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.

parcel-forum-game-changer-of-the-year

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!

Weird Shapes

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

 

 

Latitude Tips & Tricks: Production Order Web Screens

Here’s a new feature in Latitude WMS that’s designed to help manufacturing customers track production orders for custom-made components that are assembled or created in the warehouse.

In past versions of Latitude, the user needed to dive into two or three separate screens to get information on a production order. But, not anymore.

Our new Production Receipts web screen answers all of the most common questions, such as:

  • How much of this item have we made?
  • What components have we used?
  • What do we need to make more of?
  • How much more can we make (from the parts that we have)?
  • Which employee made it?
  • Where’d they put it?

To view a production receipt, go to Activities – Production Orders – Production Receipts and enter the production order number. On the “Line Items” tab, the first ten columns from “LINE” to “QTY PER” will give you information on component usage, and the last five columns from “ASSEMBLY ITEM” to “RECV NOW” will show information about the finished product. “RECV NOW” provides the number of items that could be received now based on current component usage and “MAX SHIP” gives the maximum number of components that could be shipped now based on picked quantity. Red text on the screen means that that quantity is a “limiting factor” that is stopping the order from moving forward.

Next, by looking at the Receipt Destination tab, users will be able to view the receiving job number, location, date, time and user. The Audit tab shows all activities related to that particular production order for both components and finished goods. The Receipts and Quantity Used tabs should be self-explanatory.

Our goal with this new screen is to give Latitude WMS users better access to important information, making the process of manufacturing or assembling orders in-house more efficient.

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

 

Satellite Warehouse Employee

Extend Latitude WMS Functionality to Your Smaller Facilities

Many of our customers love Latitude WMS and want to get all of their locations and employees using it. But, for small warehouses with just a handful of employees, the added expense of installing a dedicated RF terminal can be prohibitive. By “small” warehouse, we mean one with a small number of employees. They’re usually physically small as well, (under 10,000 square feet) but the limiting factor is the number of people working there and the hardware options they have available. Often these warehouses are remote branches in secondary locations, physically separated from the main distribution center or retail back rooms.

Version 10.0.112 of Latitude, released in June, includes a new module designed to solve this problem. The Satellite Warehouse Module allows our customers to extend Latitude into small warehouses for considerably less than full price.

PathGuide customers wanting to implement this module can now purchase a Small Warehouse Branch License for the additional location, which gives the warehouse staff access to Latitude via the new Latitude Activity Station. This will enable them to perform putaway, picking, inventory adjustment, inventory movement and cycle counting tasks using Latitude and paper forms instead of an RF terminal. All of Latitude’s basic inventory functionalities, including lot and serial numbers and employee metrics, will still apply. In order to maintain inventory accuracy, receiving is the one main function that still needs to be done using an RF terminal or by using the RF emulator with a wedge barcode scanner.

So, here’s an overview of how our small warehouse functionality works:

Putaway

This assumes that employees use a putaway cart or have a load that was received into inventory. To start, select the current inventory cart or load and create a Putaway Batch Job. A batch report will automatically be printed. During physical putaway, changes can be noted on the report and then keyed into the Putaway Batch Completion Screen in Latitude.

Inventory Adjustment and Inventory Movement

Latitude creates a form for each of these tasks and allows users to enter information about the item, bin, quantity, lot and serial numbers, a reason code, and additional notes. This can be flagged to adjust the host or not. Errors will be noted and any transactions that fail will not adjust inventory.

Cycle Counting

This is similar to Putaway. Latitude prints out a count sheet, which can be used to conduct the count and enter into a form in Latitude once complete. Note that counting emulates Directed by Bin or Directed by Items within the Latitude RF Terminal framework.

Picking

Latitude presents a list of orders in the Activity Station, similar to the way that auto batching of orders are currently assigned. When the orders to pick are selected, a pick batch is created and bins, lots and serial numbers are hard committed. Non-lot controlled items are assumed to be picked out of the primary bin if one exists, or based on a pick path if one does not. Lot controlled items will allocate picks based on current lot rules (shelf life, stock, etc.). Again, Latitude prints a paper Pick List to direct users during picking, and any changes can be entered into a Pick Completion form in the Activity Station after finishing the job. If the system is configured to auto-ship, the order will then be considered shipped and a final packing slip will be printed. If not, a Pick Load Contents report will be printed for each order.

If you’d like to learn more about this module, or wish to discuss your warehouse’s specific needs, you can always reach our Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.

 

Latitude Tips & Tricks: Flag Problems from the RF Terminal

Even the best-organized warehouses have occasional problems or messes on the warehouse floor. Things break, people make mistakes or the unexpected just happens. And when it does, someone needs to fix it without taking too much time away from their normal workday duties.

To make this process a little simpler, Latitude now allows you to flag any problems with bins, items, sales orders or purchase orders directly from an RF terminal. That way the person who discovers the problem can quickly make a note about the issue and add it to the Problem List without exiting their workflow or dropping everything to find a supervisor in person. Likewise, supervisors can view Problem Lists and get an accurate update on anything happening in the warehouse.

Setting this up takes a few steps. First, make sure that MARK Bin, Item, Sales Order and Purchase Order are in your TOOLS menu. They are included in the DEFAULT tool menu, but you may have moved them if you’ve customized your menu. Second, define your “Problem” reason code by going to Administration – Class Maintenance – Problems Reason Codes. Common reason codes are DAMAGED BIN, INCORRECT ITEM, INCORRECT QUANTITY, etc.

Now your employees can press F3 – Tools – Mark Item on their RF terminals, choose the appropriate problem reason code from the list that you defined, and scan the problem item. After scanning the item, you can also enter notes to explain the problem in more detail.

To review problems flagged this way, go into Latitude Web to Activities – Cycle Count – Problem Items. You can also review Purchase Orders and Sales Orders flagged as Problems under their respective Activities menu group. For problems with incorrect item quantity, click Functions – Generate Cycle Count Job to create a cycle counting job from this screen. Once a problem has been solved, click Functions-Flush All Records to remove an item from the list.

That’s all for this issue of Latitude Tips and Tricks. Keep an eye on this blog for the next Tips and Tricks, and check out 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 have a specific problem you’re trying to solve, you can reach any member of our Customer Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.

Douglas Hunter Photo

Interview with Douglas Hunter, chairman of PathGuide’s Latitude Advisory Board (LAB)

We recently spoke with Douglas Hunter, the newly elected chairman of PathGuide’s Latitude Advisory Board (LAB). Douglas is the operations manager at Eldorado Trading Company, and was the original implementation champion at Eldorado when Latitude WMS was first rolled out. He has been a part of the industry for many years, and shared some of his views and advice about getting the most out of Latitude.

PathGuide: What are some of the benefits or unique ways you use Latitude WMS?

Douglas: Latitude has provided a major improvement to our business in inventory management and in staff performance by increasing accountability and reducing manual steps. Previously, we used our ERP to manage all warehouse inventory operations, which did not give us data in real time or with much detail. Managing inventory and order processing was extremely labor-intensive due to the ERP’s inability to manage inventory in multiple locations, as well as the required time-consuming action of sorting and processing picks on paper.

The customization that we tend to describe as our “game changers” are the automation in order routing by customer type, carrier and FIFO, in a paperless pick environment. We can now manage inventory in real time in multiple locations, instead of our previous practice of using manual reference fields to know secondary or back-stock locations. The customization of the LMS Manifesting & Shipping System offered by PathGuide removed countless manual practices and allowed us to process more orders without adding additional stations or staff. Finally, the ability to add customized reports, alerts, and dashboards has helped us reduce email volume due to manual alerts, and has given us strong visibility down to the team or individual level for performance metrics.

PathGuide: Why did you join PathGuide’s Latitude Advisory Board (LAB)?

Douglas: For me, being a LAB member means having stronger insight into the growth of PathGuide’s products and vision plans. It also means having the ability to give feedback from an operational standpoint on areas in need of improvement or presenting ‘outside the box’ ideas that we identify in the day-to-day use of our WMS. The LAB gives power-users of Latitude the ability to brainstorm new concepts with PathGuide’s talented team, in order to continue enhancing an already great product.

PathGuide: What advice would you give to companies considering a WMS?

Douglas: Do an ROI plan with strategic growth goals and an analysis of your practices in order to identify the areas needing improvement. Far too often, the larger issues are obvious because they are the triggers for your organization’s search for a WMS in the first place. If you are struggling on where to start this analysis, review white papers on warehouse inefficiencies or visit a best-in-class facility to see processes that are stronger than those in your own operations. Examples of some areas to focus on are inventory accuracy, measuring productivity, pick path sequencing, and paper picking.

You should know what your company wants to achieve by adding a WMS to your operations. The benefits of adding Latitude WMS include warehousing visibility improvements and automation. From staff productivity visibility, real-time information on item storage in multiple locations, faster dock-to-stock in receiving, stronger order release control, a more accurate inventory, customizable manifesting features, or a product that will grow with your company, Latitude can enhance the capabilities of your business and increase your customer’s satisfaction through timely, accurate orders.

You would be hard-pressed to find a better customer service practice in any industry.

Latitude Tips & Tricks: Package Tracking in Latitude Web

Welcome back to another “Tips and Tricks for Latitude,” our series of blog posts to help make you a Latitude power user. Over the next few posts, you’ll learn about some of the latest Latitude updates and hacks. Many of these were presented at our recent Latitude User Conference in San Diego – so if you attended that session, send this blog to a co-worker who didn’t!

Let’s talk about package tracking. In the past, if you needed to track a FedEx or UPS customer shipment, you would have to look up the tracking number stored in Latitude, copy it, and then switch over to a FedEx or UPS tracking website where you could paste the tracking number to search for it there. But here’s the good news! We’ve added a feature to Latitude that allows you to track items more easily, eliminating the annoying need to copy and paste when switching programs.

To do this, go to Activities – Order Processing – Review Sales Orders, then click the Tracking tab and look for the Tracking Number column. Click the number you want to track. This will take you to the LMS Review Package screen, where you can also see the packing slip, shipping label and other shipment forms. Click Functions – Track Package to be routed to the UPS or FedEx web page with tracking info on when the package is scheduled to be delivered. Simple!

We hope this tip helps make your experience using Latitude WMS just a little bit smoother. Keep an eye on this blog for the next Tips and Tricks, and watch 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 feature or have a specific problem you’re trying to solve, you can reach our Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.

Douglas Hunter Elected Chairman of PathGuide’s Latitude Advisory Board

A hearty welcome aboard to Douglas Hunter, who was elected chairman of the Latitude Advisory Board (LAB) at our Latitude User Conference in May. Douglas is the operations manager at Colorado-based Eldorado Trading Company, where he oversaw the Latitude WMS rollout at its distribution facility.  Since then, he has been an active member of the Latitude Advisory Board. He’s a strong advocate for using technologies to solve warehouse problems and for continuously improving processes. In fact, we profiled Doug as our first warehouse champion many years ago. We’re excited to work more closely with him as he brings a new voice and energy to the LAB.

Roy Bragg will be stepping down as chairman after several years of service but will remain active as a board member. Roy is VP of operations at Canadian electronics distributor EB Horsman & Son and has been a great guiding voice for the board. Many thanks to Roy for his leadership during a critical growth period and we look forward to more of his keen insight for Latitude as we work to make the product even better.

The LAB is a user-led group of Latitude enthusiasts based in the U.S. and Canada. They give PathGuide feedback based on their experiences gained from working with Latitude WMS in their warehouses and distribution centers. Insight from the board directly shapes PathGuide’s training programs and product enhancements, and members often serve as beta testers for software updates. These members represent a wide range of industries. For more about the LAB and a list of current members, look here.

New Latitude WMS Release

Announcing Latitude 10.0.112 and the Satellite Warehouse Module

The next version of Latitude, which has just been released, features two new major features and several smaller updates. First is the Inbound Transportation Management module that helps customers manage incoming deliveries in Latitude WMS. Most warehouse management systems do not include this capability, but it’s a forward-thinking function that we are confident small and medium-sized distributors will benefit from. You can read more about that module here.

The second addition to Latitude WMS is our Satellite Warehouse Module, which extends Latitude into smaller satellite warehouses and lets them access the same inventory without the hardware investment. Like most of Latitude’s recent enhancements, it was created to address a need expressed by customers. Many of our customers have a distribution center with a few remote branches in secondary locations or retail back rooms. These satellite warehouses are usually too small to justify investing in on-site Latitude installations, but employees still wanted access to the system. We agree. You shouldn’t have to buy another full version of the software for three or four employees.

The Satellite Warehouse Module gives remote locations access to a ‘light’ version of Latitude, where most processes are “exception” based. As usual, employees will use an RF terminal for receiving. For all other processes (putaway, cycle counting, picking, packing and shipping) they will print a form and note any exceptions to their normal workflow. For example, in putaway a worker would make a note if he or she puts a product in a different bin than normal. After finishing the job, the worker would log into the Latitude Activity Station, key in the exceptions from the sheet and post them to the system. This gives all employees better insight to what happens at these locations.

The latest update also increases the number of zones allowed in Latitude, adds the ability to set different time zones for each Latitude Branch, and has a new Quarantine Window feature that prevents an item from being pickable in a user-defined time frame.

You can see more details about Latitude 10.0.112 in its release notes here. If you’d like to learn more about this module, or need to discuss another specific problem you’re trying to solve in your warehouse, you can reach our Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.