Custom Apps: Have it Your Way on the Highway

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fleets of all sizes can build custom driver apps with a SaaS-based platform

Customer service expectations for all freight sectors – truckload, LTL, parcel, and more – are driven by trends in ecommerce. Shippers want faster and more cost-effective fulfillment solutions. Meanwhile, carriers are experiencing mounting pressures from rising labor, fuel, equipment, and insurance costs.

One way fleet owners can address such complexities is by creating a custom mobile app for their drivers

Before the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate unleashed a torrent of fleet management technology innovations, most fleets were using mobile in-cab platforms that tethered drivers to vehicles to receive communications from the office.

The ELD mandate ignited a movement in out-of-cab mobility. Fleets have since deployed new apps on company mobile devices and given drivers apps to use on personal smartphones. Many apps have features to meet common denominator needs in the industry like dispatch-driver messaging and truck-safe navigation.

No off-the-shelf ELD platform or mobile app can meet the unique specifications of every fleet, however. For this reason, many large fleets have already developed custom driver apps. In fact, an online search of the 20 largest fleets in North America shows that 70% of them have done so.

The rest of the market is catching up. Fleets do not need to start from scratch. By using a SaaS-based solution, fleets can affordably deploy their own custom apps using the same components that top fleets are using to transform the driver experience. These components can be adapted by any fleet and modified to meet their unique requirements and specifications.

In this blog, we’ll explain four reasons why creating a custom app is now a better option than using off-the-shelf apps.

1. Tailored Features and Functionality

Off-the-shelf driver apps come with a standard set of features and functionality. Fleets can add or remove some features, but the final product often has gaps in critical processes like dispatch messaging, safety, and compliance.

Custom apps allow fleets to bridge these gaps and give drivers a better work experience that increases efficiency, compliance, safety, and other important areas.

Off-the-shelf apps can be configured to meet some needs today and are updated frequently based on customer input, but these updates may not address your fleet’s specific needs. When you control the development cycle, your custom app can quickly evolve to match what your drivers are asking for and what your business requires. The flexibility and scalability of custom mobile apps are therefore important considerations.

2. Integrations with Existing Systems

Some in-app features require integrations with existing systems to automate driver workflows. Custom apps can be deployed with pre-built system integrations to make the job experience simpler and more efficient for drivers.

Off-the-shelf apps may also have pre-built integrations with various ELD and transportation management systems (TMS), among other technologies. But the limited ability to configure these system integrations and functions may result in a less-than-complete solution.

A custom driver app built with your existing systems in mind can bring automation and visibility to the forefront from day one. Fleets can ensure their integrations work exactly as intended to power real-time shipment tracking, driver performance metrics, automated dispatch, and much more.

3. Improved User Experience

Off-the-shelf driver apps are designed for a broad audience. Custom driver apps, on the other hand, can be designed to create a better experience for end users by catering to specific user and fleet operational needs.

For example, a driver in a carrier’s flatbed division may need a much different workflow than a driver in a refrigerated division. Having the flexibility to design unique workflows and forms to capture information and meet driver and customer needs can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved performance, and reduced training costs.

4. Cost-Effective Solution

Off-the-shelf driver apps can be cost-effective for small fleets that do not need robust functionality. However, as fleets grow larger and more complex, the benefits of custom driver apps are more pronounced.

Off-the-shelf driver apps may be insufficient for meeting complex operational needs. For example, a fleet that transports high-value cargo may want enhanced security features such as biometric authentication and real-time monitoring of driver behavior that are not broadly available.

As well, a fleet that requires multiple integrations with existing systems may soon exceed the limits of off-the-shelf mobile apps. With a custom driver app, fleets can have all the integrations they need and continuously adapt the technology without the costs and risks of mobile coding.

The Final Analysis

Hands down, custom driver apps offer a range of benefits that configurable apps are unable to meet. Fleets who want tailored features and functionality, seamless integrations with existing systems, the ability to make changes and updates quickly, and an improved user experience should consider building their own custom app. 

Working with an experienced custom app developer, like Eleos, gives fleets a variety of pre-built components they can leverage to create an app that meets their specific needs. The end result is delivered at a lower cost, shorter time frame, and higher level of performance than is possible from using a third-party app or creating one from scratch with internal resources.

See this recent article to discover 5 benefits that top carriers in the industry are getting from custom apps. For a demo of how the SaaS-based Eleos platform simplifies the process of building your own custom app, follow us here.  

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