Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Latitude User Conference is Just Around the Corner!

There’s less than 4 weeks to take advantage of early bird rates for the 2016 Latitude User Conference. This year’s LUC is May 22-24 in sunny San Diego.  Additional discounts  are available when you register more than 3 people from your company – so bring a crowd!

Three Levels Deep

Our conference is designed for everyone, and that’s why we’re encouraging “Three Levels Deep”. Bring people who represent different areas of your operation. Employees can directly apply the knowledge and practical techniques they learn at the conference to their jobs back home.

Why Attend?

  • Warehouse Managers: We looked at areas specific to warehouse managers’ daily processes to design breakout sessions tailored to their needs. Sessions like Replenishment: Stay Stoked Because You’re Stocked and Dock Wars: Scheduling Inbound Deliveries will inspire new techniques to drive success across your warehouse teams.
  • Corporate Executives: Network with other executives, exchange ideas about supply chain excellence and learn how Latitude WMS can help inspire innovation and deliver better customer service as the supply chain continues to evolve. Sessions for executives include Motivation by Metrics, Leveraging Latitude WMS for ROI in Your Operations and Latitude WMS for Your Smaller Facilities.
  • Warehouse Workers: You’re the ones using Latitude every day, so the more you know – the better. Hands-on sessions for warehouse workers include Make an RF “Easy Button” With Task Definitions, Be in the Know With Automatic Alerts and Labels Made Easy.
  • IT Pros: Learn about Latitude’s evolving tool set and programmable features while networking with other field experts. Sessions for IT Pros include What’s Your IT IQ?, WMS & LMS Release Highlights, Metrics: A Window into Your Warehouse, and Latitude Confidential: Next Level Tips & Tricks.
  • New & Experienced Users and Prospects: If you’re new to Latitude or still considering a WMS upgrade, we will have sessions that introduce you to basic Latitude WMS features like Cycle Count Planning: Cure Your PI Pain, Inbound Transportation: Control When Trucks Bump Your Dock and PathGuide’s SOS (Spotlight On Support). More importantly, you will have plenty of opportunities to get realistic feedback and advice from current Latitude WMS users. Come with questions and leave with answers!

A sincere thank you to Honeywell and the QubeVu team from Postea, our Platinum Level Sponsors, for helping to make this year’s conference a success!

Be sure to join Honeywell to learn what they are doing about the most important trends and forces changing the landscape of today’s supply chain. You’ll want to make time for Postea’s presentation to discover why dimensioning solutions make sense as the evolution in materials handling, e-Commerce and shipping markets continues to create opportunities for growth.

To see the full agenda or learn more about the 2016 Latitude User Conference, click here. To register, click here. See you in San Diego!

Phased Rollout Helps Smooth the Transition to Latitude WMS for Jensen Distribution Services

Jensen Distribution Services, a full-line wholesale hardware distributor operating in 11 western states, came to PathGuide in 2008 with a very specific set of goals. The company was strong in areas like picking, but needed to improve warehouse processes in receiving, order accuracy and training time for new employees. They needed a WMS that would improve trouble spots without interfering with productivity in other areas of the facility. The PathGuide implementation team, always ready for a challenge, got to work.

Latitude WMS was rolled out in stages, starting with receiving. This approach is common for new WMS deployments, and it allowed Jensen to adjust to each change without affecting other workflows. Implementation went forward on schedule and Jensen quickly began to see positive results in receiving speeds, organization and accuracy. Employee productivity increased and could now be tracked paper-free, using Latitude’s built-in employee metrics. As Jensen switched on Latitude’s functionality in other areas of its warehouse, it started seeing even more benefits.

Errors Dropped 95%

Jensen doesn’t offer unique products, so they compete for customers by offering exceptional customer service. Latitude helped Jensen go from a one percent error rate to 0.05 percent, which had a tremendous positive impact on customer relations. Regular updates to Latitude provide incremental improvements in accuracy each year.

Less Time Wasted on Training

Latitude also reduced the time required to train new employees and decreased their reliance on tribal knowledge. Under the old paper-based receiving system, it took new employees three to six weeks to become proficient and productive. With Latitude, it takes just days, prompting Jensen’s distribution center manager, Dennis Schutz, to say that he “never wanted to go back to paper.”

The phased rollout worked. Jensen saw great improvements in all of the areas where it wanted to improve, without significant disruption to the rest of the warehouse. In the words of Landon Horton, director of operations, “Latitude has really let us refine our business through major productivity and accuracy gains over the years. The exceptional customer service and engineering support offered by PathGuide made them an ideal technology partner, and we have total faith in their commitment to the long-term success of our business.”

Click here to see a short video highlighting the transformation to virtually error-free operations at Jensen Distribution Services.

New in Latitude WMS: Inbound Transportation Management

At PathGuide, we’re constantly talking with our customers and working on new ways to help them get the most out of their Latitude WMS deployments. One big request is to have more control over scheduling inbound freight. How long does it take to unload deliveries? Are vendors coming in late, on time or early? Are trucks idling for extended periods while waiting for bays to open up? Many warehouses and DCs schedule deliveries using an Excel spreadsheet or a whiteboard – or they just “wing it” and hope that a dock door will be free when a truck arrives. PathGuide knew we could help them do better.

So, we’re pleased to announce that a powerful new Inbound Transportation Management (ITM) Module will be available in April. This module will help streamline deliveries and give warehouse managers much more control to manage the delivery process. Using an intuitive web-based dashboard, the new ITM Module makes it easy to assign specific times and bays for deliveries and ensure that the right equipment and manpower is ready for unloading (i.e., pallet loaded vs. floor loaded). Once the shipment arrives, employees can check the trucks in and out and attach notes to each delivery, all from the web browser or an RF hand-held computer.

The ITM Module will also keep track of a variety of metrics automatically, such as how long individual employees spend unloading a certain kind of delivery. This is a great tool for warehouse managers who need to forecast and assign labor each day.

Having a pre-arranged appointment also means that trucks won’t arrive at the same time and cause a bottleneck. If a truck arrives outside of its scheduled 20-minute arrival window, it will be flagged as ‘late’ or ‘early’ – and warehouse employees can enter additional notes if the products arrive damaged in any way. This insight gives managers vendor performance reporting tools to help in negotiating future business.

We’re proud of the unique features that this brings to the WMS industry, and we hope that it will help many of our customers streamline their inbound transportation processes.

WES and WCS Are Good, But They’re No WMS

The three types of warehouse software (WMS, WES and WCS) are starting to overlap in functionality, at least that’s the thesis of an article I read earlier this month in DC Velocity. Titled “Blurred Lines: WMS vs. WCS vs. WES,” it argues that these three warehouse systems have developed to a point where many of their major functions overlap and it’s difficult for buyers to decide exactly what they need.

While WCS and WES have certainly come a long way in the past few years, a high-quality WMS is still the best option to track and control the movement and storage of materials within the warehouse.

A high-quality WMS will provide benefits in the following areas:

  • Order accuracy
  • Worker efficiency
  • Overall speed of orders
  • Reporting and KPIs
  • Individual employee metrics
  • Warehouse organization

While a WES will provide some functionality in voice picking, mobile scanner integration, inventory management and labor management, it was not designed to perform as a WMS and should not be used as a replacement. If you need a WMS, buy a WMS. Don’t expect a WCS or WES to deliver functionality that it was not designed for.

This sounds simple in theory, but it gets more complicated in practice because not every company shopping for software knows what it needs. Before researching a new warehouse system, companies evaluate current systems to identify both strengths and weaknesses. Next, they should identify what areas they want to improve. Finally, they should make a list of the functions that will help them achieve those goals. By approaching the buying process with a clear understanding of what each type of software can deliver, they can see the marketing pitch for what it is and stay focused on getting a solution that will best fit their needs.

About the Author: Eric Allais, president and CEO of 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. Contact him at eric@pathguide.com.

Dr.’s Gerry Faust and David Allais to Keynote PathGuide’s 2016 Latitude User Conference

It is my great pleasure to announce that Gerry Faust, Ph.D. and David Allais, Ph.D. will deliver the two keynote addresses at the 2016 Latitude User Conference in May.

Faust is a highly accomplished business consultant and motivational speaker who has been empowering and entertaining audiences for 30 years. His speeches help people understand the power and challenges of an organization’s culture, identify its key aspects and understand the role each person plays in its formation. He is hilariously funny, extremely smart, and his speeches deliver real business value. Past clients have said that Faust “provides stimulating ideas with practical approaches,” is a “consummate presenter,” and a “guy who truly cares about helping businesses succeed.”

His program will explain the true purpose for organizations and outline the four roles that managers and leaders must embrace to achieve short and long term success. In a presentation tailored to the needs of the warehouse and distribution industries, Gerry Faust will discuss the biggest reason why more organizations never solve their problems, and the key role teamwork plays in achieving organizational goals.

Allais is an internationally recognized expert and inventor in the fields of bar coding, automatic identification and data capture. As former president and CEO of Washington-based Intermec, Inc. (now part of Honeywell), he built the company from a small start-up into the leading manufacturer of bar code scanning and printing equipment. Leaving Intermec after 19 years, Allais founded PathGuide Technologies, a Washington-based developer of warehouse management systems for distributors.

PathGuide is thrilled to have Faust and Allais as our keynote speakers. Mark your calendars for May 22-24, this is one conference you won’t want to miss!

Faust’s keynote is scheduled Monday, May 23 at 8:45 a.m. and Allais’s keynote is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 at 8:30 a.m.