RideKleen is not just a fleet servicing company, it’s an innovation company disrupting the industry and exciting customers with new products and services that solve challenging problems. It is also a sustainability company – committed to improving the world around us by making the industry more environmentally responsible.
When RideKleen was founded in 2013, it provided mobile cleaning services to car fleets, sending service technicians to wherever vehicles were. Cox Automotive acquired RideKleen in 2018. Cox Automotive has 40,000 auto dealers across five continents aspiring to bridge the gap between consumers, manufacturers, dealers, and lenders at every stage of the automotive experience. Today, RideKleen is a national leader in delivering eco-conscious, full-service fleet cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance services to a range of shared fleet providers that includes some of the country’s largest car rental and rideshare companies.
Mobile technology has always been key to RideKleen’s business. Operations managers and service technicians use RideKleen’s mobile app every day to ensure that stringent quality standards are met. Via the app, they see the location, timing, and job details for every car they touch. Technicians track the execution of their work directly in the app giving managers a real-time view of work as it’s completed.
“Our mobile app makes it faster to schedule work, get jobs done, and get that information back to our clients. It’s what allows us to scale the business,” explained Pratik Patel, president of RideKleen.
Realm and MongoDB Atlas on AWS have been a key part of this success, helping RideKleen overcome early challenges as a start-up and providing a cloud-based foundation for its next stage of growth with Cox Automotive.
RideKleen first started using Realm in 2018, when issues with a legacy mobile application adversely impacted its growth. The team had built the original app to run iPads using Claris FileMaker, and it lacked any data synchronization with RideKleen’s backend. The tech was clunky, expensive to maintain, and limited the operations staff and service technicians on the ground.
Service technicians in the field could use the mobile app to see scheduled work and record the jobs they had completed, but could not sync to the back office system, Command Center, without physically plugging in to a PC. At times, RideKleen was also losing data. As different users logged in on the same device, data might get lost between back-ups. App performance issues led to app reinstalls, which led to losing data stored locally. It was inefficient and technicians resorted to double-entry in cloud spreadsheets to avoid losing job history. All of this meant delays in getting accurate information back into the organization and left administrative or operations staff struggling to respond to clients.
RideKleen brought in WeKan, a tech powerhouse that helps businesses grow by modernizing their most critical legacy infrastructure and migrating them to the cloud with end-to-end technology solutions that drive significant business value. By getting them set-up with modernized architectures, WeKan helps companies reduce the total cost of ownership of their technology infrastructure while increasing their ROI on their overall technology spend.
“There was no real-time full view of the organization, just lots of disparate data and schedules. It was clear to us that RideKleen needed to move to the cloud, and needed a central backend for data that would scale. Its staff needed an app that would work well on-device, and could update data on-the-fly. It needed to rethink the entire app,” shared Ranjan Moses, WeKan’s Chief Technology Officer.
A successful acquisition
The first thing WeKan did was centralize data on the backend in a relational database, and replatform the mobile application on Realm’s Mobile Database. Choosing Realm was easy. WeKan recognized that RideKleen needed an offline-first mobile app, so the app would work as expected even when a service technician lacked a strong network connection.
By embedding a local datastore directly on the device, the Realm allowed applications to read and write data – and keep working – even when devices were not online. It was simple to use, and fast for WeKan’s developers to build on.
Using Realm and Kotlin, they quickly built a new native Android app and developed a custom adapter that synced data from Realm to the backend. The new architecture streamlined communication between field staff and operational teams and made it simple to keep customers up-to-date on the status of work.
Just as WeKan was finishing up its first major project for RideKleen, Cox Automotive acquired the start-up, bringing it to a successful exit in October 2019.
Cox Automotive recognized the potential RideKleen had to expand beyond vehicle disinfection and sanitization by providing a full range of custom vehicle maintenance services to larger customers. However, to achieve that potential, RideKleen’s app architecture would need to evolve again.
RideKleen’s enterprise customers needed customized workflows to fit their needs, such as verifying gas levels or documenting that a key had been returned. While its newly-built mobile app worked offline and synced data reliably, making it easy to generate and provide service technicians with these new digital forms and workflows for each custom request became tedious.
Operations staff would submit a support ticket to the technical team, who would build new fields into the app, update the User Interface and forms, and push it out to the field. This process could take up to two weeks, limiting RideKleen’s ability to respond quickly to customer needs or changes.
“Our business was always going to move beyond just car cleaning to preventative maintenance and other fleet service requests, and we did not want to build a custom workflow for each new customer. We wanted technology that allowed us to easily adapt to our clients’ needs,” explained Patel.
Simultaneously, the system was hitting limitations on the relational database. Custom requests and fields were complicating the app’s data architecture, making it difficult to query data and ultimately impacting the application’s performance.
“The business model was changing from client to client and becoming fragmented. At the same time, the table structure grew enormous with numerous dead columns,” added Ranjan. “We needed to adapt and rebuild the app to meet these evolving needs and ensure that field engineers could update customized fields themselves. We needed a really robust, dynamic platform that could hold a lot of data while also updating information on the fly.”
After migrating operations to AWS, WeKan chose MongoDB Atlas Data Federation and Atlas App Services as its developer data platform (Atlas). Atlas offers a fully managed cloud database service with built-in automation, and Atlas Data Federation provides federated query capabilities to natively data query across MongoDB and AWS S3, while Atlas App Services simplifies the critical edge-to-cloud sync and provides backend services to speed development work, including triggers, functions, and GraphQL.
On the mobile side, WeKan migrated to MongoDB Atlas Device Sync in order to move data between mobile devices in the field and RideKleen’s backend. “It’s really seamless,” shared Ranjan. “It only took us four weeks, because it’s a native integration between Realm and Atlas on AWS.” By eliminating the need to write thousands of lines of conflict resolution and networking code, Atlas Device Sync makes it simple for RideKleen to sync critical business data reliably and securely.
WeKan also re-built the Command Center web portal using Atlas as the operational database and Atlas Data Federation to seamlessly transform data to power a custom-built visualization layer. The new web application now allows engineers and technicians with the right permissions to create new custom services themselves, update the field in the app and UI, then push it out to the field themselves. When devices are online and synced with the backend, the new field is automatically populated within the app for all users. Back in the Command Center, a homegrown dashboard provides total visibility into the current work status.
“MongoDB Atlas on AWS is stable and scalable, and gives us the flexibility we need for critical operational work,” Ranjan explained. “We want to read data structured in a specific way for data reporting and analysis purposes, so we used App Services triggers to move everything into MongoDB Atlas Data Federation, which in turn is being consumed by a custom dashboard,” continued Ranjan.
Using Atlas App Services’s triggers and functions also allowed WeKan to eliminate custom code that handled RideKleen’s entire scheduling service. “We had to handwrite a lot of this code before,” said Ranjan. “Moving our scheduling service into triggers and functions in Atlas and Realm made life so much easier. 95% of that code was dropped.”
RideKleen now enjoys a robust, scalable, and affordable data backbone that equips its users with the information and tools they need to work more effectively and provide operational updates and feedback in near real time.
“We are much more efficient; we can schedule, monitor, and confirm jobs more easily with significantly less effort involved from a transactional communications standpoint,” remarked Patel. “We also enjoy a flexible workflow, where we can take a record of requests or requirements from a client, write them up, and hand them over to our operations team to configure those requirements in the system in a matter of minutes.”
“Previously, launching new services for a customer would take two weeks,” confirmed Ranjan. “With MongoDB, we are done in 30 minutes: our field engineers can do all of this in just a matter of clicks on a console with absolutely zero development effort. We reduced more than 90 percent of requests coming to us just by giving them this tool, which saves us all time and money.”
With MongoDB Atlas on AWS, App Services, and Atlas Data Federation powering RideKleen’s technology end-to-end, RideKleen can deliver a fundamentally better experience to its staff and clients. This new ability to respond almost instantly to new customer needs has proven particularly valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic when confidence in cleanliness is key.
“Field technicians are more productive, jobs are scheduled and completed faster, and communication across the business is easier,” concluded Ranjan. “At the same time, we can scale the business much faster to respond quickly to new client challenges. MongoDB has made it possible.”