supply chain

Due to the nature of work at GE Aviation, I am not able to share actual design artifacts or deliverables. What I can share is the design thinking behind the challenge at hand, which is related to the industrial supply chain.

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Let’s look at this from a high level. A business provides goods to it’s customers. These goods are highly complex machines and are sold at a very high price point. To make these goods/machines, the Business must leverage human engineering knowledge, harvest raw materials, turn those materials into parts, which are consumed into components, which are consumed into sub–assemblies, which in turn are assembled into the final working machine or product.


Now let us look at a global supply chain scenario that is not uncommon. The Business has sold and signed contracts to deliver X number of machines to Customer A by a certain date. To accomplish this, business leaders develop a Master Build Plan. The MBP identifies key milestones of production which will results in meeting Customer A’s order. The Product(s) are assembled across multiple shops and locations throughout the production lifecycle. There are multiple actors, logistics and competing interests which can quickly derail the Master Build Plan. If the Business does not have good visibility into production status (analytics), it is difficult to measure the degree of deviation from the Master Build Plan until it is too late.

UX Value Add

Visibility into current state status is critical in managing multiple product’s build plans and delivering products on time. By leveraging technology and improving current state insights, we can begin to chip away at the visibility issues in a global supply chain.

The first step of course is understanding the playing field. What are the business goals and what do users need to deliver those goals? Ecosystem Journey Maps are a great tool for understanding the big picture or stages within a production lifecycle. What are the various stages within a master build plan? We identify a subject matter expert (SME) and talk through the entire process. From there our design team gets together and “unpacks” the stakeholder interview highlights, which helps us to develop an [ecosystem user journey map] and a set of [proto personas]. Both of these design artifacts are assumed and require validation through further research activities. Proto Personas provide a great starting point and it is usually enlighting and often entertaining to look back and revisit early assumptions.

 Widget Supply Chain Pain Points

Widget Supply Chain Pain Points

Ecosystem Journey Map 

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