Development of Fleet Maintenance Software
The Customer is a software product company that specializes in business process automation for the mining industry. Their products are used by 80% of the Australian mining companies. One of the distinct advantages of the Customer’s products is software as a service (SaaS) approach, when clients purchase a license and access software via a web interface. This approach minimizes upfront costs and simplifies deployment and support.
Australia’s governmental regulations require companies operating in the mining industry to comply with local labor protection, safety, and accident prevention regulations.
For example, before starting a working shift, each driver/operator working in a quarry or a mine has to fill out equipment inspection and availability checklists. Originally, this was routine paperwork with a range of disadvantages:
- The process was time-consuming (long list of items to check and fill in by hand).
- High risk of human error (employees could fill out a wrong form, omit information, etc.).
- High equipment downtime (it takes time for a supervisor to receive information about a piece of equipment being out of order and send a repairman to fix it).
- No real-time knowledge of equipment availability.
Ready-to-use fleet maintenance software solutions available on the market didn't fit the unique requirements of the Customer. They did not feature automatic customizable checklist creation based on user and equipment type and had no suitable notification and reporting system that complied with the customer’s local labor regulations.
Thus, the Customer wanted to develop a custom product that would simplify the process of filling out checklists, provide visual dashboard to monitor and control fleet availability, automate and speed up out-of-order and maintenance notifications, improve drivers’ performance, and foster the compliance with relevant regulations.
With wide experience in .NET development and a profound knowledge of the fleet management industry, ScienceSoft took on the task.
Since truck drivers and equipment operators owned different types of mobile devices, iOS, Android and Windows Phone application versions had to be created. Thus, the project team decided to opt for hybrid development based on Xamarin. This helped to save project investments and ensured identical user experience on all mobile devices. Since employees and their supervisors are often provided with corporate tablet computers, the application had to be adapted for these tablets as well.
Cooperating with the Customer, ScienceSoft’s specialists elicited the functional requirements to the solution, outlined the solution's data structure and business logic, as well as designed user-friendly interfaces for mobile and web.
After the design phase was completed, ScienceSoft’s team implemented a mobile and a server-side backend application. The mobile application allowed each employee to choose a vehicle or other type of equipment that is currently available for use during the shift. The application then displayed the questions applicable to the chosen vehicle or piece of equipment. The web interface, in its turn, featured live fleet and equipment availability dashboard, a map showing current locations of all the drivers and equipment operators, instant incoming maintenance and out-of-order alerts, convenient access to historical events, reports creation, ability to export reports in PDF or Excel format, and other useful administrative functionality. The server-side ASP.NET MVC application was implemented to run in Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure.
The quality assurance process was then completed, including thorough testing and bug-fixing. ScienceSoft‘s team also helped the Customer deploy the product and publish the mobile applications in appropriate app stores.
The new product was successfully introduced to the market. It could be used to effectively manage a company’s fleet and equipment, reduce downtime, lower the risk of human error, and enhance the compliance with local labor and safety regulations.
The following innovative features were implemented:
- Identical and intuitive user interface for each mobile platform (Android, iOS, Windows Mobile).
- Custom functionality for each employee type: owner, supervisor and field worker.
- Real-time visual dashboard to monitor and control fleet and other equipment.
- Automatic checklists and questionnaires for each equipment type.
- Reports generation and forwarding to appropriate staff.
- Immediate push notifications for critical events.
- Automatic maintenance remainders and maintenance completion reports.
- Ability for field workers to immediately inform management about equipment faults with an option to attach a photo or a video.
The product quickly gained popularity with the Customer’s existing clients and brought in new clients. ScienceSoft’s team was also selected to provide third-line technical support.
Technologies and Tools
Microsoft Azure, .NET, ASP.NET MVC, Microsoft SQL Server, Xamarin, iOS, Android.