Category Archives: Employee Performance

Latitude Tips & Tricks for Shadowing an RF Terminal

This week we’re continuing our “Tips and Tricks for Latitude” series of posts by highlighting an important feature that can help with troubleshooting and employee communication – RF terminal shadowing.

Shadow RF Terminals

The ability to shadow RF terminals is a feature that Latitude WMS has enabled for a while, but it was previously only accessible through the Latitude Management Console and on a limited basis. But, since shadowing a terminal has a lot of beneficial applications for employee training, management and troubleshooting, we’ve made it easier for everyone to use. You can now access this function from Latitude Web.

Here are the steps required:

  1. Click on the Shadow RF Terminals icon on the welcome screen, and log into the Shadow console.
  2. Scroll down to the user you want to shadow, and select Shadow Terminal. This will give you access to a list of the last 50 transactions by that user and let you watch all of their activity in real time.
  3. If you need to reach a specific employee or all employees at once, you can hit the Send Message button to send a message to one specific RF terminal, or to all active terminals. This function comes in handy when calling a group meeting or asking questions to other team members.
  4. Finally, you can restrict access to the Shadow RF feature by editing permissions in the Access Rights Profile.

Why do it?

If someone has questions about a specific pick or order, sometimes checking this record can solve it. You can also shadow a terminal to see exactly what an employee is doing during the workday, which is especially useful if you have concerns about productivity.

Shadowing also makes it possible to troubleshoot remotely. For example, if you have an employee at a separate location, and there are consistent problems with a specific task, shadowing that terminal and walking through the process can help a manager or experienced staff member isolate and resolve the problem.

We’re confident you’ll find the new Shadow RF feature in Latitude very helpful. 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.

Voice-controlled WMS Primes Distribution Centers for Growth

Voice-controlled warehouse management system (WMS) applications have rapidly matured into a proven solution for improving the speed and accuracy of processes within distribution center and warehouse operations. These applications are most commonly associated with picking and order selection, however, many warehouses that use voice picking have also adapted it for other functions such as receiving, put-away, stock replenishment, truck loading, returns and cycle counting.

Why is voice such a valuable tool in the warehouse? The biggest reason is because voice-controlled applications allow warehouse workers to use both hands while picking, packing, and shipping items – rather than needing one hand to scan barcodes and other labels. In the case of Latitude WMS users, the system creates an efficient order of tasks, and uses simple instructions to guide workers to pick and pull relevant items.

Compared to traditional warehouse processes using pen and paper or handheld computers and barcode scanning, a voice picking system creates a hands-free, heads-up user workflow. In the case of Jensen Distribution Services, a full-line wholesale distributor serving 11 western states, voice-controlled processes were slowly rolled out using Latitude after it was first deployed in 2010. Jensen particularly noticed a dramatic improvement when the company moved from batch picking and label picking to a voice-controlled system that allowed workers in the warehouse to go completely hands free.

Jim Hart, senior vice president of operations at Jensen, summed up the benefits of voice. “Quality is huge here at Jensen, so with eCommerce fulfillment transactions growing 80 percent in the past year, Latitude with Vocollect has allowed Jensen to pick a perfect, or a near perfect order. We’re tracking at 0.05 percent errors, compared with 1 percent before our WMS. In fact, this system makes it difficult to make a mistake.”

For more information about how PathGuide’s Latitude WMS integrates with voice, visit our website here.

How long does it take to learn a warehousing management?

Intermec RF bar code scanner

Intermec RF scanner

Any warehousing management system involves new hardware and software, which can initially scare some warehouse employees. RF terminals (bar code scanners), for instance, while easy to use, can involve input skills that feel foreign to warehouse employees who aren’t familiar with texting. Incidentally, this is why some young adults are very adept at using bar code scanners/RF terminals – it’s more or less like using their own smartphone, just a bit heavier.

Are you worried that your warehouse employees will be slow to learn a new warehousing management system? When choosing a warehousing management solution, take the following training concepts under consideration:

  • A well-designed warehousing management system (WMS) has an intuitive interface that will seem familiar to anyone who is capable of surfing the web, which should be most people who work in warehousing jobs. It will be easily navigable, and simple to pick up. It should be accompanied by a web-accessible online help system and/or print documentation. User-centric design automatically reduces training time and costs.
  • Some warehouses have a high turnover rate, because local warehouse jobs are easy to find. If your warehouse employees flee to new jobs frequently, you’ll benefit from a good warehousing management system that automates manual processes. Drastically reducing training time for new employees ensures that you can easily grow your labor force as your business expands.
  • Warehousing solution training needs to use proven teaching methodologies to instruct, inform, and assure end users of the viability and advantages of the new system. A smart WMS vendor has a proven track record of getting new users up-to-speed in under a week.
  • Good warehousing managers will designate several system experts from their current warehouse employees who receive advanced training and can be counted on to help new and uncertain users become accustomed to the system. These should be employees who have settled into warehouse careers and are natural managers.
  • In-depth training must be provided as a part of any warehousing management implementation, and any go-live should include round-the-clock support from your WMS solution provider.

Learn how a warehousing management solution like Latitude WMS can easily make your warehouse run better. Call PathGuide today. 1.888.627.9797.

Who Is Your Best Warehouse Employee? Warehouse Metrics

Every warehouse has a star employee: someone who shines brighter than the others, someone who picks more orders than anyone else, faster than anyone else. That star is often held up as an example to other employees.

Similarly, every warehouse also has an employee or two (or six, or ten) that lacks enthusiasm. They’re quiet, and appear slow. They pick fewer orders, they ship fewer orders. What if you found out that your quiet, most unassuming employee consistently picks and ships the most order lines, and with the lowest error rate?

Or what if your “star employee” actually makes dozens of errors a day and picks the fewest lines out of everyone? How would you know? Continue reading

What kind of support does my WMS have?

Implementing a WMS system in a warehouse is obviously not a small undertaking. That’s why choosing the correct vendor to supply your WMS solution is as important as choosing the right dealership to buy your car from.

First, you need to find a vendor who has a long history in the business and a list of successful clients from a wide range of industries. Finding a vendor with experience not only ensures that you will be purchasing a WMS system that incorporates years of feedback from a variety of clientele, but also provides assurance that the company will remain in business in the years to come. In a fragile economy, a vendor’s longevity isn’t an issue that can be overlooked. Continue reading