Behind the Scenes: The DrayNow Tech Team
Behind every feature on the DrayNow platform, there’s a dedicated group of people who built it from the ground up. The DrayNow technology team is always hard at work to make sure that each feature has been thought out, developed, and tested accordingly.
“It’s easy to think of software engineers as being solely focused on the technology, but it’s much more human than people think,” explains Neil Gabbadon, Senior Software Engineer. As a group, they’re managing the DrayNow product, and that requires feedback from all stakeholders – whether that’s the carrier, customer or other members of the company. Without the input of users experiencing the technology, where would new ideas and opportunities come from?
What makes the DrayNow tech team different from another tech company? It’s all about the industry they’re working in. Historically, intermodal has been slow to adapt to new advances in technology. DrayNow was founded to be the first of its kind to inject technology into every part of the intermodal trip. And as Joe Weltz, our Senior Project Manager, puts it, “Our leadership has a ton of operational experience, so they know a lot of foundational issues that can be solved with technology.” Combining industry and engineering expertise puts us at the forefront of the digitization of intermodal.
What does a typical day look like for a DrayNow software engineer? It’s a group effort, and everyone works with one another to identify new issues, write the code to address these issues, and test to make sure whatever they’ve worked on is fully developed. From an outsider’s view, coding can be seen as a solo gig, but it’s way more collaborative than you’d think. Between pair programming where two engineers work simultaneously on the same code, and testing each other’s code changes, there’s always a chance to bring someone else into the mix.
No feature in any of our products is a one and done venture, and the team is always working to continuously improve on every detail. It’s all in line with a project management methodology referred to as Agile. Rather than set a goal for one major release of features long into the future, it’s all about continuous development. Breaking the parts of our product down into smaller pieces and iterating on them quickly lets the engineers identify the nuances of each feat and work off of them.
How does this help DrayNow users? It gets these features into their hands quicker, and constant updating on these tools makes sure that their experience is the best that it can be. An example of this: the original release of our Railinc integration included estimate time to ground (ETG) information on every load. Due to our engineers continuously developing this feature, the operations team is now better able to identify containers that have not yet grounded but have an appointment time coming up and alert the customer to this matter.
The DrayNow team of engineers is motivated every single day knowing that they’re on the forefront of something cutting edge. “Working in a tech-starved industry like intermodal drayage has given me certain challenges that, as an engineer, I have not had to deal with in a long time,” explains Martin Connor. But that just makes it all the better, because in a time like the present, setting this tech precedent for an industry in need of it is something that sets our team apart from the rest.
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