Quality-driven express delivery service
PXA Express Ltd is an express delivery service dedicated to offering unrivalled service from enquiry through to delivery.
PXA Express Ltd needed an iOS application which would provide customer/driver consignment updates. They were unable to use a standard approach or an off the shelf solution, as the required functionality needed to be very specific to the operation of their business.
They also required the solution to work with their existing website, so we knew there would be a lot of functionality and integration to take into consideration. As a result the app needed to include the following functionality:
- Driver unique login
- View driver consignment allocation in real time synchronised with the online system
- Allow drivers to update the status of each consignment, flag as (collected/delivered or completed)
- Allow drivers to attach photographic evidence to each consignment (proof of attempted collection or delivery)
- Allow drivers to ask and collect a signature from the customer as proof of collection or delivery
- The iOS application would need to synchronise with the online system remotely, passing updated consignment statuses and or attach any photographs and customer signatures
We designed and developed a bespoke app which met the requirements set out by PXA, but this wasn’t without a couple of obstacles along the way. Combining our technical expertise and problem solving skills meant we were able to offer helpful solutions without impacting on the app’s core functionality.
One obstacle was that PXA required a system that was in real time, but during the development phase of this work we identified a potential problem. When drivers are out collecting or delivering consignments, sometimes they are in remote locations that do not have internet or mobile data connectivity.
To solve this problem, we developed the app so that local data storage was added within the iOS application. Now when drivers are back in an area that has better network coverage, the locally stored data is automatically synchronised with the online system, pushing the latest consignment data to PXA administrators and their customers.
Having to store the data locally was another challenging issue. As the data was on the device, we had a problem with storage. Often consignments had many photographs, and the devices would run out of storage space. As a solution, we decided to change the way we stored the photographs.
Instead of storing the photographs in the device file directory, we base64 encoded the data and stored them within the database. When the data is then passed back to the online system, they are converted back to real images. This saved us space and made the synchronisation process a lot faster.
Once the app was developed we carried out thorough testing on a development version of the website. We also had numerous provisioned iOS devices so we could test in a real life scenario with real customers to help iron out any potential flaws. Once everything was working perfectly we switched over to the live website, and Apple approved our iOS solution which is now available for download in the app store.
As a result, we were able to develop a beautifully designed and streamlined app to include a fully bespoke online system and bespoke iOS application.
Despite working within a tight schedule, the two work together to accomplish PXA’s requirements and did not require any further adaptations.