The Warehouse is New Zealand’s largest general merchandise retail group operating in New Zealand across market-leading retail brands including The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery, Torpedo7, 1-day and most recently TheMarket. The Group’s purpose is to help Kiwi’s live better every day.

The Challenge

The fulfilment team at The Warehouse manages the distribution of products to customers. They have been working with a heritage system that was difficult to update and they needed to make significant improvements so that their teams could better manage the fulfilment for The Warehouse customers.

Other challenges ClearPoint was involved in working with included:

  • The necessity to grow confidence in releasing new code due to the absence of automated testing and a Continuous Integration (CI) pipeline
  • A recognised need to improve maturity in agile development process
  • A gap of capability and knowledge required to support internal monolithic ‘heritage’ system of record with non-standard codebase
  • The need to improve logging to track production issues and perform local debugging

They wanted to establish DevOps practices within the business, introduce Continuous Delivery (CD) concepts, build automatic deployment pipeline and automate their testing from unit to full system integration.

“It has been a great partnership working with ClearPoint where we have been able to leverage their considerable skill in the DevOps space to not only deliver value to the business, but also to upskill our own team members”

— Tim Duly, GM Engineering, The Warehouse Group

The Solution

ClearPoint collaboratively worked with the fulfilment team to implement a CD pipeline for the order fulfilment application and introduced DevOps practices to the development team that leveraged AWS.

This included building:

  • Automated CI pipeline based on Docker, Kubernetes, Jenkins and Helm with automated unit and end-to-end acceptance tests
  • CD implementation – faster and safer release process by automating deployment to the integration and UAT environments and on-demand deployment to production
  • OpenTracing implementation keyed to logs for cross microservice standard logging, significantly improving problem to diagnosis time in both test and production environments.
  • Implemented Prometheus as a recommended standard across The Warehouse teams for exposing metrics to their Metric system of choice (SignalFX)
  • Coaching and support to The Warehouse team, raising the maturity level of the development processes.

Despite the tight deadlines, the ClearPoint team also built stable microservice architecture and implemented appropriately sized microservices to replace a part of the heritage application.

Throughout the process, ClearPoint also coached and transferred knowledge around continuous delivery, DevOps, agile ways of working and test automation to ensure the teams were well equipped to deliver. 

ClearPoint has subsequently delivered a front-end solution to help the teams working with the fulfilment centres to reduce manual tasks. This included design of the user interface and provided a back-end microservices integration.

"Enabling feature toggling has allowed the teams to do more frequent code deployments, removed bottlenecks from development flow and increased the team performance."

— Irina Southwell, Test Automation Practice Lead, ClearPoint

The Outcome

  • Delivered microservices-based order fulfilment solution in short time frame, which went live in time for the end of year Christmas sales
  • Releasing features to production has moved from a manually managed deployment process to automated on-demand deployments with minimal risk
  • Implemented feature toggles allowing the business to decide which features to release to production at any time, without risk
    Improvement in the picking and packing processes in the fulfilment centres, faster and with less error
  • Upskilling of the technical teams in all areas around continuous delivery and DevOps

Tech Points

  • DevOps
  • Transformation
  • CD/CI pipeline
  • Continuous Delivery
  • Test Automation
  • Kubernetes
  • Docker
  • Microservices architecture
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud deployment
  • Elasticsearch
  • Fluent Bit
  • Kibana
  • OpenTracing
  • Prometheus
  • Vue JS
  • Feature toggles