Josh Barnett

SKULabs

SKULabs is an all-in-one inventory management and order fulfillment solution for ecommerce warehouse teams. With SKULabs, warehouse teams can pick, pack, and ship orders all in one place, and stock changes sync to online sales channels in realtime.

As a bootstrapped software-as-a-service, the cofounders and I wore a lot of hats to get the ball rolling and secure a solid foundation. As we did, we uncovered a lot of inherent issues with existing solutions and came up with some unique approaches to solve them.

Challenges:

  • An ERP or WMS (warehouse management system) normally takes months to implement. That's why competing services charge mandatory onboarding packages and other setup fees, in addition to often requiring annual contracts with up-front payment. With SKULabs, we wanted to offer month-to-month billing with no additional up-front costs, so we had to simplify the onboarding process so that customers saw value in the service ASAP.
  • Non-inventory tasks, such as order picking and shipping, usually require that the user switch from their inventory management solution to a separate interface. Initially, we tried integrating with order management and fulfillment solutions. However, testing showed that an all-in-one approach would greatly reduce the complexity of implementing and using both types of software.
  • When we asked ecommerce retailers and wholesalers where they wish to cut costs the most, the vast majority pointed to order fulfillment costs. However, they were mostly focused on the postage cost of parcel services provided by UPS and FedEx; they were usually ignoring in-house costs such as how quickly or accurately their team is fulfilling orders. We found that an average error rate of 2-5% was costing these businesses tens of thousands of dollars and sought a solution immediately.

Solutions:

  • In order to streamline and expedite customer onboarding, I designed and lead the implementation of a guided setup interface that is presented to each new account. This step-by-step interface walks through the process of connecting external platforms like shopping carts, marketplace accounts, and shipping carriers, and pulling in the initial data needed from each integration. After implementing the guided setup, our new account setup time and churn were both reduced to a fraction of the previous averages.
  • In a first for the industry, our team worked with direct postal integration providers Shippo and EasyPost to offer parcel shipping directly in our inventory and order management interface. By breaking the tasks down into separate dynamic modals, the design language of the interface was uninterrupted by new shipping features, and users were able to start shipping directly in SKULabs right away.
  • After over a year of in-person interviews, prototyping and continued iteration, SKUlabs launched with a barcode-based item verification toolset that helps teams achieve 100% order picking accuracy. By implementing the feature directly in the order fulfillment interface, picking teams are able to scan and verify order items without switching to another piece of software or hardware. By ensuring that only the correct order items are shipped to customers every time, SKULabs has saved customers from immense revenue loss due to repeat shipping and customer churn.

My roles:

  • Product designer
  • UI/UX designer
  • Frontend developer

Tools used:

  • Bootstrap (It was big at the time)
  • jQuery (Lightweight frontend framework)
  • Datatables (Feature-rich tables)
  • Mongoose (Object-oriented data modeling)

Some other recent projects:

CallThemForMe.
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