Slack meets Fleet Management

Jens Nylander
Mar 7, 2017 · 5 min read

Businesses are really challenged with managing their fleet of vehicles and finding a solution that integrates beautifully with their existing tool sets to increase productivity. But legacy solutions in the fleet management space provide complex user interfaces and few connectors and integration is definitely not a piece of cake.

Automile is set out to change this and disrupting the $30 billion fleet management market by making a mobile first API-centric solution. offer simple web and mobile apps. Our APIs are REST-based JSON (https://api.automile.com) and also SDKs are available for PHP, Java, and C# .NET (https://github.com/automile).

In the upcoming release in March, Automile is releasing a number of new features and the release also includes integrations that can be turned on by a simple click. Slack is one of these and we submitted our app today to Slack’s App Directory.

April Underwood, VP of Product at Slack recently did a terrific speaking session “Building a Product Both CIOs and Devs Love” at SaaStr Annual Conference inspiring all developers to tap into the powerful API that Slack offers.

The Slack API is not new to Automile. We have been integrating our internal tools with Slack to increase efficiency right from the start. Now we bringing slack integration with Automile to our customers (businesses) and prospective clients so they can manage their fleet of vehicles within the Slack experience.

Searching on fleet or fleet management on Slack’s App Directory will render zero results today. There are apps using Slack’s Webhooks to send alerts into Slack but there aren’t any “real Slack Apps” for fleet management out in the market.

Automile new upcoming Slack App supports Slack Slash Commands, Interactive Messages and Incoming Webhooks.

Security first

Automile always places security first and with the new Slack App, you ensure that the right Slack team members have access. We will talk about the ‘Allowed Commands’ or what all a user can achieve but see below how the admin can select the users authorized to use the commands.

Driver slash command

Scenario — A business owner/fleet manager has 5 drivers out on the road and one of his drivers just finished his job and not driving a specific vehicle anymore. That means the owner needs to ‘check out’ the driver from the assigned vehicle so that he can ‘check in’ another driver if need be. Now within the slack experience, he can do that with the driver command.

With the driver command, you can search for drivers in your fleet. Automile will respond back with the results including the name of the driver, link to Automile’s desktop app and the vehicle the driver is checked into. There is also an interactive button that allows you to check-out the driver directly from Slack.

Simple interactive button for ‘checking out’ the driver from their assigned vehicle in Slack

Vehicle slash command

Scenario — The business owner/fleet manager now wants to understand where one of his vehicles are and understand its specific location. Based on that he will message the driver and assign him some tasks.

The vehicle command allows you to find vehicles based on license plate, vehicle identification number (VIN) or their nickname. Automile will respond back with the found vehicles and its license plate, make/model/model year, nickname, checked-in driver and a link to Automile’s desktop app.

The most important info is the current location of that vehicle which will be shown on a Google Map.

Simple map in Slack to identify a vehicle’s specific location

Closest slash command

Scenario — One of the vehicles just broke down on its way to a client’s site and the business owner needs to immediately understand other alternative vehicles closest to the client’s address and how quickly can the driver of the closest vehicle get there. After all, for a field service business, it is critical to get their clients work completed in a timely manner and the dependency in on when the driver/technician will reach the job site.

The closest slash command will tell you the travel time and distance to a specific address and the available vehicles nearby.

Shows distance (imperial/metric) and travel time for a vehicle to a specific address

Notifications

All Automile notifications can now also be pushed into Slack. This means you can select from e-mail, sms, http post (custom webhooks), inbox and Slack.

Our experience with building this Slack app has been phenomenal and knowing our customers, they will see a huge value. It will also encourage more field service businesses who use Automile to adopt Slack as a collaboration tool. I have personally loved this experience primarily because the Slack’s API principles really align with how we think about it in Automile. I am not the only developer who loves the Slack API to solve complex problems — there are many who have had similar experience — like Dharmesh Shah, Founder of Hubspot and you can read his experience here.

I encourage developers to build meaningful integrations using Slack API and if you have any further questions on how we did it, just feel free to reach out to me.

Jens Nylander

Written by

Co-founder and CEO Automile — a guy that want to go big

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