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Interested in how to build a fleet management app for the transport industry?
This is a big market that has a lot to offer transportation companies.
Besides the convenience that such apps offer, innovating in this sector also offers you the chance to sell your software to other companies.
Want to know how truly colossal global trade is?
A UNCTAD report published in November 2021 mentions that “the value of world imports and exports of goods hit $5.6 trillion in the third quarter of 2021”. The report indicates that this is a quarterly record.
This massive global trade is only possible because of the global transport system. This massive supply chain has many components, e.g., container shipping, freight trucking, etc.
A Cision PR Newswire report states that “the global market for Freight Trucking estimated at USD $2.1 trillion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of USD $2.7 trillion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 4.7%”.
This will bring with it new problems, however.
Trucking fleet management faces several key challenges. These are 3 of them:
- Driver safety and productivity;
- Implementing top-down cost-reduction initiatives;
- Fuel price volatility.
The industry hopes to overcome many of these challenges using technology.
This Markets and Markets report states that the market for fleet management solutions will grow from $20.6 billion in 2021 to $33.9 billion by 2026. The report estimates a CAGR of 10.5% during the forecast period.
With mobile apps now ubiquitous, it isn’t surprising that they are heavily used in trucking fleet management too.
Fleet Manager, Fleetio, and ClearPathGPS are some of the most commonly used trucking fleet management apps that are already making a big difference.
With ever-growing global trade, you can be sure that the market for trucking fleet management mobile apps will only grow and grow. Whether you choose to create a custom app from scratch or build one using existing technology, you can cash in on this lucrative market.
In this article, I will explain how to build a fleet management app for a trucking company.
Fleet management app examples
Before I describe fleet management app development, I will take you through a few examples of such apps.
Fleetio has a well-known fleet management app. They have Android as well as iOS apps. The app tracks trips and reports vehicle issues. The equipment information it provides helps in inspections.
The fleet management app is called “Fleetio Go”. The company also has a mobile app for parts, and it‘s called “Fleetio Parts”.
Track Your Truck
MiX Fleet Manager
MiX Telematics, a well-known telematics solution provider also provides fleet management solutions. They provide fleet management mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms. The app is called “MiX Fleet Manager Mobile”.
ClearPathGPS offers Android and iOS apps. Users can track their route history and the real-time status. Their virtual timecard reports feature is very helpful for trucking fleet management.
The company also offers flexible hardware purchase or lease options for GPS devices.
Features required in a fleet management app
While the fleet management software market is booming, including the spread of mobile apps, the market is also highly competitive.
Just a cursory glance at the above-mentioned mobile apps will make it clear that to make an impact in this market you need to build a great app.
In other words, you need to provide great features. Let‘s see what features your app needs to have:
Real-time GPS vehicle tracking
This is the most important feature. Driver safety, the safety of the vehicle, fleet productivity, etc., all depend on the ability of the fleet manager to track the vehicles in real time. Knowing where is the vehicle helps in answering customer queries about delivery status.
The industry has also faced issues with unethical practices like drivers using the vehicle for personal use or side business. This results in reduced efficiency for the company, and in turn, loss.
Real-time GPS tracking in fleet management software helps in establishing accountability. Read more about the importance of this feature in “Why fleet vehicle tracking is important for your business”.
Optimal fuel consumption is a key driver for the success of any delivery fleet. However, the industry is plagued with inefficiencies here.
There are multiple challenges, e.g., spiraling cost-per-mile and fuel theft. Suboptimal driving practices such as idling add to this.
A useful fleet management app needs to help the fleet manager to monitor fuel costs and manage fuel consumption. A data-driven approach will enable fleet managers to tackle inefficient fuel consumption.
Read more about this feature in “Importance of fuel management for fleet managers”.
Optimizing the routes
It‘s a given that some routes are more profitable for a trucking company than others. However, identifying these profitable routes can‘t be left to mere intuition.
A data-driven approach is required. The fleet management app should provide sufficient data to fleet managers. This will help them in optimizing the routes.
Read more about the importance of route optimization in “Advantages of route optimization software”.
Trip and vehicle report
This is rather self-explanatory. The app must enable trips and vehicle status reporting at a sufficiently granular level. Fleet managers will subsequently use analytics to manage their operations efficiently.
The best fleet management software should also have the following generic features:
- A simple ’User Interface‘ (UI);
- Multi-platform support, e.g., Android, and iOS;
- Security, since some of the data captured, will be confidential information of the company.
How to create a fleet management app?
A fleet management app development project requires careful planning and diligent execution. I will first explain the approach we will take. You need to do the following:
- Onboard a capable team of business analysts, UI/UX designers, mobile developers, and testers.
- Design the UI and develop the front end.
- Use industry-standard APIs for addressing fleet management app core functions.
- To ensure adequate focus on the front-end development, you need to get a ’Mobile Backend as a Service‘ (MBaaS) provider. The MBaaS provider will handle the mobile backend, therefore, your team can concentrate on the front end.
This project to build a fleet management app will involve creating a ’Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) first. That’s a functional app, although not all “nice-to-have” features may be supported.
Launching an MVP helps entrepreneurs get quick feedback from the market.
Subsequently, after analyzing the feedback, the team will need to enhance the app. This happens in multiple iterations. A project with so many iterations shouldn‘t use the “Waterfall” methodology.
I recommend the “Agile” methodology for this. Please read our guide “How to build an Agile development team” for more details.
A team to make a fleet management app
Your first step is to onboard a team to develop an app for a trucking company. The following skills are required in the team:
- Business analysts;
- UI/UX designers;
- iOS developers;
- Android developers;
- App testers.
The project needs end-to-end management. You need to onboard a project manager (PM). The PM needs modern PM methodology expertise.
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UI/UX design for the mobile app
A fleet manager is trying to address inefficiencies in a high-value business. The technology solution needs to be effective and easy to use. There are already established mobile apps, therefore, you need to present a compact UI.
The following considerations are important:
- Mobile navigation: You can follow our guide “Mobile navigation menu examples” for details.
- Designing icons: A fleet management app has several key functionalities however a mobile screen is small. You can’t use too many text labels, therefore, the UI needs icons. Read out the guide “how to design the perfect icon for your mobile app” for instructions.
- A large trucking company would have a large fleet. The fleet manager may need to spend a significant amount of time with the app. The color scheme should be easy for them. I have earlier written about key trends in mobile app color schemes.
Read about them in “8 Trends in Mobile App Color Scheme”.
API options for core fleet management functions
I will now explain how you can use a combination of APIs to develop an app for a trucking company. This eliminates the need to code everything from scratch since the APIs address core functions.
Fleetio offers APIs for core fleet management functions. These APIs handle over 50 events, e.g., vehicle status change, issue creation, issue resolution, etc. Repair work orders can also be tracked, including when they were created and their resolution status.
Access their APIs here.
You can implement several fleet management functionalities with these APIs, for e.g., importing Odometer readings, triggering trouble-code alerts, updating fuel transactions, and automating accounting.
The company provides extensive documentation for its APIs. Access the documentation here.
SynX by Transpoco telematics API
Fleet maintenance automation solution provider Transpoco offers telematics API. They have a comprehensive telematics solution.
Fleet telematics can help in many ways by collecting a variety of information. Vehicle behavior, fuel usage, speed, mileage, driver insights, etc., are various information that a telematics solution can collect in the context of fleet management.
With the Transpoco APIs, the app can help in allocating business vehicles and scheduling resources. The app can keep a tab on the current location of the vehicle. The app can calculate the arrival time of the vehicle. These are just a few examples.
You can access their APIs here.
You can also incorporate other key features, e.g., fuel management, fleet safety and security, driver identification, etc. To get their API pricing details and API documentation, you need to request a consultation with the company.
Backend management for the mobile fleet management app
Mobile backend development and management take time. It’s also a complex undertaking. It involves the following:
- Cloud infrastructure management;
- Database provisioning;
- Persistent storage management;
- User management, and user authentication;
- API integration.
To launch your app quickly, I recommend you use an MBaaS provider like Google Firebase. MBaaS providers address all of the above, therefore, you can focus on the mobile front end.
Read our guide “How to choose the best mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)?” for more details.
Other tools and guidelines for effective project execution
This is an involved project. You need to invest in effective tools to execute this project smoothly. A mobile app will undergo frequent changes.
The traditional waterfall method employs release management processes that are too slow for that.
You need an integrated process for test automation, build management, code deployment, and continuous integration. To keep up with frequent releases, you need DevOps tooling solutions.
I recommend you use Google DevOps Solutions.
Project management approach
The ’Scrum‘ technique is my recommended approach for this project. It‘s part of the larger ’Agile‘ body of knowledge.
A ’Scrum team‘ is a small cross-functional team, i.e., developers and testers work together in close collaboration. Features of the app, i.e., requirements are provided by the ’Product owner‘ (PO).
A document called the ’Product backlog‘ is used for listing them.
The PM acts as the ’Scrum master‘. He or she leads the scrum team in estimating the features. They also prioritize the features along with the project stakeholders.
This way, multiple ’Sprints‘, i.e., iterations are planned, each with some features. ’Sprint planning meetings‘ are held to do this.
During the execution of the sprint, the team conducts a ’Daily stand-up meeting’ to discuss the project status. The scrum master uses these meetings to know about the project issues and to resolve them.
At the end of the sprint, the features should be demonstrably ready. Then, in a meeting called ’Sprint review meeting’, the stakeholders approve the sprint subject to features working as desired.
The team also has a lessons-learned exercise after the sprint, which is called the ’Sprint retrospective meeting‘. You can read more about this in “How to build a Scrum development team”.
The cost of building a fleet management app
Contact the API providers for their pricing plans. Google Firebase displays its price on its website, and JIRA price is also available on its website.
You need to separately estimate your development effort and manpower cost, which depends on your features.
If you need to take professional help for this development project, check our guide “How to find the best software development company?”
A few “pro” tips for entrepreneurs building a fleet management app
Here are a few tips for you when you develop a fleet management app:
1. Focus on high-value capabilities like fleet tracking
In a competitive landscape of fleet management apps, your fleet management system should offer sustained value. Focus on offering features that can have a high impact. Consider the following examples:
A. GPS fleet tracking
This capability significantly streamlines fleet operations. Implement this capability using a robust solution. You can use the Fleetistics API & SDK for data integration and mapping.
B. Vehicle maintenance management
Trucking companies spend plenty of time managing all aspects of vehicle maintenance. Your fleet management app should help them to get a comprehensive maintenance history for their entire fleet. Build a software solution that caters to all of the following:
- Vehicle inspections;
- Records of diagnostics of different issues;
- Scheduling field services;
- Preventive maintenance schedules leading to reduced fleet maintenance costs.
Maintenance managers should get alerts and notifications regarding maintenance on their mobile devices. Do you plan to use a 3rd party API solution for this?
You can use the preventive and predictive fleet maintenance solution APIs from V DATA Services.
C. Integration with ELD (Electronic Logging Devices) solutions
Both enterprises and small businesses pay close attention to regulatory compliance before choosing a trucking company. ELDs help trucking companies comply with important regulatory requirements.
Your fleet management app should integrate seamlessly with a robust ELD solution. Check out the integrations offered by Teletrac Navman, which might help.
D. Integration with vehicle tracking solutions
Your fleet management app should integrate seamlessly with a robust vehicle location tracking system. The Barcode Group provides a fleet management solution to cater to this. Check out its product and the associated documentation.
E. Time tracking, monitoring driver behavior, and assessing driver performance
Driver performance management and time tracking are important business needs of trucking companies, and your fleet management app should cater to them.
You can check out the Fleet Complete Time Tracker. It’s a robust solution to integrate with your app.
F. Integration with a robust fleet dashcam solution
Using a comprehensive fleet dashcam solution can help trucking companies to manage harsh driving events. Explore the Verizon Connect fleet dashcam solution. You can integrate your fleet management solution with it.
G. Managing fuel card costs
Trucking companies need to manage their fuel card costs. The Verizon Connect fleet fuel card management system can help. Consider integrating it into your fleet management system.
H. Managing trip logs
Trip log management is one of the important business needs of trucking companies. Explore the GSGroup solution, and assess whether you should integrate it into your app.
I. Monitoring geofences
Trucking companies need to monitor geofences. Your fleet management software should cater to this. Review the Verizon Connect geofence monitoring solution, and consider whether to utilize it.
2. Implement a robust information security solution
Fleet management software will process plenty of sensitive data of a trucking company. Keep regulatory requirements in mind when building such a software system. The app should ask for relevant permissions only.
Proactively mitigate key application security vulnerabilities. Incorporate a robust authentication solution. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) and encryption, and furthermore, secure the APIs.
Want help with the project to build a fleet management app? Contact DevTeam.Space and a dedicated account manager will explain how we can help
Frequently Asked Questions
It is an application that allows companies to manage their fleets of vehicles. A typical example is a transportation company that uses such apps to track and assign jobs to its fleet.
Better efficiency, cost savings, and easier management. All these points give companies an edge over their rivals via software fleet management tool.
If you have no previous experience in software development then you should onboard developers or a dev team from a company such as DevTeam.Space that does. This will ensure you get the best possible product with the minimal of trouble.