New Articles

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

manufacturing

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. 

manufacture

3 Insightful Decisions That SOLOCHAIN WMS Can Assist Manufacturers With

The digitization of supply chains is well underway. SaaS solutions, such as the SOLOCHAIN WMS, have made it easier for manufacturing 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 the three 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.

Planning Production in a Time of Supply Chain Disruptions

Many pieces and parts go into making a forklift that usually must be acquired from various vendors. When supply chain disruptions leave items blocked in container yards here and there across the coast, it quickly becomes difficult to determine when the needed pieces will be delivered. This severely limits a manufacturer’s ability to plan production and, consequently, to adequately manage clients’ expectations.

SOLOCHAIN gives a forklift manufacturer the ability to manage orders and locate incoming items across all channels from one easy to read interface. Once SOLOCHAIN is integrated with their ERP and their vendors’ systems, the manufacturer can the leverage the WMS to identify every container, every truck, and every facility where ordered items are located, as well as any changes to delivery dates. Thanks to that data, the manufacturer can precisely determine production calendars, find alternative solutions when need be, and keep their customers apprised.

Maintaining high service levels in a time of disruptions gives the forklift manufacturer a competitive advantage that opens new possibilities for growth.

Making Candy Bars that Make Everyone Smile

Manufacturing in the food & beverage industry 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 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 a manufacturer such as 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!

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.

manufacturers

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.

food and beverage

Hold Tight to Food & Beverage Knowledge: Retain and Empower Your Workforce

The manufacturing industry is “eyeing growth despite turbulence,” according to Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook analysis. What will be critical for future growth in manufacturing is business agility in the face of labor and supply chain challenges. 

The Great Resignation became a topic of conversation as 4 million Americans quit their jobs by September 2021. While often discussed from the viewpoint of office workers, the quit rate in lower-paying jobs was overlooked. Bloomberg noted that the manufacturing industry was second from the top (below leisure and hospitality) for the largest quit rate. What’s more, the quit rate was more significant in lower-paying nondurable goods – in particular in food manufacturing – compared to higher-paying durable goods.

With record workforce shortages and existing pressure of an aging workforce and talent gaps, future-of-work strategies are close to the top of the list for food and beverage manufacturers that want to excel in the face of disruption. In Deloitte’s survey, manufacturing executives want to focus on:

-38% attracting new talent

-31% retention

-13% reskilling

Attracting, retaining, and empowering workers can be supported through technology investments. As workers look for purpose in their roles, Food & Beverage manufacturers have the opportunity to recruit and retain a generation of workers that want high-value work in a cutting-edge, digitized environment to engage and connect with.

Where does WMS fit into a Food & Beverage workforce strategies?

Modern WMS for Workforce Retention

Knowledge loss is a hidden cost of turnover and poor retention. Keeping manufacturing knowledge tight is critical to maximizing operations and growth. To do so, Food & Beverage manufacturers need to give warehouse workers the tools and technology they need to be more productive and make their jobs easier. For the newer generation of workers who aren’t enticed by warehouse jobs, implementing a digitized warehouse can help shift perceptions of the warehouse work from laborious and manual to high-tech and meaningful.

There are key capabilities of a modern WMS that support employee retention but also mitigate people and skill shortages.

Automation

WMS automation can provide benefits that support streamlined work and maximize operational capacity:

1. Automation can fill significant workforce gaps that can’t be replaced to maximize capacity.

2. Automation of manual processes and monotonous tasks help workers focus on higher-value activities and improve productivity and accuracy of their work while reducing operational inefficiencies.

3. Automated processes can lessen reliance on specialized knowledge from employees and streamline the training of new workers with a centralized view of the warehouse processes.

Integrated Mobile Hardware

Mobility is central to efficient and productive workers on the warehouse floor. Integrated mobile devices – such as iPads, touch screens, etc. – make workers more effective by putting the tools they want in their hands to complete a task in less time. The more physical and mental strain on workers can be reduced, the more an organization can improve the work experience for employees.

User-Friendly Interfaces

A WMS that puts end users first in its design, implementation, and experience will get better adoption and faster ROI. WMS should be functional, intuitive, easy-to-use, reliable, and enjoyable for the end-users.

Workforce Empowerment in Action

In the Food & Beverage industryCameron’s Coffee is an excellent example of how a highly automated warehouse enables and empowers a workforce. Before implementing Solochain WMS and MES, Cameron’s Coffee relied heavily on paper-based processes. Workers would manually check and encode items and carry pens, notepads, and clipboards while running production lines or operating equipment.

Digitizing their warehouse with Solochain WMS and MES led to 50% sales growth, 200% eCommerce growth, and a 25% expansion of their warehouse.

On top of growth and operational efficiencies, the day-to-day dramatically transform for Cameron’s Coffee workforce:

-New software and iPads reduced the time required to complete a task

-User-friendly and intuitive interfaces made adoption easy

-Automated processes reduced human error across the warehouse

-Workers had more independence with a centralized system for warehouse activities

-New employee onboarding was simplified through transparent processes in the WMS display

-The Finance team would easily understand warehouse workflows and processes and close month-end sooner with integration into the ERP

-Workers were happier and more confident in the jobs

“The WMS and MES systems through Solochain are user-friendly and very customizable. In a dynamically changing company, the system has been able to change and grow with our needs. We have found efficiencies that have allowed us to grow with minimal additional head count. And when we do have new hires, the system is easy to train and empowers employees to confidently complete their jobs.”Amy Fitzgerald
System Administrator Cameron’s Specialty Coffee

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 tocontact us to learn more.

warehouse management

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.

upskilling manufacturing upgrade

Hold Tight to Manufacturing Knowledge: Retain and Empower Your Workforce

The manufacturing industry is “eyeing growth despite turbulence,” according to Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook analysis. What will be critical for future growth in manufacturing is business agility in the face of labor and supply chain challenges.

The Great Resignation became a topic of conversation as 4 million Americans quit their jobs by September 2021. While often discussed from the viewpoint of office workers, the quit rate in lower-paying jobs was overlooked. Bloomberg noted that the manufacturing industry was second from the top (below leisure and hospitality) for the largest quit rate. What’s more, the quit rate was more significant in lower-paying nondurable goods (mainly food manufacturing) compared to higher-paying durable goods.

With record workforce shortages and existing pressure of an aging workforce and talent gaps, future-of-work strategies are close to the top of the list for manufacturers that want to excel in the face of disruption. In Deloitte’s survey, manufacturing executives want to focus on:

-38% attracting new talent

-31% retention

-13% reskilling

Attracting, retaining, and empowering workers can be supported through technology investments. As workers look for purpose in their roles, manufacturers have the opportunity to recruit and retain a generation of workers that want high-value work in a cutting-edge, digitized environment to engage and connect with.

Modern WMS for Workforce Retention

Knowledge loss is a hidden cost of turnover and poor retention. Keeping manufacturing knowledge tight is critical to maximizing operations and growth. To do so, manufacturers need to give warehouse workers the tools and technology they need to be more productive and make their jobs easier. For the newer generation of workers who aren’t enticed by warehouse jobs, implementing a digitized warehouse can help shift perceptions of the warehouse work from laborious and manual to high-tech and meaningful.
There are key capabilities of a modern WMS that support employee retention but also mitigate people and skill shortages.

Automation

WMS automation can provide benefits that support streamlined work and maximize operational capacity:

1. Automation can fill significant workforce gaps that can’t be replaced to maximize capacity.

2. Automation of manual processes and monotonous tasks help workers focus on higher-value activities and improve productivity and accuracy of their work while reducing operational inefficiencies.

3. Automated processes can lessen reliance on specialized knowledge from employees and streamline the training of new workers with a centralized view of the warehouse processes.

Integrated Mobile Hardware

Mobility is central to efficient and productive workers on the warehouse floor. Integrated mobile devices – such as iPads, touch screens, etc. – make workers more effective by putting the tools they want in their hands to complete a task in less time. The more physical and mental strain on workers can be reduced, the more an organization can improve the work experience for employees.

User-Friendly Interfaces

A WMS that puts end users first in its design, implementation, and experience will get better adoption and faster ROI. WMS should be functional, intuitive, easy-to-use, reliable, and enjoyable for the end-users.

Workforce Empowerment in Action

In the Food & Beverage industry, Cameron’s Coffee is an excellent example of how a highly automated warehouse enables and empowers a workforce. Before implementing Solochain WMS and MES, Cameron’s Coffee relied heavily on paper-based processes. Workers would manually check and encode items and carry pens, notepads, and clipboards while running production lines or operating equipment.

Digitizing their warehouse with Solochain WMS and MES led to 50% sales growth, 200% eCommerce growth, and a 25% expansion of their warehouse.

On top of growth and operational efficiencies, the day-to-day dramatically transform for Cameron’s Coffee workforce:

-New software and iPads reduced the time required to complete a task

-User-friendly and intuitive interfaces made adoption easy

-Automated processes reduced human error across the warehouse

-Workers had more independence with a centralized system for warehouse activities

-New employee onboarding was simplified through transparent processes in the WMS display

-The Finance team would easily understand warehouse workflows and processes and close month-end sooner with integration into the ERP

-Workers were happier and more confident in the jobs

“The WMS and MES systems through Solochain are user-friendly and very customizable. In a dynamically changing company, the system has been able to change and grow with our needs. We have found efficiencies that have allowed us to grow with minimal additional head count. And when we do have new hires, the system is easy to train and empowers employees to confidently complete their jobs.”

Amy Fitzgerald
System Administrator Cameron’s Specialty Coffee

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.

wms

Ecommerce Behind the Scenes: Efficient Warehouse Management with WMS

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

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

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

Among the main advantages of these systems are the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

manufacturing

Growing Manufacturing Companies Through System Integration

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

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

Integration across this ecosystem can yield:

1. Greater efficiency through streamlined and optimized operations.

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

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

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

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

Often, the types of systems in this ecosystem include:

-Order management systems (OMS)

-Warehouse management systems (WMS)

-Manufacturing execution systems (MES)

-Transportation management systems (TMS)

-Warehouse control systems

-Yard management systems (YMS)

-Enterprise asset management systems (EAM)

-Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP)

 

supply_chain

A Digital Supply Chain Hub with SOLOCHAIN WMS Integrations

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

Importance to Manufacturers

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

-Advanced warehouse functions and manufacturing execution

-Optimized production floor execution and lean manufacturing

-Work-in-process management and tracking

-License plate and container management

-Recipe management and consumption module

-Quality assurance with electronic checklists

-Track and trace capabilities

-Electronic recall capabilities

Built-in MES

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

Warehouse Control System Integration

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

Mobile Hardware Integrations

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

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

ERP Integration

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

ERP integrations include:

-SAP

-Oracle Peoplesoft

-Oracle JD Edwards Enterprise One

-Microsoft Dynamic AX

-Microsoft Dynamics Nav

-Microsoft Dynamics GP

-Syspro

-Epicor

-And others as we are ERP agnostic!

TMS Integration

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

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

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

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

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

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 

WMS

Growing Food & Beverage Companies Through WMS System Integration

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

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

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

1. Greater efficiency through streamlined and optimized operations.

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

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

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

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

 

supply_chain

Often, the types of systems in this ecosystem include:

-Warehouse management systems (WMS)

-Order management systems (OMS)

-Manufacturing execution systems (MES)

-Transportation management systems (TMS)

-Warehouse control systems

-Yard management systems (YMS)

-Enterprise asset management systems (EAM)

-Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP)

A Digital Supply Chain Hub with SOLOCHAIN WMS Integrations

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

Importance to Food & Beverage Companies

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

-Advanced warehouse functions and manufacturing execution

-Optimized production floor execution and lean manufacturing

-Work-in-process management and tracking

-License plate and container management

-Recipe management and consumption module

-Quality assurance with electronic checklists

-Track and trace capabilities

-Electronic recall capabilities

Built-in MES

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

Warehouse Control System Integration

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

Mobile Hardware Integrations

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

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

ERP Integration

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

ERP integrations include:

-SAP

-Oracle Peoplesoft

-Oracle JD Edwards Enterprise One

-Microsoft Dynamic AX

-Microsoft Dynamics Nav

-Microsoft Dynamics GP

-Syspro

-Epicor

-And others as we are ERP agnostic!

TMS Integration

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

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

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

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

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

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission. 

wms

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.

Scalability

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.