Ryan G. Wilson UX Leader

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Projects Overview

ChainTrack Replacement, Build v Buy

Product Designer – Kroger

This Project Represents

  • Performing the end-to-end UX process
  • How I learn quickly and efficiently - See Chris Ochs reference
  • Collaboration across brands, teams, and pods
  • How I approach simplifying complexity with a focus on making a better experience for the user
  • How I approach processing and outputting large amounts of information
  • The level of detail I put into my work


My focus for this projects was to make a build vs. buy recommendation for replacing a piece of 35+ year-old software called ChainTrack. ChainTrack is used for receiving certain types of products through the docks at Kroger stores, a process called Direct Store Delivery, or DSD. This is where products like Coke, Fritos, and alcohol come into the store.I worked with a Product Manager and a Tech Lead to research, observe, and understand how to replace ChainTrack most effectively.
NOTE: I can not publicly share a visual representation of this product.


The users for this product are DSD Receivers, Grocery Managers, Admins, and the System Operations team.


1. Empathize
  • Research the DSD process
  • Understand the DSD Receiver, & identify other users
  • Capture the Voice of the Customer through a survey
  • Observe DSD Receivers in their environment
2. Define
  • Business and user requirements for the replacement solution
  • Identify places for improvement
  • Identify clear industry differentiator, if any
  • Do a “fit” test – Meet with third-party providers
  • Create and maintain living documentation
3. Present to Leadership


  • Users are and have been familiar with the ChainTrack product
  • All Kroger digital products are deployed on Zebra devices, ChainTrack cannot run on modern devices
  • In a solution product data has to be easily output and shared


  • Support change management through training to offset any difficulties in migrating to the new software and device
  • The new software runs on the Zebra device natively and will easily fit into the Kroger Associate Experience products
  • Sharing data internally between departments will be easy with the new software

Value Provided to Users

  • My work for this project provided a wealth of research that supported our recommendation to buy a third-party replacement
  • I advocated for the UX process throughout the project
  • I facilitated workshops with my team and cross-teams to capture information and helped to align our understanding
  • After we obtained approval for our recommendation, I pushed the project forward despite contract delays, allowing me to begin to ideate and iterate through user flows and prototypes
  • Creation of both the user flows and prototypes vetted the product, calling out errors and highlighting gaps in flow and understanding. The prototype allowed the team to step through the product and identify questions we had for the software provider before we had access to the product.The prototype allowed us to preview the software to the business, which, since we did not yet have a copy, was an excellent method to visualize and communicate what we are buying


Our buy recommendation was approved by the VPs of Kroger Digital Technologies. We provided this document to the VPs for early review before the meeting. A short way into our presentation our recommendation was enthusiastically approved to move forward in partnering with the company we recommended. The VPs noted that it was the amount of research and documentation that we provided provided a lot of trust in our decision.