A logistics ERP platform is an essential software for any business that wants to manage its logistical operations more effectively. It can help them track their inventory, schedule their shipments, manage their finances, optimize production processes, and avoid stockouts. Thus, designing an ERP platform can be an ordeal if you do not know where to start; after all, there are so many moving pieces.
Why is ERP User Experience design so important?
Designing an effective user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform is critical in the logistics industry. A well-designed ERP can help businesses optimize their supply chains, improve customer service, and boost efficiency. ERP user experience design is essential because it can make or break the success of an ERP implementation. Good user experience design makes an ERP system intuitive and easy to use, helping users avoid mistakes and wasted time.
When designing a logistics ERP platform, there are several key considerations to keep in mind to create a system with a good user experience:
1. Use industry-standard terminology:
Users must quickly understand the terminology used in the system in one go. Avoid using jargon or acronyms that users may not be familiar with or anything that may lead to confusion.
2. Keep it simple:
The user interface must be clean and uncluttered, with clear labels and icons. Users should easily find the information they need without searching through multiple menus or screens. The platform must be scalable and flexible to support the growth of the business. The user interface should be designed to be easily adaptable as the business grows and changes.
3. Make it visually appealing:
The system should be visually appealing so that users will enjoy using it. For example, avoid using busy or cluttered screens, and use colors and icons to help guide users through the various screens and menus.
4. Use real-world analogies:
Where possible, use real-world analogies to help users understand how the system works. For example, suppose the system is used to track inventory levels. In that case, users should easily understand how the system works by thinking of it in terms of a physical warehouse.
5. Provide context-sensitive help:
Context-sensitive help should be available throughout the system to help users understand how to use the various features. This can be in the form of pop-up windows with explanations, links to online help documents, or videos.
6. Enable customizations:
Allow users to customize the system to suit their individual needs. This can include changing the default settings, creating custom views, or setting up alerts and notifications.
7. Test with real users:
Before launching the system, test it with real users to get feedback on the user experience. Make sure to listen to user feedback and make changes to improve the system.
8. Launch with a plan:
When launching the system, have a plan for how users will be trained on the design and how to provide support. In addition, make sure that adequate resources are available to help users get started with the system.
9. Monitor and adjust:
After launching the system, monitor user usage, and feedback to see if any areas need to be adjusted. Make changes as necessary to improve the user experience.
10. Add Integrations:
When designing an effective ERP platform for logistics, it is important to allow synergy between a variety of systems and data sources; including transportation management systems (TMS), warehouse management systems (WMS), and order management systems (OMS).
By following these tips, you can ensure that users can quickly adapt to it and get the most out of the ERP system.
15 ERP UX UI Design challenges for the logistics industry
The efficiency of the supply chain and the movement of goods and materials are essential to the timely distribution of products to customers. To keep up with industry demands, businesses need an effective logistics ERP system. However, designing an effective ERP platform for logistics is not always easy. Several factors need to be taken into account, such as the type of business, the size of the operation, and the company’s specific needs. Here are some key challenges that you need to look out for:
The logistics industry is a complex one, with many moving parts. This can make it challenging to design an ERP platform that can handle all the different aspects of the business.
Solution: The platform should be designed to be easy to use and navigate, even for those who are not familiar with the logistics industry.
2. Lack of standardization
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the logistics industry. While it may be tempting to load your ERP with many features, it pays in the long run to design one that is both standardized and meets the specific needs of logistics businesses.
Solution: While designing the platform, try to balance standardization and customization. Having a design system in place will help to achieve this.
A successful logistics ERP platform needs to integrate with other existing systems in the tech stack. This includes warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), and accounting/financial systems.
Solution: When designing your ERP, make sure that it is compatible with the other systems used by your buyer personas. Additionally, the platform should have an open API that will allow for easy integration with other tools.
The logistics industry is constantly changing and evolving. This means that the ERP platform needs to be able to grow and change with the business.
Solution: When designing the platform, consider how it will be able to scale with the growth of the business. Make sure that the platform is designed in a way that will allow for easy expansion and customization.
Implementing a new ERP platform can be a costly endeavour. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the budget for a comprehensive solution.
Solution: When designing your ERP platform, consider how to make it cost-effective for your users. A subscription-based pricing model may help users pay for only the features they need.
Implementing a new ERP platform can be a complex and time-consuming process. This is especially true for designers who do not have prior experience with ERP systems.
Solution: Have a clear implementation plan in place. By walking in the customers’ shoes and understanding every perspective of their initial touchpoint, you can design user journeys that make implementation a breeze. For example, break down typical user objectives into smaller tasks that can be completed efficiently. Include visual feedback to add a sense of gamification.
Once the ERP platform is up and running, users will need to be trained to use it. This can be time-consuming and expensive if the platform design is bulky and complex.
Solution: When designing the platform, use clear and concise language when labelling features and functionality. Adding a tutorial or onboarding flow can also be helpful for new users.
8. Change management
Any time a new system is implemented, there will be a period of adjustment. This is especially true for ERP platforms, which can often be disruptive to the way that users operate daily.
Solution: Have a dedicated change management plan in place. It must also include a communication plan that will keep users informed of the changes being made. Training guides and documentation must also help employees transition to the new system.
9. Data security
ERP platforms often contain sensitive data, including customer information, financial data, and inventory levels. This data needs to be protected from unauthorized access with impeccable design strategies.
Solution: Design the ERP platform to have robust security features such as user authentication, data encryption, and access control from the ground up. Additionally, host the platform on a secure server protected from outside threats.
When an ERP platform is designed with the user in mind, it can be easy to use and intuitive. However, there will always be times when users need help. This is why it’s essential to have a dedicated support team.
Solution: Have a team of support experts available to answer questions and help users when needed. Additionally, create a knowledge base of FAQs and how-to guides to help users troubleshoot independently.
As the business grows, the ERP platform will need to be upgraded to accommodate new requirements. This can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Solution: Design the ERP platform to be easily upgradable from day one. This will help reduce the business’s cost and disruption when an upgrade is required later. Additionally, have a plan for how the upgrade will be implemented with minimal downtime.
12. Disaster recovery
In the event of a disaster, the ERP platform will need to be restored from backup. It can be challenging for designers to think and cover every possible scenario and how the system can break down.
Solution: When designing the disaster recovery plan, consider all aspects of the system and how they can be restored. This includes data, hardware, software, and processes. Additionally, have a plan in place to test the disaster recovery plan to know its viability.
13. Total cost of ownership
The total cost of ownership (TCO) for an ERP platform can be high. This includes the initial cost of purchasing the software, hosting fees, support costs, and upgrade costs.
Solution: When calculating the TCO for an ERP platform, consider all costs mentioned above. Additionally, compare the TCO of different platforms to understand how you can design the most cost-efficient one for your users. For example, you can research competitors to weed out features that command the least engagement from users. This will reduce the overall cost of designing the platform, helping you deliver a cost-friendly option.
14. Free trial
Free trials allow businesses to try out the software before committing to a purchase. This can be a key UX offering today. For an ERP platform, this is a great way to test its feasibility for the business.
Solution: When offering a free trial, be sure to include all of the features available to users if they were to purchase the software. Additionally, limit the number of users who can access the trial and the amount of data that can be entered.
15. Money-back guarantee
A money-back guarantee is a great way to build trust with potential customers. It shows that you are confident in your product and willing to stand behind it. However, choosing to include it as a UX touchpoint can be challenging.
Solution: When offering a money-back guarantee, including all of the terms and conditions. For example, you may want to limit the warranty to a specific period or the number of uses. Additionally, be sure to include a clause that allows you to void the contract if the user is found to be abusing it.
Designing a logistics ERP platform is no easy task. There are so many factors to consider, from the needs of your specific business to your customers’ preferences. But with a little careful planning, you can create a platform that is both effective and efficient. Keep these tips in mind as you begin the design process, and you’ll be well on your way to success!