Designing a stock management app for Verizon — UX case study
Verizon is one of the top three American telecommunications company which offers wireless products and services. They have huge warehouses and inventories of phones and other wireless communication devices they sell.
The goal is to design a product which helps stock managers to track and control inventory and stock levels, reducing time in searching for their inventory.
We started to understand the several parts of the product, that is workflow, users, scenarios etc.
Stock managers are going to use the application to scan and update the stock. We created a rough persona of the user of this app.
In an inventory there are multiple stores and stores are like rooms which has racks. Racks contains boxes of commodities, could be brand new sealed phone boxes or any other comms device boxes. The store keeper or stock manager is the person who is responsible for managing the stock levels in an inventory and the way they do this is by scanning every commodity placed in the rack.
Instead of scanning each boxes, its always preferable to scan group of boxes and the app should be robust enough to automatically does the rest of the job.
We have classified the requirements and the functionalities as user stories:
- Able to scan barcode to get IMEI and UPC information
- Able to match images and find visually similar images
- Able to get count of scanned product and segregate it according to product model or type or by the info obtained from scanning, and keep a record of it so that it can updated in the inventory
- Being able to check the past scanning and then update the stock based on that
We conducted a secondary research using internet to learn more about the scanning apps and the technology they employ. We also checked for few applications like Scandit, that features host of functionalities and learn from them. We watched some videos of Samsung employing enterprise-grade Galaxy devices for stock scanning and using AR technologies to scan products. We learnt about several technologies and different APIs like Google Vision from Cloud Platform and Zbar from SourceForge.
After conducting a short research and checking other products, I generalised some following insights:
- Robust scanning: User shouldn’t be explicitly selecting type of codes, symbols and info before scanning. The system should be robust enough to detect the symbol and code automatically.
- Workflow: We devised a workflow for the process which is as follows.
- User scans the code to fetch information or by image, the app fetches scan information and after user saves the scan, it goes to the History.
- History shows all the scanned data where user can review the scan data and then they can update the stock based on info fetched from scan.
Using the insights I gathered from the research, I began creating user flows. I started creating the information architecture and low-fi concepts for primary use cases. After having a go-ahead from the Product Manager, developers, and Stakeholders on the mockups, we began to sketch. Once we had confidence in the design, we began digitalising designs.
This is the home screen, user has 3 options to Scan, Upload and History
- Scan: This is the most important function of the app which has been kept on top of everything else, user can choose option to scan By Code or By Image.
- Upload: User can upload any image with barcode from their gallery
- History: Stores recent scans, user can go back review the scans and update the stock based on the scans
2. Select store and rack
First step of the process is to select the store and rack from where we are scanning the products in. The red wide banner on the top creates a highlight and draws user’s attention to make sure it is correct without starting to scan.
System automatically detects the kind of code and symbol and stores the information in a swipe up list view. There’s option to browse media from browser without having to go back to the main menu.
4. Scan by Image
This feature lets user scan an image taking another image as an reference. So the algorithm automatically detects similar objects as the reference image, in the frame video and saves the data.
User can select from bunch of existing references known as templates or they can add new to the database. And then the system scans the images based on template using image.
All the scanned video and data is stored in History. User can review the stored videos and the scanned product count done by the system and then update the stock accordingly from here.
Implementing an automated stock scanning solution using mobile phone camera that would automatically detect barcodes and fetch stock data which user can update to the system. It will eliminate all manual processes from the current asset tracking effort. Now, stock managers can simply scan product boxes barcodes with their smart devices at key points to fetch IMEI or UPC, to update stock entries. Using this video scanning barcode we can reduce effort of over 500 hours of scanning each box and updating stock.
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