Tompkins Industries, Inc.

Customer Spotlight: Tompkins Canada

Looking at You, Tompkins Canada

Customer Spotlight

We have the pleasure of introducing Tompkins Canada, part of the Tompkins Industries family of distributors for hydraulic adapters and fluid power products. Established in 1967, Tompkins Industries has built a strong reputation and loyal customer base thanks to its commitment to exceptional quality and outstanding customer service. In the five decades since it first opened its doors, Tompkins has expanded to 11 locations in the US, with one location in Mississauga, Ontario.

Tompkins offers several services that set it apart from the pack. Not least of these is its same-day shipping guarantee from any of its distribution centers. In addition, Tompkins promises competitive pricing and one of the largest in-stock inventories in the industry, with over 8,000 combinations of hydraulic adapters.

Tompkins knows that when a production line grinds to a halt due to a hydraulic adapter or fitting failure, getting replacement parts as soon as possible can directly reduce downtime. That’s why customers have grown to depend on Tompkins’ fast shipping and 98% fill rate on standard catalog items.

Latitude WMS

“PathGuide’s WMS allows us to grow our business and increase our bottom line without adding bodies in the warehouse,” said Sean McGuinness, general manager of Tompkins Canada. “We are confident that this partnership with PathGuide will help us further support and provide our customers with exceptional service through continuous improvements of warehouse efficiencies.”

Tompkins is just one of PathGuide’s Canadian customers, a roster that includes companies such Chalifour Canada, E.B. Horsman & Son, Red-L Distributors Ltd., and Thomas Skinner & Son Ltd. Latitude has helped these companies improve accuracy, speed and efficiency, provide better customer service, lower labor costs and ultimately increase their revenues. For Tompkins, this ensures that the company can stick to its mission of providing customers with quality parts and service that is second to none.

More Information

For more information about Tompkins and its Mississauga location, visit the company’s website. More information about Latitude WMS can be found here.

Supply Chains Staying the Course in 2017

The overall outlook for supply chains in 2017 is quite rosy, but let’s identify some specific areas where the industry could or should be headed this year.

Staying the Course

First and foremost, I suspect that we won’t see any significant technological breakthroughs or paradigm shifts in 2017 that will disrupt current best practices in the supply chain. Instead, I’m certain that we’ll see a steady stream of developments that continue to improve existing efficiencies or reduce costs, in addition to a widespread push for vendors to demonstrate added value.

Consumer demands continue to drive technology adoption

E-commerce and the omni-channel experience will continue to capture buyer mindshare over more traditional brick-and-mortar retail models, which are suffering from over-capacity. We can expect long-term customer loyalty to be driven by the so-called unified experience or continuity of experience. Vendors able to consistently deliver perfect shipments will be able to capitalize on this trend. For companies in supply chain logistics, this will require ever-tighter carrier relationships and technologies, which will eventually include the emergence of autonomous commercial freight deliveries. These companies are also likely to deploy GPS-enabled tools that provide up-to-the-minute information about freight location, en route conditions (like temperature), and arrival time estimates.

3PL vendors benefit

These trends may help 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) providers gain significant market share, but may also force some industry consolidation. One differentiating factor will be analytics, and how data can be used to capture pick, pack and ship costs. There is a cost associated with managing warehousing and logistics internally versus outsourcing, so the ability of a company to evaluate the overhead for storing and retrieving inventory efficiently and accurately will remain key in delivering shipments profitably.

Hype, with a grain of salt

While autonomous vehicles and drones are certainly breakthrough technologies, numerous barriers need to be overcome before these become mainstream. These include regulations around safety (or perceived danger) and privacy, as they attempt to coexist with traditional modes of transportation. It is my view that the use of drones for shipping will be confined to very short-range hovers or stops based on battery limitations, FAA altitude restrictions, drone pilot certification and autonomous flight technologies, and clearances limited to line-of-sight flying.

Whatever 2017 brings, it is shaping up to be a busy, productive year in the world of logistics and supply chains. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

About the author

Eric Allais, President and CEO of Washington-based PathGuide Technologies, Inc., has over 30 years of experience in marketing, product management and sector analysis in the automated data collection industry, including warehouse management practices in wholesale distribution.

Customer Spotlight: Red-L Distributors

Customer Spotlight

Red-L Distributors has built its business by providing customers with quality products, great product selection, added value, and personal service. Based near Edmonton in Alberta, the company has been supplying Canada’s oilfield, agricultural, transportation, construction, mining, and forestry industries since 1961. Today the company offers a diversified range of products from hydraulic, industrial, and high pressure hoses and fittings to lubricants, bowie pumps, and diesel engine oil, all from its 12 locations in Alberta and British Columbia.

Why Latitude?

Red-L first implemented PathGuide’s Latitude WMS in 2007 for its advanced features and compatibility with their ERP system. As it rolled out Latitude WMS, the company was able to transform its warehouse into a cleaner, safer and much more efficient workplace by reorganizing its operations and taking full advantage of the enhanced layout and workflow. Following this successful deployment, in 2011 Red-L began using Latitude’s Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) functionality to help its clients efficiently maintain stock levels and independently manage replenishment orders. Red-L had found traditional forms of vendor-managed inventory replenishment problematic because they were generally slow and prone to human error, resulting in increased travel time for Red-L’s sales team and lengthy replenishment cycles.

VMI orders are processed by Latitude and imported directly into Red-L’s ERP. The process is not only very efficient, it also saves a significant amount of time and reduces the likelihood of input errors. This has given Red-L a competitive advantage, and greatly reduced the burden on Red-L’s clients. In fact, 40 of Red-L’s clients now use VMI to handle product replenishment, averaging an 80 percent improvement in turnaround times.

More Information

To learn more about Red-L, visit their website at: http://www.redl.com/. More information about Latitude WMS can be found here: http://www.pathguide.com/Solutions.aspx.

People on the Move at PathGuide

We’ve had some staffing changes among our management team that we thought you’d like to hear more about. So without further ado, allow us to introduce three staff members who have recently taken on a more prominent role within PathGuide. They are John Tully, who is our new software development manager; Marc Matthews, recently promoted to customer service and QA manager; and Jay Heim, who is now our implementation & training manager.

To give you an idea of their responsibilities, here is an overview of what each person will be in charge of:

John Tully – Software Development Manager

John is a new hire at PathGuide, but already has a solid background in the software development language deployed in Latitude WMS. Before joining PathGuide, he served in the Marine Corps, and later established expertise in managing software development teams much larger than PathGuide’s existing engineering team. John will work closely with PathGuide’s R&D team in order to support customer growth and Latitude version migration. In addition, John will act as liaison with the customer service and implementation departments to ensure rapid response to issues and opportunities requiring engineering expertise.

Fun fact:  John likes fishing, archery, reading and fixing things that are broken, such as lawn mowers, kids’ toys and bikes.

Marc Matthews – Customer Service and QA Manager

Marc has been with PathGuide since 2007. He started in customer support and quickly gained a reputation as the go-to guy for tough questions from customers. Later, Marc moved into engineering with a big role in the testing and certification process for major carriers, including UPS and FedEx. While there, he developed an automated test harness for Latitude to better ensure product quality as enhancements and version releases are rolled out to customers. Marc was also instrumental in establishing a ‘case ownership’ approach that led to support engineers seeing a case through from initiation to close, while also giving customers a single point of contact to manage questions and issues for better continuity. Customers using this single point of contact include E.B. Horsman, Appliance Parts Depot, Ellsworth, and Mechanix Wear.

Fun fact:  Weekends generally mean fishing, camping, computer gaming, or target shooting for Marc.

Jay Heim – Implementation & Training Manager

Jay joined PathGuide in March 2015, and steps into the role previously held by George Lindholm. Jay has a proven track record of successful Latitude WMS implementations with customers such as Plumbers Supply, Tompkins Canada and Kelly’s Supply. Jay is dedicated to continuous improvement in all areas of training and implementation to ensure that PathGuide is meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Jay brings excellent project management skills to coordinate the moving parts of an install, from kick-off to hand-off to Customer Support.

Fun fact:  Outside work, Jay likes camping, flying drones and paintball. You can find him paintballing almost every nice weekend between March and September.

What e-Tailers Can Learn from Amazon’s Technology Investments

Our partners at Software Advice are always on lookout for ways to help companies compete and find the best tools for their business needs. One of the company’s market research assistants, Forrest Burson, recently published an interesting piece entitled: “6 Ways Amazon Is Changing Supply Chain Management in 2016,” (link). Not only did this article reinforce the view that Amazon is leading the way in terms of logistical speed and efficiency, it also shone a light on the possible future of supply chain management.

With that in mind, we reached out to Forrest for more background into what e-Tailers can learn from the trail that Amazon is helping to blaze. You’ll also find a couple of links back to their content where you can find additional information.

PathGuide: What can smaller businesses learn from Amazon that may help them compete?

Forrest: Amazon is well known for the automated robots it uses in its warehouse, which of course cost a pretty penny to implement on the scale that Amazon does things. So, I’m not sure any small company could replicate that. But, what small businesses can do is automate manual processes through warehouse management software.

PathGuide: So, if SMBs can’t compete on scale, are there any areas where they can possibly beat Amazon?

Forrest: There are some instances where SMBs can have the edge over Amazon, especially if they are a niche retailer. So, one way to keep a competitive advantage is to build up a client base that keeps coming back—offering them deals, always having a stocked inventory and providing a superior product selection.

PathGuide: Amazon is always in the news. Is it important to track what they’re doing?

Forrest: For a lot of small retailers, Amazon is both a competitor as well as a service they rely on, and a channel they might even sell through. It’s critical to keep an eye on what Amazon does because when it moves, the world tends to shake.

 

Latitude Tips & Tricks: Managing eCommerce Fulfillment

For today’s Latitude Tips and Tricks, we’ll walk through how you can use Latitude WMS and the Latitude Manifest & Shipping System (LMS) to manage eCommerce fulfillment orders seamlessly and automatically. LMS provides two primary methods for fulfilling eCommerce orders with Latitude integration: Shipper Account Profile and Third Party Billing. Both options can support direct-to-customer and direct-to-store order types.

Shipper Account Profile

An LMS Account Profile is created for the fulfillment account. The orders are seamlessly processed through the LMS Account Profile, through Customer or Carrier configurations in Latitude, to automatically link the order to the fulfillment account.

Create a Dedicated Account Profile: In LMS, create a separate Account Profile that will be configured with the Fulfillment Shipper’s account information. Go to the LMS Management Console, then select Account ProfilesMoreAdd an Account Profile. Configure the account information, and use the Label Address tab to fill in the desired “from” information for the outbound labels. You may also optionally add a logo to the profile, for use on 8” label formats. Use the Functions menu to customize the label with Add Company Logo, and browse to the appropriate image file.

Setting Up a Carrier Override to the Account: In Latitude, you can use the Carrier maintenance screen to set the Override Shipper value on the LMS-mapped Carrier so that it matches the new fulfillment shipper account profile.

Setting Up a Customer Override to the Account: Another option is to set up a Customer record, and configure it to always map to the new account profile using the Fixed Shipper property. Enable the Use as Label From Address checkbox for correct label formatting, if needed.

Then, when a new order is imported for the linked carrier or customer, and opened in LMS for shipping, the station console will automatically select the linked account profile for the shipment. The profile From Address is also used as the label return address for this profile.

Third Party Billing

The Latitude Order is imported as Third Party Billing order type, and uses the Freight Account property on the order to save the proper account number. When the order is shipped, the shipment automatically bills to the fulfillment account number.

Configure Ship-From Address on Customer Record: Configure the Third Party Address on the Latitude Customer maintenance screen, and check the Use as Label From Address to display the correct label information.

Order Import Properties: On the Sales Order, the order must be imported with Third Party Billing, while using the Customer Freight Account field to import the correct account number.

Third Party Accessorials: When the order is processed in LMS, the Third Party accessorial will display the configured “from” address and customer account number from the imported order.

To use the new Latitude tracking detail to launch package information, you simply go into the Tracking tab in the Review Sales Order screen and click the tracking number.  If you just want to view the label, you click on the Forms tab and then drill down.

Keep an eye on this blog for the next Tips and Tricks post, and check our Content Marketing Hub for videos, photos and presentations from our customers and partners. As always, if you have a suggestion for a new Latitude WMS feature or there’s a specific problem you’re trying to solve, you can reach our Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.

PathGuide and QubeVu Power Cascade Orthopedic Supply’s Award at PARCEL Forum 2016!

PathGuide is proud to announce that our customer, Cascade Orthopedic Supply, has won PARCEL Forum’s prestigious 2016 Game Changer Award. The award, which was presented to Cascade on September 13th at this year’s show in Dallas, Texas, recognized the company’s successful deployment of PathGuide’s Latitude Manifest and Shipping System together with QubeVu‘s DimStation dimensioning solution.

The combined solution from PathGuide and QubeVu provides Cascade with certified dimensions of any object, regardless of shape. This is important for Cascade, as it has many irregularly-shaped items that previously caused a lot of costly void space using traditional shipping practices. With most carriers now calculating shipping costs based on an item’s weight and size, Cascade turned to PathGuide and QubeVu for a seamless solution that automatically selects the most economical carrier. This system not only saves Cascade and its customers money, it also helps Cascade provide value-add services online, such as stock availability and accurate shipping costs.

This quote from Jeff Collins, president of Cascade Orthopedic Supply, says it all. “Integrating QubeVu into our Latitude WMS has given us a phenomenal boost in operations here at Cascade. We use the solution from the moment we receive inbound goods, and follow each item throughout the warehouse until it gets shipped. Now that it has been successfully deployed in our U.S. operations, the next thing on our list is to leverage PathGuide and QubeVu at OrtoPed ULC in Canada, as well. We couldn’t be happier with the way that PathGuide’s Latitude integrates with QubeVu, giving us and our customers useful information about our stock that helps us to improve customer service and satisfaction, lower costs, and drive our business.”

Congratulations to the Cascade team!

Guest Post: Latitude with QubeVu for Accurate Dimensioning

Hi everyone. My name is Kim Karvonen. I’m a sales manager at Postea, one of PathGuide’s unofficial technology partners. I had the opportunity to speak with many of you back in May at the PathGuide Latitude User Conference where we demonstrated our QubeVu Dimensioning Solution, working together and integrated to Latitude’s Manifest and Shipping System. PathGuide was kind enough to let us introduce ourselves here and explain what we do and how it might be helpful to your business.

What’s QubeVu?

QubeVu offers the most advanced technology in the dimensioning market. Our solution provides certified dimensions of any object – regardless of shape – in under a second.

Scanning is automatic with no button presses or special alignment required.

Our workstations are available in several small-footprint configurations to fit into any warehouse or distribution center. All are built for rugged industrial use, with no moving parts. In addition, QubeVu takes a picture of every object it scans – indispensable for verification and claim protection. See more details about our products here.

QubeVu is fully compatible with the Latitude WMS and the Latitude Manifest & Shipping System to record dimensions and print accurate shipping materials on the spot. PathGuide and QubeVu engineers can provide a custom solution if you have specific needs.

Why is accurate dimensioning important?

Many major carriers have switched to a dimension-based pricing model, so companies without the ability to automatically measure package dimensions – or those who regularly ship oddly shaped items – will struggle to quote shipping costs to their customers at the time of purchase. Knowing the exact dimensions of SKUs also lets them cut costs by using the correct sized packaging to eliminate void space.

Many of our customers also use QubeVu to verify that their shippers are billing them correctly. In one case, a customer discovered they were being overcharged and used the data from QubeVu and Latitude to negotiate a substantial refund from the carrier. That company realized ROI for the implementation in just a couple of months!

Other benefits of more accurate dimensioning include the ability to:

  • Store dimension data and pictures for each SKU in Latitude WMS master files to check insurance claims
  • Reorganize the warehouse more efficiently by dimensioning all incoming items
  • Use size data for better-informed negotiations with carriers
  • Cut picking and packing times by picking directly into the correct size box

Watch this video about one of our joint success stories with PathGuide and Cascade Orthopedic to see QubeVu in action and hear how it integrated with Latitude WMS: http://resources.pathguide.com/h/i/258241248-qubevus-cascade-pathguide-story

To learn more about QubeVu, you can reach me at kim.karvonen@postea.com.


Author:  Kim Karvonen, Sales Manager | Postea