Updated: 15/12/19

We’ll talk you through how and why we made our multi-drops so you can make the most of this function and book them with ease.

 

Apart from a handful of messages we received about Gophr’s couriers, no one ever finds logistics sexy.

We’re super proud of what we’ve managed to achieve with our multidrop rollout. This thing touched nearly every facet of our product line. Our customer mobile app remains unchanged as our webapp bookings still dwarf our mobile app bookings so it always takes priority. 

The whole project took about 12 weeks to complete and necessitated a complete restructure of how our backend works, as well as web-app user interface and courier app UI.

 

So what are multi-drops and why are they such a big deal?

Multi-drops give our users the ability to book a courier to go to one pick up point to gather lots of packages to be dropped at multiple delivery points – hence ‘multi-drops’. This also applies to multiple pick-ups going to one delivery point. This functionality leads to increased efficiency and therefore a cheaper price for the customer; a win-win.

Back in the day, our entire backend platform was geared toward optimising for single jobs, both at the point at which they are assigned as well as when they are in progress (more on that here). This new roll out means the system is now set up for fluidity. So dropping a daisy chain of multiple pick ups and drops as part of one job is a little like running a set of train tracks over some sand dunes. In other words; hard.

Added to this, we had only ever designed our booking process for one job at a time. Because we don’t have controllers to manually sort out the most optimal routes for any given run, all this needed to be handled during the booking process itself, adding another layer of complexity. So, we needed to completely rethink the user interface whilst making other improvements we’d been meaning to do for some time.

 

So why did we do it?

  1. It was one of the only aspects of our service where we still couldn’t compete with traditional courier companies
  2. We were getting a lot of requests from existing clients for this feature (user insights are invaluable to us)
  3. Because of 1 and 2 there’s no way we could get to the kind of volumes we wanted to unless we actually sorted it out

 

So how does it work?

A big downside of our previous UI was that users could only receive a quote at the very end of the booking process; after they’d entered all the details of the job they were booking.

We’ve improved this by providing a quote as soon as the first pick up and delivery points are submitted. You can now keep submitting pick up and delivery points before optimising the route to get the best possible price. Only at that point do we ask for contact and consignment details.

The rest of it works more or less the way it used to. Now that we’ve written that last (and very short) paragraph out I’m wondering how we managed to make something so complex look so simple (it wasn’t). Such is the beauty of software development.

 

If you have any questions about this (not related to backend and routing etc, secret sauce and all that 😉) do let us know in the comments.

For all those wondering what the hell our title is about, here’s a reference. Enjoy 🙂 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdxI1f2UOV8