trucking and materials
User experience, ia, visual design
Companies often need to manage material by either production, consumption of both. This feature allows companies to better manage either part or all of these depending on the structure of their organization.
B2W Schedule streamlines construction companies’ scheduling of resources (employees, equipment, trucks, materials, etc.) and allows visibility into the availability of resources being used by multiple departments.
I worked as the Lead User Experience Designer on this project alongside the Schedule Product Manager, a Business Analyst, and a Development Lead. I was responsible for customer research, wireframes, prototypes, and defining the styling for implementation.
Truck dispatchers, drivers, and site managers needed a way to plan to receive materials, such as hot asphalt, on time. As the schedule can change every day, depending on if the drivers or trucking subcontractors have the capacity to do it, they needed an easy way to get an overview of all the trucks, materials, and jobs that will be receiving the materials. They also needed a way to replace trucks that were not available.
Customers we talked to frequently expressed frustration with being unable to schedule trucks to arrive at material yards or plants to pick up and deliver materials. The materials were frequently time-sensitive, requiring a driver to arrive at very specific times so the foreman could plan to be ready to receive the materials. The trucking and materials feature needed to handle this workflow.
An extremely complex feature, the biggest challenge was to identify a way to give Truck Dispatchers visibility into mass hauling of materials, provide timeframes for delivery, allow customization and adjustments, and confirm trucks and subcontractors contracted to do the work.
- Site Supervisors and Foremen needed the ability to order materials, see them on the schedule, and communicate:
- What material they need
- The time window or the rate at which they need the material
- Trucking requirements
- Specify if they need a “backhaul” of materials to be recycled or reused
- Trucking Dispatchers needed the ability to schedule trucks to fulfill those material orders
- Schedule from multiple sources, such as internal trucks, subcontracted individual trucks, and subcontracted trucking companies.
- Confirm or replace trucks that cannot do the work
- Resolve conflicts
- Additionally, some construction companies subcontract their trucking to make deliveries. This is called “Free on Board” or FOB. Customers need to allow their FOB salespeople to get an overview of availability of trucks and deliveries being made, so they can include FOB materials going from jobsite to jobsite.
Research and Solution
We started by identifying who within a construction company would be using this feature, and what their workflow would need to be. We needed to determine frequency of trucking — as in, how often do truck dispatchers schedule? Do they provide a window of time to make deliveries, or do they schedule daily? How often do they need to make edits?
We did a number of customer calls to find out the answer to those questions. We discovered that foremen may place an order for materials at the beginning of their assignment, but Truck Dispatchers usually didn’t schedule trucks until a few days before, and sometimes the day before. Changes and edits are frequent, because truck availability can vary widely.
- Mass Haul Planner: gives visibility into a company’s daily trucking activity
- Confirmation View: Allows a Truck Dispatcher to confirm that assignments have been accepted, or substitute assignments that have been rejected.
- Order Manager: provides an overview of all material orders placed within a company
- Dialogs to create and edit material orders and trucking orders
- For non time-sensitive deliveries
- For time-sensitive mass haul materials
- For trucks-only orders
- For FOB materials
- Adding visibility into trucking and material orders and truck assignments on the main Schedules
- Truck templates: which pair a truck with an employee who regularly uses that truck and enables them to be used over and over
- Move Planner: allows for an overview of Deliveries and Material movements (see Move Planner case study for more details)
- Dashboard: We tried a number of concepts for this but ultimately decided against using one.