Logistics App Development: Cost, Process, and All to Know About It in 2023
Updated 27 Dec 2022
The logistics business in today's world continues to digitalize. The latest technologies optimize and, at the same time, complicate this industry. In addition to the basic business management systems that almost everyone has at their disposal, logistics applications are becoming widespread among companies. This flexible, innovative tool has enormous potential for both the business owners and the audience that uses its services.
This article is about the most urgent problems in the industry and ways to solve them with the logistics mobile app development services. In addition, we will cover the essential features of such software and find out how to calculate its cost.
Logistics Applications and Their Place in the Business System
Logistic applications are architected to ensure logistics vendors with the essential instruments that will assist them in the management and operation of their supply chain business.
Global market insights of the logistics industry
Statista states that in 2020, within the COVID-19 global pandemic, the logistics niche has approached 5.73 trillion euros. Furthermore, forecasts indicate that in 2024 this domain will surmount 6.8 billion euros in value, which is a striving success.
In addition, through the research of the transport and logistics projections, we may conclude that supply chain/trackage covers the prevalent part of the market size (35%).
Transport and logistics sectors analysis report
Let's single out the existing mobile apps for logistics companies:
The first software type’s main duty is to store and process the data concerning the transport and fleets. Therefore, such apps help control, direct, and operate vehicles via the centrally-located information system, boosting the supply chain processes.
Warehouse software is primarily aimed at keeping vast loads of data regarding the goods stored there. Mobile applications provide an opportunity to access the database and the production details quickly, easily, and conveniently.
Learn how technologies can help you with warehouse automation in our article
Solutions of this classification ensure the product delivery on customer request. Apart from satisfying the needs of clients, this type of application allows for establishing a flawless reputation as well as expanding the company.
Tracking and dispatching apps
Software solutions for tracking and dispatching procure the data concerning the current online itineraries as well as the delivery of the products. It implies the ability to track and observe the drivers’ real-time location and movements.
Answering how to make a logistics app, let’s consider and distinguish the types of software.
Native app development
It refers to an approach that engages architecting a digital product for a specific operating system, embracing only certain devices. Software engineers create the script from scratch with the help of appropriate programming languages according to the selected platform (for iOS, they are Swift and Objective-C, whereas, for Android, Kotlin and Java are essentially applied).
Cross-platform app development
When it comes to this type, we imply the application that operates well regardless of the device as well as the platform. This ensures the opportunity to attract a broader audience due to the higher accessibility.
The modern market offers an excellent framework for cross-platform app development- Flutter. With this tool, you can architect the application from a single script. It supports a great diversity of operating systems and allows for reducing costs eliminating the quality loss, which is a significant advantage.
How Logistics Management Apps Overcome Great Challenges
The industry is affected by many problems, which vary according to where it is located and the size of an enterprise. However, there are some general issues that are common across the globe. Let's consider them closer.
All these issues can be solved one way or another. We can try to resolve them the old-fashioned way, using calculators, lots of paper, and a gatekeeper. On the other hand, why don't we apply up-to-date technologies to modernize the enterprise and develop an app for Logistics to accelerate our businesses?
Supply chain and manufacturing strategy expert, president, LMA Consulting Group, Inc.
Manufacturers and distributors struggled mightily with supply chain disruptions and escalating prices in 2021. The significant risks of the global supply chain were not only exposed but aggravated as clients experienced extended lead times, stock-outs, and increased levels of demand and supply volatility.
Meeting the altering requirements
The truth is that the rivalry in the sphere is huge and what is needed here is to be the first. Nowadays, customers are used to having the best services ever. You have to offer not only the most convenient conditions of the contract but the best treatment for your client as well! You don't dictate terms anymore; they do. And every client wants the logistic service to be tailored or customized personally to them.
Under such circumstances, what the logistics company has to do is to provide a client with a solution that would satisfy all parties. The answer can be a logistic management system or a web-based platform with the ability to track parcels, calculate the arrival date or cost of storage, and have different payment methods and delivery services. If the company stores or transports perishable and fragile commodities, the customer needs to be able to indicate what temperature, humidity or pressure is needed for their cargo.
However, what is even more crucial is to make the transportation and logistics mobile app transparent and user-friendly. The application has to replace real consultants and give the user a comprehensive body of data about the services they pay for.
Read about business intelligence supply chain and find out how this technology helps in customer as well as market demand analysis
Complying with the strict time frames
Logistics are always time-limited, and not even a second can be wasted. In the supply chain sphere, you need to deal with transport breakages, traffic jams, workers' strikes, national holidays or celebrations, weather, and even the religion of your employees. Despite all of these, there is an expiry date, goods vicinity principles, and many other issues. All these factors influence the delivery and cargo dispatch time.
To solve this problem, the Logistics applications have to combine several technologies and minimize the time of delivery, unloading, and shipping. Below, we've listed steps to take to minimize the time expenditures:
- Optimize the route. The less time that's needed for cargo transportation, the better. To achieve it, you need to arrange the shortest route omitting jams, road works, and mad miles. For instance, such objectives may be completed with the help of a transportation system with a route planning app.
- Cut time for documentation filling. All the materials have to be formed automatically and require minimal human interaction.
- Minimize manual work. The more robots you have, the faster the job gets done. One more plus of the automatization process is that you reduce the probability of mistakes and, consequently, industrial accidents. For example, if you deal with large-sized cargo, load planning software can help you optimize the containers' capacity by maximizing vehicle usage.
- Real-time reports. They are created by an automated system help to cut time for cargo slotting and dispatch.
The market is unpredictable. To calculate the capacity you need to forecast global economic changes because overcapacity is just as bad as under capacity.
What you really need here is nice analytical functionality. If you have this feature in your app for Logistics, you can foresee the growth or vice versa, a decline in the production capacity. Having all data in hand, it is much easier to either expand the production or not.
Whether you've decided to develop your Logistics mobile app or to use one of the existing solutions, bear in mind the kind of information your analytics should gather. For the best result, the supply chain analytics software solutions advise collecting:
- Supply Chain Visibility Analytics. The system allows you to control all the events and manage them accurately.
- Exception Visibility Analytics. Here you can see all the data connected to the acceptance procedure.
- Procurement Visibility Analytics. The software collects all the documentation and materials about cargo catering.
- Manufacturing Visibility Analytics. If your business is connected with the production or the data collected, then this block will show you what is needed for loading and dispatch for efficient, sustainable work.
- Transportation Visibility Analytics. The information shows all shipments, time, cargo, and weight.
- Fulfillment Visibility Analytics. Allows you to see what has been accomplished daily, monthly, weekly, and yearly.
The extensive information is as important as equipment, workers, and materials. In good hands, the info advances the complex procedure of supply chain management.
Being transported, cargo passes through eight or nine different sets of hands, which means that someone should keep an eye on the commodity. The people you hire, the transport you use as well as the warehouses you store the goods should be reliable, modern, and secure. And the list of problems cannot be limited only to thefts. The health conditions of the workers as well as stockroom wiring and even the brakes in the truck, are your headache.
Security guarantees you money and clients' loyalty. Here are lots of options for how the enterprise owner can protect himself from a loss:
If the employees work long hours under hazardous conditions, the possibility of injuries grows. To prevent it, mobile Logistics solutions can replicate some features from fitness and wellness applications. In particular, pulse rate tracking. For better performance, different wearables can be used. Moreover, with modern technologies, you can see what time each worker came and how they moved around the office/warehouse.
To protect the storage facilities, we can apply the same technologies as in Smart Houses. The loT is a great way to control all the needed conditions (like temperature and humidity inside the storage structures) and block break-ins.
The application synchronized with a truck's onboard computer controls the speed, fuel level, travel time, route, and other figures. The data is needed not only for analytics and efficiency improvement but also to avoid breakages and standstills.
What solutions to industry problems logistics applications provide
Which businesses profit most from logistics app development
The app development for logistics industry is primarily beneficial for all businesses performing supply chain, transportation, and last-mile delivery processes. Such organizations can get an excellent instrument providing a broad spectrum of capabilities as well as solving the substantial issues inherent in the logistics domain.
Here are the driving reasons to build logistics app and why it is worth adopting:
- GPS-based tracking
- 24/7 software facility
- Precise route tracking
- Enabling driver alerts
- Higher credibility
- Enhanced safety for the supply chain
- Insights visualization for the set period
- Time economy for the client support
- Statistics and data concerning each driver
Vital Advantages and Disadvantages of the Logistics Applications
At first sight, the purchase of a ready-made solution seems to be a better idea than addressing a logistics app development company for a custom application. To persuade or dissuade, we've listed some pros and cons of both paths.
Advantages and disadvantages of the existing software
Let us begin with the existing systems and their advantages:
- The time. You save time because you buy an off-the-peg product.
- Lots of features. Modern solutions have all the functionality needed, along with analytics, tracking, and planning features.
- No bugs, no crashes. Choosing the system, you would read tons of comments, rates, and top lists and would choose the program which has already been tested, so the chance you'll experience a system crash is minimal.
Yet, this approach may have its drawbacks as well:
- Customization. Despite the fact that the system has tons of useful features, you would need to adjust it to your needs. In that case, you need to add your own features to the system, and you would face lots of difficulties or even find it impossible to perform.
- Expenditures. The program costs money. Before you buy anything, calculate the total sum, whether you pay once or monthly.
The other option is to develop a mobile Logistics solution specifically for your enterprise, including only the functionality and technologies you need.
Logistics management development advantages and disadvantages
Nonetheless, the decision has its pros along with the cons. As advantages, we can list:
- Functionality. The Logistics apps for Android or for iOS, which you create for your business, are going to become the answer to all the issues of modernization and automatization for your business. It will include only those features which you indicate, and you won't have to pay for those which you aren't going to use.
- Updates. New features can easily be added whenever and however you want them. Not only that, the functionality you think isn't necessary anymore can be cut down.
- Scalability. With the SAAS, you commonly pay not only for the system you use but also for each person who uses it. In the case of your own mobile Logistics solution, you can add as many workers as you need.
- Independence. If the company that provides you with software services closes, you need to look for another provider. Having your own mobile device Logistics app, you don't need to rely on someone.
Among the disadvantages, we want to indicate:
- The time needed for the development. Yes, you will have to spend a little bit more time at the planning stage to get the product you need.
- Fixing. It is possible that the raw product can have a few bugs, which are seen only after a few months of active use. However, these system failures usually take little time to fix.
Basic Features of Logistics App Development
The functionality defining is an integral and primary stage of each project’s lifecycle. It is highly recommended to first develop the MVP (minimum viable product) version of the software to cut down cost to develop logistics app as well as creation time. Next, the functionality can be expanded with advanced features after the deployment for a higher user satisfaction rate.
Here’s the possible primary functionality to consider for the logistics mobile app development according to the user role:
- Services. This feature enables operating your services as well as outlining your business goals according to market requirements.
- Orders. This allows admins to process the workflow by involving the embedded order management system to provide on-schedule order performance.
- Customers. It provides access to all the customer data like orders as well as transactions history, etc.
- Drivers. It's vital for logistics transportation mobile app development include a pervasive tool to process and operate the driver’s database quickly and effectively.
- Agency. This function aims at accessing and controlling the integral data concerning your strategic associate and agencies throughout taps.
- Fleet management. One more functionality element within the logistics and transportation app development is a comprehensive fleet management system to organize and operate the delivery transport as well as enable GPS tracking.
- Payment services. This feature comprises all the financial transactions processed within the business and allows for generating invoices as well.
- Delivery tracking. Customers are able to simply and conveniently observe the order route by inputting the receiver’s data into the software.
- Supply address. Clients can add the final delivery address or easily pick it through GPS maps for the driver.
- Orders tracking. This feature for the logistics tracking app development enables entering the shipment's unique code to observe its online movements.
- Scheduled pickup. With this function, your audience is allowed to receive the order and get it from the chosen location by setting a convenient time for the delivery.
- Tariff estimation. Clients are able to complete calculations concerning the costs and time according to the demanded service as well as region.
- Payments. Among the other features of logistics app development, this one is integral since customers are able to fulfill digital payments safely via your solution.
- Feedback. This section is devoted to the rates and reviews from the clients for the vendor, as well as the experience from the cooperation.
- User authentication. Safe registration and authentication methods (via the phone number/email) enable clients to enter the application.
- Recipient data. It’s vital for supervisors to access the utter data concerning the recipient to meet all the transmission deadlines.
- Notifications. The drivers get to receive the essential data that concerns goods/items for dispatching/ collecting.
- Navigation. It’s a brilliant way to minimize the time required for the delivery, as the in-app map builds the optimal route to the customer’s address.
- Mark delivery. By applying such a function, the dispatcher can send alerts to all the parties concerning the order processing and completion.
- Client support. The automated 24/7 user assistance ensures enhanced client satisfaction and responds to users’ queries simpler and more rapidly.
Still not sure about functionality?
Business Analysts from Cleveroad will pick the relevant features according to your business goals
Such on-demand logistics applications will be easily integrated into your business with the assistance of a competent and experienced software development vendor. The expertise of the chosen partner is key to striking a balance between the “necessity and adequacy” of the digital product’s functionality.
How to Make a Logistics App Innovative
To make your solution advanced and progressive, you should be acquainted with the latest application architecture trends in the logistics niche. Here is the list of the demanded technologies on the market to choose from and integrate into your supply chain software:
Blockchain technology refers to a decentralized database contemporaneously stored on a row of devices with online access. Despite the primary association with cryptocurrencies, this state-of-art technology is beneficial for the other market sectors as well.
To illustrate, with blockchain, the whole supply chain can be operated and controlled- from gathering raw materials to the delivery stage. This is realized because of the original identifier placed on each receptacle. It accesses all the product details, like the origin of the goods, expiry date, producer, delivery date, etc. Therefore, the package can be easily and quickly tracked at any supply chain phase proving its authenticity. Big market players like DHL or Accenture have already integrated the capabilities of blockchain in their workflows.
Accompanied by GPS solutions, this technology can provide substantial assistance within product tracking in real-time. Big Data analytics process information like shipment, fleet, and on-road network details. Thus, the representatives can conveniently and simply book order receiving, taking into account the weather forecasts as well as other influential factors.
Apart from the streamlined supply chain, the outcome is efficient online product processing updates. In addition, clients receive automated notifications concerning the setbacks (if any).
Smart RFID and NFC solutions
Transparency is a crucial point within the numerous items stored, supplied, and the following distributed. With embedded RFID/NFC micro tags, the logistics stage the parcels undergo can be observed easily and securely. Why these solutions are worth adopting:
- All the documentation is safe and is linked to the database.
- Automated scanning and label capturing.
- Opportunity to verify several RFID tags at once
- Solidity provides a prolonged usage in common storage/delivery conditions.
- Readability: no smearing, no fading, dirt doesn’t affect scanning.
- The clearness within the readability allows quick and easy authentication with no fading, swabbing, or any other affecting factors.
The implementation of the extra functionality is a relevant trend for all industries, logistics as well. The wide opportunities offered by the application’s features can help generate more leads and make your business successful.
We’ve made up a list of potential features to include apart from the basic (MVP) ones to make your application more sophisticated and efficient:
- Pre-generated routes for drivers’ convenience and fast delivery
- GPS tracking for truck dispatching software creation and logistics app development can optimize the parcel tracking
- Chatbot integration that provides all-time support for clients as well as drivers
- Map with nearby facilities to optimize the delivery for drivers and define the essential places like fuel stations, hotels, and the other spots that can help overcome urgent issues on the route
How to Make a Logistics App (Pipeline)
Let’s take an in-depth look at how to create a logistics app in detail:
The entire logistics application development begins with the project’s roadmap outlining, setting appropriate business goals, and defining the scope of work. During this stage, the team defines the future development vector according to the concept of the company.
The stage of defining your requirements for the app implies composing a thorough description of what’s the application’s main goal and what tasks it performs. Besides, it’s worth including the resources that have to be engaged in the logistics app development. The future functionality drawn up in this part should reflect the objectives set in the previous section. Traditionally, all these details are comprised in one document called “specifications.”
Apart from the logistics app developers, the project completion team should essentially include UI/UX designers, who will build the prototype of the software’s interface. It precisely demonstrates all the sections, elements, and pages layout, as well as navigation among them. Such a prototype may be presented to stakeholders as well.
Here, each logistics app developer participates in architecting the application. The process of scripting incorporates implementing the features set before. In other words, programmers build the backend of the software to make it complete the appropriate tasks and perform certain processes.
The indispensable part of the project accomplishment is testing. During this stage of the entire logistic app development, the team of QA engineers performs the software verification. For this, they essentially apply a manual or automated approach and can combine them if required. This stage helps detect the failures and bugs in the application to eliminate them in the pre-launching phase.
The deployment stage refers to placing the application on the market depending on the chosen operating system. The software undergoes verification by the platform to identify whether it complies with the market guidelines and regulations. After that, the solution is accepted, launched, and ready to be downloaded by the first users or rejected.
Support and maintenance
For logistic companies app development isn’t the final stage. To enhance the product, developers update its functionality as well as get rid of bugs in case some of them weren’t detected prior to the release stage. These actions prolong the software SDLC (software development lifecycle), make it keep up with the latest client and market demands, and highly increase the client experience.
Read about the optimized app development approach — Agile SDLC in our article
To complete a project of such a level of complexity, you at least have to involve the following list of tech specialists:
- 1 Solution Architect
- 1 Project Manager
- 1 Business Analyst
- 1 UI/UX designer
- 1 iOS developer
- 1 Android developer
- 1 Backend developer
- 1 Quality Assurance engineer
Cost to Develop a Logistics App
It’s high time to conduct an approximate estimate for the cost of the logistics app development. The main cost-affecting factors are the following:
Software development vendor
The market offers a range of flexible hiring options that you may select for logistics management app development. Traditionally, business owners choose the one among the three following types:
- Freelance. The first cost-efficient option is hiring a freelancer for your app development. Yet, logistics require a proven in-depth competence as well as experience in establishing solid security and the other complex peculiarities within the software architecture. You will have to assess the candidates’ expertise level on your own. Besides, you may face such issues as cultural and time differences or project quitting after the prepayment in the worst possible case.
- In-house team. Such teams are advantageous for huge-scale corporations and ensure the opportunity to assemble all the essential experts in one office. This option provides high accessibility yet requires lots of extra investments. You will have to employ specialists on your own or hire a tech-savvy partner with sufficient competence to find programmers. Moreover, covering such expenses as rent, sick leaves, vacations, hardware as well as software purchasing also lay on your shoulders.
- Outsourcing companies. Outsourcing refers to cooperation with a remote software development company with a team of already hired and certified experts. With this option, you pay only for the scope of completed work, which allows cutting down the project creation investments with the remaining flawless performance quality. All the duties concerning the development are taken over, from management to the coding and product delivery. Therefore, the last variant is nowadays considered to be the most optimal of all.
Below you can find the global average hourly rates that determine the final cost for the transport and logistics app development:
Global hourly rates for the app development
Due to the distant location, the choice of outsourcing software development vendor isn’t limited- you can select anyone all around the world. We highly recommend considering candidates from Central and North Europe, particularly Estonia. The market of this country offers experienced and talented specialists at a reasonable hourly rate.
Platform and tech stack
It’s highly important to select the number of OSs you would like to occupy. Consequently, you should choose the native app development for the one platform or the cross-platform one. Accordingly, the price substantially increases in case you go for both iOS and Android software architecture. The tech stack needed for each platform implies gathering separate teams of specialists competent in working with the appropriate tools.
As we’ve previously discussed, for iOS applications, software engineers use such programming languages as Swift or Objective-C; for Android, Kotlin, or Java are involved. In case you select the Flutter app creation for the cross-platform solutions, you will be able to cut down development expenses considerably, so this option allows embracing a broader audience at adequate investments.
The formula is pretty easy- you should define the hours required to implement the solution according to the chosen logistics app type and your personal demands. Then you should multiply the time amount by the hourly rates of the essential team members.
We have prepared the table comprising the average hourly rates in diverse regions of all the indispensable project participants by roles:
|Region/ position||Mobile app developer (iOS/Android; $/hour)||Design ($/hour)||DevOps ($/hour)||Quality Assurance Engineer ($/hour)||Project Manager ($/hour)||Business Analyst ($/hour)|
It’s highly significant to remember that the logistics app development cost is pretty variable due to the required software type, features to implement, team composition, the number of operating systems you want to embrace, and involved functionality. Therefore, to receive a precise estimate according to your project details, you should apply to a proficient Business Analyst who will gather all your requirements, as well as business goals, and complete the calculations for you.
Cleveroad — Your Credible Tech Partner
Cleveroad is a software development company from Estonia with competence in on-demand sectors. Our 10+ years of experience on the market involves delivering custom software solutions to businesses of diverse scales.
What Cleveroad offers to partners:
- Transparency as an integral element of the project's success
- Rapid software creation as well as delivery
- Expertised development team of innovational native as well as cross-platform (Flutter) applications
- Quality Assurance proficients maximizing the product operation efficiency
- A row of adaptive cooperation models for your convenience
The logistics industry is an indispensable part of our expertise. Cleveroad technicians will eagerly develop an LMS, TMS, Supply Management System (SCM), ERP, or any other types of solutions. Logistics software architected by our team of developers is the key to streamlining the supply chain, effectively operating it, reducing expenses, and risks, delivering a top-class customer experience and automating the workflow.
Estimate cost of your logistics app
Our certified team is ready to asses your idea and project concept for a fruitful partnership
The app building for the logistics domain involves the following steps:
- Project planning
- Requirements defining
- UI/UX design
- Software development
- QA testing
- Maintenance and support
The creation of the logistics app implies performing the basic app architecture stages and applying the appropriate programming languages for this platform (Kotlin/Java).
The logistics app development cost varies according to the row of price-determining factors. The universal formula is pretty easy- you should define the hours required to implement the solution according to the chosen logistics app type and your personal demands. Then you should multiply the time amount by the hourly rates of the essential team members.
Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
Give us your impressions about this article
Give us your impressions about this article