OCSICO has been providing software development services to customers in the fleet management solutions industry for nearly five years. Over this time, quite a bit has changed in the industry:
- Fewer usage of expensive hardware tracking devices;
- Shift towards mobile applications with rich built-in functionality;
- Broader usage of smartphones for GPS tracking;
- Increased competition and varieties of products available on the market;
- Solutions become applicable to smaller companies and companies outside of logistics industries (sales, consulting, repair, etc.);
- Shift towards tracking not only the vehicles, but the drivers/salespersons as well.
Nowadays, OCSICO receives numerous requests to create mobile applications with the purpose to shift from hardware to build-in smartphone GPS tracking, as well as requests to create custom fleet management applications with innovative features for smooth integration with the customer’s unique ERP and accounting systems.
One of OCSICO’s customers is a world-leading provider of turnkey fleet management solutions. The company started business more than 30 years ago in the Scandinavian region, but has recently decided to rapidly and ambitiously expand its presence worldwide. Their new product is geared towards small to midsize logistics companies, helping them to deploy fleet management solutions with very low upfront costs.
The company’s solutions help their clients increase efficiency, provide better customer service, save on fuel and administrative costs, keep track of valuable equipment, avoid tax penalties and keep all vehicles safe and regularly maintained.
The challenge was to build a brand new platform which, along with all the standard fleet management features, would help to utilize mobile phones as personal GPS trackers instead of separate expensive hardware devices that were previously mounted on vehicles. This would save money and allow easy installation of software updates with new innovative business features implemented.
The new platform had to adhere to the following requirements:
- The solution had to provide same high quality user experience on all popular mobile platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows Phone;
- The tracking algorithms implemented in the software had to work invisible for the users and should be intelligent enough to automatically perform the tracking process with minimal user input;
- The new solution had to be fully integrated with the existing infrastructure and the customer’s ERP system.
OCSICO team started with user experience analysis and design. This was done by a team of mobile developers and a business analyst who was working hand on hand with the customer’s team onsite. As a result, a simple and clean interface was developed. It was implemented for all mobile platforms universally, taking into account the specific user interface requirements of each platform.
The second phase was the technical design of the tracking algorithms. The mobile software was supposed to be smart enough to collect raw GPS tracking data and then automatically create optimized commercial routes from it. The accuracy of the tracking algorithms was tuned together with the Academy of Science’s mathematicians.
The next functionality to develop was the communication of the mobile software with backend servers and real-time generation of business data in the customer’s ERP system.
Then, self-invoicing mechanism of driver’s work was built into the mobile applications, making the solution suitable to companies that utilize part-time workers or independent contractors.
Finally, a back-end web dashboard was created. One of its uses was automatic report creation and intuitive display of the information. For example, by looking at one of the reports we could see that a customer A got an order B delivered on the date C by the driver D. All of the reports are created automatically with very high level of precision.
Some effort was put into making the solution work in the cloud. This way the users could have their workspaces set-up without installing any software on the premises. Additionally, OCSICO, together with the customer’s team, migrated some of the existing infrastructure services to the cloud.
The brand new system was implemented. Each of the three standalone mobile applications developed had the following features:
- Universal and intuitive user interface;
- Automatic and precise trip creation;
- Real-time generation of business data in the customer’s ERP system;
- Driver’s self-invoicing mechanism;
- Informative web dashboard;
- Automatic reports creation;
- Tracking of all of the company’s vehicles on a map;
- Cloud integration.
Some of the major advantages of the new system:
- Low deployment upfront costs for new clients (no need to install expensive hardware devices);
- Low maintenance costs;
- Automation of business data gathering and reporting;
- Easy installation of software updates.
All of the abovementioned features and advantages made the new fleet management solution affordable and applicable to a broader range of potential clients such as small and middle-sized businesses. As a result, the customer’s sales increased significantly.