Category Archives: PathGuide

Registration Opens Today for PathGuide’s Latitude User Conference!

A Conference That Truly Pays Professional Development Dividends

Today marks the opening of early bird registration for PathGuide’s Latitude User Conference. Join us at the Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle this September 10-12.

This fun, yet education-focused event, offers any conference attendee full access to PathGuide engineers and Latitude power users. We specifically design each LUC around brand new users, warehouse managers and staff, C-level executives, IT professionals, and prospective clients.

So, why will attendees (regardless of their level of user experience) be impressed by our agenda? Because a good chunk of the content ideas come from Latitude product users. PathGuide understands that a conference agenda and its content can be the deciding factor when it comes to clicking the registration button or passing on the invite altogether.

The ever-popular one-on-one training sessions, educational panels and networking opportunities with other product peers is what really sets PathGuide’s Latitude User Conference apart. And, you can count on the breakout training sessions and hands-on training to cover the latest insights as we illustrate the things on PathGuide’s horizon.

Finally, this year’s General Session Keynote Address is sure to impress. Bill Eckstrom’s “Getting Comfortable With Discomfort” will open your eyes to how dangerous it can be to remain in the state of comfort. You’ll be amazed at the outcomes that discomfort can have on your life, and the lives of others. Come learn why Bill’s personal and professional development ideas are essential to growth.

Early registration discounts are available now through July 21, 2017, but don’t wait. Reserve your spot soon. Remember, bring more – save more!

More information about the 2017 Latitude User Conference 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.

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!

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.

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 & Tricks for Inventory Management

Being able to instantly access information about your inventory is powerful. Do you know what product you have, how much of it is available and where it’s located? More importantly, can you count on this information to be accurate? Latitude WMS has every function you need for complete visibility. Here are some tips you might not know about, but are huge warehouse time-savers.

New Latitude WMS Search Tools

Save time by checking inventory and sales orders in Latitude Web.

  • To find a specific sales order, go to Activities – Order Processing – Find a Sales Order, enter some of the identifying information and hit “Find
  • To find inventory, go to Activities – Order Processing – Find Inventory and enter the bin number for a list of the inventory contained in that bin.
  • You can also filter the list of inventory items by column to help you track down that one specific order you’re looking for. Right-click on any web column header and left-click “Filter” from the drop-down menu. You can also left-click any web column heading and enter the value that you want to filter.

Inventory Contents Label

Latitude WMS can print a label that displays the contents of any load or bin location on demand. This is similar to a Carton Contents Label, but isn’t tied to an order. It’s especially useful for printing the contents of a mixed pallet location for a quick info lookup. To do this from an RF terminal, hit F3 – Tools – Labels – Inventory Content Label, scan the source Load or Bin, and enter the number of labels that you need. These labels can be customized or set to automatically print during the receiving process if you want hard copies of documentation for incoming shipments.

Replace the Annual Physical Inventory with Cycle Counting

Many of our customers want to get rid of this warehouse tradition entirely because it’s disruptive to normal warehouse processes and dreaded by every warehouse employee.

In fact, many customers report a mysterious flu epidemic when the time comes for the annual inventory. With Latitude’s Cycle Count Planning Module, you can set items that you want to count on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. The module will assign workers to do a few counts per day and keep you on track. A number of our customers have eliminated the annual physical inventory entirely with no loss in inventory accuracy, and a definite improvement in worker moral.

I hope that some of this information can help improve productivity in your warehouse. For more tips, tricks and Latitude hacks, come see us in person at the Latitude User Conference next week, May 22-24! It’s not too late to register!

If you have a suggestion for a new Latitude WMS 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.

 

Latitude Tips and Tricks for Picking

Latitude WMS is full of useful features designed to make warehouse tasks or functions easier and more efficient, and we’re constantly adding new functionality based on customer feedback. We want you, our customers, to get the most out of Latitude, so over the next several weeks we’ll explain some of the many tips, tricks, and little-known capabilities in Latitude to help anyone become a power-user. Let’s start with picking.

Inventory Control Cones

Many warehouses need to store materials in a temporary location, whether it’s for a few hours or a few weeks during busy periods. Putting labels on pallets sometimes helps, but they can often be hard to locate physically and in the system – load labels can be easily damaged and you’ll be lucky if anyone can remember which pallet is number “09657.” Instead, buy some brightly colored cones and set them up as temporary bin locations or “Loads” in Latitude (loads do not have to be scanned during a physical inventory, and some customers find it simpler to use them for short-term use). You can set the bin numbers to something specific, for example: G + a number for green cones, R + number for red cones, etc.). Print labels for them (the 4” x 6” format works best) and train your employees to use the cones instead of bins. Most customers find that the cones are much easier to locate than pallets because they’re simple to set up and remove.

Multiple Label Printers

Did you know that Latitude WMS allows you to set a secondary printer for certain types of labels, or set a dedicated label printer for a specific label format? This prevents cross-functional Latitude users from needing to switch label printers as they do different tasks.

Here’s how:

  • To set up a secondary printer from an RF terminal, press F3 – Setup – Printers, choose Label-Secondary and select your secondary printer. Carton Contents and Inventory Contents are the only formats currently supported.
  • To set Label Printer assignment, go to Administration – System Configuration – Label Printer Assignment in Latitude Web and add the Label Format and the Label Printer name. That type of label will now always print from the selected printer.

Toggling the Pickable Inventory Flag

Latitude allows users to toggle inventory’s pickable status via the RF terminal. This lets you easily update inventory status on the fly, such as when you need to pick from an overstock bin that is usually not pickable.

  • To do this, press F3 – Inventory – Adjustments – Toggle Pickable on your RF terminal. You’ll be prompted for the bin, the item and the lot/serials, if applicable. Enter them and the item will now be pickable. If it was already pickable, you’ll get an error.
  • You can also set up a prompt to toggle this automatically when you perform a Move, Unload or Putaway transaction. Go into “Prompt for Pickable Override upon Unload and Putaway” in Latitude Web and set to “Y”.

If you like what you just read, be sure and stay tuned for more Latitude WMS tips and tricks, as this is just one article of a five-part series.

For more tips, tricks and Latitude hacks, come see us in person at the Latitude User Conference on May 22-24.

If you have questions about any of these tips, please contact our Support Team at 888-627-9797. We’re here to help!