In 2008, while volunteering as a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels, John Cleveland decided that he could leverage his expertise building software to create an application that would significant streamline the complex operation. With just a vision of what might be and a barebones proof of concept, he came to GDA for our user interface expertise. Together we worked through the complex requirements of the local MOW office and developed a set of requirements for the software that would eventually become ZippyMeals.
The process of running a Meals on Wheels operation is an incredibly complex logistical operation, that involves many moving parts. Clients receive meals on a rotating schedule, sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly, but also need to be able to start and stop deliveries should they go out of town or have guests who will be providing food/cooking instead. Clients have varying nutritional requirements, and get a combination of differing meal types (e.g. hot, cold, frozen) also on a complex schedule. There are volunteer drivers who deliver the meals, many of whom get to know the clients on their routes and have specific people they want to bring meals to, and who also have their own schedules of availability. Finally all of these all of these pieces must be combined with the physical locations of each client’s delivery into meaningful routes for the drivers.
We designed a clean interface for ZippyMeals to provide robust scheduling tools for both Clients (including meal types) and Drivers, produces packing lists of meals for the kitchen staff to prepare, and output detailed route sheets for the drivers based on licensed mapping information. The software also includes detailed back end tracking information for bookkeeping and financial reporting required by the national Meals on Wheels organization.