Increasing a courier service’s operational efficiency

How Thinkship helped SNAP! Courier reduce monthly software expenses and create a custom tool employing user-centered design.

 
  • Mobile applications

  • User-centered design

  • Logistics/food delivery

  • Systems integration

  • Business analysis

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The challenge

The founders of SNAP! Courier wanted to create a custom logistics system to allow their business to scale by eliminating the costly licensing fees of the ready-made software they had been using for daily operations. Their goal was to build a custom logistics system to interconnect dispatchers, couriers and restaurant staff and accommodate their unique workflow. Thinkship had to design an intuitive, efficient product that optimized the logistics process for all user roles. It was critical that Thinkship understood all aspects of the business in order to build a successful system.

About SNAP! Courier

SNAP! Courier is a food delivery service in Chicago whose couriers operate entirely on bikes. The company partners with local restaurants and delivers food to customers around the city.

Background

SNAP! Courier wanted to expand its business but was limited by inefficiencies and prohibitive monthly licensing fees from the ready-made software it had been using for daily operations. In order to grow, the company needed to implement custom software that met the exact needs of its fast-paced business.

Thinkship worked with SNAP! to create a tool that addressed the complexities involved in the company's day-to-day operations — multiple user roles, split-second decision making, and the unpredictable environment for bike couriers. By developing software with these issues in mind, each step of SNAP's workflow would improve, and the company would be able to optimize the logistics process for dispatchers, couriers, and restaurant staff.

Understanding SNAP’s unique needs

SNAP! and Thinkship had worked together on a previous project in the food delivery space — Thinkship had to integrate a food delivery app with SNAP’s previous logistics system. Recognizing their system was out of date, inefficient, and expensive, the founders of SNAP! approached Thinkship to design and build a custom logistics tool specific to their unique needs.    

Thinkship began the discovery process by meeting with the founders of SNAP! to discuss their goals and analyze any pain points they had experienced with their previous software. To understand how couriers interacted with the former system, the UX team at Thinkship equipped a courier with a video camera, which recorded his entire work day.

The video footage allowed the development team to learn how couriers engage with their immediate environment and see the challenges that come with navigating the city on a bike. With this knowledge, Thinkship was able to move forward with the rest of the design process.

Adapting to a fast-paced environment

Now that Thinkship had a grasp of how the courier side of the business functioned, the next step was to focus on the needs of the dispatchers.

One of the key issues was that dispatchers had to quickly ascertain the health of delivery zones to enact split-second decisions. Because assessing large amounts of data and making quick decisions is key to the operation, especially during rush times, the tool had to be intuitive and easy to use. Therefore, Thinkship strategically used colors, iconography, and semiotic triggers to reduce cognitive load on dispatchers, allowing them to execute decisions quickly and easily.

The last step was to reconfigure and improve an existing email parsing system and integrate it with the new software. After the improvements, the functions of the parsing system jumped from a 60% success rate to a 100% success rate.

A solution designed to scale    

With the new logistics system in place, SNAP! can operate efficiently and now has the ability to scale with no ongoing monthly software costs. Using custom software has also helped the company improve the accuracy of the ordering and courier assignment processes. The road is open for continuous growth.

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