IS480 Team wiki: 2010T1 Cowabunga

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Worm Logo2.jpg

-Welcome to our IS480 wiki page-

Cowabunga Team Formation

Team Name

"Cowabunga!" is a term oftenly use to express surprise, amazement and euphoria.

As the term suggests, our team aims to bring out the true essence of how both IT Intelligence with Business process can bring forth new and suprising ideas. We hope to be able to create something impactful for our clients. As our client's current business process is very manual, we hope that we would be able to surprise them at how our system could aid them and last but not least, amaze them beyond what they expect IT can do.

As a team, "Cowabunga" also represent the fun we hope to have through this FYP - IS480 along with our dedication to provide the best for our sponsors.

In our team logo at the top right corner of the page, you will notice a worm. This represent the inventory system that we are creating that forms , Warehouse Optimization and Resource Management System (W.O.R.M.S).

Team Members (Roles and Responsibilities)

Role Name Key Responsibilities Email
Project Manager/Liaison Officer Loh Chong Ghee (Jackson)
  • Schedule Management
  • Liaison with Client
  • Liaison with Supervisor
Business Subject Matter Expert Ng Kiang Pin
  • Translation of business practice in mathematical algorithm
  • Understanding best practice
  • Meetings Minutes
Business Analyst Danny Seow Liang Cong
  • Analyze current practice and highlight root causes
  • Develop solution with alignment to business requirements
System Analyst Mohamed Saiful Bin MOHAMED NAJAIB
  • Database Administrator
  • Server Administrator
  • Coding Mentor
IT Subject Matter Expert Seetoh Yong Chuen (Lex)
  • Schedule UAT Tests
  • Risks Management
  • Manage Change Requirement
Design Architect Bevan Tan Junming
  • User Interface Design and Coordinator (Flex)
  • Wiki IS480 Administrator


Supervisor Li Yingjiu
Client/Sponsor Chee Song Frozen Food Pte Ltd
Contact Person Ms Tan, Manager

Company Background and Formation

Introduction of Company (Client/Sponsor)

Heart of the Supply Chain

Chee Song Frozen Food Ptd Ltd is a 14 years experienced whole-seller company in Singapore. Being a wholesaler in the frozen food industry, Chee Song is position at the heart of the entire supply chain.

The company has two main stakeholders, namely the suppliers and retailers. Inventory products such as frozen chicken stocks, muttons as well as beef are ordered from the suppliers on a daily/ weekly basis (dependent on products). Different suppliers offers different product range, and their product varies in prices on a daily basis.

The extensive product range and large quantity of orders, plus limited warehouse space, much consideration are taken before finally placing order quantities with the suppliers.

The second major stakeholders of the supply chain would be the retailers. The retailers are the revenue spot of the company, they order from Chee Song wholesaler on a daily basis. The orders are sent to the retailers to complete the full process transaction.

Key Objective and Motivation

Our main role is to understand the current business practice and process of the company, after-which analysis and determine the key issues and root causes of the current process.

Finally, implementing a IT solution that align with their business requirements, while addressing the root causes and delivering the key objective. The key objective set for us by our client is to find a solution that will provide them with greater inventory control and improve the operation efficiency of Chee Song.

Key Objective: Provide greater inventory control and improve the operation of Chee Song.

Operations Background

Operations Flow

Situated in Jalan Masjid is the main distribution center. Once the orders are properly assembled, they will be distributed by the company trucks to the various retailers (customers). As inventory in the distribution center is running low, they will send daily request form to the two warehouses to restock the distribution center. Ensuring that there is always sufficient inventory.

There is another two main warehouses that are situated within 5 minutes drive away from the distribution center. This two warehouses stores all the frozen inventory. Each day new containers from the suppliers will arrive and restock the warehouses. Due to the current implementation, there are many issues and high probability of overstocking the warehouses that results in extra expenditure as inventory has to be sent back to the suppliers and kept in the warehouses.

The flow of the process is as followed:

  • 1) New orders are made by the boss to individual suppliers
  • 2) The suppliers will deliver inventory on stated date to the warehouse
  • 3) Retailers will make their daily orders
  • 4) The distribution center will consolidate orders and send request form to warehouse
  • 5) Warehouse will pack the request order and trucks will arrive to pick them up
  • 6) Distribution truck will be sent from the distribution center to individual retailers

Root Cause Issues and Problems

Manual Inventory Tracking Method Reduce Real-Time Information Retrieval, Useful Information Are Lost In The Process

1) Lack of Real-Time Information

Problem Description: One of the key issue is the lack of real-time information such as current quantity in the warehouse, the boss have to contact the admin stuff to retrieve current stock information for individual products. The admin staff subsequently request for updates from the warehouse personnel. This rally of information is time consuming and have a long lag time.

Solution: Our proposed solution must remove the rally of information by allowing real time data to be presented to the users as and when they request. It serves to aid the boss in making better business decision.

Business Impact: Reduce the long processing time, Reduce probability of error propagation.

2) Lack of Data Analytics to Support Business Decision Making

Extensive information are not fully utilized for analytics purposes, decision making are based on instincts.

Problem Description: One of the key issue is the lack of intelligent analysis that will enable them to make forecast and planning of their inventory stock products. The current business processes are heavily reliant on manual paper recording. Currently, the boss relies heavily on his instinct, business experience to make decision such as the total quantity of product to restock everyday.

The lack of real time information coupled with no proper data structure result in many decisions that cause overstocking issue. Because the products are frozen and perishable, they must be kept in frozen storage space. That means that overstocked products are turn away back to their suppliers to be stored at their warehouse. The ‘loan’ of storage space is extremely expensive and drive the overall cost of operations.

Solution: Through historical data and transaction of products inflow and outflow, our proposed solution will provide understandable statistics and charts to aid the company boss in making better business decision. Based on the business requirements and current practice of the company, algorithms will be designed to filter and provide information such as “Seasonal Trends”, “Product/Demand Balancing” and “Optimal Product Level to Order”.

Business Impact: Reduce overall holding cost, Improve business decision

3) No Proper Structure or Warehouse Planning Aid

Warehouse Layout - Total of 4 coldrooms (Numbers indicate pallets in one grid)

Problem Description: Currently, there have been a serious lack of warehouse planning in the company. The storage planning of the warehouse does not follow a proper structure. The inventory are often stored based on connivence. Every product does not have a designated area.

Furthermore, the warehouse is run be a few key personnel that has been with the company for some time now. Only the few key personnel knows where each inventory is kept, immediate replacement is almost impossible as it would require a lot of orientation to the inventory position. This also means that the store-man may have information such as expiry date or, which products are AVA-approved and which are AVA-Pending, that are not made known to anyone else in the company. Thus the boss does not have inventory control

Solution: Our proposed IT system would provide a digital mapping of the entire warehouse with each individual batch of products being shown on the overview board. The easy graphical overview would allow any new user to locate specific inventory without difficulty. Thus removing the dependency on key personnel that may be crippling in events where they are removed from the company.

Business Impact: Improved shared information, Improve inventory control, Reduced processing time

Proposed Solution (Scope)

Introduction of Warehouse Optimization & Resource Management System (WORMS)

After analyzing the workflow of the company and the key issues experienced. Our team recommend the implementation of ‘Warehouse Optimization and Resource Management System’. The customized system will supports two key business tier, namely; the Resource Management business layer and the Warehouse Optimization business layer.

1. The Resource Management System - allows Chee Song to track each transaction of inflow and outflow of their products from their warehouses, also provides current inventory tracking and status alert. Another important module is the support of business analytics where intelligent graphs, charts and statistics will be populated to aid business decision making for restocking inventory.

2. Warehouse Optimization - a smart and intelligent recommendation of warehouse optimization for Chee Song. Our team will be utilizing matching algorithm to facilitate optimization and maximization of proper address and product assignment.

Topology Diagram


Our main deliverables to our client is to finally able to develop a warehouse optimization and resource management system that will enable them to solve the root cause that they are facing with the current business processes.

The following diagram is a topology of our project, highlighting the different areas as well as the key users that will be using our proposed IT solution. There are two main layers for proposed IT system: Resource Management Business Layer, Warehouse Optimization layer.

Key Users:

  • The Proprietor (boss)
  • Warehouse Personnel
  • Distribution Center Agent
  • Admin Staff Agent

To-Be Work Flow Diagram

‎Product Inflow of the Warehouse
‎‎Product Outflow of the Warehouse

1st Layer: Resource Management Business Layer

2nd Layer: Warehouse Optimization Business Layer

Database Design

Technical Aspect of Solution

Running Application

  • Oracle 10g Lite Database
  • Apache Tomcat Webserver
  • Web Browser (Internet Explorer 8 and Modzilla Firefox 3 with relevant plugins)
    • Adobe Flash Plugin Version 10,1,53,64
    • Java Runtime Environment Version 6 Update 14

Application Development Support

  • JDK Update 20 with documentations
  • IDE (Either OR / Choose One Yet to be decided)
    • Eclipse Ganymede(3.4) or Galileo (3.5)
  • Notepad ++
  • Adobe SDK (AIR, Flash, Flex) with Flash Builder

Documentation Development Support

  • Microsoft Office 2007
    • Word
    • Excel
    • Project
    • Visio
    • UML Modeling

Document Sharing Support

  • Windows Live
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Dropbox
  • SVN
    • Server: Apache
    • Client: Tortoise

Project Management

Project Overview

Project overview.png

Detail Breakdown of IS480 Project

Project Meeting Minutes

IS480 Poster

IS480 Algorithm Video

Final Wiki


  • The sponsor will be providing the necessary hardware requirement for the implementation of our software based on a certain budget.
  • Software will be customize from scratch based on sponsor’s requirements
  • Risk exposure is minimal as team has identified the required hardware that builds on client existing infrastructure.

Risks Involved and Mitigation Strategies


Risk Description Level Mitigation Strategy Current Status of Risk Remarks
Newly identified exceptions that require time for analysis and addition to development to ensure that these exceptions are handled properly. This will cause delay in schedule as time is needed to figure out the best way to handle the exceptions. 5
  1. Urgent meetings are to be held when there are new exceptions that require proper handling.
  2. Solutions proposed to handle the exceptions are to be accepted by clients before proceeding on with development.
  3. PM must be updated on the delay.
New Nil
Methodologies pre-defined for the translation of certain business requirements may be too challenging and undoable due to team’s limited knowledge on the technology. 5
  1. Team are to proposed alternatives to technically challenging methods so that team can use the simplified way in order to ensure that the schedule will not be delayed and project is delivered on time. Team consensus is that it is always more important to deliver on time than to introduce complexities into the software as a result of team being unfamiliar with technology.
New Nil
Group Members are caught up with other commitments and assignment/project submissions, thus is unable to deliver work on time. 4
  1. Group members are to set aside fixed timeslots every week to work on FYP related work.
  2. Group members are required to inform the whole team constantly on their work progress. If completion is impossible, there is a need to update the group, especially the PM on the delay. PM will highlight the delay in the schedule and update the team if there are necessary changes.
New Nil
Group member have problems with the coding and is unable to continue, thus unable to deliver the project on time. 4
  1. Pair programming is done for the difficult modules.
  2. Members are to voice out difficulties they encounter so that other members could help.
  3. PM must be informed of possible delay due to the difficulties encountered during development.
  4. Members are to share the difficulties faced to prevent similar issues from populating in the other modules.
New Nil
Client responses are slow, which result in delay in data collection necessary for certain modules. Clients may respond slow as they do not fully understand what form of data we require. 4
  1. Always request for acknowledgement from client for messages sent and make sure that deadlines are noted by client.
  2. Request client to highlight any issues they face in data collection so that we know of the delay.
  3. If clients do not understand what form of data is required, members are to make a trip down to help with the data collection so as to prevent further delay.
New Nil
Sudden changes requested by client which will cause a delay in the project deadline. 5
  1. Change Request Form to ensure that there is a standard procedure and review before changes are made to the system. Everyone would also be updated on the changes.
  2. Inform supervisor of the sudden change in requirements.
Risk Remains Changes are still expected along the way. As such we have to make sure that mitigation is carried out to reduce the impact of the changes.
Unavailability of group members resulting in short handedness and miscommunication. 2
  1. There is a rule for all members to constantly update the svn on their work progress (based on their allocated work), research conducted, and also constantly review the documents uploaded into svn to have a clear view of what is going on in the group.
  2. Members absent from meeting are required to read up on all meeting minutes to be updated.
  3. All members will have knowledge of each other’s progress and cover the job scope if need be.
Risk Remains Mitigation still necessary as project is still ongoing.
Loss of business documents and data collected. 1
  1. We have a SVN to store all documents which would be frequently backed up at the end of the day by the Saiful.
  2. We will also keep a copy of all documents in a separate hard disk for backup after every meeting.
Risk Remains It is still highly important to ensure that backups are done daily and that all members are to store their daily work in the svn to prevent detrimental effects of reworking due to loss of work documents and codes in the case of any scenario.
The difficulty/severity of bugs is underestimated which might delay the project progress. 3
  1. Conduct consistent test run of the codes to ensure quality is maintained.
  2. Conduct code review constantly.
Risk level reduced.

Previous: 5

Code review is done every meeting. UAT testing is also conducted constantly after completion of each module to identify exceptions and bugs.
Graphic User Interface is not user friendly for the clients might have constant changes which will delay the project. 1
  1. Constantly gather feedbacks from clients for every module.
  2. Conduct User Acceptance Testing at different phase to ensure users are comfortable with the interface.
  3. Create User manual and conduct a simple session to familiarize and teach them how to use the system.
Risk level reduced.

Previous: 4

Have conducted UAT constantly with our clients and received feedback that the user interface is friendly and comfortable for use.

Will also be creating a user manual for the clients when the software is completed.

Unable to communicate with warehouse personnel due to language barrier. 1
  1. When required, our Malay member would help us to do the communication and translation. To prevent miscommunication.
  2. However, most of the time whenever possible, we will communicate via English and seek clarifications before we start on each module.
Risk level reduced.

Previous: 3

Mitigation still necessary as project is still ongoing. Communication with the Warehouse Personnel is still required. However, all important business requirements have been gathered and confirmed already, thus remaining communication is mostly on acceptance of the software and thus will not lead to high impact due to changes to the business requirements.
Team is unfamiliar with Adobe flex which might cause delays in project development. 3
  1. Team would have to attend online tutorials to pick up the necessary skills to complete project scope.
  2. One team member will focus on this area and conduct review sessions for the rest of the team members.
Risk mitigated and removed. Members have picked up the necessary basics of flex.
Team might not meet the industry requirements and government standards for meat processing and cold storage. 3
  1. To read up on AVA regulations documents issued by the government.
  2. Have constant updates and checking with the client to ensure that our project meets the requirement.
  3. Adequate research should be done so that we understand the sponsor and industry requirements well and are adhered to them.
Risk mitigated and removed. Team has read up on the AVA regulations and is clear about the regulations.

Have verified all algorithms and methods with client that they do not infringe the regulations.

Lack of deep knowledge of warehousing operations practices. 3
  1. Create questions that specifically targets warehousing operation knowledge
  2. Walk the actual warehousing site and learn how the business works through user requirement gathering.
  3. Keep in constant contact with client to learn about different exceptions that can happen in warehousing operations.
  4. Learn basic warehousing operations.
Risk mitigated and removed. Have had many meetings with the clients and also did a lot of research on warehouse operations. Team is currently updated with the necessary knowledge on warehousing for our project. This is removed because we have had sufficient analysis on the warehouse before getting down to the development phase. This prevents the need for changes during development phase due to misunderstanding of the operations.

Resources and Reference

Hardware Required

Resources Reasons for resources/Alternative Resources
Client Side Router/Switch, preferably with wireless capability • Their current wired connection has already been maxed out.

• Server in placed needs to have internet connection or at least be connected to their local area network.

Dedicated Server/Machine to deploy our developed solution • If not possible, use Ms Tan PC, since it is always on and connected.
Our Side Dedicated Server/Machine to develop our solution just like the client’s. • This allows us to carry out testing of our solution

• To function as the SVN location to allow easy sharing of work files, documentations and schedules.

Time Required

Time Required Duration Reason
Client Time 2 Hours on ad-hoc Basic as and when required. • To clarify development doubts.

• To analyze the warehouse process more closely.
• Time does not include Migration.

Supervisor Time Fortnightly 30-60 mins per meeting • To seek advice, clarify deliverables doubts, and to be sure that we are on the right track
Training Time 1 week or 7 Days/Lesson or less • As some of our members are unfamiliar with the development tools(Adobe Flex and Flash), there is a need for us to spend some time to pick up the necessary and sufficient skills required for the development. This ensures to get everyone involved in part of the development and also to expose everyone to newer development platforms through the project.

Training Materials Required for Development


Adobe Flex

and any other online tutorials that we come across during our research.

Teams Learning Expectations

Learning Outcomes to be Acheived

Given the scale of this project, the team hopes to achieve the following learning outcomes from the project:

  1. To conduct feasibility studies on an existing business through analysis and design to make appropriate recommendations
  2. To learn more about the best practice and industry knowledge of warehouse management and supply chain management.
  3. To make appropriate recommendations and to create ideal solutions based on client’s requirements to automation of an existing manual business process.
  4. To learn team management required to deliver our project management and software lifecycle
  5. To learn how to bridge the gaps between user requirements and what the client’s business really needs.
  6. To pick up new knowledge that build on our foundations of programming like Adobe Flex.
  7. To learn how to translate and manage real-world project for a client, by addressing their companies root cause.
  8. To challenge the team and hardness the concepts that we learn in class into a real world business scenario.
  9. To convert business decisions into mathematical formulas (algorithms) to help in providing recommendations given the constraints.
  10. To convince our client of the need to progress and upgrade system as companies with slightly experienced workers tend to be resistant to changes and the use of computers.
  11. To analyze possible impacts caused by the changes made to the business processes and how to mitigate the negative impacts.
  12. To learn how to manage effort needed for the various proposed ideas and how to rescope it to fit project and client's requirements.