Production Scheduling Board

OVERVIEW

Production Scheduling Board is SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning application used in the manufacturing process by Production Planners, majorly on desktops or large monitors. The application allows the planning and scheduling of orders based on the availability of time and resources. The users can create a short-term production plan that matches the overall supply to demand, given available resources and production methodology. The app was initially introduced in SAP S/4HANA 1610 release.

 

 

 

 

 

Goal

Design enhanced experience of the Production Scheduling Board application

in future releases. 

 

 

 

 

My Role

 

  • End to end UX/UI for 1709 release and future feature releases.

  • Independently handling & managing UX Design Tasks- Information Architecture,  Workflows, Designing app Interface, and Interactions.

  • Collaborating with the development and control teams.

  • UX Reviews & Usability Enhancements in existing application interface as well as complete UX Design for new requirements & features.

  • Design sign off for the developed app.

  • Writing a case study paper of the application design and speaking at an international conference.

 

 

 

 

Skills

 

User Experience, User Interface Design, Visual Design, Stakeholder collaboration

PROCESS

Domain Understanding

The Production Scheduling Board caters to digital manufacturing, which is a complex domain as it encompasses innumerable processes. Hence, it was crucial to get an appreciation of the basic terminologies, processes, and subsequent use cases. 

 

The users were located in different geographic locations and owing to limited interaction with the user group, it was ensured there is a continuous dialogue with the domain experts to familiarize users’ behavior.

This also helped in concept validation during the iterative design process.

Persona

The persona of the user - production planner outlined his roles and responsibilities, needs, and goals. ​

I  would like to match demand and supply keeping in mind the resource and component availability.

User journey

Understanding the bigger picture to design the app flow 

 

Primary Flow

Detailed Flow

Design Considerations

 

Points based on prior research and user feedback that was taken into consideration while designing the enhanced experience

 

(i)   PROVIDE A FRESH FLAVOUR

 

The new application release focuses on getting new users onboard and it is essential to create an interface at appeals to new-age users.

Providing an experience that matches their expectations was indispensable.

 

 

(ii)  CLEAR DIFFERENTIATION

 

The planning and scheduling process requires the user to be a quick decision-maker. Hence, it is essential to differentiate between the graphical elements in order to take immediate action.

 

 

(iii)  MORE IS SIMPLE

 

The users require a majority of the information upfront as this provides them with an overview at a glance and quick identification of the issues. Additionally, users in major manufacturing industries work with multiple screens. Considering this it is essential for the users to see more data on the screen which would help in the simplification of processes.

 

 

(iv)  FAMILIARITY IS KEY

 

Since most of the power users were well-versed with the SAP GUI interface, it would be difficult for them to quickly adapt to a completely new interface. To ensure this, familiarity with the old interface by using conventional terminologies, visual attributes were incorporated.

 

 

 

Design Implementation Model

 

The app design involved checks on technical feasibility, business requirements, and UI consistencies.

Hence there were tight collaborations with the control team, product development team, domain experts as well as guideline design teams to review the designs. This required continuous conceptualization and iterations.

Design
Collaborate
Review
Test
Iterate

Application Structure

The application consists of 3 main components:

 

Filter bar -

The user can filter the data from the backend using the filters. The user can view or hide or apply multiple filters

using adapt filter dialog.

 

Gantt Chart -

Operations pertaining to an order are displayed on a time axis. The user can change the time horizons using simple zoom in/zoom out interaction

 

Table -

The sequence of operations is shown in a linear vertically scrollable fashion. The user can also view and compare the attributes of an operation that cannot be viewed in the Gantt chart visualization.

Initial Design Prototype

 

The initial design proposal was visualized an interactive prototype was created. This was then validated with a team of business stakeholders and subject matter experts and

Limitations

 

The initial design proposed had limitations as the component was not fully evolved technically. This posed usability issues while interacting with the grant and table components.

To keep the interface simple and usable, the design decision was made to remove the table at the bottom until the Gantt component was developed with the required functionality.

Final Design

 

Final application design after tests and feasibility checks. 

Detailed Case Study

The case study paper of Production Scheduling Board Application was written along with Krishnan Vijayaraghavan, Designer of the earlier versions of this application. The paper was selected at British HCI, 2018

 

This paper was also presented at the prestigious 32nd Human-Computer Interaction Conference in the Industry Track.

 

Detailed Case Study of the Production Scheduling Board can be accessed from the website of 

The British Computer Society 

 

The paper proved to be an eye-opener for the HCI and UX design community with its message: 

 

 

 

For our users, simplicity meant

showing more 

information upfront

ux.tanu@gmail.com​