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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.

 

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.

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.

 

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

Want more? No problem. Click here!
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.

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.

 

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.