- Project: warehouse management mobile app
- Duration: 9 months
- Technologies: Android native app, Java, Rest
- Target audience: warehouse employees
The Сlient offers enterprise resource planning systems and network security services to US and European firms in the metals industry.
The Сlient was looking to help their customers optimize warehouse management operations. They identified an asset tracking routine as one of the areas for improvement and set out to build a mobile app that could speed up warehouse throughput on the ground.
Velvetech had to develop a mobile application for Android that would sync with the company’s flagship product — an ERP platform for metals industry firms — and provide warehouse employees with seamless on-the-go asset tracking and shipping experience.
Velvetech’s mobile app development team started the project with a discovery phase, reviewing the requirements provided by the company and narrowing down on the company’s goals with the app. The detailed specifications prepared by the Сlient significantly sped up the discovery phase of the project.
Warehouse Management Mobile App
As a result of the discovery phase, Velvetech optimized several mission-critical screens of the application and aligned the app’s look and feel with the industry standards, adopting the Material Design approach. The app development team also optimized the Android app UI so that warehouse employees could easily use it while wearing gloves.
Hardware and Server Side Integration
The company was targeting specific smartphones and tablets that came with built-in barcode scanners. So Velvetech had to design the app in a way that would ensure seamless integration with this hardware.
One of the major challenges on the project was the fact that Velvetech was developing the warehouse management app while the Client was updating the APIs on its flagship ERP product.
Velvetech successfully resolved all potential issues by establishing direct communication with the company’s development team responsible for the APIs implementation. The pro-active approach on both sides and effective communication smoothed out the integration of the Android app with the server side.
After a successful period of using the mobile application, the Client was looking to automate other warehouse processes to further enhance operational efficiency and accuracy. This time, their focus was on facilitating stock inquiries and streamlining the shipping process. So, they reached out to Velvetech to integrate two functionalities into the app — stock inquiry and quick ship.
Stock Inquiry Implementation
To enable users to scan product barcodes and see essential details about goods such as the quantity of items and their weight, our team added a stock inquiry function. It also allows employees to change necessary data about items right in the app. The primary objective of this functionality is to ensure efficient tracking and management of goods within the warehouse, enhancing overall work efficiency.
Quick Ship Functionality
The second feature we’ve implemented was a quick ship. As the name implies, it aims to smoothly organize the shipping process. In essence, it facilitates the creation of an order, enabling warehouse employees to specify the quantity of the goods and shipping address. When employees confirm the order, the function adjusts the warehouse stock automatically.
Additionally, the feature generates a detailed parcel report that can be printed, ensuring an organized and efficient shipping process.
Distinctive Testing Methods
In order to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the stock inquiry and quick ship functionalities, we adopted a non-standard testing approach. As we have already mentioned, our Client operates on specific smartphones with built-in barcode scanners. Therefore, our team utilized these specialized devices to verify the seamless performance of new features within the Client’s distinguished work environment.
In particular, we integrated the barcode scanner to ensure smooth shipping processes. Testing also helped make sure that scanning gives detailed product information like size, quantity, and stock level in the warehouse.
Provisioning Web App
The app was implemented in a way that requires each device to be individually set up. Velvetech identified that as a potential bottleneck in the future, as the solution would scale. By the app’s design, only admins (not regular users) could update the configuration of the warehousing app.
To address the issue, Velvetech proposed to develop a web application for admins so that they could configure the warehouse management mobile app on each device remotely. This approach also made the solution more secure as Velvetech built into the portal two-factor authentication.
The web app allows the company’s administrators to register new devices and configure the app parameters via an easy-to-use web interface. Once the user logs in, the app requests configuration parameters from a provisioning service. In case of any issues with configuration, users may contact an admin, and the admin will be able to configure the device or update its configuration remotely.
The deployment of the Android app has dramatically increased warehouse employee productivity: they no longer need to run back and forth between stand-up kiosks and the shipment area to log inventory data into the ERP system. The app allows employees to go through all necessary inventory management steps right on the spot.
User acceptance testing delivered positive results, and additional functionality is on the horizon. Velvetech LLC was responsive, making themselves available outside traditional hours to support the app launch. Their ability to adapt to scope changes was notable, as was their transparency.
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The Client continues actively testing the mobile app on the ground, gathering feedback from the users while also planning the next phase of the app development, which will add other essential features to the MVP: web admin interface for managing admin passwords, enhanced user authentication, and purchase order receiving — to name a few.
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