Freight Hub Group Shows How to Design Client-Centric Technology
Many of the giants of the modern global economy are companies with a focus on technology. Due to the dominance of technology to give companies a competitive advantage, many businesses work to create their own software to provide superior customer service. Though this is a laudable goal, it can be easier said than done. With some businesses launching quite cumbersome systems, and others amazing technical assistance for customers worldwide. Like Shiply in shipping for instance, where you can control your own workload as a customer trucker, shipping or logistics company, and be your own boss.
To assist our readers in creating workable applications of their own, we’ve turned to the example set by Freight Hub Group and its TruckHub software. Under the guidance of CEO Luis Lopez, the third-party logistics company has helped highlight a method of software development that can be applied across many different industries.
Know your industry
This may seem apparent to some, but it can be surprising how many business owners attempt to implement technology into a new venture without fully understanding the industry in which they are working. This type of “leap before you look” approach can often be doomed to failure as early mistakes may steamroll into critical downfalls as time passes. Without a firm grasp of the unique challenges of a particular industry, a business leader may find themselves ill-equipped to articulate to developers exactly what issues need to be solved through the creation of a piece of technology.
The example of Freight Hub Group CEO Luis Lopez makes for an instructive example to show the type of legwork that can help you gain a more complete understanding of an industry. The shipping professional’s experience in his field dates back to his time in high school, where he was first introduced to the work through a part-time job. That first exposure to third-party logistics not only taught him many fundamentals that are still relevant in the field to this day, it also gave him an understanding of areas that could be improved upon. One such area that caught his eye was the lack of flexibility in the industry, and the opportunity to create a company that could be more agile in its ability to serve client needs.
Know your clients
That simple observation highlights a second important concept that can be critical for any business owner seeking to design technology to aid in their goals. It is absolutely critical to know and understand your clients. This idea goes beyond an understanding of the industry itself which, though important, is often focused on the nuts and bolts of delivering services. By contrast, knowing your clients hinges on understanding the pain points on their end and better understanding what might be done in order to more fully achieve their goals.
To continue drawing from the example of the third-party logistics company, the CEO’s understanding of a client’s need for flexibility was a direct inspiration for his push to create his TruckHub platform. One early way in which he saw this need manifest was through his observations of the handling and shipping of hazardous materials. Early in his career, he noticed that regulations and other burdens created a slow-moving environment for this type of transportation, causing unnecessary bottlenecks for clients. Through this observation, he worked to create a more streamlined hazardous material handling service that offered same-day pick-up to allow the company to better meet client needs.
No piece of software is created in a vacuum. Though a business owner or design team may come up with the original concept for a piece of technology in order to solve or alleviate a perceived problem, it is the users themselves who ultimately decide its worth. For this reason, keeping an open line of communication with users as to how to best serve their needs can make the difference between a successful product launch or a lackluster attempt.
The launch of TruckHub illustrates this concept perfectly. The application was the result of a long design process with input from a range of sources. Though Luis Lopez was instrumental in the initial conception of the software, he and his design team made the decision early on to solicit input from actual clients. This led to the design process being heavily guided by the desires of clients as the company sought to implement features that had been explicitly requested through user feedback. This has been one of the top factors leading to the successful launch of the TruckHub platform.
Ultimately, the design and implementation of a piece of software comes down to the prioritization of features. The decision to include or exclude certain features can be one of the most important parts of the design process and can contribute greatly to an application’s success. Though the above process of soliciting user feedback can be a great determiner of which features to focus on, it is generally left up to the individuals in charge of the software to make the final decisions regarding implementation.
To better understand this idea, let’s take a quick look at the features that have been implemented in the software created for Freight Hub Group. The TruckHub application is a tool used by clients to track the status and whereabouts of their goods throughout the transportation journey. It also allows dispatchers, drivers, and shippers to share contact information and rate quotes for business owners seeking to utilize the company’s transportation services. The use of GPS and real-time updates to achieve the software’s goals helps to illustrate how focused the platform is on streamlined client-driven features.
While technology is often at the heart of many of the largest and most successful companies in the modern economy, it can sometimes be tricky to implement on a case by case basis. Rather than act as a deterrent, however, this concept can serve as motivation for business owners to become better educated regarding the specifics of software design and implementation. Looking to the above overview of Freight Hub Group and how CEO Luis Lopez has led the design process for its TruckHub software can be informative. Look for additional resources through the company’s website to get a better idea of this process and to see how you can implement a similar process in your own pursuits.