INDUSTRY : Retail
INDUSTRY : Retail

Background

As the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel, its mission is to bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world. Its distribution centers in the U.S. and internationally play vital roles in accomplishing this goal. The operations taking place at each help ensure that millions of customers receive the shoes and athletic clothing they need to be successful in their chosen sports.

Challenge

Managing the shipping, transport and storage of millions of products in the company’s warehouses is no small feat. Products are tracked and managed as they move through the warehouse, and workers are assigned tasks, by a warehouse management system. The warehouse management system is incredibly complicated and intricate, and making a small change in one area to the configuration or flow can affect a seemingly unrelated activity. Many of these tasks are critical lynchpins in the operating cycle of the warehouse, and ensuring that they can be completed effectively is critical for smooth operations. The malfunctioning of any single aspect can cause the entire distribution center to grind to a halt, delaying delivery of  products to individual consumers, wholesale customers and its own retail channels.

As such, the ability to test any enhancements or fixes to the warehouse management solution is a critical one. With frequent enhancements and updates to the system, the company had been spending a lot of time on manual testing. It needed a faster, more intuitive way to create and automate acceptance and maintenance testing processes so that it could not only ensure that software updates were implemented in a timely manner but also facilitate the distribution centers’ move to a new warehouse management system better suited to its changing needs.

Solution

ProKarma developed an automated testing solution for the company’s warehouses that allows it to roll out new functionality to its software platform more quickly and adapt to changes faster. To do this, ProKarma mapped the flow of the warehouse into business processes, such as receiving a truck into the warehouse, rather than data processes, like entering text into a field. That process was used as a template to map out automated data creation.

The result is an automated testing platform that is scenario-based rather than test-case based, so it focuses on business impact rather than technical functionality. The solution can accommodate changes to the warehouse, such as isolating a broken component and testing scenarios without it. Only the actions that are relevant to that scenario are tested, significantly speeding up completion of testing. The platform allows the company to confirm that its updates perform better than previous versions and enables the athletic wear company to execute continuous testing. The automation platform is flexible and easy to maintain, lowering costs associated with the testing program. The client has also been able to significantly reduce the time it takes to test and finalize releases and has high confidence that its warehouse platform releases will operate as needed post-launch.