A mechanical contracting company found that project foremen were often leaving a job site to purchase needed construction materials directly from home supply stores, rather than submitting purchase orders for the back office to process. The problem for the foremen was that the purchase orders must be filled out manually and delivered to the office, resulting in delays for supplies that may be necessary in order for work to continue. The problem for the contracting company was that the time of a site foreman is valuable, and time spent driving for supplies is time not spent directly on the job, contributing to higher total job costs.
To facilitate faster ordering, and also to allow foremen to track the status of needed supplies in order to plan work, we proposed a system of ipad apps for employees in the field, and desktop web application for back office staff. A foreman submits a materials request using an ipad while onsite, the admin responsible receives an email indicating a new requistion is pending and creates a purchase order for the correct materials, then order details are sent to a delivery driver who is available to pick up the order from a supplier and deliver to the job site. At each step of the process, the foreman can check on the status of submitted requisitions.
I took over the project from a project manager not trained in design who recognized partway through that the scope of work needed a dedicated designer. The handoff process involved learning about the client’s business including existing material requisition forms, looking over the state of existing wireframes, and understanding the full ecosystem of back office, job site and delivery, which all work together to create a functional system.
I then made improvements to the existing wireframes to optimize for ease of form completion within the client’s constraints, and to surface the most important information for each type of user, and fleshed out interaction details and created new wireframes where necessary to account for the essential use cases.
The final deliverable was an interactive PDF demonstrating each piece of the system: admin interface, foreman interface, and driver interface. I presented the system to the client stakeholders. They were pleased with the overall design, but ultimately decided not to move forward with the project due to cost.