The Best Practices in Designing UI/UX of the Warehouse Management App

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This best practice is about the importance of UI (User Interface) in improving the distribution center productivity. In this day and age where Apple and Android have completely changed the user experience that is so easy to understand and use the app. Particularly in the distribution center the time is spent significantly on training the end users. I’ve seen many distribution centers that are literally revolving doors, where personnel come and go. All these personnel go through training for days or weeks to understand and to improve their proficiency in their work.

If 50 percent of the employees leave after getting trained that’s still a lot of time wasted. Then that’s also a lot of dollars spent on the training time. These kind of training scenarios could be significantly reduced if you choose a tool with a very good UI. The mobile technology is evolving and at the same time it is very important to choose the tools with the best UI because that will not only reduce your training time and but can also simplify the processes. For example, I had this customer where they have this laminated card given to every single operator where in all the keys such as the function keys, hotkeys and all the different keystroke sequences that they have to enter is printed. They have to constantly take it out and then refer to execute that function. This could have been simplified in the tool with a very good UI, in the form of macros.

You can execute 10 keystrokes in one button and get to the point where you can start executing the function. The Macro START button that executes the job instead of doing all these 10 steps manually that could be forgotten easily or you could get it wrong. Forgetting is one thing, but also keep in mind that especially when you are using these mobile devices and doing high-speed picking or replenishments or when you’re pulling a product from the reserve location it’s important to keep that function very simple.

There is no point in trying to hit at F15, F17, and F19, when you are all the way up there in the seventh level trying to pick that one product. Instead of trying to remember that Function key we can simplify it so with much more meaningful description to the whole thing, instead of just hitting F19. If you put a back or skip in the UI or something like that will be easy for the personnel to intuitively get it right and easy to remember. That’s why it’s very important to pay attention to the UI. For example, just think about iPad, when a grandma takes iPad and starts watching movies all by herself without referring to any user manual.

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The same way the babies take the iPad and have fun, play games etc. Paying attention to the UI is important, especially most of the base systems have really good UI because there’s a lot of thought that goes behind that design. Behind every UI design a lot of thinking takes place. A lot of clients have seen it already, so when you’re making customizations with modifications even you should pay much more attention to the UI. You might not always have the right experts that are designing the functions. Having said that the UI/UX is important especially in this day and age where Millennials are walking into the DC in troves. They’re used to this touchscreen technology and they grew up with these mobile devices, so it’s important to get the UI right. At the same time you should also significantly plan to reduce your training time which can result in a lot of dollars saved.

Especially if you have a lot of temp workers coming and going and if your churn rate is high, this best practice will help you in cost savings and in increasing productivity. Thanks for taking the time to watch this video we’d love to hear your thoughts and please share your comments below.

Originally published at Smartgladiator.com on July 2, 2019.


Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. So far, Smart Gladiator Wearables have been used to ship, receive, and scan more than 50 million boxes. Users love them for the lightweight, easy-to-use soft overlay keyboard and video chatting ability, data collection ability etc. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 17 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at www.smartgladiator.com. Also follow him at www.pugasankara.com.

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