driver's behaviour while driving, e.g. braking, speed, phone use, lane driving. On this basis, a scorecard can be generated, which assists in the training of drivers and their selection for subsequent orders.
Information flow has never been so convenient with an application that provides a conversation function. The mechanism of communication can take the form of a chat, internal forum or popular chatbot.
Each member of the team is able to quickly establish contact with a selected person, send him/her not only a message in the form of text, but also an image or files of any format. Thanks to this, communication between all the people involved does not go beyond the application and beyond the company.
Making a payment
As mentioned in the previous part of the article, the logistic mobile application gives the possibility to monitor data about products, their condition, orders placed or delivery. And all this in real-time!
The driver using the application can perform broadly defined payment activities. The application and the data included in it are proof of payment made by the recipient. Here the e-account plays a great role, which records each payment with related information.
In addition, the employee may keep travel bills as part of the software. Employees responsible for finance have access to the administrative panel where these data are aggregated, invoiced, analysed and then paid out on this basis.
In such a system of work, where the driver is included in the payment process, it is worth taking care of mental comfort. With the mobile application, the probability of making a mistake after a demanding journey is reduced.
Availability in many languages
Modern technologies remove language barriers. It is worth keeping in mind that among the drivers there may be people from many regions who speak different languages. In order to respect them, the logistic mobile app should give you a choice of language.
Moreover, a change of language should not cause a different User Experience. The app must be prepared for multilingual service with the same UX, level of information and user satisfaction.
Application support for multiple languages translates into scalability of the business, its free growth and can become an element increasing the chances for success.
Futuristic solutions are already in use
It is safe to say that mobile solutions are an essential tool for the logistics and transport industry. It is already known that thoughtful app features can help to manage processes, reduce the occurrence of errors and information chaos, or make it easier to track resources.
However, what is equally important is that the logistics application allows you to shape your brand online and build customer trust. Provide valuable solutions and meet customers' expectations. That truly will contribute to improving the results and to the appearance of a friendly attitude towards your business.