Chain Data Visualization Tool
Sarah Palagy ....................................(Design)
Colin Piette ...........................(Management)
Eric Xiang................................ (Engineering)
Sahil Bolar ............................ (Data Science)
Researched, designed, and developed a supply chain tracking tool for Kohl's. Leveraged design and cloud-based data services to help save on operating costs and drive smarter product buying.
Product Designer: Championed project framework, user research, wire-framing, user testing, and presentations. End-to-end design.
User Research Report
Experience with a full product development team & life cycle, learning how to collaborate across disciplines, exposure to data driven design and development.
The Supply Chain
Definition of supply chain and key terms.
What Is Supply Chain?
Every step of the process from when a product (ex. a shirt) is ordered to when it arrives in stores. This process spans countries, oceans, and involves hundreds of people.
materials sourcing | international manufacturing | transport | customs | allocation | delivery
Helpful Definitions Moving Forward
POE: Port of Entry; where containers come in from sea vessels to be unloaded onto trucks
deCon: Deconsolidation; the leg of the supply chain which involves unloading containers from trucks to send to distribution centers
Container: A shipping box that contains cartons of products
During my time at Kohl's I learned that the supply chain is an extremely complicated space. One of the first obstacles I faced was learning the terminology to make sense of such a vast and interconnected system.
To the right are the most important terms for my project.
Carton: A box of product
Product: Merchandise such as t-shirts, pants, home goods, etc.
VCV: Volatile Container Volume; severe differences in weekly flow of containers into ports.
Logistics: Kohl's executives who strategize how to move product through the supply chain most efficiently
Merchants: Kohl's corporate employees who order product on behalf of the company
the Problem Scope
Develop a specific problem statement and key user group to establish project framework
Where We Started
My team started by looking into Kohl's volatile container volume (VCV) issue, or in other words, large differences in number of containers flowing into our ports from week-to-week. Through research we found that up to
of a month's product orders are written to arrive in weeks 1 and 4 alone.
Figure 1: Example of VCV
What Does This Mean for Kohl's?
Too many containers arrive at port
Shorten to one line decr.
Logistic staff is overwhelmed and can't process all the containers on time
Product is late arriving to stores.
Operational cost drastically increases as last minute staff and storage are booked at premium rates
$14M at risk/month
*cross referenced with Kohl's logistics strategy team
Profitability decreases as delayed products have less time to sell and are put on clearance
Defining Our User Group
Broad Stakeholder Interviews
To understand who my team should design for, I led 9 stakeholder interviews across Kohl's merchant and logistics departments. During these interviews I asked stakeholders how VCV impacted their day-to-day responsibilities, what their greatest pains were, and what they would like to see in a data visualization tool.
Figure 2: Interview synthesis and affinity diagraming organized in Miro.
Focusing on deCon Logistics
Our interview insights led me to suggest that my team focus on the deCon Logistics team as our key user group.
We chose to focus on this specific user group because of their feasible pain points and because we identified an opportunity to directly impact labor planning.
Monitor, Strategize, & Facilitate Supply Chain Progression
Large Amounts of Data Handling (manually)
Scheduling and Planning Labor
Disconnected from Merchants Who Influence Flow of Products into Ports
Visibility into Progression Through Supply Chain
Simply & Straightforward Solutions
Figure 3: Persona for deCon logistics user group, created using stakeholder interview insights
Creating a Problem Statement
Framing the issue of VCV as it applies to our deCon users, I drafted multiple versions of problem statements that I refined through discussions with my team.
Identify the specific needs of our users. Begin solution generation.
With our problem statement in mind, I led two interviews with deCon executives to get a better understanding of their day-to-day responsibilities, needs, and biggest pain points. These interviews were the cornerstone of our project and led us to focus on creating on a data visualization tool.
Figure x: Example of deCon forecasts used to staff ports. Internal data redacted.
Updated Personas & Insights
Generate forecasts used to staff deCon facilities
High Toil from Cleaning and Analyzing Data by Hand
Low Visibility of Risks
Legacy Systems = Data Must Be Updated Manually
Disconnected from Merchants Who Influence Magnitude of Orders
WE ASKED OURSELVES
What if We Created a Data Visualization Tool?
To brainstorm the best ideas for our product, I led my team through crazy 8's, a design sprint methodology that involves
Figure x: Exerpts from team Crazy 8's sketching activity. Rapid solution ideation (left) and focused sketches (right).