Warehouse Management System:
This project is one of the most challenging ones that I have come across in my career so far. I have loved being the only designer on this project. I enjoyed working on two different set of interfaces in this project: The handheld interface and the Web interface.
Warehouse Management System- The Idea:
Warehouse is a large space of area to store all sorts of goods. A large number of people work in maintaining and managing the warehouse. Goods entering the warehouse through big trucks have to be sorted, stored, packed and shipped at the earliest. In order to keep the track of the above process a Warehouse Management System(WMS) was built.
Early Challenges of the Project:
-The WMS was typically for an eCommerce company. This required that all the purchases where done online and had to be shipped to customers in the time provided on the site. In order to keep up with the competition these shipping times where fairly reduced by the eCommerce company.
– The company had to get real time information of the warehouse activity in order to keep the customers informed about the order they were going to receive
-Every activity in the warehouse required to be tracked
-Every product in the warehouse had to be accounted for
-Every order required to be assembled, packed and shipped
-Inventory of every kind of SKU had to be accounted for
-The critical data from the warehouse was also used by other departments
-Accuracy of data had to be maintained
Design challenges of the Project:
-A complete manual process of the warehouse had to be understood
-Types of devices that would be used
-Different departments involved in the warehouse and their data requirements
-A way to help the different departments to communicate
-Display of critical and non critical data
-Assign roles to different departmental entities
Ideas to solve the design challenges:
-We put up a complete process diagram of the offline warehouse system, which helped us identify their main processes.
-The offline process also helped us determine the people involved in each section of the warehouse
-We started noting down the data requirements of each of the sections or departments of the warehouse. We also came up with out own data points with the help of what information the database already had from the Content Management System built earlier.
-The process diagram also indicated that the system will be for two devices. A handheld for two of their processes and web for a few others.
-The basic design challenge was the data was huge in number and showing all of that was not a good UX. So we decided to put up the most important once on the dashboard without scroll and put the rest hidden. Whenever they need extra information we give them this data by adding a horizontal scroll.
-The next challenge was setting up data appropriate in the small area of a row and column intersection. We did set a number of characters and added a “…” after, to indicate continuation of the data.
-The actions on the dashboards where decided to be put up in the most basic pop up boxes. The people working on the floor did not require light boxes or etc as they might not be familiar with that type of UI.
-For security concerns all of the people had been assigned roles.
-Order lead times where marked with different kind of color conventions.
-Any data point that required attention was color coded
-Also in few cases we just made one dashboard with different views/columns based on the user involved.
-The WMS was built in phases. Each phase included a thorough review from the developers and stake holders lead by me.
-The questions and queries of each discussion found a place in design and helped developers to start their database designs.
-Each phase before release was tested and signed off by all the people involved.
Snippets of the design process: