ATCO Trailers Lifecycle Management Suite

ATCO Structure and Logistics, ATCO Group

February 2020 – October 2020

User Experience Design • Service Design • Mobile App • Web


ATCO Structures and Logistics wanted to integrate multiple end-points and processes into one consolidated suite of software. This included:

  • new trailer construction process and monitoring
  • maintenance and repairs
  • fleet / yard management
  • sales and estimates
  • work orders and materials requisitioning 

How might we integrate these different work streams into a unified end-to-end suite of products, in order to afford more data-driven business intelligence and make more efficient, effective decisions?


    Users & Audience

    • Factory logistics staff, shipping & receiving, order pickers and internal delivery
    • Design and construction staff
    • Yard supervisors and managers, maintenance staff
    • Project managers and sales staff
    • Customers

    Role & Team

    • My role: User Experience designer, User Interface designer, User researcher
    • Product team also consisted of: a Full-stack developer and a Product owner

    Scope & Constraints

    • ATLAS (desktop web app)
      • Overall dashboard and monitoring software
      • Create Project Plan & Blueprints
      • Order materials to various work stations on production floor
      • Data to monitor progress and measure key performance indicators
      • Communication (messages, comments, alerts) integration throughout
    • Zippy (iOS app)
      • Get alerts for material requests
      • Send delivery notifications
      • Monitor available stock and place new orders when required
      • Time worker response to receipt of request to delivery
      • Message workers through app
    • Starfleet (iOS app)
      • Yard stock monitor, schedule pick-ups and drop-offs
      • Create in/out inspection reports and file them digitally with rental office and clients
      • Generate work orders / maintenance tasks during inspections
      • Monitor life-cycle of trailer and plan for deep maintenance schedule or pay-off
    • Modulate
      • Create estimates for custom builds, based off pre-fab configurations or custom
      • Build and incorporate upgrades into build requisition
      • Build multiple estimates and compare
      • Send estimates and invoices to clients and factory management for actioning order


    • Limited budget, time availability, and resources; discovery, enhancements, and delivery were slower than business demanded
    • Limited access to front-line workers for consultation and needs assessments
    • Conflicting project vision with processes
    • Geographical distances between rental yards
    • Complex navigational schema to reflect both trailer through entire creation process (macro) and individual work station progress (micro)

    Our approach

    • User-centred research 
    • Co-design / collaborative workshops
    • Contextual inquiry (job shadowing)
    • Comparative & competitive analysis
    • Input and feedback would drive and inform additional research / design direction (user testing)
    • MVP creation over 3-day intensive design sprint / “hack-a-thon”


    • Conduct multiple job shadowing session to gain appreciation for how work is currently completed
    • Engage leadership in a design sprint in order to determine measures of success and desired outputs, outcomes, and impacts design intervention would have
    • Host co-design workshops from across the line of business, including as meany diverse roles as possible
    • Narrow focus to top 3–4 essential requirements per sub-software.
    • Adopt a Discovery, Alpha, Beta, Live approach to releases and an Agile / Sprint approach to delivery, in order to maintain flexibility and responsiveness to ever-changing demands
    • Focus on one sub-software set at a time

      Artefacts and deliverables

      Co-design workshop

      Co-designed task flows and requirements

      Co-created low-fi wireframes

      Co-created mental model / data requirements

      Starfleet (iOS App) prototype

      ATLAS visual enhancements

      Modulate (iOS app) prototype



      • Workers felt more “under the gun” to meet KPIs and felt the metrics were a reflection of effort and performance
      • Yard supervisors and managers saw the value and revised their existing business processes to meet the discovered goals and impacts co-created during discovery workshops
      • Efficiencies found through digitizing inspections, reducing duplication of effort. Move to digital filing enabled more business intelligence to drive estimates and turn-around time for maintenance
      • Overall appreciation for complexities in process increased through data exposure, which informed decision making


      • Project focus and decisions were often made by leadership without consultation, which resulted in conflict. A leadership design sprint would have help set expectations and outputs / outcomes
      • Including a Change Management professional to help build a change plan for new software integration and implementation would have increased uptake and acceptance throughout the various work forces
      • Too large of scope and multiple / diverse use-cases. In efforts to save costs, a “one-size-fits-all” approach was taken, focused on including more features and functionality, rather than solving problems and divergent discovery research; project should have been broken down into smaller sub-projects with multiple teams