Case Study: Mobile App Closes Gap in Market Strategy
Learn how a Kansas City company partnered with Fluent Consultants to accelerate its vision for a game-changing mobile app that decreases processing times and provides new levels of service to customers.
Innovative, aggressive, midsized company providing freight factoring* services to small fleets and independents.
As a leader in the industry, the company’s competitive advantage is in its ability to provide a superior customer experience via a comprehensive suite of integrated services, industry leading cycle times and easy to use application interfaces.
*Freight factoring is a widespread practice in the freight industry that allows trucking companies, including owner-operators, to turn unpaid invoices into immediate cash to ensure consistent cash flow.
Keeping a competitive advantage requires a faster process.
As an industry innovator, the company continually strives to improve the freight factoring process, offering driver-centric services to offload paperwork and efficiently manage cash flow.
The company’s vision is to offer customer’s industry-leading funding options that can be processed within seconds vs. the standard two days. To this end, the company’s first attempt to automate their factoring process centered around the use of email, which turned out to be almost as inefficient as manual processing with respect to matching up forms and confirming data. Also, like manual processing, it offered no point-in-time tracking.
The company’s second attempt was to outsource the design and construction of a new mobile app to automate the factoring process. While the completed mobile app offered advantages over its email predecessor, it lacked long-term viability and fell far short of achieving the company’s vision. There were serious concerns that the app had been over-architected, would be costly to maintain and would present significant future problems from a scalability and extensibility perspective. Plus, the app did not integrate with any of the company’s core back end systems — a key requirement.
In parallel with this effort, the company’s internal IT team developed a new web application (portal) that drivers and fleet administrators could use to facilitate the factoring process via a desktop/laptop. This application represented a major improvement regarding the ease and efficiency of executing the process, and it integrated to the company’s core and CRM systems. Although this application represented a major advancement, it was only being used by 30-40% of the company’s customer base. Given the mobile nature of drivers, it would be necessary to upgrade the company’s mobile app to equal the quality and value of the new web application in order to capture the balance of the company’s customer base.
Integrated mobile app elevates company offering and profitability.
Given the evolution of the mobile app and the constraints of the company’s internal IT team, the decision was made to outsource the mobile app rebuild effort to a different software development company, Fluent Consultants.
A key requirement was to build the new mobile app in Xamarin, a Microsoft mobile app technology. This would enable the company to reduce development costs by developing the app in a single language but deploying it to multiple platforms, i.e. iOS and Android. It would also allow the company’s internal development team to efficiently maintain and extend the app’s functionality, per the team’s existing expertise with Microsoft’s technology stack and C# development language.
Another key requirement was for the app to integrate with the company’s new web application and core operating system to enable customers to seamlessly start transactions in one application and complete them in another.
Key upgrades to the new mobile app included the following:
Using Xamarin, the app was developed in a single language and deployed to multiple platforms offering nearly 100% market coverage, reduced development costs and facilitated a smooth handoff to the company’s internal IT team.
Using Scanbot, the scanning capabilities of the app were greatly enhanced. Making the scanning of documents far more user friendly and legible, significantly improving both front and back office efficiency.
Integrating the mobile app with the company’s new web application, core operating system and Salesforce CRM enabled persistent transactions, operational efficiencies and the near limitless reduction of cycle times.
The integration also made possible a key feature that protects drivers against hauling loads for customers with poor credit ratings, significantly reducing the risk of nonpayment.
Immediate measurable results.
The completion of the new mobile app has enabled a critical element of the company’s grand vision and competitive advantage, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in revenue, profitability and loyalty. The new mobile app has helped to make this possible in the following ways.
Guaranteed one-hour funding for a premium fee of $25 vs. $5 for traditional processing.
The ability for fleet administrators to begin a transaction in the web application and request their drivers in the field finish it via the mobile app, and vice versa.
Enhances usability with the credit check feature now being built in. This also enabled the company to retire the legacy standalone site they were using prior.
A more user-friendly enhanced scanning feature that produces higher quality scans, significantly reducing errors and rework.
The integration across all customer-facing and back end systems has resulted in reducing processing times by over 40% and now makes possible the further reduction of cycle times to just 10 seconds.
The combined effect of integrating all systems and adding new mobile features and enhancements has significantly increased new customer adds and loyalty.
Summary of Success:
This initiative was and has been extremely successful, primarily for three primary reasons.
The company’s decision to invest in a mobile app was based on achieving the goals of a broader, more comprehensive, and well-planned business strategy. As such, many of the traditional hurdles relative to a project’s success, such as people issues, processes and change management were already being addressed.
Secondly, by outsourcing the design and construction of the mobile app, the company’s internal IT team was able to focus on developing the company’s new web application. This was critical to the success of the mobile app as it provided the majority of the back end integration and a necessary alternative method for customers to submit funding requests.
Finally, the company chose an IT partner (Fluent Consultants) that possessed the right skills and experience to develop a complex, greenfield mobile app in Xamarin. A technology that reduces mobile development costs and that can be easily maintained and extended by any IT team with Microsoft C# expertise, including the company’s own internal IT team.