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Start With The ‘Why’: How Good Project Leadership Drives A Digital Transformation

digital visibility acceleration

Start With The ‘Why’: How Good Project Leadership Drives A Digital Transformation

The term “digital transformation” has become embedded in the business world’s vocabulary for companies large and small, as more of them incorporate technology to streamline their processes and customer interactions.

Recent research shows 61% of IT decision-makers agree that the global pandemic forced their organization to begin or implement a digital-first strategy. It’s a big step of change for any company, and having the right project leadership in a digital transformation is crucial to navigating chaos, organizing a business and winning the battle for customers, says Denise Brinkmeyer (, author of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership and president of Jump Technology Services®.

To simplify and coordinate what can be a complicated process, she says a digital project leader’s first step must be establishing the “big why” behind every aspect of the project.

“Asking and clarifying answers to ‘why’ questions must happen at the start of every project,” Brinkmeyer says. “If you haven’t defined and fully understood context and purpose, your project will be increasingly vulnerable to all the challenges it will meet along the way to completion.

“There will be pressures and conflicts, there will be temptations to go off track, and there will be some delays along the way. That’s what makes it critical to be clear at the outset about why a specific project should be pursued. Ensuring that you’ve done your best with this first step will also enable you to act as your project’s salesperson, ensuring stakeholder investment and support all along the path to completion.”

Brinkmeyer has these tips for project leaders when determining the “big why” during a digital transformation:

Know your constraints. Brinkmeyer says three primary constraints – time, cost, and value – give focus and concreteness to any project vision. “Knowing, for example, that you can’t mandate overtime unless you’re outsourcing work is important to establishing a realistic project timeline,” she says. “Having a grasp on your constraints helps determine how to convert the project’s wish list into objectives that can actually be achieved. As the project leader you’ll have to coordinate resources, address potentially conflicting needs and concerns, and problem-solve. For those reasons, you need a very strong sense of the why that motivates and joins all the pieces together.”

Ask these questions:

Why do you want to do this project? Brinkmeyer gives an example of one answer to this question, geared to what current or potential problem a company is trying to solve: “We must have a new system, so that if we don’t hire more staff and we take on more customers, the work can continue at the same level of quality.”

She says a project leader’s job entails both having a strong sense of the whole with its parts and articulating all of it so that the entire team can understand and act on it. “The words we use to articulate the big why matter dramatically to a project’s trajectory,” Brinkmeyer says.

Why are these the proper objectives for the outcome you seek? In the end, the project leader needs to prove that the project has been successful, which means they need the ability to measure results accurately. “Asking ‘why’ can help clarify the relationship between objectives and vision,” Brinkmeyer says. “You need to provide a clear context for your objectives. The more you leave open to interpretation, the more vulnerable you leave the project to expensive detours and even failure.”

Why are these the people to help you achieve your goals? Brinkmeyer emphasizes spending time finding a vendor whose initiatives and capabilities actually suit your project. And reference-check your vendor options. “Find out if they’ve told the truth about their past projects,” she says. “Then, when you interview vendors directly, ask them, ‘Based on your history, when are we going to start receiving value from this project?’ And be wary of the promises attached to a single, mammoth system that’s said to take care of all your needs. It could take years to learn and implement.”

Regarding the core team in the company involved in the transformation, Brinkmeyer says the project leader’s goal is “to inspire and motivate the people you’ve been given in order to make possible the most positive impact for your project. The question, ‘Why are these the people I’m working with?’ needs to be followed with, “Knowing how they work, how will I activate them to achieve the project goals?”

“Setting yourself up for project success begins with establishing the big why behind your vision and objectives,” Brinkmeyer says, “so that the way you explain it and what you really need come together for the sake of the project’s success.”


Denise Brinkmeyer ( is the author of Project Orienteering: A Field Guide For Project Leadership and president of Jump Technology Services®. She has over 20 years of diverse business experience with various-sized companies and develops business consulting service strategies. Brinkmeyer focuses on the development and implementation of software project management and software design methodologies that dramatically increase both customer satisfaction and department performance.


Datawatch: Analytics Goes Viral – How Data is Used to Help Predict, Prevent and Curtail Outbreaks

In the latest blog in our Datawatch series, we look at the role analytics plays in keeping outbreaks at bay – from Cholera in the 1800s to COVID-19 today.

COVID-19 has changed the world dramatically in a short space of time, presenting new challenges for world leaders and medical experts alike. In fighting it, we’ve had to use all the tools at our disposal, and past experience tells us that advanced analytics is perhaps the most powerful weapon in our armory.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that analytics and data science are relatively new tools that today give us an advantage in our fight against viral outbreaks. In a sense you would be right, the tools and techniques used by data scientists have evolved significantly in recent years. But analytics has actually been used in this way for over a century, with one of the earliest examples taking place way back in 1854.

At that time, the residents of Victorian London were in the midst of a rampant cholera epidemic that had killed more than 600 people in a week. Little was known about these kinds of outbreaks back then, and many people assumed that cholera was an airborne disease. However, thanks to some rudimentary data analysis and modeling, Dr. John Snow was soon able to put this misunderstanding to bed.

Long before GIS maps were ever a thing, Dr. Snow began to gather data related to the cholera deaths and plot them, by hand, on a map of London. As a result of this early form of data visualization, Snow was able to trace the source of the outbreak to a water pump on Broad Street. The pump handle was replaced, and the outbreak was stopped in its tracks.

Amazingly, these same techniques are still used today – although visualization has improved somewhat. You can see how Dr. Snow’s work may look if it were carried out today, here.

Big data, analytics, and the fight against COVID-19

Although the theory behind this technique is still widely used today, we now have tools at our disposal that Dr. Snow could only have dreamt of back in 1854. Most notably, huge computational power that allows us to crunch massive amounts of data in record times.

This technology has played a huge part in our battle against the recent COVID-19 pandemic, helping medical experts and world leaders identify the right responses, develop the right solutions, and plot the best routes to recovery. Here are just three ways analytics has helped us to fight the pandemic.

Tracking the spread of the virus

Tracking the spread of COVID-19 has been essential in our battle to mitigate and overcome its impacts. It’s interesting to note that in this instance, analytics played a part in tracking COVID-19 before most of us even knew it existed.

In 2019, an AI system belonging to an outbreak risk startup called BlueDot detected some similarities between what the press was calling ‘a strain of pneumonia’ in Wuhan and the Sars outbreak of 2003.

Since this initial discovery, BlueDot has continued to track the spread of COVID and monitor its movements, using AI to analyze a wealth of unstructured data, including social media posts and news reports.

Social media can actually play a huge role in situations like this. By applying sentiment analysis to unstructured social data, it’s possible to track everything from the regions the virus has spread to, to the attitudes to proposed legislative responses and government guidance.

All of this data can then feed into action plans and help health officials respond more appropriately, accurately defining the best social distancing and quarantine measures, for instance.

Developing vaccines

As the pandemic trundled on into its second year, it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be something that just went away. And this meant that vaccination was our best chance of life returning to normality.

The problem though is that developing a vaccine typically takes years. Before Pfizer and AstraZenica, the mumps vaccine held the record for the fastest to be developed, and that took almost half a decade.

However, thanks to advances in analytics and AI, a COVID vaccine was approved and made available for emergency use within a year of the virus’ outbreak.

A large part of this was down to global cooperation, and the fact that virologists have encountered coronaviruses before. But data analysis and tools like AI and machine learning were also significant factors.

For example, AlphaFold, a tool in Google’s DeepMind platform, used AI algorithms to catalog the structure of potential proteins that could help the virus spread – a vital part of understanding how a virus works and how it can be contained.

AlphaFold is a state-of-the-art system that can predict the structure of proteins based on their genetic sequence. This system was used to investigate proteins associated with COVID, before the information was made openly available to scientists working on the vaccine.

With the same aim, AI and natural language processing have played a big part in applying analytics to the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset – a collection of almost 500,000 scholarly articles that are gathered from across the world and made openly available to the global research community.

Elsewhere, in a lab in Tennessee, the world’s second-fastest supercomputer has been crunching data in an attempt to understand how the virus behaves, analyzing 2.5 billion genetic combinations to ascertain how COVID attacks the human body.

Responding at the right time in the right way

COVID-19 has been perhaps the toughest test imaginable for healthcare institutions worldwide. With resources in short supply, difficult decisions have had to be made each day. For instance, what critical assets are needed in each location? And where and when will hospital beds be required as the virus moves through populations?

These problems can’t be answered by leafing through spreadsheets – there’s simply too much data, too many variables, and a picture that changes each day. However, using advanced analytics, healthcare officials have been able to make these key decisions based on vital, actionable and timely insights.

For example, epidemiological models have been useful in forecasting infection spread throughout regions, helping healthcare workers to predict the potential numbers of infected people that will require medical treatment – and what that level of treatment will look like.

Predictive simulation and scenario modeling have also been used to help forecast the required number of healthcare workers based on given scenarios, along with the strain outbreaks may place on healthcare services. This data has then fed directly into national lockdown plans.

One example of this in action can be seen at the Sheba Medical Centre in Israel, where data-driven forecasting is used to optimize the allocation of resources before outbreaks even strike. The center has used machine learning to crunch data related to confirmed cases, deaths, test results, contact tracing and the availability of medical resources, to ensure it’s prepared for what lies around the corner.

The center also led a national competition to develop the best technology for predicting the deterioration rate of COVID patients.

A step change for virology

The scale and speed of COVID-19’s spread have been unparalleled. But the scale of our response to it has been equally as impressive. Using the latest analytics techniques, healthcare workers have been able to prepare for unpredictable scenarios, governments have gained insights into the best actions for keeping people safe, and businesses have been able to take measured approaches to adapt to the world around them.

In the midst of this pandemic, it’s hard to find many if any positives, but the lessons learned during COVID-19 will have a huge effect on the way we tackle similar events in the future.

Whether it’s developing vaccines, ensuring the appropriate resources are in the right place at the right time, or fast-tracking our understanding of the situation to keep as many people safe as possible, analytics is able to provide the answers to the most complex questions these situations present. And it’s been doing so since the 1800s.


Nitin Aggarwal is the VP & Business Head of Analytics at The Smart Cube, a global provider of analytics and procurement intelligence solutions.


Ecommerce Behind the Scenes: Efficient Warehouse Management with WMS

In the last year and a half, we have witnessed a profound transformation of the business reality, a rapid transition of organizations to the digital world, and a significant change in consumer habits. The growth of e-commerce is a sign of this transformation. According to the forecasts of the study “Economia e Sociedade Digital em Portugal”, released last year, e-commerce in the B2C (business-to-consumer) segment will continue to grow in Portugal and should reach 10.8 billion euros by 2025. The same trend will be felt in the B2B (business-to-business) segment, where e-commerce is expected to reach 155.8 billion euros in that same year.

This paradigm shift forces companies to be increasingly agile and efficient in managing their operations and supply chains in order to meet the growing demands of consumers and an increasingly competitive business ecosystem. The key to positioning companies at the forefront of competitiveness lies in the adoption of technological and innovative tools that enable organizations to optimally and efficiently manage their operations. And in this field, I would like to highlight the importance of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

At a time when e-commerce is expanding and delivery times are increasingly shorter, it is imperative for a company to ensure rigorous management of its warehouses and ensure a response, without delays or failures, to customer orders. And it is precisely in this field that WMS systems stand out. These systems allow total control of the logistics operations in the warehouse, through automated and intelligent processes, from the moment merchandise enters a warehouse until it is dispatched.

Among the main advantages of these systems are the following:

-More efficient stock management: Through process automation, WMS systems ensure more efficient stock and inventory management, as well as better optimization of all available storage space

-Obtaining real-time data: The visibility of operations is a feature increasingly valued by companies and WMS systems allow organizations to know in real-time all the essential information about stocks, movements, and other aspects

-Logistics Performance Monitoring (KPIS): In addition to visibility, these systems also allow, through specific modules, to monitor the logistics performance of the warehouse activities. By formatting data for analysis and presenting reports, the systems help managers identify possible inefficiencies and possible improvements that can be implemented to ensure a more efficient and productive warehouse management.

-Ease of integration, configuration and usability: It is a tool that can be easily integrated with other systems that companies use, particularly with ERP. In addition, these systems are typically intuitive and easy to use, to ensure that everyone involved in the logistics operations of the warehouse can use them without difficulty.

-Decreased likelihood of errors and failures: By allowing the automation of processes, WMS systems contribute to the reduction of failures and to a better optimization of human resources allocated to warehouse management.

-Thus, WMS systems are increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for organizations to manage their warehouses more effectively, reducing costs and errors, ensuring faster execution of operations and, ultimately, guaranteeing better customer service.

It is tools like these that help companies navigate this new business environment in which e-commerce is playing a catalytic role in the transformation of business models and corporate value chains. I have no doubt that the incorporation of this and other technologies will be a critical factor for success and raise the levels of competitiveness of organizations in this post-pandemic context.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world, and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

supply chain

Supply Chain Predictions 2022: Growing Investment in Delivery Technology

The world’s supply chain issues will be alleviated by rapid, wider adoption of logistics solutions and technological advancements in 2022. Though the supply chain crisis will continue to challenge the shipping and delivery industry in the coming year, companies must look past short-term mitigation strategies and invest in long-term solutions with greater potential to materially impact key crisis drivers.

I predict these technologies, paired with companies’ willingness to adapt their operations, will help global economies rebound from the pandemic, navigate bottlenecks and meet relentless consumer demand. 

Mounting Challenges Require Flexible Solutions

In 2022, supply chains need to remain flexible, agile and adaptable in order to overcome the industry’s substantial challenges:

Consumer Demand: Consumers’ demand for fast, free, flexible shipping will grow in 2022 as online penetration increases in retail markets. Shippers and carriers that can best address these demands will maintain a competitive advantage over those who cannot. Retail giants like Amazon, Walmart and Target set the shipping and delivery standards that competitors must also provide in order to retain customers. 

Supply Chain Bottlenecks: Supply chain bottlenecks, like those widely publicized throughout 2021, are expected to continue through the first half of 2022. The pricing of container rates, especially those servicing transpacific routes, will continue to rise.   

Driver Shortages: The American Trucking Association estimates the U.S. shipping and delivery industry is short approximately 80,000 drivers. This limited capacity deeply impacts companies’ abilities to meet increased delivery demands.   

Technological Advancements, and Investments, Will Alleviate Crises

Key players in shipping and delivery should consider investing in technology enabling them to adapt quickly. Many businesses have already adopted new software to help them overcome supply chain challenges, and even more are expected to take the leap in 2022. Billions in funding have poured into logistics technology startups as investors capitalize on the opportunity to improve supply chains. 

The following technological advancements will spur progress in the shipping and delivery space in the coming year:

Logistics Solutions Offering Visibility and Orchestration: Logistics software and technology will grow in popularity and integration, with a particular interest in platforms offering Real-Time Transportation Visibility (RTTV) and delivery orchestration solutions as shippers and carriers seek to optimize their supply chains. RTTV also allows companies to provide customers with tracking updates that enhance their experience and strengthen their brand relationships.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Platforms utilizing ML and AI will be a major focus for companies investing in technology, as they allow shippers and carriers to quickly spot problems (like goods shortages or port congestion) and take action earlier when they arise. This enables companies to maintain an exceptional customer experience. In addition, leveraging AI to identify opportunities creates more efficient delivery routes, which saves time and money, and empowers companies to make more deliveries with a finite labor pool.

Predictive Intelligence: Predictive Intelligence will become more popular and more important in 2022. Leveraging historical route and shipping data, machine learning technologies can generate more accurate ETAs and trigger alerts to delivery stakeholders if there is a significant, unexpected delay. ML and predictive intelligence can optimize supply chain operations, discover opportunities for efficiencies and support rapid scaling.

Autonomous Deliveries: In 2022, we will see increased adoption of autonomous technologies such as drones and autonomous delivery trucks. These reduce costs and delivery times while alleviating labor shortage pressures. 

Non-Traditional Fulfillment Will Be Key

Of all elements within the shipping and delivery industry, fulfillment is the area likely to experience the most change in 2022. I expect to see large advancements in omnichannel fulfillment. Many more businesses will embrace non-traditional fulfillment options such as curbside pickup, parcel lockers, dropshipping (D2C shipping), pop-up distribution centers and dark stores. These give shippers and carriers more flexibility, allowing them to adapt to demand surge and capacity shortage. 

Increased Focus on Sustainability

Rising consumer demand means rising carbon emissions as companies race to deliver goods. The supply chain’s impact on the environment is of growing concern, and more companies have committed to investing in sustainable solutions. In 2021, logistics and delivery management platforms enhanced their sustainability functions, adding features that measure carbon emissions and optimize operations to support sustainability efforts. In 2022, this will accelerate as businesses will take more significant steps toward reducing their carbon footprint, including prioritizing more efficient routing and using electric vehicles.

The year ahead is filled with challenges and opportunities for shipping and delivery businesses worldwide. Their success relies on their adaptability and investment in the right tools to get the job done.


In this Fraught Time for Supply Chain and Freight, not all Vendors are Partners

Throughout the pandemic, Zoom became a lubricant for organizations to keep moving and stay connected. Sales calls, internal team meetings, external events like webinars and conferences — many of us turned to this tool for necessary face-to-face communication, and it’s been vital.

But as critical as Zoom has been, they’re still just a vendor for all of us. They offer a service, and we pay them for that service. It’s transactional, plain and simple.

That’s a parallel we can all draw to other vendors too. Though it’s become a common turn of phrase to refer to vendors as partners (and especially for your vendors to refer to themselves as your partner), you shouldn’t confuse the two terms. They’re not synonymous.

Vendors are bought. Partnerships are earned.

Elevating every vendor to partner status cheapens the word and dilutes what an actual partner contributes to your company and your goals. It can also cause you to misallocate resources and energy to the wrong relationships and potentially cause you to steer your organization in the wrong direction.

Over the last few years, we’ve all faced our own trials and difficult times. It’s been easy to see the value of partnerships and relationships. But it’s when things are calm that these bonds are really forged. If you don’t build the right partnerships when times are good — with your carriers, with your freight forwarders, with the right vendors — you’re not going to be their priority when times turn tougher.

What’s the difference between a partner and a vendor?

To me, a vendor simply wants to sell you more of their service, even if it’s not the right move for your business.

A partner, on the other hand, is a listener.  A sounding board. A confidant. A partner lives in the trenches with you, understands your business, and understands how you go to market in business. A partner brings expertise and suggestions that empower decision-making. A partner doesn’t always make a sale just because they can; a partner understands when their current technology doesn’t fully solve the problem. A solution that complements and enables the business process may or may not include my technology as part of that solution stack. As a partner rather than just a vendor, I owe it to you to tell you that. A partner prioritizes the long-term relationship and the health of your business over their own short-term profits.

Partners may sometimes say no, and they know when to say no. They have a responsibility not to go down a bad path or let you go down a bad path, even if it would mean a bigger check for them.

That’s when the partner becomes a trusted advisor and a member of the business team. After all, business partnerships have to start with the same foundation as personal relationships — trust, openness, honesty, empathy, and communication.

I have a relevant story to share. When I came to two years ago, a part of my final interview process for a sales position with the executive team was to provide at least two references. Easy, right?  Of course. However, there was a catch: those references have to be customers that I had done business with. The executives interviewing me wanted to make sure my customers would vouch that I had been a partner and not just a vendor. I clearly had the goods because I got the job, but I loved that they asked for customer references and saw my relationships with customers as a prerequisite for the job.

Key Takeaway

Vendors are a key part of any business. We all rely on them, and we all need them. That network looks different at every company. Perhaps if you’re lean, you can get by with only a few dozen vendors. If you’re a larger company, you may have hundreds of different vendors.

Your circle of partners will be much smaller than that, but much deeper. They’ll be the ones you can turn to in times like we’ve found ourselves over the past 18 months — the ones who will prioritize your business, your goals, and your long-term success, even if it means they’re not closing a sale.

Plus, there’s usually another great bonus when working with the right partners: They’re much more willing to buy the nice dinner and the craft IPA.



As head of Shipper Sales for, Dan focuses on helping anyone shipping goods around the world get more connected to supply chain vendors, customers, software platforms, and more. Dan is passionate about using technology to provide visibility, clarity, and ease to complex supply chain challenges that require integrating multiple generations of technologies.

Past roles include VP of eCommerce for conDati, VP of Digital Performance Management at Blue Triangle, VP of Digital Strategy at SOASTA. He’s also worked with IBM Rational, Lockheed Martin, and Mercury/HP Software.

He lives in Saint Augustine, Florida.

Dan has presented his work at many conferences including the South Florida Agile/DevOps days, StarEAST, MobileWeek, Big Data TechCon Boston, Jenkins User Conference (East), several Meetups, and at itSMF events around North America, as well as the itSMF National Conference, multiple Gartner Conferences, and many local and regional events on a variety of topics in performance engineering and the SDLC.

You can find DAn at @DanBoutinUST or at a conference or meet-up near you.


Growing Food & Beverage Companies Through WMS System Integration

How System Integration Across Supply Chain Execution Is a Catalyst for Growth

Each function in a supply chain must work together like a well-oiled machine. Not only does this require systems and technology to work together, but also the processes built around it and the people managing it. Integrating diverse solutions deployed within a supply chain network can maximize data sharing to improve visibility, processes, and overall operational excellence.

Successful supply chain management relies on information and communication in order to track the movement of goods, spot issues, and make effective day-to-day decisions to, ultimately, deliver the right items, to the right customers, on time.
Integration across this ecosystem can yield:

1. Greater efficiency through streamlined and optimized operations.

2. Time and cost savings through productivity improvements, waste reduction, and efficiency increases.

3. Accelerated time-to-market with automated processes, optimized workflows, and the ability to make decisions faster.

4. More flexibility to adapt and change strategies to meet demands or shifts in consumer behavior.

5. Added insights by using advanced analytics on centralized, accessible data.



Often, the types of systems in this ecosystem include:

-Warehouse management systems (WMS)

-Order management systems (OMS)

-Manufacturing execution systems (MES)

-Transportation management systems (TMS)

-Warehouse control systems

-Yard management systems (YMS)

-Enterprise asset management systems (EAM)

-Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP)

A Digital Supply Chain Hub with SOLOCHAIN WMS Integrations

Companies that focus on creating Digital Supply Chain Hub can break down silos of legacy systems and bring processes and data into an integrated and connected ecosystem. SOLOCHAIN WMS transforms warehouse operations to scale for growth with the integration capabilities to support companies, in particular Food and Beverage, digitizing the supply chain processes.

Importance to Food & Beverage Companies

Digitization of supply chain processes is critical to future growth. The SOLOCHAIN WMS ecosystem provides the specific processes and capabilities Food & Beverage Companies require:

-Advanced warehouse functions and manufacturing execution

-Optimized production floor execution and lean manufacturing

-Work-in-process management and tracking

-License plate and container management

-Recipe management and consumption module

-Quality assurance with electronic checklists

-Track and trace capabilities

-Electronic recall capabilities

Built-in MES

As the command center of manufacturing operations, MES enables manufacturers to attain high inventory accuracy, productivity, and waste elimination throughout the manufacturing process. SOLOCHAIN WMS has built-in MES functionality to give businesses visibility and traceability within their supply chain. This integration is ideal for manufacturers and industries with multi-stage manufacturing processes and traceability regulations, like Food and Beverage, that need to connect the warehouse to the production floor and trace raw materials and finished goods forwards and backward.

Warehouse Control System Integration

Warehouse control systems are important to a warehouse’s automation capabilities as it controls and monitors equipment performance. SOLOCHAIN WMS integrates with various warehouse control system components, such as conveyor belts, sorters, scales, pick-to-light systems, carousels, and print and apply stations.

Mobile Hardware Integrations

Mobility is central to efficient warehouse operations. Handheld and mobile devices make it possible for a worker to be mobile within the warehouse, but it also can boost employee morale. By giving and utilizing devices that workers are comfortable with – iPads, touch screens, etc. – work is more enjoyable, and it takes less time to complete tasks. SOLOCHAIN WMS is platform-agnostic and compatible with Apple iOS, Android OS, and Microsoft Windows mobile.

For Cameron’s coffee, using iPads and tablets for production combined with other handheld devices enabled workers to run more production lines, be more mobile, and reduce the need for computers at every station.

ERP Integration

ERP systems support supply chain planning and manage day-to-day business activities, such as procurement, purchasing, risk management, accounting, and more. It is critical for a company’s warehouse management system to share information with its ERP seamlessly. SOLOCHAIN WMS provides out-of-the-box integration with third-party ERP systems to synchronize data and monitor inbound and outbound transactions in real-time.
This integration allows companies to report faster, close month-end sooner, and manage all business processes better.

ERP integrations include:


-Oracle Peoplesoft

-Oracle JD Edwards Enterprise One

-Microsoft Dynamic AX

-Microsoft Dynamics Nav

-Microsoft Dynamics GP



-And others as we are ERP agnostic!

TMS Integration

TMS systems can vary. And how companies ship their products is shifting with changing consumer behaviors. Traditionally, large companies would send products LTL using freight brokers. With eCommerce and omni-channel distribution taking priority, there is a movement toward using small package courier systems. SOLOCHAIN WMS integrates with a variety of TMS systems.

SOLOCHAIN can further optimize warehouse processes, such as picking strategies, based on information exchange with the TMS through this integration.

Manufacturer Blue Streak Electronics doubled output capacity and expanded to eCommerce channels using SOLOCHAIN WMS and a TMS, ProShip, for small parcel shipping.

Read more about how four companies used SOLOCHAIN WMS and integrations to digitize their supply chain processes, transform operations, and facilitate growth.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world, and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 


To Develop Innovative Products, Update Your Situational Awareness. Here’s How.

Product and organizational leaders can always rely on a dynamic business, tech, and regulatory market to challenge product innovation. So prepare to engage early with a process that provides unique insight into your business environment. How do you keep up on market timing and relevance? How do you spot a market shift with your customers? And how do you better align your organization and products with your market?

Developing B2B technology products fit-for-market and which customers will see as valuable is a process. And one ideally driven by applying a strategic approach to acquiring an essential situational awareness. On a battlefield, situation awareness, or situational awareness, is commonly referenced for knowing the environment in which you operate. In a business setting, I apply it to mean knowing your market, customer, and organizational environment.

While the term has also been used to explore other areas, like operations and crisis management, it is an approach I find potentially helpful to companies developing B2B technology products and services, as well as to organizations implementing such solutions to better serve their customers.

The following perspective is based on years of hard-won experience and observations from various roles in the business and technology arena having led development in Internet service infrastructure, supported sales, and presented business proposals to senior management; as well as having been a startup founder, professor of business and IT, radio frequency (RF) content developer and trainer; and presently in management consulting focused on product strategy and transformation in the data-connected cargo space.

I’ve learned that since individual business functions tend to be interconnected, where a fluctuation in one area can affect activity in another, engaging with a strategic process early to raise your situational awareness can be invaluable to innovation-minded product and organizational leaders. While the following illustrate some thoughts for consideration, they are not however meant as a directive. I strongly prefer trying to help others by presenting analysis and context that help them chart their own direction.

Tune Into Your Market. A major part of having an innovation-focused mindset is that not only do you remain closely in sync with your market, but also that you revisit ideas and projects for timing and relevance. Likewise, organizational flexibility, as a market response strategy, can also be helpful particularly when operating in a dynamic business, technology, and regulatory environment.

For example, an area widely covered over the past several years is a market challenge IoT manufacturers have faced on whether to develop pure-play (hardware) products, where they risk becoming a commodity or build products focused on delivering specific services tailored to a specific market. This area has also been a hallmark of the related hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) conversation. Pairing current market knowledge with what you can accept on flexibility can be influential on both an organizational and product level.

Be Curious. Practice tinkering on both a business and technical level as a routine. Gather ideas, challenge their assumptions, and look for key trends. Likewise, practice testing technical processes and functions for useful application. While “value” may not readily surface under this exercise, the point of having worked through some process on this level can serve you well when its opportunity arrives.

Perform a Product Stress Test. Conduct an internal assessment on your existing products relative to their technical capabilities and market applications. Doing so can shed potentially valuable insight on areas requiring attention as product design scalability, operational efficiency, and application limitations given your view of current market direction.

Develop in-house talent. Create an appropriate training strategy for management and technical teams to develop and maintain onboard expertise. At varying times, management needs to communicate with customers and vendors on product performance issues. And technical teams need the required skillsets to develop products and keep up in their field. As well, both should be able to comfortably convey ideas and feedback to one another and to key stakeholders.

Poll Your Customers. Use the relationship that you’ve built to call up customers and ask “how are things”? Ask about how your current product is working for them. Is the price right? Is the service right? Listen for any new features requests, ask how they will be applied, and in what markets will they need to operate? Evaluate requests for reasonableness in technical and cost expectations. Importantly, knowing the market ahead of the call can help you better filter the feedback, including whether any feature or product request is a one-off or, more broadly, signal a greater market shift.

Embrace A Sense of Purpose. Connecting more closely with the end application of your customers can help inspire a positive do-good company culture, and better align product strategy with the customer environment. In some cases, doing so may also lead to uncovering potential new market opportunities. Take, for instance, the food cold chain infrastructure challenges in emerging markets. Research analysis I’ve conducted on this conversation shows that over 40% food loss that occurs in the post-harvest and processing segments, forward-looking companies (in IoT and logistics arenas) interested in creating innovative partnerships in these markets can potentially expand market presence while also serving to reduce the food loss.

Time spent on updating your situational awareness can play an important role towards developing innovative products fit-for-market. The key is to start somewhere: get up to speed on current market trends, and connect with your sales teams on their overall customer interaction experience. They’re on the front lines of communicating with your customers. Assistance on these and other processes should be readily available in-house; if not, retain a professional.


Sal Yazbeck is a technology strategist advising companies on product innovation and transformation in the data-connected cargo space. He also works individually with business leaders who prefer to receive personalized trusted remote advisory access on days and at times of their choosing. He has worked across several industries, and has taught at both university schools of business and technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

arrive circle logistics tag documents food circle redwood

Six Big Trends in Cross-Border Logistics for 2022

As we look back on the year, the supply chain and logistics industry received more attention than ever before as it faced a myriad of challenges and circumstances. As we look towards 2022, here are some of the top trends and priorities to keep an eye on in the year ahead from Nuvocargo, the first digital freight forwarder and customs broker for US/Mexico trade.

Platformization and integration of data across the whole supply chain. The pandemic pushed the adoption of digital platforms lowering the friction to try new solutions that will drive migration from informal and manual communication platforms to specialized products that make their workdays more “automagical” by providing one source of truth and higher visibility. According to a report by Alloy Technologies Inc., 92 percent of executives agree supply chain visibility is important to success, only 27 percent have figured out a way to achieve it. This means, we may see a shift from discrete software to manage specific use cases (TMS and warehouse software) to platformization and integration of data across the whole supply chain, which will increasingly make operations smoother and companies more competitive. To achieve this, blockchain technology can be used to integrate all supply chain components in one platform and offer more transparency in the process.

Vetting suppliers and vendors based on resilience and adaptability.  With digitalization revolutionizing the logistics industry and bringing about more efficient processes, information exchange and visibility, we will see the industry shifting into a careful selection of partners based on their technological aptitude and insights. This will strongly be the case for Mexico since new tax regulations are forcing companies to adapt and optimize their processes in order to comply. Smaller carrier companies will struggle to comply with requirements when dealing directly with clients without the technical infrastructure of brokers. The accounting team of every logistics company will be put to the test and the ones that manage to leverage efficient and automated processes will avoid the crisis of on-time compliance for every shipment. From that angle, staying competitive will require a stricter filtering system of logistics partners and suppliers.

Regionalization of supply chain and nearshoring.  Organizations have been impacted by COVID-19 supply chain disruptions which have led companies to find suppliers closer to home to reduce costs and be less affected by more complex logistics or uncertainties. McKinsey’s report on the coronavirus effect on global economic sentiment says that uncertainty over COVID-19 is no longer executives’ foremost economic worry. Instead, they perceive the mounting fallout on the supply chain and inflation as the biggest threats to growth in their companies and economies.’ “Companies have learned the importance of being agile, adapting and solidifying to be able to thrive in volatile and unpredictable environments. That includes a restructure of the business core, technological implementation, regionalization, partners, etc.,” says Anaid Chacón, Head of Product of Nuvocargo. “Businesses have already started implementing new strategies over their supply chains and we can expect these shifts to continue in the coming years.”

Creative and technological solutions to address driver shortage. Delayed delivery is the accumulation of many factors. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), in order to keep up with the current economic demand, more than a million truck drivers will have to join the industry. In 2022, we will see how the industry fills this need by tapping into talent from other areas or demographics with previous low representation among drivers. A 2019 US Department of Transportation report states that 28 percent of the current heavy truck driving workforce will be 65+ years in the next decade. This means that the industry will have to promote and offer more benefits to younger people and women since the current average US truck driver is 48 years old. We may also see solutions based on process automation or self-service systems for customers to deal with these labor shortages. Autonomous trucks are also on the rise since large transport lines are starting to buy and test efficiency and costs.

Innovative financing solutions for the supply chain. Continuously offering partners alternatives that will help finance their operations and improve their cash flow will benefit all parties in terms of incrementing capacity and in keeping the supply chain moving. “Our data collection and experience has taught us the pain points of our partners who have high expenses, get paid 30 to 60 days after delivering shipments, and often need loans with high fees to continue operating,” says Chacón. “This is an industry-wide condition that requires attention if we wish to continue strengthening and growing the industry. Financing is one of the solutions to cash flow unpredictability that is required to respond to demand spikes.”

Greener supply chains.  Logistics and transportation companies are pushing environmental efforts to make their supply chain less invasive or harmful. This may include eco-friendly warehouses with advanced energy management systems, climate-smart supply chain planning, etc. We can expect these initiatives to continue rising and becoming more sophisticated over time.

micro fulfillment


It’s almost hard to believe that two years have passed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its merciless impacts on the supply chain, consumer behavior and how the world conducts business as usual. There is really nothing “usual” about conducting business nowadays, particularly for fulfillment operations in a myriad of sectors now saturating the e-commerce market. 

The fact of the matter is that e-commerce is no longer just thought of for a holiday list or bargain deal that cannot be found in traditional brick-and-mortar shops. E-commerce is becoming more of a first option for some and a permanent solution for others. Grocers, retailers, department stores and beyond are feeling the full effect of the e-commerce trend and despite the pandemic, it could very well be here to stay. 

So, how does this change the way fulfillment providers conduct operations? According to KPI Solutions’ Brittain Ladd, micro fulfillment is the key to capturing lost dollars and keeping up with demand.

“About 20% of all sales today are direct-to-consumer,” Ladd shares. “Prior to the pandemic, only about 3% of grocery sales were online. And only about 6% of all retail sales were online prior to the pandemic, so we’ve seen a massive shift. Grocery retailers and retailers of general merchandise had to change their business models to keep up with direct-to-consumer demand.”

Ladd serves as the chief supply chain and marketing officer with Kuecker Pulse Integration (KPI) in addition to his position as a Forbes Councils member. KPI Solutions is the result of an integrated partnership between Kuecker Logistics Group Inc., PULSE Integration and QC Software. Known best for bringing system integration and robotics automation to a variety of sectors, KPI Solutions approaches fulfillment operations uniquely by implementing and innovating their own software to meet demand.

“KPI Solutions has partnerships with leading robotics companies, and we can install basically any system that exists,” Ladd says. “We work with some of the largest global companies to help them automate their fulfillment and sharpen their strategy to identify more cost effective and innovative ways to meet customer demand. Consumers want more speed, especially now, and a lot of analysts are confused because they fail to realize that the goal isn’t to just deliver groceries in 10 to 15 minutes, it’s to deliver apparel, shoes, electronics and other products as well.”

So, where does micro fulfillment fit? And more importantly, how can it support fulfillment operations now and in the future? Let’s start by understanding how companies–such as grocers—a re struggling beyond the surge in e-commerce. Ladd shares that contrary to the widely held belief, grocers are suffering significantly with e-commerce, as they not only spend more to fulfill these orders, but they must keep up with the labor involved in third-party services, which further complicates the process.

Keep in mind, grocery retailers are now faced with a new wave of demand and speed. Ladd shares that companies in Europe that have entered the U.S. market, such as Buyk and Jokr, are now offering “rapid grocery delivery” in as little as 10 minutes.

“On average, grocery retailers lose anywhere from $7 to $15 on every online order they fulfill,” Ladd says. “And in some cases, they can lose as much as $25 on every online order they fulfill. Most retailers barely break even on any of their curbside pickup orders, except for the product since it’s a little higher value. 

“Imagine being a retailer who is now forced into a model where they’re having to change everything they do to meet the changing demands of consumers, but everything the consumer wants them to do the retailer loses money on. That’s the challenge.”

That’s also where micro fulfillment centers and technology can not only capture these costs but turnaround the way e-commerce fulfillment is streamlined. 

Geek+, Berkshire Grey, AutoStore, and Addverb Technologies are a few of the companies that are innovating fulfillment operations through automated robotic systems. These fully automated systems reduce the chances for human errors with mobility and capability of reaching inside inventory bins quite literally to fulfill orders. Ladd shares that most of these automated solutions cost around $1.2 million to $1.5 million with a return on investment realized within 18 to 24 months, paying for themselves while re-inventing fulfillment.

“The best way I can describe it is like holding a Rubik’s cube in front of you,” Ladd says. “Each of the cubes has some type of inventory inside and sitting on top of the Rubik’s cube are robots that go back and forth and side to side reaching down and picking up these cubes and moving them from one side to another, pulling out inventory. That’s exactly what they do as a robotic picking and fulfillment system.”

Embracing technology is what comes full circle for retailers attempting to overcome the e-commerce surge. And options such as these not only fully automate fulfillment processes but keep human involvement to a minimum. Retailers are catching on and the U.S. market is now starting to see what the European market has already adopted. In fact, Ladd shared that three European companies have recently entered New York City, and they are bringing exploding growth with them.

What makes these systems even more enticing (beyond the fact that they are fully automated) is the ability to operate after-hours–or in the dark when stores are closed. Micro fulfillment centers are intelligent enough to automate the fulfillment process, but small enough that grocery retailers can install them inside their stores–completing all of the fulfillment tasks and mileage usually completed by employees. 

“These systems are quite easy for retailers to embrace and adopt,” Ladd says. “Companies including Kroger, H-E-B, Albertson’s, Instacart and DoorDash are among the more recognized brands that are exploring these innovative options and either installing these systems or exploring how to use these systems. Make no mistake, the future of retail is robotics. Retailers that don’t embrace robotics will never be able to survive long term.”


Brittain Ladd, chief supply chain and marketing officer with KPI Solutions, is recognized as a leading expert in business strategy, supply chain management, logistics and last-mile delivery. He was one of the first individuals to research, design and recommend that retailers install micro-fulfillment centers in their stores and chains.

supply chain security ctpat

Improving Security Along Your Supply Chain: 7 Pointers

Disruptions in the supply chain can ripple throughout entire industries. As the world becomes more interconnected, these threats become increasingly worrisome, with widespread issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting their severity.

Supply chain attacks rose by 42% in Q1 2021 in the U.S. alone, impacting 7 million people. In light of these rising threats, supply chain security is more important than ever. Here are seven pointers for improving safety.

1. Restrict Access Privileges

One of the primary drivers behind rising supply chain attacks is these networks’ wealth of valuable data. Logistics organizations have gone digital and now generate and store vast amounts of information that cybercriminals can steal or hold for ransom. Restricting access privileges can help mitigate these threats.

The more people have access to a system or database, the more potential entry points there are for cybercriminals. Supply chains can eliminate these vulnerabilities by restricting who can see or interact with which systems. A good practice to follow is the least privilege principle: Only those who absolutely need given data to perform their duties can access it.

Tighter access privileges should pair with thorough authentication measures. Users must verify their identity through multifactor authentication (MFA) before accessing anything they’re authorized to.

2. Verify Third Parties’ Security

Third-party actors are another common vulnerability among supply chains. As an example of how pressing this issue is, the now-infamous SolarWinds hack, the biggest cyberattack of 2020, came from a third party. Hackers gained access to thousands of businesses and agencies by infiltrating SolarWinds, a third-party service they all used.

Supply chains must verify the security of any third party before doing business with them. That can mean asking for proof of security measures, only partnering with certified organizations or auditing third parties’ security through independent specialists.

Organizations should also apply the principle of least privilege here. Third parties should only have access to the systems and data they need and nothing more. That way, a breach on their end will cause minimal damage.

3. Secure All IoT Devices

Many have unknowingly created new vulnerabilities as supply chains have embraced new technologies. The widespread use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to track inventories and shipments can put supply chains at risk. While these gadgets are extraordinarily helpful, they’re notoriously risky if companies don’t secure them properly.

A seemingly innocuous IoT device can act as a gateway to more sensitive systems and data on the same network. Thankfully, the steps to mitigate this threat are relatively straightforward. First, supply chains should host IoT devices on separate networks from other systems so hackers can’t access more sensitive data through them.

Next, supply chains must encrypt all IoT communications to secure their data transmissions. Encryption is often disabled by default, so this step is easy to overlook. Enabling automatic updates will help keep these devices secure, too.

4. Equip Workers Appropriately

While cyber threats may be the most pressing aspect of supply chain security, organizations shouldn’t neglect physical security, either. Piracy, physical theft and similar crimes are still relevant dangers. Supply chains can protect against these by hiring security staff and equipping them appropriately.

New padding technologies can consist of 0.01% solid material but still provide sufficient protection. Equipment like that will help security workers stay safe while not restricting their comfort or range of motion. Other tools like metal detectors, flashlights and ID scanners can further provide these employees with the utmost protection.

Equipping drivers and other supply chain workers with emergency resources is crucial, too. Radios, medical kits, rations and similar supplies should be standard in trucks, ships and other vehicles.

5. Improve Supply Chain Transparency

Supply chains can improve physical and digital security by increasing transparency. The more an organization can see about its operations, the faster it can respond to any incoming threats.

IoT security systems can let workers monitor cameras from their phones, giving quick access to security information. Similarly, organizations can employ smart sensors to monitor for break-ins, fires, leaks and other threats to alert employees when a situation arises. When companies learn of these risks faster, they can respond more effectively.

Similarly, network monitoring tools can give IT teams insight into potential data breaches. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems can continuously monitor for suspicious activity, alerting workers when there’s a possible cybercrime attempt.

6. Train Employees in Security Best Practices

No matter what other security steps an organization takes, employees must be taught about them. All it takes is one misstep from a worker to jeopardize a supply chain’s security, regardless of how strong its other defenses are. For this reason, as many as 85% of data breaches result from human error.

Every employee should receive security training covering relevant risks, best practices and emergency procedures. It’s important to stress why these methods are important so workers understand the gravity of their actions in some situations.

In addition to initial security training sessions, supply chain organizations should host regular refresher training. That way, proper procedures will remain fresh in employees’ minds, preventing mistakes related to them forgetting best practices.

7. Create an Incident Response Plan

Supply chains must understand that no defense system is perfect. Disruptions in this industry are too risky, and it’s likely they will someday experience an emergency. They should create a formal incident response plan to enable quick, effective action should an unexpected event occur.

More than half of all companies have experienced downtime that’s lasted eight hours or more in the past five years. Supply chains can prevent this through a disaster recovery plan. What this looks like will vary among organizations, but it should include backup resources, communication strategies, specific protocols for each department and contingency plans.

Supply chains don’t need to prepare for every emergency but should determine which events are the most likely or potentially destructive. These incidents deserve formal, detailed response plans, which all employees should know. To ensure ongoing efficacy, organizations should periodically review and update these plans.

Supply Chain Security Is Essential

If a supply chain experiences a security breach, it could affect far more than the logistics company itself. That risk, coupled with the rising trend of supply chain attacks, makes these security steps essential.

These seven points are not a comprehensive list of security procedures but cover the most important factors. Supply chain organizations should ensure they consider these steps and take further action if necessary.