Working Fast to Solve Logistics Inefficiencies: An Engineer Recounts Vorto’s Original Product Build

Since the company’s 2018 launch, Vorto’s products have helped transform the supply chain to support economic and environmental efficiency. And Sean Ooi has been there from the beginning, becoming a force multiplier in the process.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on Jun. 30, 2023
Working Fast to Solve Logistics Inefficiencies: An Engineer Recounts Vorto’s Original Product Build
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In the early days of Vorto’s initial product development, a small team of seven employees were working around the clock, seven days a week to launch an AI-driven autonomous supply chain platform and build a more interconnected and sustainable logistics network.

Despite the urgent push toward release, the team set “core family hours” — a block of time every evening to disconnect from work, connect with loved ones and reset before a few more hours of late-night work.

For Engineering Manager Sean Ooi, that balance of human consideration and intense drive to bring great work to life exemplifies life at Vorto.

Sean joined Vorto’s original team of four engineers as an iOS engineer, and at first, he stayed focused on his role.

“When we started to plan and build out the product, I realized that in order to move fast, I needed to expand my skill sets into other parts of the tech stack,” he said. “I learned how to set up and navigate around our infrastructure in Google Cloud — which consists of configuring our databases all the way to managing our deployments — and how to develop on the backend in Go in order to quickly build out interfaces for the mobile app, which I was also actively working on.”

With his new expertise, Sean was able to become a force multiplier on the team as they pushed toward launch, with the mandate to solve last-mile logistics problems and the freedom to find solutions as they encountered challenges.

When Built In sat down to talk with Sean recently, we learned about Vorto’s journey to launch, the team’s tech stack and what sets the company apart from the competition. Read on for the full interview.

 

Read more about life at Vorto:How One Tech Professional Laid the Foundation to Conquer New Career Heights

 

 

Why did the company need to build this product? What gave rise to it, and what impact will this product launch have?

Sean Ooi
Senior iOS Engineer

We saw inefficiencies in last-mile logistics, and last-mile owners were losing a lot of revenue due to two central factors:

1. Overspending by ordering more loads than they actually need in order to have a margin of security against the risk of hitting non-productive time. This, in turn, causes drivers to stay on site longer than they need to because they have to wait to off-load their payload, thus incurring detention pay for the carriers. 

2. Paying a high penalty for hitting non-productive time due to not having enough supply on location to continue running their operations.

 

What role did you play in developing and launching Vorto’s products? 

I was a part of the original team of engineers at Vorto. We were a small team of seven at the company, and four engineers were responsible for building the entire product, from setting up our cloud infrastructure to building the backend and frontend. 

 

What tools or technologies does your team rely on?

We use Google as our cloud provider because they offer tools that are easy to use and understand. Our backend is written in Go for its simplicity and speed. Frontend mobile was written in Swift on iOS and Kotlin on Android, and web was written in Typescript utilizing the Angular framework.

 

What teams did you collaborate with in order to get this across the finish line?

The engineering team consists of all full-stack engineers, so as far as tech goes, it was just us.

For business context knowledge, we work closely with our operations manager and leadership team to gain a better understanding of the business to allow us to make the right decisions, to validate our hypothesis and make sure what we build is valuable. This involves daily scheduled meetings to go over feature priorities and ad-hoc meetings to make sure everything is still on track.

 

What sets Vorto apart from its competitors?

Vorto moves fast, really fast. What most companies would take months to build, we can deliver in a week.

 

“What most companies would take months to build, we can deliver in a week.”

 

We are given a ton of business context to be able to make the right decisions, and we have the opportunity to have full ownership over the products we build, which means no red tape and no fifteen levels of approvals to go through to add a button on a screen. Our feedback and opinions are always taken into consideration and immediately become part of the conversation.

Vorto is also committed to transparency. If something is not going well, the leadership team doesn't beat around the bush. Conversely, if something is going well, everyone celebrates the achievements.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via Shutterstock and Vorto.

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