IS480 Team wiki: 2010T2 Cowabunga

From IS480
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Worm Logo2.jpg

Team Formation

Cowabunga Team Explained

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

Like this word, our team aims to bring out the true essence of how both IT Intelligence with Business process can bring forth new and suprising ideas. The goal of our team is to help our sponsor automate their existing processes to help meet their business goals. As a team, the team name represent the fun we have through this FYP along with our dedication to provide the best for our sponsors. Through the team logo, 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).

Members (Roles and Responsibilities)

Role Name Email
Project Manager/Business Subject Matter Expert Loh Chong Ghee (Jackson) cgloh.2008@sis.smu.edu.sg
Assistant Project Manager/Liaison Officer Ng Kiang pin kiangpin.ng.2008@sis.smu.edu.sg
Business Analyst Danny Seow Liang Cong danny.seow@gmail.com
System Analyst Mohamed Saiful Bin MOHAMED NAJAIB msaiful.mn.2008@sis.smu.edu.sg
Assistent System Analyst/IT Subject Matter Expert Seetoh Yong Chuen (Lex) yc.seetoh.2008@sis.smu.edu.sg
Design Architect Bevan Tan Junming bevan.tan.2008@sis.smu.edu.sg


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)

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 have to manage two main set of 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. Different suppliers offers different product range which varies prices on a daily basis. Because of the extensive product range and quantity of orders, plus limited storage space, much consideration are taken before finally placing orders with the suppliers.

The second major stakeholders of the supply chain would be the wet market retailers. The retailers are basically the revenue spot of the company. They order from Chee Song wholesaler on a daily basis. It is also important to note that order quotient for different stores varies differently as well.

Operations Background

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.

Current Workflow Diagram

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

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

Key Objective and Motivation

Our key role is to analysis and finally implement an IT solution that align with their business requirements. The key ob- jective for is implement an IT solution that provides greater inventory control and improve the operation of Chee Song.

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

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. The system will allow the blueprinting of the entire floor plan digitally onto the system. From a blank canvas, the system will populate the best optimum area to arrange the warehouse and store particular products based on the following parameters; 1) Product’s moving frequency, 2) Expiry Date, 3) Type of Products, 4) Size of Products, 5) Temperature requirement for Product, 6) AVA-Status of Product. Our team will be utilizing the Linear Programming algorithm to facilitate optimization. This providing a sound and proven mathematical formulae to recommend our users.

To-Be Work Flow Diagram

-diagram for the current work process

Topology Diagram

Our main deliverables to our client is to finally able to deploy a warehouse optimization and resource management system that will enable them to solve the three key issues that we have earlier highlighted.

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 four main layers for proposed IT system, namely; Database/Backend Layer, Resource Management Business Layer, Warehouse Optimization layer and finally the Front End/ User Interface Layer.

1st Layer: The Backend Database Layer

The foundation of the entire project, the backend layer provides the core support that our software will be working on.

Current manual records and information must be plotted into a proper data structure. A proper data structure will be designed and data migration from manual records to our records will be a key stage in our project. Being a web-enabled software, we will also need a proper web-based server to host our software. This may come in a form of dedicated server.

Key consideration would be done to address the following issue: Firewall/Port Configuration, Backup Plan, Multi-party transaction plan, Load Balancing/Clustering Plans.

2nd Layer: Resources Planning Business Layer

This layer consist of modules that controls the business logic for resources management in our system. The resource management layer will allow the company to manage suppliers and the flow of their inventory in the warehouse. The layer consist of the 4 following modules:

a. Suppliers Management Module:

1. Suppliers Information Management:

Manages the current suppliers, by allowing the users to store relevant information such as type of brands carry, price of ordering, lead time for delivery, also include overstocking ‘loaning’ price per day.

2. Product Catalogue Management:

Manages the product that each suppliers are offering as well as price quotation. The prices varies base on demand basis, this functionalities allows tracking of suppliers product offering with their determined prices.

b. Inventory Tracking Module::

1. Inventory Transaction Management:

Manages the outflow and inflow transactions from the warehouse. This functionality provides historical logging of all transaction in and out of the warehouse. It also supports reporting purposes.

2. Current Inventory Management:

Manages the current stock level of each individual product. This functionality also provides the users with tracking of where each inventory current location.

c. Inventory Business Analytics and Forecasting Module:

This module focus on providing graphs to aid business decision for the boss when planning his product re- stocking.

1. Product Trend Analysis:

Provide intelligent information that display product demand and supply movement through a pre-defined time period.

2. Optimum Purchasing Time/Quantity Analysis:

Based on the market demand as well as the expiry of each product, provide the recommendation of the best time to purchase product. Graphs are dynamic and response to different parameters changed.

Based on historical data as well as recent trend, provide the company with the optimum price for purchasing. Based on holding cost and ordering cost, using the business process newsvendor optimum ordering algorithm to provide intelligent recommendation.

3. Time for Product Overstocking Forecasting:

Functionalities will support forecasting of when overstocking is necessary. (Instances where forecasted market demand is greater than possible storage space). Suggestion of which products must be stored at the supplier end (based on cheapest storage rental cost per product, per time period) and which product must be absorb by the warehouse to reduced overall holding cost.

4. Time-Period Market Trend

This functionality supports highlighting the trend patterns of fluctuating price of the frozen food industry, based on the previous month’s pricing fluctuation, provide a predictive model of the next price hike and recommend time purchase of products.

d. Reporting Module

1. Inventory Reporting Functionalities:

Reports on current inventory, previous month inventory can be generated and archive. The reporting modules enables our client to generate cost of goods for their products. Also allows the printing of the generated statistics, graphs and charts of inventory movement for documentation purposes.

2. Cost Reporting Module:

Costing of each product can generated for each inventory. Holding cost reports are used for to record each products costs to the organization. Holding cost reports can be archive for documentation purposes

3rd Layer: Warehouse Optimization Business Layer

This module focus on the internal planning of the ware- house. Base on blueprint of the warehouse and the average pellet size, the system is able to intelligent suggest the op- timal position to store and plan the entire warehouse storage structure. Currently, there is no such products available in the market that support warehouse inventory moving, thus, it is a new initiative and system for our team to ex- plore. The layer consist of the 3 following modules:

a. Warehouse Blueprinting Module

1. Architecture Blueprinting:

This functionality allows the users to plot the blueprint of the warehouse digitally. Enabling the users to determine areas for the system to consider space efficiency and areas that are not allocated. Providing flexibility and expansion ability in the future.

2. Area Zoning Categorization Module:

This functionality supports zoning of areas by allocating and marking areas that are to be considered for the optimization calculation, and areas that are not considered.

b. Inventory Space and Efficiency Management Module:

1. Warehouse Inventory Optimization:

Based on the certain product characteristics, the system will reserve and plan the optimum place to allocate the inventory in the warehouse. Using linear programming algorithm to provide optimization suggestion. The system will highlight where each product should be stored. Considered parameters: 1) Product’s moving frequency, 2) Expiry Date, 3) Type of Products, 4) Size of Products, 5) Temperature requirement for Product, 6) AVA-Status of Product.

2. Pipeline Inventory Reservation:

The intelligent warehouse planning module will also handle reservation of pipeline products that are on the way to the warehouse, preempting the the warehouse personnel to prepare before the stocks even arrive. This allows proper planning of the warehouse.

c. Forecasting and Simulation Module:

1. Overstock Forecasting Module:

Base on “What-If” scenarios, provides the users to forecast the warehouse storage volume and utilization if a particular business decision is exercised (eg: Ordering 100 more pellets of X product).

4th Layer: Interface Layer

Some users have little technological backing, it is essential to design a product that is easy to understand and interact without prior knowledge. Due to the fast pace demand of the industry, inven- tory and stock updating with our system should seamlessly integrate into the business process and not hindering cur- rent workflow. Our team has place emphasis on ease of use with our system. The 4 points of interface as followed:

a. “Andon” Board Interface: (Overview)

Provides real time summary information for display at the distribution center; selective information are displayed and projected. “Andon” board is a concept spearheaded by Toyota in their Toyota Production System. It provides immediate error notification and also provide an overview for senior management.

b. Intelligent Warehouse Allocation Interface: (Warehouse View) The warehouse will be digitally blueprinted in our IT system. The graphical interface is designed for easy viewing and locating of specific inventory. The warehouse planning is colour coded and also provides touch screen interaction.

c. Inventory Analytics Display Interface: (Statistics View) This interface provides proper dynamic graphs that will change according to new transactions. Graphs will change accord- ing to different parameters input. The interface will be designed to fit into current manner in which decision making is done by the boss, thus only relevant information will be displayed.

d. Inventory Tracking and Updating Interface: (Content-Modification Interaction View) As the warehouse personnels are not technological adaptive, the inventory updating interface is designed for easy under- standing and using. Allowing the warehouse personnel to use the system without much learning curve. The interface will be customize to the behavior and interaction of the warehouse personnel.

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 + Shockwave + Authorware)
    • Java

Application Development Support

  • JDK Update 20 with documentations
  • IDE (Either OR / Choose One Yet to be decided)
    • NetBeans
  • Adobe (Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Photoshop)
  • Adobe SDK (AIR, Flash, Flex)
  • Linear Programming Engine (Either OR / Choose One Yet to be decided)

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 Milestone and Schedule

Milestone Date
Confirm As-Is Workflow Model/Business Rules Model with Sponsor 6th May 2010
Confirm To-Be Workflow Process with Sponsor 7th June 2010
Proposal Submission 16th June 2010
Confirm/Sign Sponsor Change Policies with Sponsor 21st June 2010
Team Registration 16th August 2010
Walkthrough with Sponsor: Suppliers Management Module 11th July 2010
Walkthrough with Sponsor: Inventory Tracking Module 18th July 2010
Project Acceptance 10th August 2010
Walkthrough with Sponsor: Inventory & Space Management Module 26th September 2010
User Acceptance Test 16th October 2010
LIVE Deployment 30th October 2010
Poster 8th November 2010
Final Presentation 22nd November 2010


  • 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 Likelihood Impact Level Mitigation Strategy
Team is unfamiliar with Adobe flex and linear programming Moderate Low B Team would research for online tutorials to pick up the necessary skills before development
Inventory System inability to interface with Sponsor’s Accounting System (UBS) Moderate High A Conduct extensive research on tools available to interface both systems
Team might not have adequate knowledge on networking and setup of system for 2 different locations Low Low C 1. Learn from current member who have the knowledge on networking
2. Conduct extensive research on possible networking solutions for two different locations.
The difficulty/severity of bugs is underestimated High High A 1. Conduct consistent test run of the codes to ensure quality is maintained
2. Conduct code review constantly
GUI creation for Intelligence Warehousing is not user friendly for the clients Moderate High A 1. Conduct User Test at different phase to ensure Users are comfortable with the interface
Sponsor hardware might not be able to support intelligence warehousing system. Moderate High A Conduct study on Sponsor current hardware and advise client on appropriate upgrades to take if required.
Team might not meet the industry standards for inventory management system Moderate Moderate B Adequate research should be done so that we understand the sponsor and industry standards well and are adhered to them.

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.

Learning Outcomes

Given the scale of this project, the team hope 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 make appropriate recommendations and to create ideal solutions based on sponsor requirements to automation an existing Manual process of a business.
  3. To learn the team dynamics required in project management and software lifecycle
  4. To learn how to bridge the gaps between user requirements and what the user business really needs.
  5. To pick up new knowledge that build on our foundations of programming like Adobe Flex or Linear programming
  6. To learn how to translate and manage real-world project in relation to business requirements and market demand
  7. To challenge the team and hardness the concepts that we learn in class into a real world business senario.