Caterpillar UX Design Challege

Caterpillar 2022 UX Design Challenge winner.

Overview

In honor of World Usability Day, Caterpillar Inc. holds an annual UX design challenge. They task students with creating unique solutions for problems currently troubling the company.  

Myself and two other designers approached the challenge with a two-pronged design solution. A total of six teams presented their solutions at Caterpillar headquarters, but my team stood out against the competition.

Problem Statement

The goal was to redesign the work order ticketing system. Currently, dealers can start and track new work orders (WOs) from several platforms. The multiple channels of communication made organization difficult between dealers and customers.

High levels of communication between both parties proved critical in improving the efficiency of a service repair request/fulfillment. 

Project Goals

Our primary focus was to isolate the customer and dealer flow into its necessary components & capabilities.

We researched the problems facing each user experience and brainstormed how to fix them. From there, our goal was to develop a solution that solved the issues of both parties.

Roles & Responsibilities

My teammates and I acted as UX designers and researchers. We workshopped, iterated, and tested our designs from August to November. User testing and project presentation took place at Caterpillar HQ.

UX Design Process

Research

Customers wanted to use a singular platform for all their WO needs.

Dealers use various internal applications to view and service WOs. This made the organization and tracking of WOs difficult. 

Customer Experience

To complete a service request email, we would use previously saved information like company info and location. 

The main additions we wanted to add were for the in-app messaging function. To include all desktop functionality, we needed to add the following:

  • Communicate with dealers and technicians
  • Send images and PDF documents.
  • Add comments to images and documents.
  • Approve and sign documents in-app.
Dealer Experience

To localize all service request emails, we focused on improving Cat’s WO management system, INTERACT. These emails were previously managed through the dealer’s software. 

To automate the WO process, we decided to use the information already present in the email. Customers disclose a majority of the information needed to create a WO; therefore, using this information drastically cuts down on the manpower required to submit a full WO.

When dealers click the “Automate to INTERACT” button, they can view all necessary information in a single window overlay. All that is left to be done is double-checking the information, adding an estimate, and changing the status of the WO. When submitted, an approval PDF is automatically sent to the customer and the status is changed in the system. 

In the “Work Orders” tab, users can view all WOs or hide the tab to reduce clutter. They can also expand the communication module for easy viewing. To keep customers up-to-date on their WO, we gave dealers the option to upload images and send files for approval. 
Usability Testing

There were not any structural design issues that came out of our testing; however, a few interface tweaks were made to increase clarity and accessibility:

  • The button that expanded/collapsed the WO column was enlarged
  • The communication module title was changed from “CAT App” to “Customer Communications”
  • Email attachments were moved to the top of the page for better visibility. 

Takeaways

Our team presented an idea bigger than an interface redesign. Other teams took an approach to improving the look and flow of the work order system, but we were focused on solving the root causes of the issue. 

By objectively looking at the WO process as a whole, my team was able to deliver a solution that alleviated the apparent struggles between dealers and customers. 

Special Thanks to my Team

Hailey Fetting

UX Designer

Remi Wagemann

UX Designer

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