Tuesday, 14 July 2020 14:04

Food delivery app deployed by UBT to help families affected by COVID-19


Business advisory group UBT has deployed an app to quickly get food boxes to COVID-19 affected families across NSW as part of their charitable organisation, Rapid Relief Team (RRT).

UBT said in a statement on Tuesday that the “Uber Eats style” food delivery app was built in under 12 weeks using the OutSystems low-code application platform with development services provided by OutSystems delivery partner Phoenix Services.

UBT donates profits to various charities around the globe and in conjunction with the Australian Government, RRT “recognised the need for a rapid solution to help out people affected by the Coronavirus pandemic”.

At the start of the pandemic, UBT was working with Phoenix on a large-scale project called Connect, using OutSystems to replace existing legacy systems, and on RRT's request, UBT connected with Phoenix to build the RRT Food Box App.

UBT says the new application was built 100% using the OutSystems development platform and, because of the speed of low-code application development, OutSystems allowed all parties to react quickly and build the ‘Uber Eats’ style of application in three months.

Before this app, RRT primarily used emails and spreadsheets to manage the logistics, however, with increasing deliveries, they required an automated system to manage the process, and needed it up and running as quickly as possible.

UBT says the application allocates the Government's support requests to RRT’s queue and matches them to the nearest distribution site, with deliveries optimised into delivery runs.

"The volunteers receive notifications and have access to a summary of key details like the number of boxes, distance and duration, amongst others, to ensure the most efficient way of delivering RRT Food Boxes. The volunteers accept the task, drive to the destination, deliver the boxes and take a photograph as proof of delivery - and RRT and the client can track deliveries in almost real-time."

UBT says that while the humanitarian organisation had previously been delivering Food Boxes to victims of domestic violence, the pandemic required them to scale up operations and act as an emergency food bank for people and families in self-quarantine, self-isolation or those struggling to access food supplies.

Since April, RRT has delivered over 4,000 food boxes to people affected by COVID-19.

“This was my first project using OutSystems, and we are keen to get started on our next project to develop our Events Management System,” said Brittney Chalmers, Global Communications Manager at RRT.

“It is amazing how it sped up our development process and opened the door for new projects to come to life. This app is helping people in need firsthand, and we’ve been humbled to work with OutSystems to develop a tailored approach that meets our needs.”

UBT says RRT is now able to scale its food box delivery while exceeding the service level requirements of government and partners and is ready to expand to other countries to help those in need.

"Agility is a critical part of RRT’s role and OutSystems is one of the fastest low-code platforms in the market. This made it possible to rapidly create secure and user-friendly applications, which ensured that this critical humanitarian aid could be delivered to people in their time of need, which is a great outcome,” said Paul Arthur, VP for ANZ at OutSystems.

“We mobilised all resources needed to ensure RRT would have a tailor-made application in record time.”

"You have a responsibility to help when you are a company that works with disruptive technology and a rapid response team to build custom mission-critical systems in weeks (not months or years),” said Pedro Carrilho, Managing Director, Phoenix.

“Phoenix, with our expert know-how on rapid application delivery, recognised this as a great use case under our social responsibility program. I am extremely grateful to be able to deliver this project in record time when people need us and assist RRT with their humanitarian effort."

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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