Tag Archives: product in warehouse

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.

PathGuide’s Latitude WMS Travels the Globe

PathGuide recently discussed its business growth in Canada, but did you know that the sales boundaries for the Latitude warehouse management system stretch to other parts of the globe?

As an example, Latitude has been deployed in Panama since 2009.  It was selected for use by Rodelag S.A., a well-known retail chain with more than 500 employees that services the entire country. Rodelag has been a trusted name in Panama since 1950 when two prominent families, the Romeros and the La Guardias, joined forces to bring a Sears-like department store to the Chiriqui Province.  Today, Rodelag offers everything from motorbikes to clothing in branch storefronts found in small towns such as Chitre as well as in the capital of Panama City.

Panama is experiencing explosive economic growth.  Over the past decade, it has been one of the fastest growing economies worldwide, and dominates the growth of its neighbors in Central America.  Average annual growth was 7.2 percent between 2001 and 2013, more than double the regional average.  It’s estimated that its growth in 2015 will remain a respectable 6.2 percent.

Panama’s economic climate has enticed other retailers to enter the market.  So how does an older, stable company like Rodelag continue to remain relevant to its customers in such a fast-growing environment?  By adding technologies such as PathGuide’s Latitude Warehouse Management Software.  Latitude helped it re-engineer its warehouse and distribution operations, facilitating better customer service and more efficient inventory management.  The customer service element is particularly important in Panama, which does not have a long history of retail customer loyalty; for generations, residents have routinely shopped more than one retailer to compare prices.  A WMS such as Latitude helps Rodelag ensure that the most needed items are in stock at its facilities, engendering customer satisfaction and repeat sales.

Fisheries Supply Makes a Splash with New Latitude-Enabled Will Call System

PathGuide customers have a knack for finding unexpectedly innovative uses for their Latitude systems. For example, marine distributor Fisheries Supply uses Latitude WMS to automate a high-speed Will Call order system that can have customer orders ready for pickup in 15 minutes. This gives the company a high value market differentiator that boosts sales and reinforces its commitment to customer service.

Fisheries Supply is a marine distribution center that has operated since 1928 in the heart of Seattle’s maritime industry. It deployed Latitude in 2010 to improve order accuracy, but soon found other ways that the new WMS could improve its business, such as job prioritization. By taking advantage of the WMS’s built-in algorithms, Latitude helps employees determine which item is placed in the picking queue first and ranks each individual order by importance. This allows each team to pick the most urgent items 100 percent of the time. Fisheries Supply then realized that this prioritization feature could benefit Will Call orders as well.

Before deploying Latitude, Fisheries Supply assigned Will Call items to a single picker. If there was a sudden spike in Will Call orders, the picker couldn’t keep up and orders were delayed. Now, with paperless prioritization, the Will Call system looks at the urgency of each order, so it can be picked, packaged and ready for pickup within as little as 15 minutes. Customers, many of whom are local boat owners or mechanics that rely on parts and equipment from Fisheries to do their jobs, can come by and pick up their orders without any lost time or hassle. Latitude allows Fisheries Supply to have those crucial orders ready on schedule every time, which results in happy, loyal customers and repeat business.

To read this article in Industrial Supply, click here.

What is inventory management and how does it work?

Watch how a single product enters a warehouse, is received, tracked, and then later picked and shipped. This is how inventory management works with a Latitude Warehouse Management System.

Track how inventory is managed through both handheld scanners and Latitude Web (a web-based management tool that gives you real-time insight into where inventory is and where it’s not). From the time that a product is received into the warehouse until the moment it is shipped out to a customer, Latitude WMS makes the management of inventory easy.

Whether you sell small, inexpensive goods or large, industrial machinery (or both), Latitude Warehouse Management System will help you automate your inventory management, so you won’t have any nasty surprises when an order is placed.