When a snow storm hits in the middle of the night, businesses rely on their snow plow service so they can operate the next day. Commercial snow removal requires extensive coordination. Weather must be closely monitored and a fleet of snow plows have to be ready to get to work on short notice. It’s also critical to track and log plows so businesses know their lots are clean.
Rabine wanted to be able to better track and manage its plowing activities. The company wanted to create an app to get visibility over its operations and activities.
Before developing the app, we wanted to fully understand the process required for commercial snow removal. To do this, Rabine engaged in our Blueprint Workshop. The Workshop gave us the opportunity to interview key personnel involved in the operation. This included plow operators, managers, and key executives.
After the interviews, our team mapped the current process for performing snow removal. This allowed us to find ways to transform the current process with technology.
We knew it was important to create designs that would be easy for the operators to use. Operators work under cold and wet conditions. They don’t have extra time to interact with an app. These constraints informed every decision in our design.
Most of the data we needed was already in the device, or available through GPS and Geofence technology. This allowed us to push most interactions into the background. We made it as easy as possible to use the app. Users simply tap a single large button to press when they start their work.
Development & Technology
Operators needed to downloaded the app on their personal devices, which includes both iOS and Android phones. But developing for both devices is expensive. Instead, we developed a single app using a cross-platform framework. This reduced the time and cost of development.
We also developed a backend API to save the data to send and receive data from the mobile app. Using Heroku as the cloud provider, allowed us to save key data to Rabine’s Salesforce CRM in real time. This architecture allowed Rabine’s office personnel to track snow removal activities in real time.