I’m happy to share some of the design approaches we have taken in developing the Suuchi GRID, our proprietary supply chain management software. As we look at the need for technology in the supply chain now more than ever, I’d love to share some insights on the approaches my team has implemented to build the GRID. The two features I’ll be highlighting are a data-driven design and a simplified user experience.
For some context, I’ve been developing software for a long time. I’ve developed green screen midrange servers to windows desktops to web and mobile. I’ve written packages for large organizations that drove entire workflows from WMS, receiving and consolidation, transportation, airfreight, LTL, TL, hospitality, fashion, government, and my favorite, a code generation solution. I’m fortunate to be able to bring with me all the lessons learned and previous pitfalls to Suuchi, which has played a significant role in building the GRID.
When we speak of useful solutions, the primary purpose is to produce a product that can be everything to all users. This type of build is extremely difficult to do and may border on impossible. But, as experience has taught me, you can get pretty darn close. So, when features come down from Product, as an engineering leader, I always make sure that we don’t develop to the feature. Instead, we use the feature as a guide and determine how we can build it as configurable as possible. The key is letting the table data drive the feature configuration.
Why go through this additional effort? It’s to facilitate feature settings, preferences, real-time application controls, and simplified administration. All of which leads to a mature solution driven by data. This practice isn’t new, and I highly recommend taking the time and implementing it wherever possible.
One of the biggest concerns for all software applications is making the views and workflows aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, and, most importantly, productive. One of the best practices we follow at Suuchi is having Product and Engineering work as one team. This is extremely useful in making the best decisions specifically around the user experience. We draw from many different perspectives to look at every approach we can take. One method we circle back to frequently is ‘Time to Task.’ Simplifying and implementing the following: reduce user clicks and searching, load only what is necessary for the user, minimize unnecessary preloading of data, remove confusing maintenance views, provide specific workflows, and keep views specific to tasks.
Sometimes too much information isn’t productive when trying to complete a specific task. An excellent example of this is leveraging smart controls that allow users to navigate between searches and views easily so they can access data outside their workflow and seamlessly return.
While I can easily do a year-long discussion on best practices and design approaches, I chose to focus on these topics as we review them daily in our Product and Engineering meetings. As we continue to have new companies leverage the GRID to digitize their supply chains, we are continually reviewing the design and functionality to ensure we’re providing the best supply chain solution. The more exposure my engineering team has to the processes that educate the product roadmap, the better their approach will be in coding the magic that brings the GRID to life.