Applying UX to Supply Chain Management Processes
Every time that we tread the digital aisles of eBay, Amazon, or a brand’s website, as soon as we click order, we expect our stuff to be delivered right to our door within a handful of days.
We also expect these deliveries to be free. And we also expect the ability to track our orders and be able to return items if we don’t like them.
Customer demands have been growing and growing. Today we expect smooth and transparent experiences, which in turn means businesses are required to design better customer-centric supply chain networks.
User experience can help at each stage along the supply chain network. Today we’re going to look at some of these areas where the UX helps.
The warehouse process
Standard solutions can be quite cumbersome when it comes to warehouse management. This is because they tend not to provide real-time visibility into activity at the warehouse as well as performance metrics.
Poor results and productivity often follow from relying on warehouse management systems that are not user-friendly.
As such, the UX plays a core role in the user-friendliness of software solutions for smoother warehouse management.
UX designers typically first carry out analysis of all major warehouse operations before developing multiple user flows for all delivery and storing details. This is followed by wireframes and prototypes of the main pages, based on the user roles and flows.
The traffic network design
The delivery of a product to a customer consists of 50% of the total logistics costs on a shipment. Figuring out how to distribute goods from the supply point to the demand point as fast as possible at the lowest cost is an ever-burning question.
There are many challenges tied to the supply chain, such as delivering to distant and remote areas, congestion in built-up areas, incorrect address details, and deliveries that need the receiver’s signature, yet no one is present.
Yet user experience can help to mitigate these issues. Efficient supply chains rely on accurate data-driven decisions, such as the optimization of driving patterns and the prediction of malfunctions.
The inventory management
It’s important to stock the right amount of inventory – ordering too much risks running out of storage space while ordering too little risks annoying consumers who will buy from elsewhere.
When it’s not done properly, inventory management is one of the biggest drivers in cost. To avoid this, businesses can implement an enhanced user experience for a better inventory management system, adding capabilities such as data visualization, integration possibilities, and inventory tracking.
The tracking and returns
Keeping an eye on every part of the delivery process has become a standard feature for customers. Gone are the days of radio silence between clicking buy and the delivery guy knocking on the door.
We have come to expect the ability to check where exactly our order is… even on the street level in real time. This implies that order tracking systems need to give customers as much visibility as possible behind the scenes.
Then there is the returns policy. Providing hassle-free returns is part of the modern ecommerce experience. Despite essentially making it easier for consumers to return products, businesses can actually benefit from stronger brand loyalty if consumers know that returns don’t have to be stressful.
The UX team
We know that the UX is vital, yet the supply chain industry is not exactly the most innovative industry. And as such, it may be a challenge to find qualified user experience designers.
Because many businesses partner with third parties or staff augmentation agencies, outsourcing the user experience management may make the most logical sense.
PS: ArganoUV is one of the world’s leading SCM agencies. Contact us to see how we can work together.