A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Logistics Application

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Supply chains rightfully take the place of one of the toughest spheres to manage. One supply chain has to set up a working process with vendors, warehouses, transportation companies, distribution centers, retailers, and many more. Transportation, or logistics, is one of the most complex industries because of the amount of preparation, organization, and monitoring it requires. 

Companies now seek to address modern technologies and develop custom logistics platforms adjusted to the company’s individual needs. By doing this, they solve organizational issues and challenges and optimize the working process.

According to Yalantis and their experience in logistics app development, such platforms are able to contribute to the optimization of the whole supply chain’s operation. Time-consuming and sophisticated tasks take seconds to complete after implementing digital solutions in comparison to hours of human work that would be required earlier.

But how can a logistics application be of great help to your business? 

The importance of a logistics app for your business

There are a variety of logistics applications that serve specific goals and processes. We will talk about the types of applications later, but now we can discuss how the implementation of logistics applications can facilitate the work of your business.

There is a list of processes your business can optimize with the implementation of a mobile logistics app:

  • Reduce the amount of paperwork

The logistics industry is full of documents: invoices, shipping slips, packing lists, customs documents, and so on. Logistics applications allow you to keep everything in databases by the type of document, easily find the necessary information via a search, and work with them via a simple and fast application from any location. 

  • Improve performance monitoring

Performance monitoring will be much easier once the system starts registering how much time and resources your workers spend on specific tasks. Having this information, you can build the process more effectively. Besides, by having some analytics on performance, issues, or inconveniences, you will be able to make adjustments to the way your logistics department or company works.

  • Automate vehicle tracking

Vehicle tracking, along with cargo tracking, is an essential process that directly affects the working process of supply chains, producers of goods, and distribution companies. In general, this process is possible due to GPS, which will transfer information to the application. 

Replacing over-the-phone vehicle tracking with a logistics app means you will automatically get information on the vehicles’:

  1. current location 
  2. general route
  3. the remaining distance to the destination point
  4. approximate delivery time 

Besides, it will help to forecast future deliveries and keep track of vehicles’ conditions. Trucking logistics apps are a pretty widespread type of solution nowadays. 

  • Better delivery monitoring

Delivery logistics apps are critical for supply chains and good producers. Thanks to the barcode scanning mechanism, you can keep track of each location the cargo has passed through. Being able to monitor the delivery process helps to more effectively evaluate the delivery date and correct future delivery paths.

  • Enhance warehouse management

Warehouse management is a complex process, no matter how big or small the actual warehouse is. Mobile apps for warehouse management help supply chains and distribution companies get information about products stored in specific warehouses in a matter of clicks. They will provide real-time data on their number, condition, date of expiry, and so on. Having this information, you can build the most time-consuming path from one warehouse to another to get goods.

By developing a logistics application, you can achieve the following results: 

  • save costs and time
  • optimize and automate your working process
  • get real-time information to analyze the current order of things
  • make instant data-driven decisions

The other question is: what type of logistics application does your company need? Not all types of applications support all of the processes mentioned. It’s high time to discuss them in detail. 

Types of logistics apps

There are the following types of logistics applications that your business can make use of: 

    • Fleet routing software helps find the most cost-effective routes for transporting goods, including stops, time limits for delivering goods, and gas usage. Such applications also provide real-time data from GPS and maps to correct the direction during transportation. 
    • Fleet management software helps to keep track of the vehicles the company owns. For example, it:
      • calculates the amount of fuel spent and the number of fuel drivers may need for future transportation
      • finds the best routes for transportation
      • keeps a history of drivers’ driving, accidents, and successfully terminated routes 
  • Asset tracking and management software help companies keep track of their assets’ quality, amount, condition, location in real-time, and maintenance schedule. In simple terms, it’s like a real-time e-catalog.
  • A transportation management system (TMS) is a complex platform that helps companies manage the transportation of goods. This includes proper management of documentation for all goods, timely delivery, and compliance. It also helps to monitor the shipment process in real-time.
  • Supply chain visibility software is mostly used by distribution companies to track real-time cargo transportation. Their transport is usually connected to GPS/ELD devices, and this helps precisely estimate when the vehicle will reach each delivery spot.
  • Supply chain management software (SCMS) helps to optimize the process of delivering goods to end-users and identify the external factors that can affect the process of delivering goods to consumers. Besides, such software helps manage all the processes that belong to the operation and management of a supply chain. 

Some of these applications are complex multi-purpose software solutions that help optimize multiple tasks. Different applications may require different amounts of time for development but the general development process is pretty similar. Let’s share some words about it. 

Stages of logistics mobile app development

The stages of application development are pretty similar. There are particular cases when they differ. This may be due to the goals of the development, for example, building a logistics application from scratch and modernizing it require different amounts of time and resources. 

Let’s review a universal plan of action: 

Stage 1: Conduct market research

Market research is useful for your company’s management to understand what is actually available on the market from independent providers. There are a lot of ready-made logistics applications that you can exploit.

However, you should strictly analyze whether those platforms satisfy your needs. If they can’t meet your requirements to the fullest, it’s better to consider building a custom logistics application than to try to settle for a cheaper option. 

Stage 2: Choose the type of application

Depending on the needs of your company, its operation process, and the issues your company usually faces, choose the appropriate type of application from the list we presented above. Don’t forget that if you decide to develop your own application, you don’t need to strictly concentrate on one type. You can mix different types to build a complex application.

Stage 3: Establish a budget

It’s important to understand how much you can spend on development. Considering the budget you will disclose to the software engineering company, the company will present you with different scenarios of development for the MVP version and a list of features it will contain.

Stage 4: Explain your business idea, needs, and expectations for the application to software engineering companies

This stage can be implemented earlier than the previous one. You have to clearly present your expectations for the future application and what processes your company wants to optimize or automate with it. In light of your business idea and their experience, several software engineering companies can offer you their vision of the application. 

Stage 5: Choose the right developer

The right developer means a well-developed application that will serve your company at a high level. Before choosing your developer, consider their:

  • expertise in developing logistics applications
  • knowledge of the sphere and its real challenges, legal requirements, and so on
  • approach to development (if a company can’t offer you anything new based on their experience, it’s not a good sign)
  • constraint management strategies
  • ways of reporting and communicating

One of the decisive aspects of development is price and consequent budget planning. Let’s disclose this side of development as well. 

How much does it cost to develop a logistics app?

Unfortunately, there is no exact price you can pay for a logistics application. You can calculate your budget only when you subscribe to a platform or purchase a ready-made application.

If we are talking about development from scratch, there are the following points for you to consider:

  • The cost of your application will be estimated in hours of human work, and each hour has its price range
  • The price range depends on the country where a software engineering company operates, for example: 
    • USA: $100-$150 per hour
    • Australia: $90-$120 per hour
    • Europe: $30-$55 per hour
    • Ukraine: $25-$50 per hour
    • India: $20-$35 per hour
  • A software engineering company will estimate your business idea in hours of human work and then present an approximate final cost. Don’t rule out unexpected situations, issues, and additional work and costs that can be required for the sake of your platform’s smooth operation

The best thing you can do is choose a software engineering company by the principle of the golden mean: find the best ratio of the cost of human work per hour to the quality of services the company provides (knowledge, experience, etc.)

Conclusion 

As you can see, logistics applications are highly necessary and useful in the logistics industry. Efficient applications of high quality can optimize the work of your company, solve the issues your team often faces, and, eventually, reduce your spending. 

The mission you should carry out successfully from your end is to find a reliable and experienced development company that will build a decent application for your business.

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