Management & Analytics Dashboard

Improving the supply chain compliance experience

In May 2019, Walgreens-Boots-Alliance ("WBA") approached us expressing interest in our platform. However, as a wholesaler and distributor giant, they were in a league of their own in terms of the sheer volume and scale of their needs. Our platform's existing solutions did not suit their needs or workflows right out of the box.

Over the course of 5 months, I led the design within a team of 6 to focus on improving how an enterprise manages their supply chain compliance. The success of this project relied on me to develop a deep understanding of their problems, and to deliver an easy-to-use and scalable product.

My Role & The Team

Senior Product Designer

Team of 1 designer, 4 engineers, 1 product owner


Duration

May - Sep 2019


  • User Research
  • Usability Testing
  • Prototyping
  • Visual Design
  • Front-end Development
Customers
The Problem

Techniques in managing Supply Chain Compliance have remained stagnant for decades.

Every season, WBA have to ensure their catalog of 1000+ products pass Quality Assurance / Quality Control tests before they can be shipped out. To do so, they coordinate with 100+ suppliers to delegate portions of their catalog.

During this process, QA / QC teams still rely on phone calls, emails, and spreadsheets for their work. Something as simple as following up on project progress means manually calling each one of their 100+ of suppliers. Important documents are difficult to keep track of due to fragmented workflows. Budgets grow out of control due to sudden need for additional tests. The list goes on.

As modern compliance becomes more complex in scope and scale, the traditional technology that QA / QC teams use fail to keep up.

10

Weeks spent manually collecting the purchase order of a season

32%

of the QA team's time is lost to chasing up on project progress

3/5

Seasons go overbudget without clear reasons as to why
The Challenge

How might we make it easier to centralise the coordination of compliance projects?

To explore this, we kicked off the project by meeting with 3 key stakeholders: Buyers, Suppliers, and Labs. The goal was to understand their challenges, motivations, and workflows at each step of the way.

It was highly crucial to gather insights across all the relevant stakeholders. We knew that long-term success relied on engaging with the suppliers and labs as well. Each stakeholder was linked together. They would complete their task and pass it on to the next stakeholder to move the project along.

Qualitative Interviews

"Every season, we deal with the same issues every time. It's difficult to keep tabs on which supplier is working on which project. We also want to check the progress of each product."

"We've also frequently experienced projects going over budget because of more tests needed by the labs. We don't always know what the reason is, or how much more we're spending compared to the original quotes."

QA Officer, Walgreens-Boots-Alliance (Buyer)

"I'm usually juggling between 10-20 projects at any time [...], sometimes projects need my immediate attention."

"We have to select the right lab for the job. I weigh my options based on a lot of factors... price, reliability, type of tests. Picking the wrong lab sometimes mean delays and going over budget due to retests."

Manager, Factory (Supplier)

"I'm concerned about two things mostly. I need to bid for projects in a timely manner so that I can get business."

"Then I need to make sure I can get the relevant documents and materials so that I can complete my work on time as promised."

Sales Representative, UL (Lab)

User Profiles

Through the interviews, it was clear that these stakeholders would have distinct needs and goals from the app we planned on building. I outlined 3 user profiles based on the insights gathered.

Buyers

Walgreens-Boots-Alliance


Core Tasks:

  • Maintain high-level awareness of season's status
  • Create & assign projects to suppliers
  • Confirm project completion status
  • Assess performance of suppliers & labs
  • Analyse net spend vs budget

Suppliers

Factories and Manufacturers


Core Tasks:

  • Manage inflow & outflow of projects
  • Browse & select bids from labs
  • Liaise with labs to provide supplementary documents & materials
  • Rate performance of labs for future reference

Labs

UL, Intertek, SGS, BV


Core Tasks:

  • Make bids for incoming projects
  • Keep track of critical deadlines
  • Upload test results to mark project completion
  • Request for retests and additional product samples when necessary

Turning Insights into User Stories

I gathered the data collected and converted them into User Stories to serve as manageable chunks for the engineering team.

As a
  • Buyer
  • Supplier
  • Lab
I want to

Stakeholder Journey Mapping

I also plotted out these interactions by creating a stakeholder journey map. This helped to visualise how their needs and interactions evolve throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Early Stage Concepts

Guided by the user research and stakeholder journey mapping, I was ready to start conceptualising the product. I designed low-fidelity wireframes using Balsamiq. We used these wireframes to conduct a round of usability tests with the clients in our follow-up milestone meetings. I continued to iterate on the designs based on the feedback received.

Manage high-volume compliance projects with simplicity and ease

For Buyers & Suppliers

Project Overview

  1. Shows only the most relevant details to identify any project
  2. Search and filters to further narrow down your field of search
  3. Traffic light system to immediately understand the progress of different tasks
For Buyers, Suppliers, and Labs

Project Detail View

  1. 'Recent activity' as a sidebar to immediately view the latest updates to the project.
  2. Project overview accordion which dynamically updates as each task progresses forwards.
  3. Accordions that collapse/expand in order to make information search simpler.
  4. Tab views under each task which is automatically selected based on the most relevant status of the task.
For Suppliers & Labs

Project management and update workflow

  1. A focused workflow view for more specific and detail-oriented tasks.
  2. Make quotes, design test plans, update task progress, upload important documents.
  3. Content adapts according to the latest status of the task at hand.
For Buyers

Capture, analyse, forecast

  1. Analyse the spend on compliance across different metrics (by season, by lab, change over time, etc.)
  2. Assess long-term performance of labs to decide which ones to continue working with
  3. Reliably forecast compliance spend on upcoming seasons based on past trends and other factors

Usability Testing

Testing was done at every critical step of the project to feel confident we were going in the right direction.

  1. Qualitative Interviews: To kick-off the project, we brought in the 3 key stakeholder groups to understand their needs and workflows.
  2. Low-Fidelity wireframes: After a first concept was created, we held a milestone meeting with the clients to invite them to try it out and give their feedback.
  3. Milestone meeting: I iterated based on the feedback and held another round of testing just before moving to high-fidelity designs.
  4. User Acceptance Test: Upon completion of the high fidelity designs, we held a final milestone meeting. This was a working prototype where the clients could test out the platform and share their impressions.

Outcomes

In October, we had our final milestone meeting — a User Acceptance Testing session with Walgreens-Boots-Alliance. I'm glad to share that they were thrilled with the product, and have signed up for a pilot run for their upcoming Winter season. They have begun inviting their network of suppliers to join in order to better coordinate future compliance projects. We are excited to see them continue to gain long-term value as they improve their datasets for analytics.

143

Buyers, Suppliers, and Labs onboarded onto the platform

71%

Reduction in time spent chasing up on project progress

1500+

Quotes and final costs captured and documented for forecasting analytics