top of page

Kohl's Supply
Chain Data Visualization Tool


Summer 2022.

Cross-Disciplinary Team.

Product Design.

3-Minute Overview

The Team
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.

My Role

Product Designer: Championed project framework, user research, wire-framing, user testing, and presentations. End-to-end design.


  • Functional MVP

  • Wireframes

  • User Research Report

  • Project Documentation

Biggest Takeaways

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.

User Interviews

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

Specific Role

Generate forecasts used to staff deCon facilities 

Specific Pains

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


What if We Created a Data Visualization Tool?

Crazy 8's

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).

Feature Prioritization

After de

bottom of page