Last Updated: January 12, 2024
Logistics App Development
Published On: January 01, 2024

Blog Summary: This blog will give you an in-depth analysis of which type of logistics app would be ideal for your supply chain processes. Most importantly, it guides you through the challenges you might face when developing a logistics app. In the end, you’ll have all your answers about the benefits you will reap through reduced operating costs and shorter delivery times.

Since transportation is a big challenge for large-scale enterprises and freight carriers, logistics apps help them immensely in cutting down prices. Moreover, they also simplify the headaches of gruesome paperwork, manual labor costs, and constant vehicle monitoring.

Even though the logistics and transportation industry faces a loss of USD 15 billion every year, the logistics app development market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.30% by 2030. It shows that this is a promising industry to venture into to overcome downtime and operational inefficiencies.

Now, businesses can send a shipment courier with just a tap on the app and create a transparent communication channel between shippers and drivers. With route optimizations, it also decrease the role of intermediaries for an enhanced supply chain process.

In this blog, we’ll uncover all the reasons why decision-makers want to switch to an on-demand logistics app development and why it is the most feasible solution.

Types of Logistics Apps

Logistics app development serves as a platform to manage operations and connect with customers.

Logistics App Types

Let’s explore the types of logistics apps:

1. Fleet Management Apps

Fleet management apps are designed to assist businesses in improving customer service, increasing vehicle utilization, and reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs. Some apps offer additional features such as optimizing routes, maintenance scheduling, fuel, and driver management, and reporting.

Some popular fleet management apps include Verizon Connect, Fleetmatics, and SamsaraFleet management is not the only feature of these apps. These apps also include real-time view with GPS tracking for vehicle tracking.

For example, Sectrack is our in-house developed online vehicle tracking app that offers quick access to monitored objects and their status. It is designed explicitly for central users with real-time updates and easy monitoring.

2. Supply Chain Management Apps

Supply chain management apps offer stock, order, warehouse, and transportation management. These apps are beneficial for businesses with complex or global supply chains, as they provide visibility and control across the entire supply chain network.

They use mobile app development tools and technologies like barcode scanning and GPS tracking to provide real-time visibility into supply chain operations. They can integrate with other business systems and benefit companies in various industries.

Popular supply chain management apps include SAP ECC, Oracle SCM, and Manhattan Associates.

3. Driver Management Apps

Driver management apps help reduce the environmental impact of fleet operations by optimizing routes, reducing fuel consumption, and promoting safe driving. Businesses with vehicle fleets commonly use these apps, but it can also benefit employees who drive for work with mileage reimbursements.

They often have driver scheduling, vehicle maintenance tracking, and compliance management. Some apps offer additional features like driver messaging, vehicle diagnostics, and integration with payroll or human resources software.

Popular driver management apps include Fleetio, Samsara, and Verizon Connect.

4. On-demand Logistics Apps

On-demand logistics apps offer a flexible and efficient way to transport goods, with real-time tracking, instant pricing, and easy booking. They match customers with nearby logistics providers, reducing wait times and improving delivery speeds.

These apps offer same-day delivery, heavy freight transport, and temperature-controlled shipping. Quite popular in e-commerce, food delivery, and healthcare, they offer transparent, cost-effective, and flexible alternatives.

Some known on-demand logistics apps include Uber Freight, Cargomatic, and Shiply.

5. Real-time Tracking Apps

Commonly used for fleet management, deliveries, and personal safety, real-time tracking apps provide location history, geofencing, and alerts for specific events or conditions. In the consumer market, real-time tracking apps are popular due to enhanced application security, which allows them to track shipments, locate lost items, and monitor the location of family members or pets.

Future integrations also include the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to offer more advanced features and analytics. Some popular real-time tracking apps include Google Maps, Life360, and Tile.

6. Warehouse and Inventory Management Apps

Warehouse and inventory management businesses can optimize the performance of their mobile apps by tracking inventory levels and managing orders for accuracy. These apps are commonly used in retail, e-commerce, and manufacturing, often integrating with ERP software for comprehensive analysis of inventory and supply chain data.

These apps are essential for reducing stockouts and overstocks and increasing operational efficiency. Famous apps include Zoho Inventory, DEAR Systems, and Fishbowl Inventory.

Similarly, we have also developed an app to offer visibility into the warehouse operations of African ports. Port Eye allows users to track their shipments in the local area through shipment tracking, real-time visibility, door-to-door deliveries, and online booking.

7. Delivery Management Apps

Delivery management apps enhance delivery operations and provide real-time updates on shipments. These apps offer route planning, delivery scheduling, driver tracking, and customer communication.

They help businesses improve delivery efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and delivery times, and enhance customer satisfaction. Delivery management apps are commonly used in logistics, transportation, and e-commerce.

These apps integrate with other business systems, like order management or accounting software. Famous names include Bringg, Routific, and Onfleet.

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Benefits of Logistics App Development

A logistics app can benefit your business with delivery operations through real-time tracking and communication. By reducing operational costs, you can improve customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, and enable data-driven decision-making.

Your business can leverage the power of technology with logistics mobile app development services and help you stay competitive through the following benefits:

1. Optimize Delivery Time and Cost

Logistics app development helps optimize delivery time and cost by providing real-time tracking, route optimization, and automated scheduling, leading to faster, more efficient deliveries and reduced operational costs.

2. Ease of the Supply Chain Process

Logistics apps streamline the supply chain process by providing visibility into inventory levels, order status, and delivery schedules, enabling businesses to manage their supply chain more effectively and respond quickly to changes in demand or supply.

3. Manage Warehouse Properly

Logistics app development enables businesses to manage their warehouses properly by providing tools for inventory management, stock control, and order fulfillment, leading to improved inventory accuracy and reduced storage costs.

4. Build a Great Company Reputation

Logistics apps can help build a great company reputation by providing customers with real-time tracking, delivery updates, and exceptional customer service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

5. Minimize Paperwork

Logistics app development helps minimize paperwork by digitizing document management, order tracking, and reporting. It helps businesses reduce administrative costs and reduce their environmental impact.

6. Track Vehicle Location

Logistics apps enable real-time location tracking of their vehicles. This feature improves efficiency, reduces costs, and enhances customer satisfaction by providing accurate delivery ETAs, optimized routes, and proactive communication.

7. Easy Online Booking Process

Logistics app development provides an easy online booking process to ease scheduling deliveries, tracking shipments, and communicating with drivers. It enhances the customer experience and increases customer retention by offering a user-friendly, tech-enabled solution.

Reasons for Logistics App Failing

Logistics apps can bring immense benefits to a business. However, many times, things don’t go as planned, and these apps fail to generate proper returns on investment. Other times, the apps are not built with ideal mobile app development frameworks to make them scalable.

Similarly, the transportation costs can also rise by almost half of the product value, which can increase the shipping expenses.

Here are some of the reasons why a logistics app might fail:

Not Considering Users

Sometimes, logistics apps need to consider the user experience instead of building strategies based on mere assumptions. For instance, if you approach a development company to build a mobile app for drivers, it’s essential to do target audience research in terms of the devices they are using. Eventually, it will help create an app that satisfies user expectations and minimizes the learning curve for the developers.

A similar case happened in 2011 with Hailo – a UK-based taxi cab booking app for yellow cabs that entered New York in 2013. Unlike others, Hailo focuses on driver concerns. However, the startup failed due to the lack of research on the devices the drivers were using.

Lack of Marketing

When developing a logistics app for B2C, taking care of the users’ needs is paramount. It means building a product is not enough, monetizing the mobile application is also a key part of development. Instead of hoping that the app will garner success on its own, they should focus their efforts on marketing it well across the target market.

A similar case happened with Everpix – the startup that built a great solution for organizing photos over the cloud. Even though it was a promising project that involved top engineers and gathered USD 1.8 million in funding, it failed to leave a mark in the industry. All because they didn’t market it well enough, leading to their shutdown in 2013.

Poor Quality

Your logistics app can have all the robust features. However, a simple bug can hinder all the processes and undermine the efforts that went into developing the code.

Bugs can weaken the mobile app database security and make it more vulnerable to security branches and cyber threats. It generally happens because of the technical errors that can make the planning go haywire.

The lack of planning would eventually lead to making uninformed decisions.

Too Many Features

Sometimes, a logistics app can have a lot of features. The idea behind building a feature-packed logistics app is to attract more users and combine all of them into a single app.

Instead of building a single app, it’s better to build two separate apps when you need to manage warehouses and track a fleet of trucks. Hence, before developing a full-fledged app, it’s better to start with an MVP and gain user feedback on which features should be included.

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Why is Architecture a Must in Logistics App Development?

It’s usually the architecture and process that defines how a particular software will create a new and better process. An adequately laid development architecture affects the depth of functions in terms of the speed at which it can be implemented and upgraded.

Similarly, it also affects the following three essential areas:

  1. How fast can the changes be implemented?
  2. How fast can the generated information be applied for continuous improvements?
  3. How easy would it be to collaborate with the key partners?

Here’s why it’s essential to have a solid architecture for a logistics app:

Save Time and Costs

A strong architectural foundation hugely impacts the Returns on Investment. The architecture of an app involves a structured way of components interceding with each other, the connections, and the environment in which they operate. While not building an architecture will save your development budget initially, it could cost you more in the later stages.

Hourly Rates of App Development Worldwide

Here are the reasons why:

  1. Poor mobile app database structure of logistics apps is not optimized for the environment in which they can function. It could lead to sudden outages.
  2. If the structure of architecture is messed up, it makes the testing of apps more difficult, making them vulnerable to bugs and breaches.
  3. The dependencies must also be considered when you want to modify a component.

Enhance Performance

A logistics software app has its operations locked across multiple sections, leading to issues of data duplication, inconsistencies in synchronization, and lack of transparency. This is not only limited to goods and order shipments; multiple financial institutions are also involved.

Though there is no single architecture for designing a smooth system, some components do enhance the performance:

  1. Supply chains need an adaptable environment, which an event-driven architecture can achieve. This facilitates better shipment management and order dispatches.
  2. Microservices architecture reduces the risks of app failure and also makes it easier to add or remove features, whether they are in development or during updates.

Scalability and Flexibility

Logistics apps need end-to-end visibility of their operations through data integrations from multiple systems. Using proper mobile app development frameworks in the architecture, these apps can seamlessly execute business processes by monitoring, from process identification compliance to optimizations.

Moreover, an architecture provides robust collaboration tools that enable seamless communication and make informed real-time decisions. Finally, it enhances the scalability and flexibility crucial for accommodating the ever-evolving needs and demands of all users across domains and supply chains.

Key Features to Include in Logistics App

Logistics apps are designed to streamline shipment management, but their effectiveness depends on their target audience. While some apps focus on admins, customers, or drivers, the most effective ones cater to all three.

The ideal logistics app provides admins with tools to manage shipments, customers with shipment tracking capabilities, and drivers with features to complete deliveries efficiently.

This comprehensive approach ensures that the app meets the diverse needs of all stakeholders, optimizing the entire logistics process and delivering maximum value to businesses and their customers.

Here are the must-have features for building your next logistics app:

A. Dispatcher Module

The Dispatcher Module in a logistics app is a feature that enables administrators to manage shipments, assign deliveries to drivers, and monitor the progress of deliveries in real-time, ensuring efficient and timely delivery of goods to customers. This enables administrators to monitor the progress of deliveries, ensure efficient routing, and provide updates to customers.

Dispatcher Panel

The dispatcher module includes the following:

1. Admin Dashboard

A comprehensive dashboard that provides a centralized view of all logistics operations, enabling easy monitoring and management.

2. Fleet Management

It includes tools for tracking and managing vehicles, drivers, and routes, ensuring efficient and cost-effective transportation.

3. Real-time GPS and Navigation

Live tracking of vehicles and accurate navigation, helping to optimize routes and reduce delivery times.

4. Inventory Management

Features for managing inventory levels, tracking stock movements, and forecasting future demand, ensuring seamless order fulfillment.

5. Income and Expenditure Management

It consists of tools for monitoring revenue, expenses, and profit margins, enabling data-driven decision-making and financial control.

6. Push Notification

The feature provides real-time notifications to customers, drivers, and dispatchers, ensuring timely updates and seamless communication.

7. Automated Dispatching

It includes Intelligent algorithms for automatically assigning deliveries to the most suitable vehicles and drivers based on location, availability, and capacity.

8. Data Analytics

Data analytics includes powerful reporting capabilities, providing insights into logistics performance, customer behavior, and operational efficiency.

9. M2M Communication

Machine-to-machine communication happens between vehicles, tracking devices, and back-office systems, enabling real-time data exchange and automated workflows.

B. Driver Module

The Driver Module in a logistics app provides drivers with the necessary tools to complete their deliveries efficiently. This typically includes features such as turn-by-turn navigation, delivery status updates, and communication tools to keep drivers connected with dispatchers and customers.

Driver Panel

The module helps drivers optimize their routes, reduce delivery times, and enhance customer satisfaction. It includes the following:

1. Registration and Authentication

Features for registering and verifying drivers, ensuring security and compliance.

2. Driver’s Profile

A profile for each driver, including personal information, vehicle details, and performance metrics.

3. Route Optimization

Intelligent algorithms for determining the most efficient routes, reducing fuel consumption and delivery times.

4. Chat Functionality

Real-time chat functionality for drivers and dispatchers to communicate and collaborate effectively.

5. Order Management

Tools for managing orders, tracking deliveries, and providing updates to customers.

6. Product Delivery Update

Features for notifying customers about the status of their deliveries and estimated arrival times.

7. Payment Gateway and Processing

Integration with payment gateways for secure and convenient payment processing.

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Tech Stack for Logistics App Development

A well-chosen technology stack is crucial for building a high-quality application, and it will also affect the development time and cost.

For example, popular choices for backend development include Node JS, Python, and PHP. Alternatively, a BaaS solution can be used to develop an MVP quickly.

Here is a tentative list of the most preferred technologies for each of the features:

  • Twilio or Push.io for triggering notifications.
  • Auth0, OneLogin, and Nexmo for registration and user authentication.
  • Consider Braintree, PayPal, and Stripe for payment gateways.
  • Use MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, or Postgres to build the database.
  • Choose from AWS, Google, or Azure for cloud platform integration.
  • Try Hadoop, Spark, BigData, Apache Flink, Cisco, IBM, or Loggly for real-time analytics.
  • For navigation, you can use Google Maps APIs.

Suppose you are planning to integrate ERP and CRM for a complete overview of logistics operations. In that case, you choose shipping management solutions like Shippo API, FedEx API, Shipwire API, and EasyPost API.

Steps to Follow for Logistics App Development

There are instances when customers don’t know which type of app they want to build and request an estimated cost from development agencies.

However, it’s tough to give them an estimate without knowing the components, features to add, and the platform they want. Even if the development partners are highly skilled at what they do, they won’t be able to help you if your vision is unclear.

Hence, it’s essential to do your research and follow these steps:

1. Define Objectives

A logistics app includes several departments, which makes it essential to define your objective clearly and understand your needs. These apps also differ by purpose, who are the users, and what features you need.

This is the step where you have to define clearly which app you aim to build. For example, if you have a massive fleet under your management, building a fleet management app would be the ideal solution.

You can easily track the fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance and service costs, and many other important metrics you need to calculate the cost of ownership. However, an on-demand app would be more feasible if you want to connect company-owned fleets with shippers and cargo.

2. MVP Development

Choosing the right app type and the feature set based on those needs requires full-fledged research on the target market. You have to remember that since you’re building an MVP, there should be only the minimum features that are also valuable for the users.

However, defining the valuable features is always challenging because you don’t know which features would attract users. You can begin by conducting an in-depth analysis of your specific supply chain needs.

Next comes identifying key features such as real-time tracking, route optimization, and inventory management to address pain points. All of this becomes successful by developing a user-friendly interface that promotes seamless interaction and feedback.

Implement essential functionalities that streamline logistics processes, allowing for efficient cargo tracking and order management. 

3. Create the Foundation

In laying the groundwork for a robust logistics app, begin by defining the foundational elements. It includes establishing a comprehensive database architecture to handle diverse logistics data efficiently.

For a smooth information flow, consider integration points with existing systems. Intuitive navigation and data accessibility are at the core of a logistics app, so prioritize user-friendly interfaces.

Lay the groundwork for secure data storage and transmission to uphold the integrity of sensitive logistics information. By crafting this foundation, you set the stage for a logistics app that not only meets but exceeds the industry’s demands, ensuring a solid base for further development.

Similarly, make sure the architecture has built a solution that can work without glitches with timely modernization. 

4. UX Designing

UX (User Experience) designing is a pivotal step in ensuring seamless navigation and functionality. This needs conducting an in-depth analysis of user needs and industry requirements for crafting intuitive interfaces that prioritize clarity and simplicity.

It allows users to manage and monitor their supply chain effortlessly. Implement a visually engaging design that facilitates quick decision-making, with an emphasis on real-time data visualization.

UX designing also requires the integration of user-friendly features, such as shipment tracking, order management, and inventory insights, to optimize the overall user journey.

Lastly, iterative testing is crucial to gather feedback from logistics professionals and enhance the user interface. The goal is an efficient, user-centric design that empowers logistics professionals in their daily operations.

5. Code Feature and Functionality Development

This step defines crafting the app’s DNA, where developers translate the intricacies of the logistics into a seamless digital experience. It includes the integration of real-time shipment tracking, route optimization algorithms, inventory management systems, and user-friendly interfaces for both administrators and end-users.

Each line of code serves as a building block, ensuring the app aligns precisely with the dynamic demands of the logistics landscape. Through this coding process, the logistics app takes shape, ready to revolutionize supply chain operations and enhance overall efficiency.

6. Data Management and Analytics

Efficient data management and analytics form the backbone of a successful logistics app, enhancing operational efficiency and providing valuable business intelligence. A logistics app needs robust data management and analytics to implement a secure and scalable database system.

The first step here is to define key data points such as shipment details, inventory levels, and route information for seamless data storage and retrieval. It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of real-time tracking, which can be enhanced by IoT sensors for data accuracy.

Advanced analytics modules derive actionable insights by optimizing routes, predicting demand fluctuations, and streamlining inventory levels. Further, you can implement machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics to improve decision-making processes.

Next in line is to prioritize data security by implementing encryption protocols and access controls.

7. QA and Testing

Quality assurance (QA) and testing are critical phases in logistics app development, ensuring a seamless and reliable user experience. It includes devising a comprehensive testing strategy that encompasses the intricacies of supply chain functionalities.

It’s essential to perform rigorous testing of logistics workflows, from order processing to delivery confirmation. Next, verify the app’s responsiveness across various devices and screen sizes, ensuring it meets the demands of logistics professionals on the go.

Pay attention to security protocols to safeguard sensitive data and transactions to catch any potential glitches. Moreover, conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) with logistics stakeholders to validate the app’s practicality in real-world scenarios.

Iterative testing, coupled with continuous feedback loops, guarantees a robust logistics app that aligns seamlessly with industry requirements.

The Cost of Logistics App Development

The cost of a logistics app development varies based on several factors, including location, technology stack, and integration requirements. It’s important to strike a balance between capital expenditure (CapEx) and operating expenditure (OpEx) to ensure that the app delivers the highest performance without compromising other operational needs.

This requires careful evaluation of development costs, infrastructure requirements, and long-term maintenance costs. Here are the approximate costs:

  • A simple logistics app – from USD 15,000 to USD 20,000 and can go up to USD 25,000 for a complex app.
  • Estimated development hours – 600 to 700 hours (2 to 3 Months).

Here’s how different factors affect the costs:

1. App Design, Features, and Technology Stack

The cost depends on the features, frameworks, and tech stack. You can choose from a Monolithic or Microservices framework. However, the latter would cost more than the former because Microservices provides better scalability options.

Similarly, highly efficient programming languages like Swift, Golang, and R are more expensive than the newer ones with fewer libraries and frameworks. Overall, an app with basic features costs around USD 35,000, and a complex app will go up to USD 60,000.

2. Application Type and Choice of Platform

The type of application will also affect the development cost. In the case of an on-demand application, the cost will be higher than any other app category, like social media or m-commerce. Since an on-demand app requires separate panels, it also needs a separate allocation of resources. 

Similarly, the cost will also depend on the type of platform you wish to build your app on. Building on Android would cost a bit more than iOS because of the fragmentation required in the former platform.

The third option is cross-platform app development, where you have the advantage of building a native app. It will render an incredible performance on both, and you also get a cost-effective alternative.

3. Development Team Size and Location

When you’re choosing a development partner for your logistics app, the location and team size affect the development cost. The hourly costs differ in Asia and Europe.

In fact, countries like Europe and the USA charge more than Asian countries. Similarly, the size of the development team also affects the cost of development. A bigger team requires more resources, equipment, and salaries.

On the other hand, a smaller team needs fewer resources, but they might lack the skilled expertise required to work on specific projects. Hence, the best option you have is to outsource a team from an agency for an efficient and successful project.

A quality logistics app requires a proper team structure that includes the project manager, developers, designers, and quality analysts.

Conclusion

Logistics app development is an ongoing process that requires continuous innovation and improvement. With expertise in both technology and the logistics market, we can help businesses identify their needs and implement solutions efficiently. 

FAQs

A logistics app manages the entire supply chain process, including inventory management, order tracking, and delivery scheduling. A transportation app focuses solely on booking and tracking transportation services, such as taxis. Logistics apps offer a broader range of features and integration capabilities, while transportation apps provide a specific service. The choice will depend on the specific needs and priorities of your business.

Yes, many logistics apps offer integration capabilities with existing systems such as ERP or CRM software. You can streamline business operations with a comprehensive view of data. Integrations enhance efficiency, reduce errors, and improve decision-making by providing a unified platform. You can contact us to integrate logistics apps with other business systems to optimize workflows and gain valuable insights.

A logistics app can benefit your business by optimizing delivery operations and reducing costs for better customer satisfaction. It increases efficiency, enabling data-driven decision-making, and provides a competitive advantage. By automating logistics processes, you can save time and resources while ensuring timely and accurate deliveries. The ability to track deliveries and communicate with customers in real time enhances the customer experience and builds loyalty.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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