The Pick Manager application manages large pick teams by enabling task assignment and pick tracking thereby allowing managers to track picker activity and prevent gross overstaffing in the warehouse.

My Role


  • Lead cross functional discussions with the CEO and the top business leadership and present various design solutions, in order to arrive at the best UX for the user in a timely fashion.

  • I was responsible for designing the user experience for the desktop web app used by pick managers

  • Process included hand drawn sketches, user interviews, system flows, user flows, wireframes, high fidelity mock ups and prototypes using Figma.

Results


  • Reduced the average pick time from 3 hrs
    to 1 hr 30 mins.

  • Realtime tracking of tasks and pickers helped increase throughput of the warehouse.

  • Reduced gross overstaffing present in the warehouse before the app was used and allowed for better manpower demand prediction.

Pick Planning interface for pick managers

Assigning pick tasks today was done using a pen and paper process and which needed the manager and the pickers to be in the same physical space.

Pick Managers assign

tasks to pickers

Pickers Pick Items

Pickers pack the items,

deposits in the loading area

The paper pick list allowed the managers to distribute a bunch of tasks among the staff present in the warehouse at the time of assignment. Also if the manager wanted to track progress he would have to talk to the pickers personally one at a time and gather this info.

Inorder to address the right problems, we designed our process around regular cycles of prototyping , face to face user interviews with the managers and warehouse visits .Our starting point was understanding how the managers executed their pick assignment and tracking.

In our interviews, we found managing large picking teams with a paper based process did not scale well. Tracking and reporting also took longer in a paper based process .

The organisation was scaling up and the paper based process was not ideal when it came to identifying / reporting bottlenecks or measuring and improving exisiting process. Also picker activity tracking became unwieldy as the number of pickers increased.

Hence with the goal of creating a mechanism that allows managers to assign tasks and track them in realtime, we created a desktop application for the managers which would communicate with the picker mobile app to acheive the aforementioned goals.

Assigning tasks to pickers

Picklist interface that pickers see

Assigning familiar aisles and the right amount of work

Pick managers made sure that a picker would be made to operate in aisles and categories familiar to the picker to make picking faster.

While assigning tasks, the total number of items, weight, number of bins (locations) also mattered and needed to be highlighted before the assignment.

The pick managers were familiar with spreadsheet based interfaces and hence the new experience was kept similar to an information dense spreadsheet app.

The current process involved processing a lot of line items in a single window and hence being able to view a lot of data in one view was something that the user was very comfortable with and made them feel them in charge.

Hence with careful consideration, we tried to keep the good parts of a spreadsheet and at the same time being very cautious as to not clutter the view and overwhelm the user with a lot of data.

Picklist interface that pickers see

Filtering and grouping options to sift through the large amount of data

We found in our user interviews that assignments were often done by categories or by aisles as the pickers were familiar with certain aisles/ categories and this would enabled easier picking.

Hence we enabled filtering and grouping which allowed the managers to pivot the data around certain predefined values.

Gross overstaffing caused by the lack of mechanisms to track picker activity was one of the main problems to solve.

Tracking picker activity and pick progress was important as around 40% of the staff in the warehouses were idle and without any task. Therefore, with a view to balance out work across all the available picking staff, we built a view which highlighted each pickers activity in realtime.

We also allowed to group and sort the dataset so that the manager could see a picker to consignment mapping and vice-versa and was able to filter out any idle pickers in the warehouse.

List of all the pickers highlighting their activity

Digitizing the pick assignment process resulted in considerably reducing the problem of overstaffing at warehouses and at the same time it helped picking teams scale seamlessly and grow as needed by the organisation.