Arrow – Mobile Warehouse Management

Arrow – Mobile Warehouse Management

Arrow

Warehouse Management App

Modern electronics require thousands of individual parts. With warehouses full of electronics components, it helps to have an easy-to-use, modern tool for warehouse management.

Background

You may not have heard of Arrow Electronics, but chances are you’ve used a device made with components that they’ve distributed.

In fact, Arrow services over 125,000 equipment manufacturers in more than 90 countries worldwide. That means warehouses full of tiny resistors, capacitors, and diodes, all of which need to be accounted for, picked, and shipped. Inventory management at this scale takes a significant amount of coordination between warehouse operators and supervisors.

Arrow’s warehouses were managed using outdated and bulky RFID scanners that prevented operators and supervisors from working as efficiently as possible. Arrow knew that they needed equipment and software upgrades to improve their operational efficiency and that they needed to do so with scalability in mind. Any changes would need to include a long-term deployment strategy that would allow Arrow to remain competitive both now and in the future.

Challenge

Despite distributing some of the most modern electronics components available, certain operational needs were no longer being met by Arrow’s outdated warehouse management app. Warehouse operators needed a way to be more nimble while picking, storing, and shipping inventory. Supervisors needed to be able to access inventory information and easily create reports and work orders from anywhere in the warehouse. Both supervisors and operators needed a way to more efficiently communicate with one another while working.

Arrow’s challenge to Shockoe was twofold: First, create a modern, mobile warehouse management app that updates the existing platform and addresses the needs of both warehouse operators and supervisors. Second, provide a growth strategy for the new platform that would meet Arrow’s “five years out” plan, allowing for flexible integration with new technologies (wearables, AR, etc).

The Solution

Shockoe worked with Arrow to create an overhauled WMS using mobile tablets, wireless handheld scanners, and a revamped user interface. The new system allows operators greater flexibility and maneuverability, increasing pick speed and storing efficiency. Supervisors can now manage inventory and processes away from their desk, allowing them to review reports and make necessary decisions on-site. Arrow Connect, a custom-built chat interface, allows supervisors and operators to communicate with one another directly within the WMS. Additionally, the system is scalable, allowing for flexibility in future releases. The next phase to be deployed includes wearable technology that allows for even greater mobility.

Results

In a limited rollout at their Reno, NV warehouse Arrow is showing a 4-5% efficiency gain through the use of the new warehouse management system. Apply this to hundreds of employees across warehouses around the globe and that’s an efficiency gain of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually compared to the legacy system.

Features & Technologies

  • Multiple warehouse services and delivery functions
  • Socket scanner and portable printer pairing
  • Arrow connect, custom built chat feature
  • Operator/Lead report management
  • Wearable Technology for Inventory Management
  • Android tablets and SDK
  • Oracle DB + Sockets
  • Socket Mobile (Scanner)
  • MongoDB + Node JS
  • Zebra Wearables

Ready to chat about your next great app?

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A.C. Moore

A.C. Moore

A.C. Moore

Retail Inventory Management App

Pipe-cleaners aren’t going to put themselves on the shelf. That’s why we wanted to make inventory management less of a chore for the employees of A.C. Moore.

Background

Avid crafters know that A.C. Moore is the place to go for arts, crafts, and floral merchandise.

What they may not realize is that at any given time, a single A.C. Moore location can have up to 40,000 unique items in stock. That takes a lot of people and processes behind the scenes to keep everything in order.

Unfortunately, A.C. Moore’s employees were using outdated hardware and software that hindered more than helped. The slow tech, dated user interface, and unwieldy devices meant that inventory management was not only a chore, it was incredibly inefficient—adding significant time and cost to the process.

Challenge

Despite recognizing the need to upgrade their inventory management system, A.C. Moore relied heavily on their legacy tools to keep in-store operations running smoothly. Any system downtime during upgrading meant risking the potential loss of revenue. Additionally, any modern best-in-class software wouldn’t be compatible with their older hardware. Therefore, a new system could mean significant investments in newer devices. Given this, A.C. Moore was concerned that the cost to upgrade their existing hardware and software would outweigh the benefits. A.C. Moore challenged Shockoe to create a solution that met operational needs in a cost-effective manner.

Solution

A.C. Moore partnered with Shockoe to make a more streamlined, modern user interface that would increase employee efficiency during inventory management. Targeting easily obtainable and cost-effective Android and iOS devices, Shockoe built a web-based inventory management application that is flexible and easily accessible. With a strong focus on usability, the application allows employees to perform tasks more efficiently, increasing both productivity and employee satisfaction.

Results

After a quick trial release at a flagship store in Philadelphia, A.C. Moore rolled the new inventory and asset management app to all of their 136 locations with resoundingly positive feedback. According to their CIO, “every store has 4 of the new devices with the app, and each one wants 5 more.”

The application has continued to grow in feature-set. Shockoe built a Pinterest plug-in so that employees could quickly view and share popular projects with customers, and several more releases are in the works.

Process & Approach

Shockoe met early and often with A.C. Moore’s IT and Operations teams to establish goals and project requirements. From there, we interviewed store employees to better understand their pain-points and daily challenges. With this information, our UX/UI design team was able to craft a clear path forward for designing an optimal user experience that is clean, user-friendly, and visually appealing. Through improved navigation and functionality, the application allows the employees to increase their productivity and efficiency compared to the old system.

With the designs in place, Shockoe’s engineering team leveraged the MEAN stack to replace the old application using modern platforms such as Angular 2 and Node JS. Shockoe also built the API that connects the new system to A.C. Moore’s existing database, allowing seamless integration with legacy back-end systems. Once the new inventory management app and system was built and tested, Shockoe provided guidance on deployment and mobile device management strategy.

Features & Technologies

  • Honeywell mobile scanner
  • Product information, Qty, and pricing
  • Store planogram and inventory lookup
  • Cycle count management
  • Angular 2 + Cordova Wrapper
  • MongoDB + NodeJS
  • Honeywell scanning devices
  • Custom built product databases

Related Case Studies

Go here to read more about how we build custom inventory and asset management apps to help our clients improve their operations.

Ready to chat about your next great app?

Give us a shout! We’re excited to get things going.