In the modern digital era, designing customer-centric supply chain networks are often the foundational bricks that shape the end consumer experiences. And when it comes to supply chain platforms, there is no denying that quality UX and UI can have a profound impact. So let’s take a closer look at how the two work hand-in-hand to create delightful customer experiences in supply chain design.
The role of UX UI in supply chain design
User experience (UX) design is about how a user interacts with and experiences a digital product or service. On the other hand, User Interface (UI) design is focused on the aesthetic look and feel of the digital product or service. In simple terms, UI is what a user sees on the screen.
When it comes to supply chain platforms, both UX and UI are important to create an intuitive and user-friendly platform that everyone in the supply chain ecosystem can use – from manufacturers to logistics providers to retailers.
Let’s take a look at what role does UX UI play in supply chain design:
1. Creating a Seamless User Journey
A well-designed UX can help create a seamless user journey by making complex processes easy to understand and follow. This is especially important in supply chain platforms where multiple stakeholders are involved, and there is a need to quickly exchange and process data. By designing a user-friendly interface, the platform can help reduce the need for training and allow users to get up to speed quickly.
How to do this:
– Pay attention to the overall layout of your platform and make sure it is visually appealing and easy to navigate.
– Use clear and concise labels to help users quickly understand what each function does.
– Make use of user feedback to refine and improve your UX design constantly.
Advantages of seamless user journeys:
– Users feel confident using the platform as they can quickly understand how it works.
– It eliminates the need for training, which can save time and money.
2. Improving Efficiency
UI design can also play an essential role in improving efficiency by helping users complete tasks more quickly and easily. This is especially relevant in supply chain platforms where users often need to input or retrieve large amounts of data.
How to do this:
– Design clear and concise menus that are easy to navigate.
– Use icons and visuals to help users identify functions more quickly.
– Design your platform’s UI with user input in mind. This means creating input fields that are easy to use and understand.
– Consider using autocomplete features to help users input data more quickly.
Advantages of increased efficiency:
– Improved decision-making – When data is easily accessible, users can make more informed decisions.
– Reduced errors – By reducing the need for manual input, UI design can help reduce the chances of human error.
– Faster turnaround time – When users can complete tasks quickly and easily, it leads to shorter turnaround times and improved productivity.
3. Enhancing Collaboration
The role of UX UI in supply chain design is to enhance collaboration between multiple users by providing a common platform for communication. Furthermore, this is important as a supply chain platform involving many moving parts to create tangible value, keeping communication at the center of the design process.
How to do this:
– Design a platform that allows for easy communication between users.
– Make use of features like chatbots and messaging to allow for real-time communication.
– Allow users to share files and data easily.
Advantages of enhanced collaboration:
– Improved team productivity – The platform can help teams work more efficiently by facilitating communication between users.
– Increased transparency – When everyone is on the same platform, it increases transparency and accountability.
– Improved decision making – With enhanced collaboration, users can make better decisions as they have access to more real-time information.
4. Creating a Scalable Platform
As your business grows, your supply chain platform will need to be able to scale accordingly. Additionally, this is where UX UI design can play a critical role in ensuring your platform can meet the demands of a growing business by putting the correct foundational elements in place. For example, implementing a design system from day one will help you quickly and easily add new features and functionality as your business expands without losing the cohesiveness of your platform.
How to do this:
– Ensure your platform is designed with scalability in mind from the outset.
– Use modular design principles to allow for easy expansion and customization.
– Create a design system that is modular and scalable.
– Use reusable components to help you quickly create new pages and screens.
Advantages of a scalable platform:
– Easier expansion – A well-designed platform makes adding new features and functionality easier as your business grows.
– Improved cost-efficiency – Using reusable components can save time and money when expanding your platform.
– Improved user experience – By ensuring your platform is scalable, you can provide a smooth and consistent user experience for all your users for years to come.
5. Meeting the Needs of Different Users
A successful supply chain platform must be able to meet the needs of different types of users, each with its unique requirements. UI UX design again takes center stage here, as it is essential to create an intuitive and accessible platform for all types of users.
How to do this:
– Use different design patterns to meet the needs of different types of users.
– Using clear and concise labels and instructions to help users understand how to use the platform.
– Use different colors and icons to help users quickly identify the information they need.
Advantages of meeting the needs of different users:
– Improved usability – By making your platform easy to use for all types of users, you can ensure a better overall experience for everyone.
– Increased adoption – When users can easily find what they need, they are more likely to adopt the platform and use it regularly.
– Improved productivity – You can help different users work more efficiently and productively.
Real-life Applications of UX UI Design in Supply Chain
UX UI designers can help in every stage of a supply chain platform. First, they help in the ideation phase by coming up with designs that solve specific needs. Then, in the development phase, they help create prototypes and wireframes that make it easy for developers to understand how the platform should work. And in the final stages, they help design a platform that is easy to use and navigate for all types of users.
Some of the most common real-life applications of UX UI design in supply chain management are:
1. Digital Twins
Digital Twins are digitized replicas of production units, machinery, warehouses, or other supply chain components. These have become critical in modern-day supply chain management to run virtual simulations and try out different plans and scenarios to improve efficiency and performance. Although digital twins are not new, it is finding increased implementation in the supply chain due to their ability to improve decision-making.
UX UI designers play a critical role in developing digital twins by creating interfaces that allow users to interact with and understand the data easily. Moreover, using interactive dashboards and visualizations, they can help users quickly see the impact of their decisions and follow-up changes.
2. Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is the process of using historical data to predict future outcomes. It is used extensively in supply chain management to forecast demand, identify risks, and decide where to allocate resources.
UX UI designers play a crucial role here by helping users understand and interact with the data. Intuitive interfaces and visualizations help users quickly see the relationships between different data points and access a holistic view of activities. The result is better decision-making and improved performance.
3. Warehouse process improvement
Warehouse management systems that are not user-friendly can reduce employee productivity and user adoption levels. Unfortunately, standard ERP solutions often suffer from this, adding fodder to the need for better tools shaped via design thinking, user experience, and data science.
The entire process must be mapped out and analyzed to discover the primary problem areas to make a warehouse more efficient. Next, specific solutions can be designed to improve the flow of materials and information. This is where UX UI design comes in, as it can help create systems that can assign tasks to workers based on their current locations, track metrics in real-time, and perform Quality Assurance inspections remotely. For example, an inventory management system that is not user-friendly can require workers to walk long distances between different parts of the warehouse to find and pick items. Furthermore, this can lead to lost time and increased chances for errors. A better system would allow workers to see the exact location of all items from a single screen, minimizing efforts and improving productivity.
4. Smart traffic network design
Deliveries of products to end customers can take up as much as half of all logistical costs. This gives rise to the age-old supply chain problem of delivery route optimization, putting constant pressure on managers to figure out the most cost-efficient alternatives to distribute products from various supply points to demand destinations. UX UI design can help optimize traffic networks by creating user-friendly maps and routing tools. By reducing the need for manual data churning, these tools can speed up the decision-making process and improve the accuracy of results.
Big data in UX design comes into the picture here as a true game-changer. It can lead to impactful data-driven decisions that make the supply chain more efficient and help figure out optimized driving patterns, predict vehicle malfunctions, and give accurate delivery estimates to customers. To take advantage of these possibilities, designers must have access to data analytics tools and can understand the results they produce.
Sandboxes make it easier and faster for stakeholders to try out different optimization options throughout the supply chain. And all this in real-time without even actually rolling out the changes. Sandboxes do this by offering a space isolated from the actual working environment.
This way, all kinds of changes can be made and experimented with while the live environment remains unharmed. And if something goes wrong, it will not have any impact on day-to-day operations. The benefits of sandboxes are mainly threefold:
– an opportunity for faster experimentation and implementation of changes
– they make it easier to try out new ideas
– improve communication between stakeholders by providing a shared space where everyone can see the project’s progress.
For sandboxes to be effective, they need to be designed user-friendly so that users can execute complex A/B testing. In such scenarios, high-level and quality UX can enable instantaneous visualizations of every possible variable in the planning process, helping to figure out the most optimal UX design for specific use-cases.
UX UI design plays an increasingly important role in supply chain management. By helping users interact with data, designers can improve decision-making and optimize business processes. Moreover, as data becomes more prevalent in all aspects of business, the need for user-friendly interfaces has become more apparent. UX UI designers need to be familiar with data analytics tools and trends to stay ahead of the curve.
This was a quick overview of how UX UI design can help supply chain management. We hope you found it insightful. If you have any questions or want to know more, feel free to contact us through the comment section below.