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You Need to Communicate Your E-Commerce Forecasting to Your Fulfillment Center

warehouse management You Need to Communicate Your E-Commerce Forecasting to Your Fulfillment Center

You Need to Communicate Your E-Commerce Forecasting to Your Fulfillment Center

Fulfillment centers need insights just as much as executives and investors. In the e-commerce space, there can be global operations for warehouses in a single location or hundreds. Regardless of the size of the enterprise, e-commerce forecasting can provide projections to organize inventory and improve a business’s reputation and revenue. 

Forecasting order quantity means efficient stocking and expedited deliverables. Curating long-term business relationships with departments packing and shipping your products — internal or external — is advantageous for continued growth and support. The best way to do this is by communicating the forecasts with the fulfillment centers to drive results.

The Significance of Understanding the Supply Chain

Every point during the supply chain is a variable. Each facet creates accurate forecasts, from third-party logistics to an internal fulfillment center that packs and ships goods. 

A business cannot just rely on last year’s sales numbers to create a comprehensive forecast. Expenses, outliers and unexpected scenarios must be considered for it to be sturdy. It’s crucial to communicate e-commerce forecasting to your fulfillment center because it can help you understand the variables in its step of the process:

  • Sourcing multiple materials puts deliverability at risk.
  • International merchants need to allot charges to process payments.
  • Overseas shipping creates delays in deliverables.
  • Businesses operating in your country may have higher production costs.

Fulfillment centers must know that most revenue comes from existing customer bases — this is the foundation for projecting accurate e-commerce forecasting. This grows as a company acquires new customers, creating exponential growth in the baseline for projections. Communicating this growth as it happens to fulfillment centers will help their momentum as your e-commerce business ages.

Forecasts will also help fulfillment centers become aware of your marketing strategies. This creates a more intimate relationship between fulfillment, analytics and marketing teams for the most effective satisfaction. This ties into their work, as owned audiences are people you could convert using free methods like email and social media marketing. 

Companies can make predictions about the success of these campaigns. It’s essential to consider paid acquisition methods such as unsolicited offers and conversion rates based on how much your teams are investing in marketing for your e-commerce.

The Challenges in E-Commerce Forecasting for Fulfillment

Considering all these participants equally will create more accurate data for your fulfillment centers, but it isn’t just about that initial forecast delivery. Communication includes when adjustments are made and new data is measured. The consumer market is not impossible to predict, but the one constant forecasters can rely upon is oscillations.

Sharing this information can help fulfillment centers prepare for dips and spikes in sales and inventory, but it is sometimes hard to adapt. However, it may become more commonplace if every company becomes aware of how e-commerce forecasting could help change fulfillment center productivity. Fulfillment centers could adjust by changing hiring methods or executing updated storage solutions based on these forecasts.

Demand forecasting will be the focal point of these adaptations, as the different variations detail diverse business outcomes:

  • Passive demand: Using past sales to predict future demand
  • Active demand: Using the competitive environment and production rapidity to predict demand and create growth plans
  • Long term: Focusing on a long time frame, usually more than a year, to help provide an exhaustive picture of seasonality patterns and output
  • Short term: Focusing on a single day or small time window, such as a holiday
  • Macro and micro: Analyzes outside forces that could potentially interrupt commerce, taking a micro or macro lens depending on the company’s objectives
  • Internal business: Analyzes internal assets to see if they can keep pace with demand, including staffing needs

Companies could tell their third-party or internal fulfillment centers there will be a severe increase in inventory. This could allow them to face that challenge by implementing new systems like automated warehouse picking or more useful order management software to streamline stock control.

Another challenge comes with the attainment of the forecast. Developing it can take time, as market research happens and experts create projections based on that insight. In the meantime, fulfillment centers that could become reliant on these projections to forecast order quantities may be waiting in limbo while it’s perfected. 

Imperfect, rushed or incomplete forecasts could mitigate the boom forecasts typically provide for fulfillment centers and decrease inventory expenses. So many available fulfillment centers have to juggle this, mainly if they house multiple e-commerce entities.

How Will the Forecast Order Quantity Help Your Fulfillment Center?

E-commerce forecasting can help fulfillment centers prepare for the busiest seasons — for some, that’s related to holidays and for others, it’s connected to trends. They must be all-encompassing, usually outlining more than the average number of units or a simple percentage increase over the previous year. What happens if a celebrity influencer stops endorsing your product and that affects sales — how will your forecast reflect this hurdle so fulfillment centers know how to acclimate?

A forecast also details promotions, sales and event fluctuations that could affect forecast order quantity. Depending on the scope, all estimates should gradually be developed immediately after the previous sales period. They should consider everything from competition to season, considering the type of products and the market available for them in the present.

Fulfillment centers will appreciate forecasts that clearly outline their company goals and standards, so they know inventory specs and what they can do to maintain a trusting relationship. Though it may be a third party or not, they have just as much, if not more, of an effect on customers than the business itself.  

Your fulfillment center will appreciate you communicating inventory needs and expectations. It will help them organize and remain compliant with contractual agreements, especially as they navigate an unprecedented demand increase for e-commerce fulfillment responsibilities. Better communication equals greater organization, leading to snappier shipping and better customer satisfaction.

It will also create accountability across sectors. Inconsistent data is a considerable issue in supply chains as products exchange countless hands. Communicating with fulfillment centers about expectations lets them report back with accurate information because it was from you, not a third party. It’s another set of checks and balances to ensure every item reaches its destination.

E-Commerce Forecasting for Fulfillment Centers

Creating a business that will survive in a sea of many means you must communicate your e-commerce forecasting to fulfillment centers. Improve customer loyalty by creating a solid forecast foundation. You can decrease financial risk because everyone is on the same page regarding sales expectations.

This will create strong business relationships, which is better for any bottom line and the customer who receives the package.



Toyota Material Handling Formalizes Partnership with Unique Nonprofit Anchor House

Toyota Material Handling (TMH), North America’s leading manufacturer of forklifts and provider of a range of material handling solutions, announces a new partnership with Anchor House, a local nonprofit that focuses on investing in Jackson County residents through housing, employment resources and nutritional assistance. Anchor House is the only homeless assistance program serving the local community, offering two emergency shelters and the largest food pantry in the area.

Toyota’s commitment through this partnership includes $100,000 in financial support to Anchor House to be paid over the next four years. The company is also providing in-kind donations to meet needs that arise for Anchor House and its beneficiaries, such as non-perishable food or business and interview attire. TMH employees will have unique opportunities to make a difference by volunteering for the organization to provide shelter maintenance and food pantry donations.

The partnership also includes support for Anchor House’s self-sufficiency program with Toyota providing employment skills training to residents involved in the program. The training includes but is not limited to interview skills, resumé writing and application completion assistance. Through this program, TMH is helping develop a sustainable employment track for Anchor House families.

In 2022, Anchor House provided more than 10,500 nights of shelter to citizens in need and served over 14,000 people through its food pantry. The organization has continuously served the Jackson County community for over three decades and partners with multiple organizations in the area to provide holistic support for those with immediate and long-term needs.

Learn more about Toyota Material Handling’s culture of volunteerism by clicking here or by visiting

About Toyota Material Handling 

Toyota Material Handling offers material handling products and solutions, including forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers, pallet jacks, container handlers, automated guided vehicles, and tow tractors, along with aerial work platforms, fleet management services, and advanced automation engineering and design. Toyota’s commitment to quality, reliability and customer satisfaction, the hallmark of the Toyota Production System, extends throughout more than 230 locations across North America. With access to an industry-leading lineup of material handling products, Toyota dealers are uniquely positioned to help solve wide-ranging challenges in warehousing and distribution. Built for every application, Toyota can provide the most complete set of solutions for material handling, automation, energy, advanced logistics, and warehouse optimization.

warehouse management You Need to Communicate Your E-Commerce Forecasting to Your Fulfillment Center

Warehouse Management Systems: 5 Steps to Modernize Your Warehouse

Warehouse management is one of the most important facets of supply and chain management. It encompasses all the processes involved in running a warehouse, including storage, inventory management, shipping and distribution. In this post, Brosnan Property Solutions (facility management company) and Global Trade Magazine will discuss more regarding warehouse management systems and how you can use the technology to modernise your warehouse.

Managing a warehouse is relatively straightforward in a small-scale distribution setting. If the business is small, distributors can get away with a simple approach to running day-to-day warehouse operations. But as the distribution business expands, warehouse management becomes more complex.

An increase in product lines leads to a larger facility and more locations to be monitored. With all these changes and increasing demand in your warehouse, brick-and-mortar management practices might soon prove inefficient in meeting the needs of your consumers. That’s why you need to invest in a warehouse management system (WMS).

What is a Warehouse Management System?

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a sophisticated software platform that gives you an all-in-one way to handle all your warehouse operations. Its primary purpose is to ensure your warehouse operates most efficiently and cost-effectively by simplifying various functions, such as inventory tracking and storage.

Implementing a warehouse management system offers a wide range of benefits for your distribution business. For instance, it helps reduce human errors and promotes better customer service. So, if you feel the competition is always a step ahead of you, it might be time to invest and reap the benefits of a warehouse management system.

How to Modernise Your Warehouse Using a Warehouse Management System

Here are a few steps to modernise your warehouse and enhance operations using reliable warehouse management systems.

Evaluate Your Current Warehouse Management Systems

Before you take any step, it is essential to evaluate where your warehouse is in the modernisation journey. You need to assess current warehouse management systems and identify your strengths and areas that need improvements. It is important to note that warehouses (with varying capacities) have different feature requirements.

If you run a small distribution company, you may need a few tools/features to automate fully. However, larger and established warehouses might need an all-in-one supply chain suite. Conducting an assessment helps you establish the current state of your warehouse and identify your feature requirements before you embark on your modernisation journey. 

Automate Data Collection and Inventory Management

Inventory management and data collection are the most basic warehouse management operations. Distributors need to document every item throughout the warehousing process. As we all know, manual data entry can be time-consuming and error-prone. That’s why it is essential to invest in various technologies to improve its overall efficiency.

Some of the technologies you can use to automate data entry include barcodes, RFID tags and paper & OCR scanners. These data-capturing technologies can help minimise human intervention in data collection, reducing errors and boosting productivity.

Besides automating data entry, your warehouse can benefit from additional technologies such as voice recognition software, AI & ML and robotic systems. A reliable warehouse management system can help incorporate these technologies to enhance the distribution process. 

Spruce Up Your Warehouse Layout

Besides modern automation technologies, your warehouse layout plays an important role in the success of its operation. The primary purpose of organising your warehouse is to properly utilise available space, increase efficiency and facilitate the smooth running of operations. It helps improve order fulfilment rates by minimising travel time and providing easy access to stored goods.

With a reliable warehouse management system, you can quickly generate an optimised warehouse layout design that arranges processes in a logical sequence, streamlining operations. Using the data collected by these systems, you can identify the most effective picking routes and determine what items should be placed close to the parking area.

You can also devise proper spacing between storage lots to enhance manoeuvrability for both machines and employees. Or, rearrange goods to ensure popular items are easily accessible while less popular ones take storage lots further down the aisle. 

Data Synchronisation in All Systems

A modernised warehouse should have synchronised data across all systems. But what exactly is data synchronisation?

Data synchronisation is the effort to establish consistency between source and target data stores. It ensures that all changes made to data in one device are reflected in the entire system.

Every modern warehouse has various systems, such as inventory tracking and shipping systems. If these systems operate separately, it can result in data conflicts, leading to poor data quality and a lack of trusted data down the line. That’s why it is essential to invest in a flexible warehouse management system that allows integration with other systems.

Synchronised systems enhance warehouse operations by ensuring information is up-to-date at every stage of the warehousing process. 

Go Mobile With Your Warehouse Management System

With the advancement in technology, it is now possible to migrate your warehouse management system to a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone. Accessing your WMS through a mobile device makes scanning, tracking and planning your warehouse operations easier. It also allows you to monitor employee performance, even if you aren’t at the warehouse. 

In a Nutshell

Warehouse management is an ever-changing enterprise of supply chain management. With the regular introduction of new technologies and trends, it is essential to adapt to keep up with the competition. Implementing these 5 steps is one of the easiest ways to modernise your warehouse and tune the standards of your operations to the future of warehousing and distribution.


ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather

Summit Industrial Park Optimizes Distribution at Texas Facility with Made4net Warehouse Management System

WMS manages reusable oil pipeline assets in 50-acre yard in West Texas to drive operational efficiency

Made4net, a global provider of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) & end-to-end supply chain execution software, announced today that Summit Industrial Park (SIP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA), a Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company, implemented Made4net’s Warehouse Management System, WarehouseExpert, to manage the storage and distribution of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG), primarily casing and tubing used in the extraction of oil and gas in West Texas.

Summit is positioned to provide last mile logistics for these tubulars for oil and gas exploration and operation companies. The Made4net solution manages the inventory at the 50-acre outdoor yard to drive operational efficiency and reduce overhead.

The project, Summit Industrial Park, is a greenfield operation to meet the growing demand for oil field equipment in West Texas. The Made4net solution manages the receiving, inventory management, and shipping of pipe and related materials at the yard, and tracks and manages the perpetual inventory. The WMS provides 3PL capabilities, including inventory tracking and management of each of their division’s assets and distribution in and out of the yard. The solution is integrated with SIP’s proprietary ERP and Track and Trace System.

The WMS implementation was complete in three months, and on the first day of operation, Summit Industrial Park beat their record for the highest number of trucks shipped. Employees are using the system on mobile tablets in the yard, and they are utilizing e-signature capabilities to capture signatures in real time. Special features of the solution include a real-time tally process that gives the user the ability to record the exact length of each pipe leaving the yard.

About Made4net

Made4net is a leading global provider of best-in-class, cloud-based supply chain execution and warehouse management solutions for organizations of all sizes to improve the speed and efficiency of their supply chain. The company’s end-to-end SCExpertTM platform offers a robust WMS solution that enables real-time inventory visibility, labor management, and equipment productivity with performance analytics that drive faster, more accurate order fulfillment and improved supply chain efficiency.

In addition to the best-of-breed WMS, the platform offers integrated yard management, dynamic route management, proof of delivery and warehouse automation solutions that deliver a true supply chain convergence. For more information, visit

ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather

How to Get Around the Limitations of Your Warehouse Management System

The effects of the covid-19 pandemic have demonstrated some glaring vulnerabilities in global logistics. Many executives outside the operational realm had simply assumed that existing technology would be good enough to facilitate rational decision-making that could take into account what’s happening at every point along the supply chain, including in a crisis.

In reality, most operational decision-makers have little visibility outside their own domains. Even that can be somewhat lacking. As with many areas of business over the last decade, a certain level of technical capability exists theoretically, but does not exist in practice.

The supply chains of the near-future will demand the seamless transfer of information between customers, shippers, carriers, and each node in between.

But for now, most warehouse managers must make do with incomplete data and inflexible software, “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” as researchers from the Rotterdam School of Management in Europe warned in 2002. “In certain environments, such compromises might seriously degrade warehouse performance.” ¹

Two decades later, the situation has not changed much.

A modern WMS is an impressive feat of computer science, bringing together multiple types of user interface with some heavy processing – in the best packages even predictive analytics – behind the scenes. But it’s also the case that the richer a suite of software, the harder it is to change.

In Warehouse & Distribution Science, professors from the Georgia Institute of Technology observed that:

“The working life of a warehouse management system is generally greater than that of the computer language in which it was written. Consequently, most WMS’s in current use are an accretion of many different computer languages… This can make them hard to maintain or customize.” ²

Ed Frazelle, The founder of Georgia Tech’s logistics institute, goes even further and says that warehouses today are expected to do more than ever but have “less warehouse management system capability,” than before, arguing that this is “a by-product of Y2K investments in enterprise resource planning systems.” ³

For some companies, this probably feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Make do with a system that’s less fit-for-purpose with each passing day, or take a risk on another significant technology investment that might end up having an even shorter life cycle?

The answer lies in fundamentally rethinking how operational software ought to be procured and installed.

In the 90s, the all-in-one package model of line-of-business applications made sense for the buyer as well as the vendor. Today it only makes sense for the vendor.

New programming paradigms and business models in the software space, enabled in part by smaller chips and faster, more prolific internet connections, have transformed the incentive structures that fuel innovation. The result is that value, both on the simple level of functionality and usability, and on the more strategic level of investment lifecycles and extendability, is today more readily found when purchasing smaller applications that do one thing and do it well.

One of the gamechangers that allowed companies like Amazon and Alibaba to be so explosively successful is the progress that Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have made, which allow multiple pieces of software to communicate with each other even if they’ve been developed in isolation.

Today it’s quite straightforward to plumb together multiple pieces of specialized software, each of which performs a specific function to an excellent standard, resulting in a systems architecture that provides precisely the features the organization requires, behind interfaces that are tailored to each user’s needs.

Furthermore, vendors of such software are sometimes willing to include a lot of assistance in configuring these systems, or even to develop custom features or integrations at affordable rates. It’s no exaggeration to say that the business model of this type of vendor hinges more on customer success than that of previous generations of technology companies, which tend to aim for customer captivity.

The Dutch researchers in 2002 suggested that rather than be trapped by a warehouse management system that rapidly depreciates in value while forcing the warehouse to operate on the software’s terms, it “seems better to implement a tailor-made WMS.” 

Of course, they knew at the time that this was easier said than done for most organizations. In 2002, such a project would be prohibitively expensive and full of risks compared to a plentiful marketplace of ‘good enough’ off-the-shelf options.

But today, a tailor-made WMS doesn’t have to be something built from the ground-up. Rather, it can be assembled from a basic, mid-market or high-performing niche WMS as a base, customized and configured with the help of the vendor and extended with specialized functionality from third parties.

And this is precisely how the most tech-savvy organizations seek competitive advantage.

In cases where moving away from a legacy WMS is not possible, its shortcomings can still be addressed by smart integrations, earning the warehouse breathing room in the medium-term.

To offer a concrete example, receiving operations account for about 17% of total warehouse costs on average, as reported in Introduction to Logistics Systems Planning and Control. Furthermore, these processes are “difficult to automate and often turn out to be labour-intensive.” 

Meanwhile, Frazelle paints us a picture of how a world-class warehouse receives material:

“The personnel and equipment required to unload each inbound warehouse load should be optimally prescheduled to eliminate the possibilities of delays and/or dock congestion.”

Such resource coordination is something at which leading-edge warehouse management systems excel. There’s just one problem. How can any of this be optimized if the contents and time of arrival of shipments can’t be predicted?

“balancing the use of receiving resources — dock doors, personnel, staging space, and material-handling equipment — requires the ability to schedule carriers and to shift time-consuming receipts to off-peak hours…” 

In other words, the efficiency of a warehouse’s receiving operations is limited by the quality of its communications with external carriers.

It’s true that many of the more expensive WMS’s include some form of dock scheduling. But not one of them has tackled the problem with much care or depth. Indeed, the warehouse management systems that focus specifically on what happens inside the warehouse tend to perform best.

A solution like DataDocks tackles load scheduling directly, taking into account the relationship component intrinsic to bringing about behavior change from customers, carriers or suppliers.

Dock scheduling is a way to free up resources and establish better control over warehouse operations in general. It serves as the crucial missing link in information transfer between systems, connecting transportation with warehousing and bringing logistics management closer to end-to-end visibility.

For warehouse managers, it represents a natural first step in overcoming the limitations of warehouse management systems.

warehouse management You Need to Communicate Your E-Commerce Forecasting to Your Fulfillment Center

Common warehouse management problems and their solutions

Running a warehouse is a job that requires a lot of organization and managing. Whether you like it or not, problems sometimes happen. That’s a reality you need to get used to if you want to be in this business. Luckily, there is something that you can do about those issues. Being proactive and learning about the common warehouse management problems and their solutions is the best strategy.

Doing redundant tasks

Each item in a warehouse has a number of tasks done on them. These tasks, or operations, create a workflow that includes everything that happens to that particular item from the moment it enters the warehouse to the moment it leaves. The problem occurs if the workflow is not organized correctly. If two or more people do the same task, you get a redundancy that only wastes time and company resources. This type of issue is more experienced in larger warehouses simply because of the amount of work.

A successful logistics business model demands precision and efficiency. With that in mind, go over specific operations and make sure to fix the problem of redundancy. Warehouse execution systems (WES) are the best solution because they allow you to automate various processes. This will remove the redundancy problem for good.

Unorganized inventory management

If you start finding products at wrong locations, discovering that you don’t have enough stock to fulfill orders, or finding out that you do have enough stock after you have already denied the order, you are having issues with inventory management. Your inventory records are not accurate, causing a lot of problems in your business.

Almost 50% of small businesses use manual tracking, or they don’t track inventory at all. That is unacceptable. One possible solution is to look into Supply Chain 4.0 technologies. Advanced technology can solve your issues with stock shortages, delays caused by errors, and many other issues you are experiencing.

Wrong warehouse layout

One of the most common problems warehouse owners face is the lack of space in their warehouses. This is not because the warehouses are small, but only due to the poor use of space. Warehouse layout issues have existed for a long time now, and they are a huge pain point in the industry.

The idea is to find the optimal layout that will make use of vertical space while leaving enough room for employees to move around. However, this also creates issues with accessibility to the products. If the boxes with items are on high shelves, it will not always be easy to reach them.

Automation equipment and technology are the answer. It will reduce the labor costs and at the same time help with categorizing the inventory and improving accessibility. Some warehouse management systems offer 3D models that show the best warehouse layout with all the dimensions.

If, for some reason, you still don’t want to upgrade the technology in your warehouse, you can do some rearranging manually. Simply place the items that sell the most on the lower shelves, and make them easily accessible.

Failing to get ready for seasonal demands

Demand planning is a critical process in warehousing. Demand depends on many factors, like customers, the economy, or the season. When it comes to seasonal demands, it is important to understand that some products are not sold during the entire year. A good example would be winter clothes.

As a warehouse manager, you need to be ready for reorganization based on the season. The best way to prepare for this is to stay in touch with the manufacturers, transporters, retailers, and distributors in the business. They will feed you the information about the current demands, which will tremendously help with warehouse organization.

Furthermore, you should also use demand forecasting. This technique relies on market analysis to tell you what products will be sold the most in the upcoming season.

Order management issues

One of the areas that report the most problems and errors is order management. It is also one of the most important operations. It keeps track of all the operations and processes from the moment an order is received.

Even the slightest mistake in the order management process will cause delays with the shipment. If you are thinking about automating your business and purchasing warehouse software, this is where you should start. Order fulfillment accuracy will help with increasing the profit of the company and improve overall customer satisfaction.

How labor costs affect your business

Many warehouse owners think that warehouse automation costs a lot of money. The technology is expensive, and hiring more labor is a better option. This, however, is not correct. While all warehouses need employees, high labor costs seriously affect how business is conducted. Although automation does cost money, it helps with saving money as well. The human errors are reduced, and the overall time completion for various processes is improved. All warehouses need a healthy balance between automation technology and employees.

Common warehouse management problems and their solutions – explained!

Now that we have discussed the most common warehouse management problems and their solutions, we can all conclude that the answer lies in warehouse automation. The advancement of technology is the key to solving organizational problems and helping your business grow.


Chuck Ladel is the content creator and blogger for Peasley Transfer & Storage. The focus of his articles is on business growth and solving operational issues within the logistics industry.


Should a Business Deploy a WMS in SaaS or License Mode?

Your operation has outgrown its ERP’s inventory management capabilities. To efficiently support activities in the warehouse, you will need to implement a Warehouse Management System (WMS). But which? And how should it be deployed? On-premises? On the cloud? 

With so many options on the market and a variety of implementation models, it can be daunting to select the WMS best adapted to your operation. In what follows, we take a closer look at two deployment models, SaaS and license acquisition (on-premises), and discuss some of the reasons why most distribution and manufacturing operations should favor the former over the latter.

SaaS vs. License for a WMS Solution

When purchasing a WMS through a license model, licensees are in fact buying a product that they then own. Typically, companies obtain the rights (albeit, often limited) to the actual software and its source code through a single, high expenditure. They must then implement the WMS on privately owned servers – either on-premises or external.

Meanwhile, by subscribing to a SaaS WMS, operators gain access to the software and its functionalities, but do not own the product itself. The WMS remains hosted on the service provider’s servers, which operators access via the internet. Instead of one initial expenditure, as with the license model, companies pay monthly or annual fees to use the WMS and benefit from the provider’s maintenance and support services.

One key difference between the two models, then, is that a license buys operators a product, the WMS itself, whereas a subscription to a SaaS WMS provides access to the software and to a range of adapted services. Companies that decide to purchase a license must therefore purchase these services on top of the WMS itself. Given the high initial expenditure required to purchase a license, this can have a serious impact on a company’s financial agility.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Some might argue that, over time, subscription fees will amount to a larger TCO than the license model. This is not the case. Hypothetically speaking, a SaaS WMS solution that runs on local infrastructure could possibly be more expensive than a purchased WMS. However, since users typically turn to SaaS solutions precisely to avoid on-premises deployments, the TCO of a SaaS WMS will always be significantly cheaper. This is true, for instance, of Generix’s SOLOCHAIN WMS.

When determining the TOC of a WMS license, companies must consider the costs of acquiring the technology and infrastructure needed to run it. On top of the hardware, they must also think of the ongoing maintenance costs to ensure that the solution always runs optimally. And because the WMS is implemented on private servers, TOC must also include the costs of a dedicated inhouse IT team to develop, integrate, support, and improve the solution.

A SaaS WMS is hosted on the service provider’s servers, which spares companies from such expenses. With SaaS, there’s no need for an expensive infrastructure upgrade or a specialized local IT team. The subscription fees cover the use of the WMS itself as well as maintenance and support services from the provider.


Since we’re on the topic of maintenance services, let’s look at what companies can expect when comes time to develop and update their WMS.

Because SaaS subscribers are paying for a service, not a product, they do not have to wait or spend more of their precious capital to benefit from the software’s newest version and functionalities. The service provider in fact has an incentive to keep developing its product: the better the service, the more likely they are to retain and grow their customer base. And since the solution is hosted on the provider’s servers, the implementation and integration of new modules is typically a painless operation – at least from the subscriber’s point of view!

This is not the case under the license model. In that case, the developer’s main source of revenue comes from selling new versions of the WMS. It, therefore, makes commercial sense for them to withhold new functionalities until they can market a new, complete version of their WMS. For licensees, this means that they are at the developer’s mercy when it comes to scaling their system. It also means further implementation and integration fees, which adds to the solution’s TOC.

There’s yet another, somewhat collateral advantage to the SaaS model. With SaaS, a relationship naturally builds between subscribers and the service provider that enables a rich feedback loop. Thanks to constant retroaction from users, developers can scale the solution with modules and capabilities that are truly adapted to their client’s real requirements. This is far less likely to happen with the license model where the relationship with the vendor often ends once the terms of the contract have been met.

This last point might explain part of the success Generix has had with its SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES solution in SaaS mode. By developing their system in collaboration with users and external partners, the engineers and developers at Generix have designed the only full featured WMS/MES solution featured in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

System Availability

Prospective buyers sometimes worry that a SaaS WMS is more at risk of becoming unavailable, if something goes wrong, than a product that is implemented on local servers. That worry is unfounded, as a SaaS solution is often the safest option between the two models when it comes to availability.

Under a subscription model, service providers commit to an SLA where they guarantee the system’s uptime. Generix, for example, guarantees that its WMS will be up and running at its clients’ operation 99.9% of the time. If anything were to go amiss, the provider is entirely responsible for providing a solution and has every possible incentive to do so as fast as possible.
On the other hand, when something goes wrong with an on-premises or privately owned WMS, companies must scramble to find the resources to fix the issue. If their IT team is unable to solve the problem, a WMS malfunction can severely slow down, if not completely halt operations for hours as they wait for external support. And that support, of course, costs money.

The Take-Away

When Microsoft saw that Google’s Workspace, which is only available as SaaS, was gaining on its Office suite, the developer moved its solution to the web and created Office 365. Since then, Microsoft has been able to reverse the tide and solidify its share of the market.
SaaS solutions are not a fad. As we have seen, TCO, scalability, and the system’s availability make the subscription model a very attractive solution. This is especially true to SMBs and companies with limited access to capital. A SaaS WMS like SOLOCHAIN is an affordable technology solution that offers everything you need to transform operations in your warehouse.

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. 


Yard Management Software-The “Black Hole” of Warehouse Management

The massive uptick in e-commerce orders combined with a persistent labor shortage has pushed more companies to rethink the way they manage their yards. A link in the supply chain that’s often referred to as a “black hole” because it lies where the TMS picks up and the WMS leaves off, the yard was once a place where problems were solved by adding more employees and arming them with clipboards and handheld radios.

This approach doesn’t work anymore.

Not only has labor become more expensive and harder to come by, but manual approaches fall short miserably when measured up against technologically advanced, automated yard management systems (YMS).

A collaborative tool for scheduling and managing the warehouse or distribution center (DC) yard, YMS helps logistics team members anticipate and plan loading and unloading flows right down to the smallest detail. It also supports on-time delivery and optimal resource use; synchronizes warehouse operations with yard events; and helps maintain a smooth flow of vehicle movement in and out of the yard.

“The global supply chain has been growing more complex and sophisticated over the past few years, and now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the adoption of more agile and streamlined processes,” SupplyChain reports, “there is a greater emphasis on the importance of digitization and technological solutions.”

The Tremendous Positive Impact of YMS

One solution that SupplyChain says has had a “tremendous impact on the logistical side of supply chain networks” is dock and yard management. It defines dock and yard management as the “creation of systems that address all activities related to or impacting the dock and yard, taking into consideration relevant capacities, resource availability, and constraints, as well as demand and company goals.”

Once in place, YMS also:

-Ensures on-time delivery: Improve punctuality, quality and visibility, even when volumes increase.

-Makes the best use of warehouse resources: Synchronize operations in the yard with those in the warehouse. Optimize inbound and outbound operations while gaining visibility. Make the right decisions, quickly, while also reducing operating costs.

-Helps companies be the “shipper of choice” in the capacity-constrained transportation market: Automate appointment scheduling, reduce driver wait times, and track the implementation of transport specifications.

-Leverages automation: YMS plays an important role in helping organizations automate otherwise manual processes, save their human labor for more important projects and use data to plan for unexpected supply chain disruptions.

-“If companies invest in suitable dock and yard management systems, they’ll find that they can significantly reduce costs, inventory stock, and congestion,” SupplyChain adds, “while simultaneously increasing throughput, saving waiting time, and hastening the process of loading and unloading cargo.”

Accelerating the Speed of Business

When companies start processing a higher volume of orders, stock densifies, operations speed up, daily trucks come and go by the dozen, and every inch of space on the docks has to be used. When this happens, being able to anticipate the loading and unloading flows—and plan them down to the slightest detail—become table stakes for the companies operating these yards and docks.
Synchronizing warehouse operations with events in the yard has always been a critical aspect of delivering on time and maximizing resources. With longer queues of trucks to manage and regulatory issues like the hours of service (HOS) rules to consider, pressure to reduce driver wait times is intensifying.

Designed for businesses that want to best plan and optimize their yard operations in order to improve their customer service rate and logistical performance, YMS helps organizations offer the highest level of service to their customers; efficiently manage operations and take charge of unexpected events in a dynamic way; reduce operating costs, and make the best use of available resources.

A digital YMS also helps companies:

-Synchronize multi-pick and multi-drop routes and make easy adjustments in case of unexpected events.

-Reduce transportation costs through more efficient loading of trucks.

-Improve activity planning, scheduling and management.

-Reduce driver wait penalties.

-Monitor driver compliance according to transport specifications.

Integrating with Other Systems

Generix YMS also easily interfaces with WMS, TMS, automated barriers, access controls and other onsite digital tools. An application with a proven return on investment(ROI), the solution presents clear benefits for shippers that use it, including:

-The ability to manage more trucks with a limited number of doors, thus enhancing both dock and dock door productivity.

-Manage peak volumes without increasing square footage or having to move to a new site.

-Maintain excellent customer service and punctuality rates.

-Effectively operate multi-pick and multi-drop routes, thus achieving results while concurrently reducing associated costs.

-Improve carrier relations through reduced driver wait times (and measure their quality of service).

The Benefits Don’t End There

Fundamentally, Gartner’s Bart De Muynck tells Logistics Management that YMS helps solve one of the most pressing supply chain challenges for any shipper: just how efficiently carriers and other parties are using the time clock. This is particularly important in an HOS world, where drivers are limited in terms of how much time they can spend behind the wheel.

“Imagine the implications of a driver having to stay at a location for an extra three hours,” he points out, noting that this would create a 75% increase in the expected crash rate. “Truck driving is a profession that causes a high number of driver fatalities, many of which could be happening as a result of detention in the yard.”

Solutions exist today that can ensure any warehouse or distribution center operates at peak efficiency, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 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.

Contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 



Innovative robotics and automation technology are helping organizations get more done, in less time and with limited facility space. 

Warehousing, distribution centers and logistics companies are some of the organizations that are seeing big benefits with robotics.

According to the 2020 MHI Annual Industry Report, 67 percent of survey respondents said they believed robotics had the power to disrupt their industry and offer a competitive advantage for their organization.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that 39 percent of surveyed companies said they’ve adopted robotics and automation. An additional 73 percent of those surveyed said they plan to add more robotics or start implementing robotics in the next five years.

Benefits of robotics and automation

There’s no doubt that robotics and automation can help organizations meet their mounting needs to standardize production and overcome challenges related to high staff turnover rates. With robotics, you can increase your facility’s outputs without expanding your physical footprint or facility size.

Robotics can help organizations with staffing challenges by offering the following:

-High staff turnover rates often mean added expenses in training and keeping a facility running at full capacity. Robotics can help reduce this fluctuation in staffing by offering a consistent and reliable work source.

-As warehouses, logistics companies and distribution centers look to streamline operations, it often means increasing the weight of fulfillment carts. This puts added strain on workers and can lead to workers’ compensation claims and costly time off, lowering production. Robotics help streamlines product picking and packing activities without straining employees physically.

-Robotics can assist staff members with learning efficient routes through warehouses to pick and pack products. With artificial intelligence, robotics can map out a way to efficiently pick and pack products throughout a facility. This can offer heightened job satisfaction for workers that use “cobots” (collaborative robots) to assist them in their daily activities, allowing them to be more efficient.

But robotics offer more than just improved staffing and a reduction in fluctuations from staff turnover. Robotics can also help facilities do more with the same amount of space. Some ways robotics help with stronger outputs despite capacity limits include:

-Better inventory management allows your organization to automate the inventory process so you have to keep less on hand.

-Set aisle sizes based on robotic width and smart technology that tells machines when another robot is in an aisle. That way, you reduce the need for two-way traffic in an aisle so you can shrink the aisle size and make better use of the space.

-Reduction in need for additional workspaces, such as electronic scales, because it’s built into the robot’s system.

Maintenance for robotics and automation

But with robotics comes new requirements for the maintenance team. 

Preventative maintenance becomes increasingly more important as keeping equipment up and running is crucial to your business operations.

If the robots fail regularly, you could experience worse staff turnover rates than you did without the technology as staff members get frustrated and tired of the loss in productivity. Your organization’s agility and ability to respond quickly to requests become more important than ever as you begin to rely more heavily on robotics.

To add robotics to your warehouse, logistics or distribution center operations, you need a maintenance plan that includes:

-Condition monitoring: Prepare a dashboard that shows each robot’s condition and expected date for new parts to prevent breakdowns.

-Work order requests: Allow staff members to make a work order request and have a process for assigning those work orders to your maintenance team for fast service.

-Reporting: Run reports that help your maintenance team see how often each robot requires maintenance so you can project and anticipate that maintenance in the future to avoid costly breakdowns.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) help warehouses, logistics companies and distribution centers operate efficiently while taking advantage of the competitive advantage robotics can offer. 


For more than 30 years, Eagle Technology Inc. has worked with various industries. The Mequon, Wisconsin-based company offers clients the ability to boost productivity, control costs and maintain compliance, all from its web and mobile-enabled CMMS software, Proteus MMX.

cameron's coffee

How Cameron’s Coffee Tracks Their Products from Bean to Carton with a WMS

Cameron’s Specialty Coffee and their Mission:

A smooth cup: Part of Cameron’s mission is to provide a smooth cup of coffee by handpicking the best beans in the world. However, their mission goes beyond that.

All around the world: Cameron’s Specialty Coffee is directly involved with the farmers supplying them with their coffee beans. Members of their team go around the world to meet farmers and their families to build a relationship based on social responsibility. Cameron’s is therefore dedicated to help their farmers grow in a healthy environment.

A Green Company: Cameron’s feels responsible not only for its partners but for the environment. Therefore, they strive for eco-friendly processes. They are dedicated to minimizing their footprint through big and small actions such as minimizing water consumption and using recyclable materials.


Cameron’s Specialty Coffee’s Supply Chain Needs


To accomplish their goals, Cameron’s Coffee had to overcome three challenges, all of which required a change to their inventory management.

-Responding to growing eCommerce demand

-Responding to growing expectations for traceability in the Food and Beverage industry

-Replacing their paper-based processes

By first replacing their paper-based process to an electronic one, we can simultaneously resolve their other challenges.  Adapting inventory processes enables employees to be more efficient, and the reduction in error would equip Cameron’s Specialty Coffee with the right strategy to satisfy their online customers. The same goes for satisfying visibility standards by tracing all ingredients, where use of real-time data instead of paper processes would yield greater inventory visibility and traceability.

Sustaining growth: Cameron’s saw much growth in the last few years. eCommerce grew particularly fast during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, Cameron’s was purchased by a larger Colombian company, which also increased the scale of their operations.


Using a WMS


Cameron’s Coffee turned to Generix to automate their processes and implemented WMS Solochain.

Managing growth: As a result of a 50% growth in demand, they had to enlarge their warehouse space by more than 25% between 2018 and 2020. Switching from paper-based processes to a WMS and automation made sure that Cameron’s could absorb all this growth without being overwhelmed by it. The implementation of the WMS also enabled them to do more with less: they did not have to increase the headcount of their finance department. They simply made it more efficient.


Attracting the New Generation of Warehouse Employees


Opting for the WMS solution also allowed smooth integration of the new processes with the warehouse employees as well as with those from finance. Employees prefer using tablets and computers to stacks of paper because they are polyvalent and interactive. It also relieves them from having to carry around a lot of material such as pens, notepads, and clipboards and all while operating warehouse equipment such as forklifts. The tablet replaces all those objects and are easy to carry.

To maximize efficiency, the system also needs to be user-friendly. The employees from Cameron’s Specialty Coffee reported that they adjusted quickly and easily to their new tool. Learning the ways of the warehouse was also made easier on new employees since processes are clearer in the WMS display than learning every corner of the warehouse by heart.

Warehouse automation also made work easier for people in the finance team since they could easily understand all the warehouse workflows and processes. Gone are the times of having to read people’s handwriting on sheets of paper.

In the end, automating the processes by making everyone’s job easier, eliminated most errors, whether they be found in the production chain, inventory count, or in shipping.


Optimized Processes


Thanks to the visibility offered by the WMS, Cameron’s Coffee is now able to reduce waste in its production chain by repurposing coffee beans. For example, if by mistake a batch is over-roasted, it can be easily re-routed to be utilized in the production of a darker roast. The WMS helps ensure that the correct type of bean and roasting degree is respected.

Amy Fitzgerald spoke to us about the implementation process and how enthusiastic the end-users were about switching to a more automated process: “Everyone likes to use electronics, it’s just exciting”, she said. The switch to high tech was also welcomed by end-users since it provided more accuracy for their tasks, leading them directly to locations and preventing errors. This made everyone’s day brighter.

Cameron’s Specialty Coffee had goal-specific challenges which were solved by streamlining processes and optimizing their warehousing operations and production by implementing the WMS and MES.

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), Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), such 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.