Ridelink's New Logistics Management System Empowers Clients and Partners with Greater Control and Excellence.

Ridelink Series

Written by Henry Senkungu on May 17, 2023

With our vision in mind, the Ridelink Team  has developed a logistics management system that streamlines its operations and provides a better experience for all its clients and partners.

A description of how it works.

There are four kinds of accounts the system provides, i.e. the client, driver, truck owner and the administrator.

The client is either an individual or a company that is interested in moving cargo from one location to another. Using the system, clients are able to generate a quote and get all the approximations in terms of cost, number of days it will take to move the cargo, and the cost involved in three currencies namely Uganda shillings, United States Dollar and Kenya Shillings. After reviewing the quotation, the client then submits the order. Using a client account, you are able to know the current state of the order from its confirmation to delivery, all accessible from the dashboard.

The driver is an individual who moves the truck containing the cargo from the pickup location to the drop-off location. Only drivers verified by the company are able to receive orders. From the driver account, there are several features but notably the ability to change the current state of the cargo from when it's loaded to when it's delivered. Whenever any given milestone is achieved, the driver has to update this by simply tapping a button. The current milestones are when the cargo is loaded and delivered. All these updates seamlessly reflect on the account of the client to whom the cargo belongs.

The truck owner is as its name suggests, an individual or company who has trucks and would like to offer the trucks for cargo delivery. They are able to add their trucks into the system as only trucks in our database can receive a request to be used to deliver cargo. On the dashboard, truck owners are able to also view the state of trucks, either if it is currently on trip delivering cargo or if it's available.

The administrator of the system, is an actor on behalf of the company that performs coordination of the activities from when the order is received to when its delivered, this user has access to all features of all the other users, for example in case a driver is facing challenges and not able to update the current state of the cargo, with confirmation, the administrator is able to update this on behalf of the driver, and several other functions such as being able to create accounts for the other users.

Features of the system

Quote generation, the system automatically generates quotations for the client, based on the pickup and delivery locations provided, it calculates the amount in the three different currencies as earlier stated i.e. Uganda shillings, United States Dollar, and Kenya shillings, the number of days the delivery is expected to take is also displayed on the quote.

Email notification, we like to keep our clients informed about their cargo and their state, therefore, email notifications are sent whenever any action related to their cargo is performed, these are sent when the order is confirmed and scheduled for pickup or it's rejected with a reason provided, when it is loaded and when it is delivered.

Universal login, being a new system, we know we already have users who have accounts on other platforms and services provided by Ridelink, these new users do not have to create accounts, the current login works perfectly with the system. This also applies to our new users, in case you create an account, you won’t have to do that ever again on any Ridelink service.

Account switching. The ability to switch from the client to driver to truck owner in no particular order is a relief to those who expect to work with Ridelink in all capacities, there are no limitations to the types of accounts you activate for yourself.

Ease of use. The simple user interface provided makes it very easy to use and you can get started as soon as possible.

Summary of features

Client

Generate a quotation

View all the orders placed, those pending, rejected, on trip, and those delivered

Driver

Confirming when cargo has been loaded and delivered

View all orders, those that are pending and the ones whose deliveries were completed successfully

Administrator

Order confirmation

Order rejection

Account creation for clients, drivers, and truck owners

Add trucks on behalf of truck owners

Confirm if the cargo is loaded and delivered on behalf of the driver

Development of the system

Several technologies were combined and integrated to come up with this system,

A simple summary of what we used

React.js

Bootstrap

Firebase

Ridelink APIS (Application Programming Interfaces)

Vercel (hosting platform)

 Description

React.js is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces, combined with Bootstrap this brought about useful navigation, the dashboard, the fonts, and other UI effects.

After the interfaces were successfully built, the next step was to add some functionality to them, this is where Firebase comes in. But before we opted for firebase, our backend was initially built using nodejs and express.js framework, this was a good experience and we learned a lot but we compared and decided to migrate to Firebase because of the vast advantages it provided. The major reason for the migration was the need for this system to fully be able to integrate with the existing company apps and other platforms 

Firebase is a set of backend cloud computing services and application development platforms provided by Google. It hosts databases, services, authentication, and integration for a variety of applications.

With Firebase, we do not have to configure and manage servers and features such as authentication, and databases.

This explains why it was possible for the company to provide a universal login feature. The company uses the authentication services provided by Firebase. Any app, website, or service provided by Ridelink uses the same service for authentication that means if you have created an account on any of these platforms when you access another service, it uses your the login details making it easy for our users to maintain only one email and password which is used across Ridelink.

Ridelink has several other APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) such as the email notifications API. An application programming interface is a way for two or more computer programs to communicate with each other. In simple terms, when we want to send an email notification to a user, we simply tell our service for sending emails that we would like to send an email to this person and provide the message.The service will then send the message and give us feedback on whether it was successful or not. This gives all systems developed by Ridelink the ability to send email notifications to users using the same service.

The company separates the common features that all its current apps and services and even the future ones should have into API making it easier to maintain and share across the company.

Future Plans:

The logistics management system is in its beta stage of development and will soon be integrated into Ridelink's operations. The system will improve the efficiency of the company's operations and provide a better experience for its clients. In the future, there are plans to add more features to the system, such as AI-enabled searching, real-time tracking, automated invoicing, and reporting.

Conclusion:

Building a logistics management system with React, Firebase, and external APIs was a challenging but rewarding experience for Ridelink. The system will help the company streamline its operations and provide a better experience for its clients. If you're interested in trying out the system for yourself, visit Ridelink's website to learn more.

Here is a link to the video guide to introduce you to how you can use the platform from creating your account to making your first of many orders

https://youtu.be/yR8U0X6cRUA

 

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