In addition to manufacturing high-quality consumer products, this multinational manufacturing and retail giant is required to ensure they have the right support systems and efficient processes in place to take their products to the end consumers. To help achieve seamless customer fulfillment experience, they have extensive delivery teams spread across geographies to connect their warehouses and partner outlets to the end consumers.
The delivery teams consist of hundreds of delivery employees and partners. Previously, their delivery force was using slow handheld devices to track, update, monitor, and deliver products. These outdated legacy devices were high maintenance, hard to carry, and difficult to maintain and update. A few other challenges included:
- Connectivity: It is difficult to have reliable internet connectivity and hence the usage of these devices were often disrupted.
- Intuitiveness: The delivery agent had to enter data manually after each delivery.
- Accessibility: Any damage to the device meant being cut-off from the delivery channels and process.
- Usability: The legacy system was visually out-of-date and did not encourage user adoption.
- Maintenance & Updates: For every maintenance and update, the legacy handheld devices had to be taken to the back-office.
All these called for replacing the legacy system with a more efficient logistics workflow system. The client engaged with Persistent, their long-standing digital innovation partner, to develop a new Android app which would replace all of these obsolete devices. The App, powered by Google Cloud Platform, has a rich backend dashboard, and provides highly scalable, seamless experiences to the app users.
The Google Cloud products used include:
- Google Cloud Datastore to achieve high performance and ease of application development
- Google Cloud Storage is the storage bucket for storing the reports and static content of the application
- Google Cloud Datastore to store the app data
- Google Memcache service caches the data. It reduces the search response time and serves content quickly to the users
- Google App Engine provides cost benefits and on-demand scaling
Ensuring authentication and secure operations
The app authenticates the field vehicle agents and the back-office admins. The admins can create, edit, deactivate, manage users in the admin console. They have a web-based control panel for planning and monitoring the shipments. If there is an internet cut-off the app resets to its factory features to ensure that the agent is not completely severed from completing the jobs.
A simple process for the agents
The app offers flexibility to the field vehicle agents. The agents log in with their email ids on their Android devices. Few features available to the agents include –
- Selecting the vehicle from a list
- Communicating with the back-office in case of a break-down or internet cut-off
- Viewing the shipment list and the route
- Recording product delivery once the customer signs off
Also, before starting any trip, the agent can perform a complete VC-40 check on the vehicle. The checks are certified with a digital signature and all the historical VC-40 checks are maintained in Cloud. In case the VC-40 check is not successful, then the problems can be recorded with pictures.
Centralized view for the back-office
The admin can configure the app, add, or remove vehicles, jobs, shipment list, and view the complete audit report. When the agents sign off, the back-office is notified with the trip details – VC-40 checks, delivery details, trip completion checks, and more. Then the admin manager puts his signature and certifies the trip. Once done, the details would automatically be pushed to SAP for reporting.
A one-stop digitized, always available solution
The app has introduced latest technology, features, mobility, compactness, intuitiveness and ease of maintenance and updates to the client’s logistics delivery process. The client has de-commissioned the old legacy devices and is seeing huge cost savings on maintenance and renewal. Releasing new features has been simplified and the client leverages high accuracy route navigation with Google Maps.