User Accounts Update, Catalog Toggle & Misc. Cleanups
We recently updated the way team member accounts are organized, and cleaned up who-can-do-what. Now, there's a much more clearly defined hierarchy along with some nice polishes that pertain to assigning "Driver" and "Loader" capabilities.
FRONT-END CATALOG TOGGLE
When a customer offers both delivery and pick up services, we created a nice way to showcase each fulfillment type from a unique URL, but it wasn't easy for customers to toggle between each type. Problem solved!
PICK UP ONLY PRODUCTS
We implemented some new logic that makes it possible to now sell products for pick-up only, with no delivery options. In unique cases this is a really really valuable addition.
Largely administrative, these cleanups make it even easier for admins to stay on top of orders, deliveries, drivers and revenue over time.
Messaging Settings + A Couple-O Tweaks
There are a few places around BDP that where it would be ideal to open up the doors for custom messaging, per client. With this release, we've started that process and look forward to organizing (and re-organizing) some of our settings screens to better expose these places. For now, one can customize the product display info-box text that appears on both the "Delivery" and "Pick Up" (if enabled) tabs.
HOME PAGE POLLING
We have plans to add more options to the "Home" page inside BDP. This is where various stats are stored and where of the places where you can see new orders come in. Some clients are displaying screens like this one on their office TV's (or other large monitors) and we needed a way to keep everyone in the loop regarding the "freshness" of the information being displayed.
BACK END UPDATES
It isn't as much fun as adding new features, but maintaining the plumbing is about as important as things gets around here. This release includes an infrastructure update that keeps us on the up-and-up.
Vehicle-specific Blocked Slots & Bug Fixes
We recently pushed out some vehicle-specific functionality that makes it much easier to manage a fleet of delivery trucks that all have different weight & volume capacities. We had one more detail that didn't make the cut an it has been added now!
VEHICLE-SPECIFIC BLOCKED SLOTS
Let's say that you have a bigger capacity truck that you use to run all of your larger deliveries, but maybe you also use that truck to help stock your yard. You run a little low on a product that takes a few hours to restock and want to make sure you don't overbook that specific amount of time with customer orders. As of today, you can easily block the time you need to restock and keep the rest of the time open to make $$$.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION PASTE BUG
When copying a description in from another source our system wasn't recognizing that change event (the paste) and wasn't properly providing the appropriate "Save" button. Fixed now!
ADDED WEBP IMAGE (UPLOAD) SUPPORT
We deliver images in all of the latest formats, but for actual uploads, we weren't supporting WEBP images, until now.
On a few of our pages, we had screens that didn't show much when there wasn't and content yet added ("Empty State"). These are all cleaned up now!
Vehicle Constraints, Troubleshooting Tools, and pretty polishes
Hooowhee, this is a big release that might not seem like it at first glance. The biggest news is that now (drumroll) one can very effectively control a very diverse fleet of delivery vehicles and dynamically route orders to the appropriate trucks, each with their own schedules.
Let's say that you have several smaller trucks that don't require a CDL to drive. Then, let's say you invest in a larger truck that does require a CDL and thus a more expensive delivery given the added truck & driver costs. Previously, if you just added this truck into the mix, it would be on the hook to take small loads. We have always included upper end weight constraints, so that the schedule of a larger truck would only appear for BIG loads, but we've never had LOWER END constraints in place, like we do now.
This means that you can now enter in a truck and set a weight value that an order must exceed before that truck's schedule will be available. It will no longer get triggered for loads that don't weigh enough to warrant the larger truck.
Similarly, we've included optional min/max constraints for volume as well. Just like weight, a larger truck won't be triggered unless the order volume warrants the bigger rig.
This set of changes is arguably one of the biggest and most valuable updates to BDP so far this year, and makes your schedule and fleet infinitely customizable.
When adding products to BDP, you are given the option to add in as many "Product Prices" as you like. These are essentially "attributes" of the product that let you control the exact volumes that work for your business. You can enter as many or as few as you like. The challenge here is that it is possible to inadvertently enter a volume for sale that cannot be delivered with your currently active vehicles. If this happens, we now display messaging to alerts your admins so that they can fix things up tout suite.
CUSTOM ORDER CONFIRMATION
This allows BDP customers to both keep as much traffic on your own site as possible AND trigger any sort of ad conversion scripts, if you're into that sort of thing. Please contact BDP Support ([email protected]) for the nuts-and-bolts on how to bring this to life and start tracking your ROI!
DRIVER DASHBOARD "LOOK AHEAD"
A long-requested feature, drivers can now "look ahead" on the Driver Dashboard (both list and map views) to see what orders are scheduled for future days. This data has always been available via the calendar page, but it is WAY more convenient to take a peek at what's coming up (including dump locations via the map) with this new addition.
PRODUCT WEIGHT & COST FIELDS
There's long been a field on the Product page that captured the weight of a product in "tons per yard", which has always been...well, confusing. This is a somewhat common way to reference the weight of an aggregate/gravel product, but makes little to no sense for woody soft goods & soils. We've adjusted the weight value now such that we just capture the weight of a yard of the material and we apply our tonnage conversion behind the scenes. This should make things much easier to fill out and can be calculated (albeit a bit roughly) by measuring the weight of a 12" x 12" x 12" box of material (less the box weight) and then multiplying by 27. Reach out it that needs further explanation!
Lastly, we're prepping for some new features related to "Product Cost" and have updated the field that stores this information to be either "Cost per Yard" or "Cost per Ton". This is all optional right now, but how cool would it be if you could see (in real time) the current value of material inventory?
ADMINS WHO DRIVE
We accidentally made it annoying for Admins who have Driving capability to use the Driver Dashboard. They'd click into the "Details" of a delivery and then the breadcrumb navigation would take them back to the "Orders" screen, not the Driver Dashboard. For the people that this affected, we're sorry...it is now possible to select which screen you want to return to with the addition of some new icons. Same is true for "Loaders" and the "Loader Dashboard".
We're starting to weave in some little "?" icons throughout the app. Clicking/hovering on these will offer some additional info re: specific fields/tools and will link to more info in our BDP Documentation when needed. Speaking of....we're hustling to get V1 of our documentation out soon. Stay tuned there!
It has always been possible to export (to and .XLS file) all of one's orders. But that's annoying when you only need a smaller subset (date range, product, customer, etc). Now, whatever filter you've put in place via the "Advanced Search" tools will also apply when you "Export Orders".
We cleaned up the look/feel of the calendar view (more to come there) and fixed some layout bugs with the driver delivery map and about a dozen other little spots around the app where we're (hopefully/probably) the only ones who'll notice
Export Filtered Orders, Time Slot Customizations, Loader Search & More
Here at BDP it feels like we had a bit of a party ("Pick Up" Release) and needed to do some cleaning up afterwards. This release covers a pile of odds/ends/fixes/polishes and squashed bugs. We also threw in a couple new delivery slot tools that will save a boatload of hassle for a handful of customers.
DELIVERY SLOT TOOLS
Depending on a lot of different variables (employee schedules, truck maintenance/availability, weather, holidays, etc.) one needs to make adjustments to an overall delivery schedule. Sure, you're delivering every day, but maybe you've got an additional truck/driver that you can run on Fridays...or over some weekends. There are a few ways to control your delivery "inventory" so to speak and one way has always been to add/delete delivery slots as needed. This works fine, but isn't ideal. With this release, you can now toggle any slot to be "Active" or "Inactive", keeping all of the slot settings intact. Additionally, you can now provide a custom name to each of your slots to help keep things better organized. So...not the MOST SEXY of updates, but it adds a nice polish.
VEHICLE VOLUME LIMITS
Inside BDP, we've always had a "Volume" field for each vehicle, but it was mostly there for reference, not actually used in the magic that controls order routing between rigs. Now, if that field is filled out for a specific vehicle, it will automatically control availability for trucks that can/cannot accommodate each order, based on volume. Stay tuned for similar functionality that we're working on to set "lower" limits for weight, allowing better routing for diverse fleets.
LOADER DASHBOARD SEARCH
For customers that have enabled "Pick Up" Ordering. We now have a simple search field to help "Loader" users find the right order for fulfillment based on any number of details (order number, name, phone, instructions, etc.)
EXPORT (FILTERED) ORDERS
BDP has long offered a simple order export tool and now it will respect any "Advanced Search" options that have been selected. This makes it possible to export just orders of certain products, date ranges, customers, etc.
CUSTOMER NOTE HIGHLIGHTS
For new users (drivers) it can take a minute to build the muscle memory needed to remember to always look to see if a customer left a specific delivery note. Even for veteran drivers, this can sometimes get overlooked if you're in the middle of a busy day. We've added some new callouts and shortcut links to help highlight this detail on orders where these instructions have been provided.
RICH TEXT FORMATTING
We realized that formatting of certain text items (like bulleted lists) were lost in BDP's admin area. The formatting appeared on the customer side, but that's hardly helpful when you're filling out the details. This is fixed now.
EMAIL SENDER SIGNATURE
This is a bit more valuable to new customers...but can definitely help anyone using BDP. When onboarding, an email address (that isn't from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) is added to your account settings and used as the address that YOUR customers will see on the email receipts that they get after an order has been placed. In order to be able to do this, we must first get your permission to "send on your behalf". This authentication/confirmation process has now been automated. You can now change the address that you store with us and "confirm" it without needing to reach out to BDP support.
Pick Up Orders! (& some bonus additions/fixes)
This is a big one. BulkDelivery PRO now supports "Pick Up" Orders....in addition to "Deliveries". This kicks the door wide open for landscape supply centers, nurseries, and any other businesses that stock bulk materials to use these tools for all of their material transactions. It also paves the way for accurate inventory management regardless of fulfillment type.
Customers can both purchase material in advance (saving time when they arrive at the lot), or they can purchase material right from the cab of their truck when they've arrived. Pre-paid orders go straight into the hands of the loader, reducing touch points, dramatically shortening overall load times, and nearly eliminating transaction errors.
This addition has been a long time coming and required a significant amount of effort to build out. We can't wait to see how everyone uses these new tools!
We also found that (while under the hood) this was a good time for some other improvements to be made.
- A new (embeddable) yardage calculator.
- Better error reporting when enabling Stripe Tax.
Progressive Web App Features + Favicon & App Icons
Prior to very recently, BDP had limited options for the images/icons that were able to be customized with the Appearance Settings.
Now, it is possible to:
1) customize the logo you see when you or your other team members log in.
2) customize your company icon that appears on all of your Admin pages.
3) customize the "favicon" that appears alongside the tabs for your BDP admin & front-end catalog pages.
4) customize the app icon that appears when BDP is saved to a mobile home screen as a progressive web application.
Facebook/Instagram Shopping Feed
in an amongst a handful of other little polishes and layout/formatting/spelling fixes, we've now lit up the ability to publish a BDP catalog of products to Facebook/Instagram. This XML feed is generated for each BDP account and can now be integrated into a Facebook Commerce Manager to enable your products to be displayed in a Facebook or Instagram Shop.
Upon doing so, all of the "Active" products in your BDP account will be able to be displayed inside a new "Shop" tab both on your Facebook Page and your Instagram Profile, should one elect to enable it in both places.
Map Tools & Email Polishes
We snuck in some bug fixes and new smaller features that have been on the list for a minute. There were lingering zone zoom & color picker bugs that are now a thing of the past! In addition, we were able to add in a few things that have been on the list for awhile:
MAP ZONE TOGGLE
When you have more than a few zones it used to be really tricky to determine how each one related to the others, since you could only see one at a time. Now, when you're editing a specific zone, you can toggle any/all of the others to see right where you're at. So slick. Now it is possible & easy to get corresponding zones perfectly aligned to each other.
MAP POINT (VERTEX) DELETE
When drawing map zones in BDP, it can be easy to get a bit carried away and accidentally create too many points in a zone/polygon. Now, with a simple double-click, you can quickly and easily delete points and simplify your zones. Whew...finally.
CUSTOMER PRICE CHECK
Sometimes one of your customers will call and ask for a quick price check. They could just look on your BDP-generated pages to figure it out but as long as their on the phone you need an easy way to get them an answer. Go to your own BDP site (be sure your cart is empty) and pretend to place the material order that they are interested in. Enter in the customer-provided delivery address and then (on the time-picker screen) click on the material image/icon/button near the top of the screen. From there you'll be presented with the full cost, including any additional outer zone fees.
WEB APP ICONS
BulkDelivery PRO is a "web app", meaning that you'll be using your phone/desktop browser instead of a "native" app. This makes things exponentially easier to update/improve/iterate on from a development perspective. You can also still save a "shortcut" to the BDP system right onto your phone so that it appears like any other "app". We've recently added the ability to also customize the image that is used for your app icon. This is a great way to keep your branding throughout, and makes it much easier for your drivers to find the right icon on their phones.
Lastly, we polished up some of the various email templates that get sent out with BDP so that the layout matches what you're used to seeing in the estimates and order receipts. Starting tomorrow, we're digging into something BIG. Stay tuned.
Mid-Winter Maintenance & More
We pushed out our most recent update yesterday with a PILE of changes. Primarily, we decided to switch who we are using for images in an effort to prepare for more efficient scaling (as well as a brand new feature we're working on). We used this opportunity to upgrade a number of other packages and perform some admin page cleanups to the "Vehicles", "Products", and "Category" pages.
Note that you can now rapidly add product pricing items with our smart "duplicate" feature. The logic behind this will look at the item you're duplicating and perform the same calculation on your next yardage increment. This is a MASSIVE time saver when populating products. We also found/fixed some inconsistencies around the app and updated how we label many of the "toggle" switches to read more clearly.
Now that our garage is cleaned up, and plumbing fixed, the stage is set to build out some really exciting things we have planned for this upcoming season.
Global Same-day Delivery Setting
We created a new setting that, when set, globally prevents any same-day orders from being placed. While these last-minute orders are opportunities for additional revenue, we completely understand how they could be hard to accommodate for some operations. The good news is that it is now really easy to toggle on/off!