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Calculating the True Value of a WMS: Top Cost Savings for Manufacturing Companies


Calculating the True Value of a WMS: Top Cost Savings for Manufacturing Companies

When manufacturing companies consider the digitization of their supply chain, many opt to delay their project because of the investments required to acquire and implement new technology solutions. In so doing, however, they deprive themselves of their operational and financial benefits.   

SaaS solutions like the SOLOCHAIN WMS have made efficient technology solutions far more affordable than ever before. Nevertheless, a WMS still remains a significant investment to smaller manufacturing companies. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a WMS or ERP’s TOC is not indicative of the system’s actual value – at least, not in and of itself.

Any investment in supply chain infrastructure must be evaluated by relating the TOC to the ROI an operator stands to achieve. It is therefore essential that operators rigorously understand the kinds of savings and gains a given technology solution can yield to make an informed decision regarding its value.

In this paper, we look at five ways manufacturing companies achieve tangible and intangible savings and gains thanks to the SOLOCHAIN WMS.

1. Roasting Coffee to Customers Satisfaction, for Less

A coffee roasting, packaging, and distribution company is putting out a great product and garnering the attention of major players the likes of Walmart, Target, and Menards. To benefit from these new revenue streams, the manufacturer must comply with distinct customer requirements, from packaging to labeling to shipping.

With the SOLOCHAIN WMS integrated with its ERP system, the manufacturer can rely on automated compliance processes and ensure that all shipments meet their customers’ requirements. At all stages of the production and distribution cycle, employees are informed of the customer’s requirements through intuitive interfaces on handheld devices or computer stations.

Thanks to these efficiency gains, the manufacturer is able to achieve a throughput that meets the increased demand instead of having to invest in new real estate, new material handling equipment, and a larger labor force.

2. Manufacturing Cosmetics in an Attractive Work Environment

Some savings generated by the SOLOCHAIN WMS are easily quantified. Others are more intangible, but nevertheless very real.

Most manufacturers these days have trouble attracting and retaining qualified warehouse workers. For a cosmetics manufacturer, this was true before the pandemic hit and it has become a real thorn in their foot today. Labor shortages are now affecting manufacturing and distribution activities to the point where they cannot meet productivity targets. Delays in shipments are having an impact on service levels. Meanwhile, a high turnover rate leads to significant training fees and further operational penalties.

The SOLOCHAIN WMS supports workflows from production processes all the way to shipping. Thanks to clear instructions on intuitive interfaces, activities in the warehouse are more efficient and the cosmetics maker can meet its productivity targets with fewer employees.

Implementing the WMS on handheld devices similar to iPhones and Android platforms, the younger generation of workers find their work environment much more pleasant. This helps the cosmetic maker achieve a higher retention rate, which in turn reduces the training budgets.

By relying on a smaller workforce and retaining more of its employees thanks to an improved work environment, the company can meet its productivity targets and ensure customer satisfaction while saving on labor costs.

3. A Production Flow That Never Drops the Ball

The benefits of traceability might be more obvious in the Food & Beverage industry, but the truth is that all manufacturers stand to make important savings by keeping track of the items that go into making what they produce.

Through SOLOCHAIN’s traceability and automated order cycles capabilities, a baseball equipment manufacturer can keep an eye on quantities produced as well as every item consumed in the process. Management can configure the WMS so that it automatically generates POs to procure items once a certain quantity threshold is reached. In that way, SOLOCHAIN ensures that production is never halted because items are missing on the shelves.

With management in charge of determining thresholds, the system also bypasses the risk of human errors, avoiding that too many, or to few items are ordered. This leads to an optimal use of the warehouse’s storage capacity, which saves the baseball equipment manufacturer from having to make unnecessary investments in their physical infrastructure.

4. Your Counts

Weekly inventory cycle counts force a manufacturer of audio-visual equipment to close areas in the warehouse. This slows down productivity and cuts into the manufacturer’s margins. Thanks to SOLOCHAIN’s inventory management capabilities, the company can save on the costs of long weekly cycle counts.

Once implemented on handheld scanning devices, SOLOCHAIN enables the manufacturer to keep track, in real time, of the quantity and location of every item in the warehouse. While they perform cycle counts, employees are continuously supported in their activities with clear instructions, which drastically cuts down on the time required to complete their tasks.

Today, the manufacturer is attaining inventory accuracy levels of 99.6% and working on eliminating weekly shutdown periods altogether. Thanks to SOLOCHAIN’s support, annual counts can be performed in a single weekend, ensuring that their production of a5. Thinking Ahead: Intelligent Manufacturing  audio-visual equipment never misses a beat.

A food processing facility specialises in the production of organic packaged meals that are delivered daily to various organic grocers in the region. Their products are gaining in popularity and demand is on the rise. The number and complexity of customer orders are quickly overwhelming their pen & paper fulfilment processes. The resulting production and shipping errors are now eating at the manufacturer’s profits and affecting customer satisfaction levels.

The SOLOCHAIN WMS facilitates Just-In-Time Delivery through automated full cycle order management. Thanks to the system’s support, order fulfillment at the food service manufacturer is now virtually errorless. Clients are satisfied and demand is on the rise again. Meanwhile, lesser returns lead to lesser losses, which in turn saves the organic meal maker from welting margins.

About Generix Group

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. 


How WMS Can Enable Manufacturers’ Growth Strategy

Successful growth strategies require technology-enabled innovation. Manufacturers can look at various technologies to automate operations, improve efficiencies, and scale more efficiently throughout the entire supply chain. A WMS is one technology that can help manufacturers transform their warehouse or plant operations to scale for growth.  

A good WMS will provide real-time inventory visibility and create new efficiencies within inbound, warehousing, manufacturing, and outbound processes. SOLOCHAIN WMS combines warehouse management and manufacturing execution system capabilities to deliver a flexible platform with features and capabilities to enable efficiencies and support operational excellence.

Inbound Processes – Improve Receiving, Quality Assurance and Put-Away of Inventory

The goal of a WMS is to reduce the number of steps in a process and the touches or movements of inventory. During inbound processes, the WMS optimizes inventory receiving.

-WMS enables cross-docking by receiving, creating the picks, and staging the inventory to ship out within a cross-dock zone without putting the inventory into overstock or pick locations within the warehouse. Cross-docking can help move products more quickly based on sales orders and reduce overall handling and movement of inventory.

-Put-away logic in the WMS can help workers put inventory in the best or right location when it enters the warehouse. This is important for frozen, refrigerated, and other goods to ensure they are in the optimal location. Likewise, put-away logic can bring additional efficiencies if it makes sense from a logistics standpoint to allow forward pick locations to be topped up during the receiving process while still respecting FIFO/FEFO rotation. Put-away logic will help optimize the picking process and improve inventory turnover.

Warehouse Processes – Improve Inventory Control, Accuracy, and Movement of Inventory

Our WMS can improve inventory control and accuracy within warehouse processes and make inventory movement more efficient and productive.

-Cycle counting within SOLOCHAIN WMS allows for inventory control and accuracy. Inaccurate inventory is one significant way manufacturers lose revenue. A strong cycle counting process gives a warehouse an ongoing measurement of inventory accuracy while reducing stock shrinkage and shutdowns and the ability to identify out-of-sync inventory or mistakes more quickly.

-Warehouse movements are managed in the WMS. These can include put-away moves, replenishments, pre-emptive replenishments, manual moves, and picking. To improve operational efficiency within the warehouse, task interleaving can reduce deadheading and maximize travel time. For example, a forklift operator will complete the next closest task based on their location in the warehouse – it could be a pick, a cycle count, a replenishment, etc.

Manufacturing Execution Functionality – Support Kitting, Multi-Stage Manufacturing, and Recall Reporting

Unlike many WMS, SOLOCHAIN WMS has MES functionality built into the platform to give businesses real-time visibility and traceability throughout the supply chain.

-Kitting or multi-stage manufacturing processes can be managed with the WMS to produce finished products. The warehouse becomes connected with the production floor to ensure a consistent material flow.

-Traceability and recall reporting is made possible by WMS. Throughout assembling or producing a finished product, detailed information about each material used is tracked, including lot numbers. As a result, manufacturers can trace forwards and backward. For example, if there was an issue with a single ingredient, the manufacturer can trace all finished products where it was used. Alternatively, if there was an issue with a finished product, the manufacturer can also identify all raw materials used to produce the good. Real-time traceability allows for recall reporting in instances where there are product issues. This functionality is ideal for industries with traceability regulations such as food, cosmetics, and nutraceuticals.

Outbound Processes – Manage Order Types, Fulfill Efficiently, and Meet Customer Compliance Requirements

As customer buying behaviors have shifted significantly, businesses strive to enable new channels to support customer needs, such as eCommerce and omnichannel experiences. How efficiently outbound logistic processes operate is critical to success. Outbound processes managed within the WMS are flexible and highly configurable.

-Multiple order types are managed within this WMS, and the solution looks to optimize the picking process for the specific order type. A warehouse can fulfill orders for direct eCommerce, omnichannel, and traditional wholesale more efficiently as WMS will direct the pick from the most efficient location. For example, if a large pallet quantity is in the order, the WMS may suggest picking the oldest pallets from bulk overstock rather than from forward pick locations. Likewise, customer compliance requirements can be generated through our WMS.

-From a shipping perspective, SOLOCHAIN WMS can be integrated with a TMS. If the WMS is integrated with the TMS. the platform can further optimize the picking process. For example, SOLOCHAIN WMS can wait for enough case quantities to create a picklist that will pull a full pallet shipped out by UPS. The UPS shipping labels are printed and applied in sequence during the pick creation as the worker picks the product. With a whole pallet of product, the worker can move and load it onto the UPS trailer versus taking it to a packing station.

The core capabilities of SOLOCHAIN WMS optimize processes – inbound, outbound, manufacturing, warehousing – and accurately capture data and use it to enable new efficiencies. For manufacturers, SOLOCHAIN WMS’s manufacturing-specific processes within its foundation allow for better optimization and synchronization across operations. To learn more about the features and capabilities of WMS, download the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WMS Report today.

About Generix Group

As omni-channel driven demands become the norm, with resulting customer satisfaction harder to achieve, supply chain professionals need to leverage advanced WMS technology to keep their operations nimble, efficient, and scaling – especially in these volatile times.

Given Generix Group’s completeness of vision and ability to execute, as recognized once again by the Gartner analyst community, their SOLOCHAIN WMS is well positioned to help companies needing a modern, flexible and agile solution that can easily adapt to their changing needs. We invite you to contact us to learn more.


5 Insightful Use Cases for Food & Beverage Companies – SOLOCHAIN WMS

The digitization of supply chains is well underway. SaaS solutions, such as the SOLOCHAIN WMS, have made it easier for Food & Beverage companies to reap the operational benefits of new technology solutions, rapidly obtain ROI, and stimulate growth.  

In this blog, we take a quick look at five scenarios that illustrate how the SOLOCHAIN WMS not only improves daily operations on the floor, but also provides management crucial information to help leaders make better decisions. Find out how SOLOCHAIN concretely enables more efficient and cost-effective activities in the warehouse and paves the way to better client experience, sustained growth, and higher margins.

Real Time Visibility on Inventory for an Agile eCommerce Grocery

Supply chain operators know the impacts of inventory inaccuracies on profitability. Short of accurate information to manage their stocks and stay ahead of the demand signal, companies are doomed to make poor use of their capacity, suffer from losses, and lose the ability to fulfill orders on time.

A grocer operates a multichannel operation from his distribution center. Employees must deal with replenishment orders for a dozen brick-and-mortar groceries, manage cross-dock transfers, and fulfill and ship customer orders made through the grocer’s eCommerce platform (D2C).

With real time updates that give precise information on every item’s location, and rates of inventory accuracy above 99%, SOLOCHAIN ensures that inventory is easily located and properly handled by employees.

Thanks to automated data exchanges between their ERP system and SOLOCHAIN, handheld scanners that are integrated with the WMS, and a 2D digitized map of their distribution center, the grocer’s employees can rely on accurate inventory data across their entire network and intelligent replenishment suggestions that anticipate on the demand signal.

Manage the Heat Efficiently in a Multi-Temp Facility

Businesses in the Food & Beverage industry have to deal with expiration dates, customer specific shelf-life requirements, and traditionally thin margins. Failure to manage fresh and frozen inventory properly can rapidly melt a grocer’s profits.

Take our grocer from the previous scenario: their distribution center has three different temp zones, one of which is a cold storage area. Employees at the dock affected to receiving and transfer tasks must therefore contend with items that must be handled efficiently and expediently to avoid losses.

SOLOCHAIN supports employees receiving frozen goods of the environmental conditions that must prevail in every section of a truck before they accept the delivery. Thanks to that information, they can rapidly make sure that all items meet quality standards, which enables them to come to quick and efficient decisions regarding their reception.

In the eventuality that items do not meet the standards, SOLOCHAIN also tells them what steps must be taken to refuse a shipment and inform the system of any and all changes to inventory. Thanks to the WMS, frozen goods are properly handled on the dock and congestions are avoided, preventing operational penalties and costly losses.

Making Candy Bars that Make Everyone Smile

Food processing requires that operators pay attention to a variety of details: FIFO across different temp zones, items consumed in a batch, customer shelf-life requirements, etc. To ensure its commercial success, a candy bar processing facility must be able to rely on the right data so that items are consumed at the right time and processed products are efficiently picked and shipped that meet the client’s standards.

SOLOCHAIN supports all activities in the processing facility, from the reception of ingredients to the production of processed goods to shipping the candy. At every step, adaptable mobile workflow and graphical tools are accessible to employees on intuitive, easy to read interfaces. Dashboards provide them the right information to ensure that items are handled properly and efficiently. SOLOCHAIN will, for example, communicate FIFO data to employees picking ingredients, guaranteeing that stocks are efficiently consumed and losses are avoided. It will also inform employees of a client’s shelf-life requirements, making sure that picked items meet their standards and are not returned, which avoids costly penalties.

Meanwhile, SOLOCHAIN affords management granular visibility on crucial information: who is performing what task, details regarding production progress, all inventory modifications in real time, and the status of orders fulfilment. Thanks to intuitive dashboards and detailed reporting capabilities, the SOLOCHAIN WMS enables faster order fulfillment, improved customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, higher margins.

Download WMS SOLOCHAIN Product Sheet Here

Efficient Recalls at the Ice Cream Factory

While all food manufacturers do their best to steer clear of having to perform recalls, they remain a part of the game. The real differentiator between competing companies is how well recalls are managed. The key, of course, is to achieve recalls that are precise and expedient. By doing so, operators avoid crippling financial penalties and maintain the high service levels that have allowed them to build strong customer confidence over time.

Thanks to its powerful traceability capabilities, SOLOCHAIN informs an ice cream maker of all the items that were consumed in a batch. Moreover, it allows the ice cream maker to rigorously trace each and every one of these items, from vendor to customer. And if that wasn’t enough, the WMS also contains a visual tool that makes it easy for employees on the floor to verify, understand, and comply with FDA regulations.

SOLOCHAIN therefore makes it easy for the ice cream maker to precisely identify which lot of cream was problematic, which batches of ice cream consumed that cream, and which must consequently be recalled. SOLOCHAIN let management know of the exact location of every unit from these batches, enabling them to make precise and efficient recalls. Thanks to SOLOCHAIN, no good ice cream goes wasted!

Brewing and Delivering Efficiently Thanks to Facilitated Compliance

A brewer delivers its beers across the United States and Canada. From state to state, province to province, the rules relevant to what information must appear on labels are different. Employees must therefore ensure that every shipped case of beer complies with regulations and requirements in the client’s location. When a brewing operation endeavours to deliver efficiently on such a large territory, clerical operations are no longer an option.

SOLOCHAIN is easily integrated with the brewer’s ERP system and labeling software & equipment to support labeling and shipping activities in the warehouse. The WMS acts as hub that automatically relays information to the brewer’s systems and employees regarding a client’s requirements and the laws prevalent in their state or province. The data is thus fed to the labeling software and available on easy-to-read interfaces, which expedites the work of employees fulfilling orders on the floor.

Thanks to significant efficiency gains and a drastically reduced error ratio in their shipments, the brewer achieves higher service levels, which attracts more clients and enables 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.


Traxens Raises 23M€ and Acquires NEXT4 To Become the World Leader of Shipping Container Tracking

TRAXENS, the leading smart-container service provider for
the global supply chain industry, announced today a new financing round of €23 million ($25+ million) from the company’s existing shareholders. The funds will be used to fuel Traxens’ international expansion starting with the acquisition of NEXT4, a fast-growing French supplier of removable and reusable shipping container trackers.

Traxens’ Internet-of-Things (IoT) solution is based on a breakthrough technology that enables access to the most comprehensive, precise and timely data for managing assets in transit anywhere in the world. In addition to tracking container geolocation, it detects shocks and monitors temperature and humidity, as well as the open-or-closed status of container doors.

The acquisition, confirmed today, will allow Traxens to streamline and merge NEXT4’s offering into its suite of solutions, providing customers with the best of both solutions — including shipments scheduling, collaborative risk management, and analysis reports. The newly consolidated company is now the market frontrunner in providing overseas cargo visibility and offers Traxens’ customers a technological edge in container tracking solutions.

“Integrating NEXT4 into our company dramatically increases our ability to serve the growing needs of our customers as they digitalize their business processes, while adding freight visibility, cargo security and goods integrity,” said Traxens CEO David Marchand.

Founded in Toulouse in 2018, NEXT4 provides trackers that can be attached to containers from point of origin to the final destination. This provides freight forwarders with a premium tracking solution and gives customers 24/7, real-time data on the status and location of their goods via sensors inside the containers.

Tens of thousands of NEXT4 trackers have been adopted by leading freight forwarders such as Bolloré Logistics and DB Schenker. Airlines have also approved the latest version of its trackers, a smaller and more versatile device, that allows them to be adapted to the needs of the air freight industry.

The €23 million round of financing follows a Series C funding round of approximately €20M ($22.7M) raised in 2019. This new acquisition will enable the consolidated French company to continue deploying its smart-containers worldwide, while building new relationships with major players in the supply chain, including companies focused on container leasing, insurance and
transport management systems.

As it moves into new markets in the U.S., South America and Asia, Traxens will also use the funding to further expand its portfolio of solutions to address the increasing needs of freight forwarders and beneficial cargo owners (BCO) for supply chain transparency.

“Joining the Traxens group enables us to market our innovative solution on an internationalNEXT4 will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Traxens with offices in Toulouse. In addition
to remaining as CEO of NEXT4, Rosemont will serve as Traxens’ chief marketing officer. scale and to jointly develop new products and solutions with their team,” said NEXT4 CEO and founder Cédric Rosemont. “Our highly complementary solutions will meet the current and future challenges of shippers and their logistics providers. This means NEXT4’s customers also can benefit from Traxens’ solutions, which are now being widely deployed by container owners.”

NEXT4 will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Traxens with offices in Toulouse. In addition to remaining as CEO of NEXT4, Rosemont will serve as Traxens’ chief marketing officer.

Both CEOs will be available for interviews about this strategic merger at the TPMTECH (Feb.24-25) and TPM22 (Feb. 27-March 2) trade shows in Long Beach, Calif.


SaaS Marketing in 2022: Maturation and More Responsibility

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), once the new kid acronym on the technology block, has become so deeply entrenched in our technological world as to spawn a new generation of as-a-service models (we’re looking at you AIaaS)—and an entire field of savvy SaaS marketers. Indeed, SaaS has long since left its “emerging” roots behind and hit a new level of marketing maturation.

But with this newfound maturity comes great responsibility. Recent surveys among SaaS marketing executives found that strategy, segmentation, differentiation, and adoption of new technologies will be of heightened importance for this group in 2022. And, as the world continues to reel from COVID-19 and its impact on the economy of work, there will be an even greater emphasis on employee engagement and cross-departmental relationship building.

The Broad Strokes: SaaS Industry Growth Drivers & Challenges

Not so surprisingly, our world of remote work and tech disruption will continue to be key growth drivers for the SaaS industry. And for the top-tier SaaS and cloud companies that can bring that growth, valuations are at an all-time high—34x ARR today, up from a pretty consistent 10x through 2018, per SaaStr. But just as much as our digitized, app-happy workforce can help us grow revenue, it can just as easily take it away.

Key insights:

-The move to mobile is never over, but desktop-only is. The remote worker will continue to drive SaaS apps to mobile so they can log in anytime, anywhere on a variety of devices.

-AI and IoT—and the endless supply of newcomers to these arenas—will drive major SaaS growth.

-Marketers are flying blind to a much greater degree than years past: With more prospective buyers using untrackable methods to get product and service information (e.g., media roundups, user forums, personal networks), marketers will face growing pressure to generate the demand necessary to meet revenue goals.

SaaS Marketing Will Get More Tech + Data Driven

Yes, there once was a time that metrics didn’t reign supreme in marketing, but that time is NOT now. And as romantic as the ideas of gut instinct and natural marketing ability were, they’ve given way to algorithms, automation, and AI.

Key insights:

-Predictive analytics will go from experimental to mainstream, as companies spend the effort to deploy them with every customer touchpoint. Marketers who can effectively implement these new tools will gain customer loyalty, especially among Gen Z.

-Product Lead Strategies that focus on up-selling customers from freemium to paid versions will continue to grow, spawning a new stage in the marketing funnel called Product Qualified Lead (PQL).

-The COVID-induced labor shortage will enable SaaS vendors to disintermediate industries that have been resistant to automation.

Values and Culture Are Growing in Importance

With employees’ relationships to their work rattled since the start of COVID-19—corporate layoffs giving way to the Great Resignation—SaaS marketers will need to take a leadership role in shaping the employee experience. Communicative and empathetic managers who are able to foster employee engagement will make big strides in retaining talent and, consequently, impacting customer engagement.

Outside of their own teams, marketers will need to step up their alignment with groups like Governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) that are focused on company values and practices. It’s not good enough to communicate around pure offerings anymore.

Key insights:

-The employee experience will become vitally important in 2022, as employees across the board seek more purpose in their work lives. Support must be provided to workers so they can create and sustain the internal relationships that will keep them happily committed to their jobs.

-Greater employee engagement will become a driver for customer engagement—an entirely new marketing engine.

-GRC will become more mainstream, making each department more willing to share information and resources with one another. This heightened focus on GRC strategy will reduce risks, costs, and duplication of efforts across departments.

-Marketers will need to take special care to ensure a brand’s story satisfies and compliments the pressing issues undertaken by ESG. And, in this sense, the ESG framework and its participants will be drivers of growth in 2022.

Bottom Line

As SaaS assumes its more mature status in tech, marketing leaders will need to cozy up to their more expansive roles as tech drivers, relationship builders, and strategic architects in order to continue their growth trajectory in 2022.


Angus Robertson is a Partner and CMO with Chief Outsiders, the nation’s fastest-growing executive-as-a-service company.


How an Algorithm is Blended in Logistics Industry

Long before the current pandemic ever existed, the nature of global business environments had already drastically changed. Many traditional business methods had been replaced with online platforms, which were more cost-effective, flexible, and efficient.

The many advancements and changes from conducting real time-digital business transactions and more regional and global e-commerce businesses led to a higher demand for logistics services. The traditional logistics offline business model will need a transformation into real time-online business transactions in order to catch up with a global digital business model. Most logistics companies (Transporters) work independently to employ their own sales, operations, finance, and marketing staff. As a result, companies are unproductive, disconcerted, have difficulties adapting to the current trends, and fail to find better business opportunities.

During my time serving the industry, I found my work schedule inefficient, with so much time being wasted waiting for price quotations from other agents or waiting for reports to issue invoice billing. The bottleneck in the logistics industry has always been the “long wait time,” which is one of the most expensive operation costs being added to shippers. For example, when our sales department receives a new work order, they need to prepare detailed instructions, reviewed and initialed by supervisor. The operation needs to wait for order instruction before operation work can be started.

Accounting is also facing the same waiting time before being able to issue the final invoice. Although the operation is finished, paperwork is still with the operation’s personnel who is only able to return documents by day’s end or tomorrow morning.

The logistics industry needs to implement a technology platform with centralized functions of operation infrastructures, financial, sales-marketing, administration. Technology with its algorithm is able to analyze business information and auto deliver information directly to other nearby companies, allowing greater flexibility and better decision making. With a self-configured algorithm, each company is able to receive collaboration and cooperation notifications of “sales opportunity or sharing space availability”, which each company can share with their consumers.

With a technology algorithm, digital logistics information is integrated, communicated, and distributed to the shipper without delay. The slow process of waiting for documents or waiting on instruction before work can be started will no longer exist. Shippers and logistics companies (Transporter) can easily review, evaluate and make a selection in real-time. Detailed digitized service requirements of schedules, location pickup and delivery, pricing structures, and other charges are automatically displayed in real-time before the shipper makes final confirmation. This will provide a new business solution that provides logistics service transparency and trust to all logistics users.

The question is, what will it take for the logistics industry to transform its offline business method into a real-time technology platform? There are complicated logistics variables that should be carefully managed properly by a developer, such as customs, financial and transportation where local regulation is varied from one country to the other. I am optimistic there will be a company that has deep knowledge in logistics and technology infrastructures able to design, develop and deliver a fresh solution to this giant industry, where each marketing-sales-operation-customer service, finance, and administration information are delivered to Shipper and Transporter without delay.

Our world is beginning to work more favorably toward a modern digital lifestyle which is simpler and more efficient than our grandfather’s times.



“Accelerating Digitalization: Critical Actions to Strengthen the Resilience of the Maritime Supply Chain,” a report that the World Bank and International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) issued in January, describes how collaborative use of digital technology can help streamline all aspects of maritime transport, from cross-border processes and documentation to communications between ship and shore.

The joint report, with its special focus on ports, argues that a better digital collaboration between private and public entities across the maritime supply chain will result in significant efficiency gains, safer and more resilient supply chains and lower emissions.

“The report’s short and medium-term measures to accelerate digitalization have the proven potential to improve supply chain resilience and efficiency whilst addressing potential risks related to cybersecurity,” says Dr. Patrick Verhoeven, the IAPH managing director of Policy and Strategy. “However, necessary policy reform is also vital. Digitalization is not just a matter of technology but, more importantly, of change management, data collaboration and political commitment.”

How big a deal is big data? According to, the global big data and business analytics market is valued at $215.7 billion this year and will grow by more than 27% to exceed $274 billion by the end of next year.

However, recent IAPH survey revealed that only a third of more than 100 responding ports complied with a mandatory International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement that all member countries exchange key data electronically. The main barriers to digitalization cited by the ports did not involve the technology but the legal framework within their countries or regions and the inability to persuade multiple private-public stakeholders to collaborate.

Fortunately, as you will learn if you read on, there are governments, port authorities and economic development entities that are embracing big data.

Bottlenecks along the supply chain

Among the key chokepoints in the global maritime system are some of the world’s most critical transport gateways. Consider the significance of just two of them: The Strait of Malacca and the Strait of Hormuz. As the U.S. Department of Energy’s website makes quite clear about the importance of the latter, “The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil transit chokepoint.”

More than 90% of the world’s total trade volume is moved by the maritime shipping industry. Every year, it transports more than $4 trillion of goods. An immense pressure is placed on shipping companies to remain on schedule, protect the cargo ship and crew, and ensure profitability. And one can’t say that it’s easy.

It is hard to visualize the world’s main shipping routes or to glimpse the industry’s complexity. As they transport goods from one continent to another, approximately 90,000 vessels cross paths.

The maritime industry involves an intricate system of transportation. To complicate things, ports and vessels are also subject to the forces of nature, which are becoming harder and harder to predict. Thus, shipping companies must be able to adapt to changing situations and act fast.

With real-time big data analytics, however, the maritime industry can better navigate these unexpected challenges.

Big data is a field that extracts and analyzes data from data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Real-time capabilities mean that those insights are delivered immediately after collection.

How exactly does real-time big data help?

Maritime companies generate data from different sources and in several formats. Traditionally, these insights are fixed, siloed and inconsistent. Actioning this information is time-consuming and a major pain point for shipping companies. 

With big data tools, this inflow of data is collated and organized in a cloud-based system. It then analyzes and spits out the relevant data in real-time, which promotes better decision making. Nothing is left to intuition or chance—unlocking opportunities to drive greater efficiencies.

According to the recent World Bank report “Reforming and Rebuilding Lebanon’s Port Sector: Policies and Solutions for Digitalizing the Port of Beirut,” digitalization must be key in the reconstruction and modernization of the facility that was rocked by chemical explosions in August 2020.  

“Rapidly evolving technology is creating the digital ports of the future and Lebanon should not be left out,” maintains Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq regional director. “Through an all stakeholder approach, Lebanon should immediately enact special port institutional framework to reform the port sector and to launch transformation process toward a structured and systematic technological upgrade of the Port of Beirut to support Lebanon’s economic recovery.”

Efficient maritime operations and logistics

Overall operations and logistics become much more efficient with real-time data. Companies can obtain information through GPS and RFID tags to help locate containers and ships immediately. Data technology also helps synchronize communication to manage ship arrivals, berthings, and departures safely and efficiently. And in case of an emergency, non-availability of labor or terminal allocations, real-time data helps ships plan their routes and speeds accordingly.

Due to climate change, this ability to pivot has never been so relevant. Although the global maritime industry is a well-oiled machine, the ocean’s weather—currents, waves and wind—are more unpredictable than ever. Real-time data streamlines decision making and supports ad hoc navigation to ensure companies maximize returns.

After a yearlong trial period, the Greater Houston Port Bureau officially partnered in June with PortXchange Products, a Netherlands-based digital solutions provider for predictable and sustainable shipping. The five-year deal is allowing for the adoption and further development of PortXchange’s collaborative vessel and terminal planning platform.

“Digitization and data are key for the port of Houston region to increase predictability, improve efficiency and remain globally competitive,” says Capt. Bill Diehl, U.S. Coast Guard (retired), president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau. The non-profit trade organization operates the Maritime Exchange of Texas, which maintains critical vessel movement data for the Lone Star State’s deep draft ports.

The agreement came as a result of Diehl’s agency embracing “the idea that digitalization and scheduling transparency is the future of any port,” according to Sjoerd de Jager, PortXchange’s managing director, who adds, “we look forward to extending our collaboration in the Houston port community.”

Big data is helping to identify open berths at the Port of Gothenburg. In September, the largest port in Scandinavia launched Allberth, a smart device developed by Awake.AI of Finland. 

“With Allberth, we now have a berth planning tool that can make calls smarter, safer and considerably more efficient for all concerned,” says Fredrik Rauer, traffic coordinator and project leader for Berth Planner at the Gothenburg Port Authority. “And reduced emissions from the vessels are an obvious benefit in climate terms.”

External users, who are gradually being added to the system, can make their own planning decisions based on the same data. “With Allberth,” Rauer says, “we can give mooring personnel, the ship’s agent and the terminal the opportunity to act immediately on the information that we visualize in the application.” 

Fuel-efficient routing

By having access to real-time sea state observations—currents, waves and swell—vessel operators can re-route according to current ocean and weather conditions while optimizing fuel efficiency. Inefficient weather routing oftentimes leads to the increased time spent at sea, which not only disrupts and delays the supply chain but can also increase fuel burn and CO2 emissions. 

In addition to increasing voyage earnings, fuel-efficient routing also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, supporting the latest GHG reduction strategy that the IMO developed in 2018. The initial strategy envisages that the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping should be reduced by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. What does 50% look like? The IMO calculated that vessels released 1.12 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the year before, in 2007. Emissions need to be reduced by 560 million metric tons. That’s equivalent to the emissions from 102 million cars.

One key conclusion to make about the real-world is that real-time data helps to reduce fuel costs and also helps to reduce GHG emissions.

The Port Authority of New South Wales in Australia is maneuvering very large ships safer and more efficiently thanks to OMC International’s Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC) system. The Aussie company’s technology is currently being used at the ports of Botany, Newcastle and Kembla.

The DUKC system provides tanker and deep drafter container captains “with near real-time data, taking account of a number of variables, including the height of tide, the speed of the ship, the ship’s maneuverability, tidal streams and the dynamic motions of the vessel–all essential information used by our highly trained team of marine pilots when maneuvering these vessels within port waters,” says Myron Fernandes, the port authority’s harbor master for Sydney and Botany.

Is real-time big data safe from cyber-threats? 

The convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) onboard ships—and their connection to the internet—creates an increased attack surface that requires greater cyber risk management.

On the IT side, the chances of cyberattacks can be mitigated through proper implementation of encryption techniques such as blockchain technology. From an operational standpoint, IMO maintains that effective cyber risk management should start at the senior management level—embedding a culture of cyber risk awareness into all levels and departments of an organization. 

One can read more about this in “Guidelines on Cybersecurity Onboard Ships” from BIMCO, a non-governmental organization that aims to be at the forefront of global developments in shipping. With offices in Copenhagen, Singapore, Shanghai, Athens and London, BIMCO provides expert knowledge and practical advice to members that range from small local port agents and law firms to the largest shipowners in the world.

Knowledge is power

It is possible that the maritime industry can become bigger and better—and more lucrative—while emitting less GHG emissions. By implementing real-time insights in daily operations, shipping companies are well-positioned to navigate anything that comes their way. And how this year has gone, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have an edge on the unexpected.  

As the technology evolves, an emerging group of global communications companies are competing with one another to execute on a radical mission statement: to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere. As these technologists make progress, they enable maritime organizations to connect more efficiently with customers, facilities and systems.

One of those companies, OneWeb, has been busy building a communications network with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that provide connectivity to people around the world. OneWeb’s method for enabling Internet access for all is starting to become a reality. As a result of OneWeb’s new capacities in space, the company is getting ready to provide low-cost solutions for broadband, government and cellular backhaul. Its high speed, low latency, network will offer new affordable mobility solutions to industries that rely on global connectivity, including ports and the maritime companies that depend upon ports.

OneWeb, which is headquartered in London and has a manufacturing facility in Merritt Island, Florida, successfully commenced launches for its satellite constellation network back in February 2019. As of May of this year, 218 of a planned 648 satellites in the initial constellation had blasted off. 

Closer to Earth, the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board in July approved more than $15 million in grants for planning, economic development and rural broadband infrastructure construction projects, including awards of $1.7 million to the Port of Whitman County and nearly $1.6 million to the Port of Clarkston in Asotin County for high-speed internet connections. The Olympia-based board’s grants and more than $2.5 million in loans will be matched by over $7.6 million in private investment, and the resulting partner projects will create an estimated 200 jobs. 

Big data is a must-have

In today’s world, inland port facilities must view a strong digital infrastructure as “essential” as opposed to “just a value-add,” according to Marc Salotti, managing director at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore, Maryland. The modern, 3,300-acre industrial site used to be known as Sparrows Point, which had been one of the world’s largest iron and steel making facilities for 125 years before closing in 2012.

“Think about the target user,” Salotti recently wrote on the Supply Chain Brain forum. “With increasing pressure on global supply chains, the rise of e-commerce, and growth of direct-to-consumer methods, companies aren’t just looking for a storage facility. They want an adaptable environment that maximizes supply-chain optionality and growth, a strong technical infrastructure, and a strategic partner to work through challenges and share innovative solutions.”

Saudi Global Ports (SGP) is incorporating smart port design to two container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port Dammam. The program includes establishing an area called “The Sandbox” to test new technologies in automation and connectivity and develop new processes that will be subsequently deployed across SGP.

“We are taking progressive steps toward transforming Dammam into a leading international container port equipped with digital and smart capabilities, and continue to contribute toward Mawani (Saudi Ports Authority) and the Kingdom’s plans for a transformational transport and logistics sector,” says SGP’s CEO Edward Tah.

The future is also now for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which is working with partners to design a collaborative system to manage marine vessel traffic and optimize the supply chain flow by a March 31, 2022, deadline imposed by the Canadian government, which also provided funding for an electronic conveyor system to transport bulk materials at the Port of Saguenay.

Embracing big data cannot come soon enough, according to Salotti: “If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t be complacent. We must evaluate. We must evolve. We must commit to real, systemic change in economic development and infrastructure. Then, we won’t just build a more resilient trade pipeline; we’ll create new jobs and sustain the heart of American industry.”


Invest in New Technology to Handle the Surge in Online Fashion Purchases

Increase in online fashion purchases

To say that e-commerce has experienced a veritable explosion during the Covid-19 pandemic is nothing new. This is not limited to North America, countries all over the world are experiencing huge increases in online markets. According to a 2021 Spain online fashion report, the e-commerce channel has gained 2.7 million customers in Spain and penetration now reaches 43.4% of the resident population.

incremento compras online moda

Online fashion sales have risen from 9.3% in 2019 to 19.4% in 2020, while 13.6% of consumers have purchased online or plan to do so. This spectacular rise in a business segment, that had already been growing, does not mean that Spain will catch up with other more developed countries. On the contrary, all countries, even those that had advanced the most in e-commerce, have experienced spectacular growth. The case of the UK is a good example because it was already considered an advanced and mature market, nevertheless, it has experienced a boom during the pandemic. According to a recent survey conducted by McKinsey and Dynata, in the UK, fashion e-commerce is expected to represent 50% of the UK market by 2022, compared to the already very high 35% today. In the UK, online market penetration reached 75% in 2020 and is likely to rise to 85% next season.

It is not a narrowing of the gap that separated Spain from other fashion markets, but everything points to the fact that we are facing a real market transformation that affects all countries, regardless of their level before the pandemic. The new buying patterns of consumers, which were already apparent, have become a normalized preference in one year, and in some segments, even dominant.

71% of fashion executives worldwide expect their online business to grow by more than 20% this year. Industry players are therefore facing a decisive moment in which they will need to make important and relatively quick decisions if they want to stay on board a train shows no signs of stopping.

Invest in technology to respond to market demands

The online shopper has become accustomed to standards of excellence and values. Precisely those standards that make logistics management in the fashion sector more complex such as availability of sizes, safety and predictability of delivery, ease of return and omnichannel sales experience with stores. A whole range of requirements that are impossible to manage without the use of appropriate technological tools, both for warehouse management and for transport, integration with systems and logistics management in general.

Many retailers are already investing time and money to improve their digital platforms and develop their online strategies, such as the warehouse management system, or WMS, that even have specific packs to meet the needs of online commerce in which stock management, visibility, traceability, and real-time control are no longer very convenient options but unavoidable requirements.

As omnichannel driven demands become the norm, with resulting customer satisfaction harder to achieve, supply chain professionals need to leverage advanced WMS technology to keep their operations nimble, efficient, and scaling – especially in these volatile times. Given Generix Group’s completeness of vision and ability to execute, as recognized once again by the Gartner analyst community, their Solochain WMS is well-positioned to help companies needing a modern, flexible, and agile solution that can easily adapt to their changing needs. Contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.


The Great 8 of Manufacturing and Why You Need Them

Today’s manufacturing customers expect fast turnaround times, competitive pricing, and on-time delivery of quality parts with every job. Achieving these outcomes requires a variety of capabilities called the “Great 8 of Manufacturing.” These consist of the ability to:

1. Move parts through the shop job quickly and efficiently
2. Schedule and deliver on time
3. Know your costs
4. Maintain accurate inventory
5. Control your labor costs
6. Get quality right
7. Serve your customers the way you want
8. Grow sales


Falling short in even one of these areas can impact your ability to deliver what customers want. Problems in several areas make it extremely difficult to compete against manufacturers that achieve all of them on a consistent basis. These Great 8 elements are inextricably linked to each other, and low performance in one area negatively impacts all the others.

If you consistently struggle with scheduling, on-time delivery rates suffer. When you can’t accurately determine costs, incorrect quoting can cause you to lose jobs. When shop floor personnel can’t count on having the correct inventory on hand, jobs get delayed, costs go up, and promised due dates are missed. All of which reduces your ability to go head to head with leaner, more efficient competitors.

Failure to attain the Great 8 of Manufacturing often results from using outdated manual data collection to manage the shop floor. If you’re still filling out hand-written time cards, using manual spreadsheets to schedule jobs, and tracking inventory by hand, don’t expect a high degree of accuracy in these areas. If you regularly have to schedule overtime or extra shifts to meet customer deadlines, labor costs will spiral out of control. If sales reps frequently walk down to the shop floor to hand-count parts in inventory before confirming a job, you won’t be able to serve customers the way you want.

Perhaps the worst outcome is the atmosphere and culture that pervade the shop when key elements of the Great 8 are missing. When the same problems occur over and over again, frustration increases, tempers can rise, and a culture of blame rather than accountability takes over. Is it any wonder that productivity, performance, and profitability take a nosedive in such an environment?

Quote to Cash in One Complete ERP System

Making the Great 8 a way of life in your manufacturing business starts with Global Shop Solutions ERP software. Designed for small to medium size manufacturers, this powerful business management tool digitally tracks, measures and organizes performance data in every area of your shop floor. You can instantly see what’s happening throughout the shop floor in real-time and access the data needed to make smart decisions for your business.

A comprehensive ERP solution, Global Shop Solutions touches all critical aspects of the shop floor so that everything gets better. Automating manual processes enables all employees to work more efficiently and become more productive. Costs and waste decline while sales, margins and product quality go up. You can promise due dates to customers with confidence. Everything comes together in one integrated system so that you really can deliver a quality part on time every time.

Global Shop Solutions delivers these outcomes through a complete package of over 25 software applications. Some of the most used applications include:

• Planning & Scheduling
• Inventory
• Job Costing Accounting
• Quality Control
• Shop Floor Data Collection
• Sales
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

Global Shop Solutions is constantly adding new features that enable manufacturers to keep up with the increasingly interconnected Internet of Things (IoT). Some of the most recent IoT enhancements include Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), CAD Interface, and Nesting Interfacebsoftware. These offer phenomenal time savings and cost reductions by digitally importing job and customer information that would otherwise require time-consuming manual data entry.

To explore all that Global Shop Solutions has to offer, browse our complete list of software modules.

How the Great 8 Transforms Your Manufacturing From Good to Great

A manufacturing shop floor is like a jigsaw puzzle. All the different pieces have to come together at the right place at the right time to get the job done. The more complex the job, the more pieces you have to contend with. Each element of the Great 8 represents a key piece in the manufacturing puzzle. If even one is missing, you end up with a big hole in the puzzle. Here’s how they work.

1. Move parts through the shop quickly and efficiently.

Having access to real-time production data facilitates fast, efficient movement of jobs through the shop floor. When you can schedule based on your true capacity, jobs get started and completed on time. Machinists know which jobs to work on now and next, and no longer waste time hunting down routers, BOMs, inventory lists or other job information in order to get started.

Having the right inventory on hand avoids the delays that can occur when waiting for parts to arrive. Electronically importing CAD/CAM, nesting, and customer data eliminates time-consuming double data entry. When bottlenecks occur, the data tells you why it’s happening, allowing managers to take prompt action to resolve them. When you know the up-to-the-minute status of all jobs in production, they get done on time with the quality your customers expect.

2. Schedule and deliver on time.

Accurate scheduling and on-time delivery go hand in hand. Global
Shop Solutions’ Advanced Planning  & Scheduling (APS) module puts you in control with fully automated scheduling. Enter the job and machine data into the router and other modules, and the system automatically schedules the job for you in minutes, transforming one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks into a model of lean efficiency.

With APS, you can finitely or infinitely schedule, balance your workcenter loads, and engage in advanced labor scheduling. When customer changes require last-minute adjustments, you can forward, backward and global reschedule with ease. APS also displays how moving a job around will impact the entire schedule.

When multiple jobs get stacked on top of each other due to limited capacity, APS reduces or eliminates these bottlenecks by scheduling the right job on the right machine at the right time. Instead of “safe” due dates, you can tell customers when their jobs will be complete and know you can deliver on time.

3. Know your costs.

Accurate job costing is one of the most important activities in a manufacturing business, affecting everything from estimating and quoting to cash flow and profit margins. It’s also one of
the toughest to get right – unless you track and manage your costs with ERP software.

Global Shop Solutions automatically assigns the correct cost to all labor, parts and materials that go into a job so you know the exact costs as soon as it is complete. Our innovative FLOOOM product determines individual costing components by measuring freight, labor, overhead, outside services, other and material. With this data, you know exactly how much labor and materials went into a part or job.

Knowing your costs improves estimating and quoting accuracy and lets you generate sales and work orders in minutes rather than hours. It helps determine your most profitable products and gives your business a competitive edge over those that can only approximate their true costs.

4. Maintain accurate inventory.

Delays in production often result from disorganized inventory management. Global Shop Solutions provides real-time inventory data from one point of entry for precise management of materials needed for production.

Knowing exactly what you have in inventory and where eliminates the need to hunt for parts to get a job started. Lot bin tracking enables complete traceability of parts. Physical inventory counts are fast and accurate, and often not needed. Paying expedited shipping charges for incoming materials becomes the rare exception rather than a common occurrence. Automatic reorder points ensure materials get ordered before stock runs out, and jobs are never late due to lack of raw materials.

With ERP, you’ll never miss another order for materials needed to keep your production line moving.

5. Control your labor costs.
ERP software provides complete visibility of one of the biggest line item costs in your business – direct labor. Workers electronically log on to each job and the system precisely measures estimated versus actual labor by job or part. When variation occurs, you can determine whether the problem lies with the machine, the machinist, or other factors. Daily productivity reports
help identify problem areas and trend variances so you can take corrective action before they become major problems.

Accurate scheduling reduces overtime costs because jobs get completed on time. Downtime costs decline because shop floor personnel always know which job they should be working on. Separately tracking indirect labor categories helps control those with the highest costs. Whether direct or indirect, Global Shop
Solutions provides a detailed picture of what employees are doing on and off the job so you can allocate your labor dollars appropriately.

6. Get quality right.
You can’t improve quality unless you can track, measure and analyze the sources of quality problems. Global Shop Solutions’ customizable reporting and statistical analysis tools allow you to track and measure quality information in real-time. Nonconforming alerts help identify failure trends as they occur on the shop floor, making it possible to identify and correct bad parts before they go out the door rather than after.

The Document Control™ module makes it simple to manage quality documentation by consolidating all internal and external documents into one central area. Simply scan each document, assign it a location, and you’re good to go. You can also link technical drawings
and job spec sheets to routers, attach inspection and gauge calibration documents to work orders, and attach imported CAD/CAM .pdf files to specific part numbers. No matter what type
of quality documents or level of traceability you need, ERP provides an effective solution for managing all your quality information.

7. Serve your customers the way you want.
In today’s mobile manufacturing environment, fast, responsive customer service creates a real competitive advantage. CRM lets you provide the level of service and transparency needed to build profitable long-term relationships with today’s demanding customers by managing and servicing them with accurate, real-time data.

Instantly check the status of work orders and open quotes with a complete job, part and customer data from one screen. Easily create
quotes, generate work orders, and make changes to existing work orders in minutes. Provide answers to customer inquiries in one
phone call instead of spending hours chasing down information. Available in the palm of your hand, Mobile CRM helps you deliver superior customer service from the office or on the go.

8. Grow sales.
ERP software provides a complete business management system
designed to grow sales. When you schedule jobs more efficiently, it
lowers setup and labor costs, improves throughput, maximizes capacity, and increases on-time delivery. These outcomes improve estimating and quoting so you can give customers the best possible price. Efficient scheduling also reduces the time spent putting out fires on the shop floor, allowing more time to focus on generating new business and increasing sales.

As a manufacturing business, the ability to deliver on your promises is your biggest selling point. When you give customers a due date and follow through every time, it builds trust. When you deliver quality parts on time every time, sales go up. If you’re struggling to grow sales, let ERP run your shop floor so you can focus on
developing new ideas, new products, and new customer relationships.

Wondering How Your Business Is Doing Overall?

Take the Manufacturing Health Test to identify how Global Shop
Solutions can help make the Great 8 a way of life for your business.


Mike Melzer serves as VP of Operations for Global Shop Solutions and is a 20-year veteran of the company. As a graduate from The Colorado School of Mines, Melzer is an unparalleled leader, coaching the industry’s top talent to ensure the continued success of Global Shop Solutions customers.

If you’re ready to gain the Great 8, call Global Shop Solutions at 1.800.364.5958 or set up a demo online.


Train Your Employees in Digital Tools: 3 Best Practices

Mastering flow management solutions, interacting with autonomous mobile robots, running a warehouse remotely during periods of confinement: the digitalization of the supply chain requires logistics professionals to develop their digital skills. Here are the 3 best practices to make your digital transformation a reality and optimize it.

In a sector that is constantly evolving and undergoing digital transformation, the effectiveness of training for logistics operators and managers is both a competitive lever and a competitive advantage.

-How can you transfer new skills and reflexes to employees in an agile and sustainable way?

-How can you encourage the adoption of digital tools in the face of potential resistance to change?

Our advice for optimizing the commitment of employees in the crucial process of ‘digital upskilling’:


1. Make digital meaningful again, with training in context or on the job

According to McKinsey, 90 million European workers will have to significantly renew their skills in the coming decade, as more than 20% of their current tasks will be taken over by technology. This is considerable, and it is likely that this figure will be even higher in the supply chain sector, where robotization and process automation are already prevalent. If these transformations can raise legitimate concerns in warehouses and logistics platforms, professional training is the ideal place to demystify technology by providing evidence of its usefulness and interest for employees. However, this is only possible if it provides concrete and realistic answers to everyday problems.

For your training courses, avoid focusing on generic e-learning modules or only on theoretical training courses, which are too disconnected from the reality of the field. When it comes to digital technology, employees need to project themselves. By organizing sessions directly in the workplace, through real-life applications, employees will be able to appropriate digital tools and perceive their impact. And thus, judge for themselves their potential benefits. This includes: the reduction of work drudgery, more space for initiative, quality control, and communication.

The rate employees are trained in digital technology and the completion rate of training courses are indicators that HR/training departments monitor closely. Especially in an industrial context, where access to online training is more complicated to organize. Some companies, such as Continental, have decided to install “learning boxes”, a kind of bubble equipped with screens and digital tools, in the heart of production areas, to encourage employees to take self-service training through technical tutorials or serious games.

2. Encourage reverse mentoring

In the jargon of human resources, we speak of ‘reverse mentoring’. The principle is to create a bilateral learning system between a young ‘digital native’ employee and a senior employee, less familiar with digital and technological uses. This approach can be part of an official mentoring program run by the company’s training department, with predefined training content, an action plan, and objectives. Or it can be more informal and spontaneous, with exchanges and collaborative workshops. In all cases, this practice not only promotes the transfer of digital skills, but also stimulates intergenerational links within companies, while encouraging employee commitment and retention.

3. Leverage virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) devices

Used for training purposes, virtual reality offers the advantage of immersing employees in a work environment similar to their own, without risk to their safety and without interrupting the production line. In the case of augmented reality, they can even be immersed in the real ‘setting’ of their company. Equipped with a helmet, a joystick and a screen, learners can thus familiarize themselves with new gestures and undergo various business scenarios in a fun way. For example, they can drive a remote-controlled forklift truck while avoiding obstacles or try to find the fastest way to a product reference. They can even simulate inventory management in a virtual warehouse. This type of immersive experience allows the employee to be an actor in his training and to learn from his mistakes. Customized to the company’s needs or available off-the-shelf from training program publishers, these devices can integrate collective simulation experiences, aimed at training multidisciplinary teams.

This VR-based approach is still relevant in the post-Covid era, where more and more tasks are destined to be performed remotely.

Thanks to virtual reality, Danone and Generix Group have developed, in Russia, a methodology allowing the production of remote warehouse management systems (WMS) in several sites in a synchronous way. Discover our dedicated content.

-Data Science: new jobs in the Supply Chain

-Warehouse storage: when algorithms facilitate optimization

-Digitalization of the supply chain: what impact on the skills required?

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.