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.

Latitude Tips and Tricks: A System Audit

Welcome back to “Tips and Tricks for Latitude,” our series of blog posts to make you a Latitude power user. Let’s take a look at what a Latitude System Audit is, and why you should be taking advantage of it.

As you can see from our past four blogs, Latitude has plenty of useful tweaks and features. On top of that, our engineers are always adding new features to Latitude in response to customer requests, so it can be hard to stay up to date on everything that our WMS can do. We understand that, when a warehouse is operating well, most people won’t bother to re-check their processes and see if they could be doing better. But even if you don’t perceive any problems in the warehouse, you still might not be using Latitude WMS to its full capabilities.

That’s why we offer a System Audit to our customers. When you schedule an audit, PathGuide employees will visit your warehouse, check on how you’re using the Latitude WMS, and suggest ways that you can be more efficient. Our experts are up to date on all Latitude features and almost always find ways that companies can improve their work processes. There is a cost for the System Audit, but it’s often included in the general system purchase – you may have already paid for it (check with our Support Team to see if this is true for you).

So if you want to get even better at using Latitude WMS, give us a call. The logistics of scheduling the visit are definitely worth the improvements on the warehouse floor.

Be sure to keep an eye on this blog and our Content Marketing Hub for things to read, watch and share. And, as always, if you have a suggestion for a new Latitude feature or a specific problem you’re trying to solve, please contact our Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.

PathGuide Technologies Offers Inbound Transportation Management Module

ITM’s Advanced Features Expand Latitude’s Receiving Capabilities, Allowing Users to Schedule Incoming Freight and Track Carrier Performance

PathGuide Technologies just announced the availability of a new inbound transportation and dock scheduling module that integrates seamlessly with the company’s Latitude WMS. Developed in conjunction with several Latitude users, the Inbound Transportation Management module provides dashboards and other tools that make it easy to automate inbound delivery scheduling and record-keeping for external carriers, while helping to better assign staff and equipment when and where they are needed.

“Inbound transportation management is not something that is often requested,” said Andrew Weith, founder of ASW Global Consulting, a software consulting business that specializes in ERP and WMS technologies. “Most folks don’t yet have an understanding of the gains to be found by managing this part of the warehouse process.”

After receiving requests from existing customers to integrate delivery management capabilities into Latitude, PathGuide discovered that most small and medium-sized warehouses currently use old-school whiteboards, basic spreadsheets or calendars to track and manage incoming deliveries.

“This Inbound Transportation Management module for Latitude isn’t just an electronic whiteboard to assign a dock door for a truck,” said Greg Laycock, vice-president of research and development at PathGuide. “What makes this module so valuable is the powerful metrics that give managers the ability to plan staffing levels, evaluate inbound carriers and reduce errors in receiving. Latitude already handles receiving extremely well, so extending this expertise into inbound transportation allows our customers to manage time, space, people and vendors much more effectively.”

End users can access and update the delivery schedule through an RF terminal or Latitude’s web interface using the new module. They can easily see which trucks have arrived, which are being unloaded, and which deliveries have been completed. The system stores data on all deliveries, giving management documentation and evidence of any issues. For example, if an inbound carrier consistently arrives late or delivers damaged shipments, the distributor now has an accurate record of those incidents and can use the information to bring it to the carrier’s attention, negotiate a better price or find another carrier.

The Inbound Transportation Management module has completed beta testing and is now in general availability. It’s just the latest of several advanced features for Latitude WMS, such as voice picking and vendor managed inventory. All of these modules are designed specifically for Latitude WMS. For more information about this module or any of PathGuide’s products, please contact PathGuide at clientservices@pathguide.com or call +1-888-627-9797.

 

Latitude Tips & Tricks for Manufacturing and Production Tools

Welcome back to “Tips and Tricks for Latitude,” our series of blog posts to help make you a Latitude power user. This week we’re highlighting new tools for our manufacturing and production customers.

One Screen For Everything

Latitude now offers a production order web management screen that gives a one-page view of all information on a particular production order and its status. Many of our customers have production lines or manufacture chemicals; before they ship product to customers, it goes to their internal DC first. They told us that they need a way to track the status of orders across multiple shifts, since most of them run manufacturing facilities 24 hours a day. We had some functionality here before, but now we’ve expanded it to a one-page view that gives the status of the order and all the details the new crew needs to know when they come in to work.

Bonus: Print Item-Specific Documents While Shipping

Here’s a bonus feature that didn’t fit into any of our other blog posts. Latitude can automatically print item-specific documents at shipping. Manufacturer lot information, MSDS, hazmat labels or certification information are common uses. To set this up, follow these steps:

  1. Create a directory in Latitude where electronic copies of your item documents can be stored
  2. Go to Application Setup in Latitude Management Console, click the Other tab, check the box marked Print Item Documents? and enter the path to the documents
  3. Go into System Settings and enable the Print Items Documents at Ship and/or Print Linked Lot Documents at Ship options
  4. Edit the Item master record in Latitude under Documents to specify the document that will print.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to check back soon to learn how a Latitude System Audit can improve your warehouse efficiency. As always, if you have a suggestion for a new Latitude feature or a specific problem you’re trying to solve, please let us know. You can reach our Support Team at 1-888-627-9797.

 

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Well, folks. It doesn’t get much better than this!

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Last week’s Latitude User Conference was a HUGE success! Now put what you’ve learned into action by accessing session materials and special offers using the “Click here!” link above. And, start making plans to join us next year in September right in our own backyard, Seattle! Future survey to follow.