IDII Software Newsletter
May 21st 2007 - Volume 8 Number 04
For PROFESSIONALS in Software for Warehousing, Logistics, and Supply Chain.
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Accellos: An Athlete in the Supply Chain - Part Two

Allocation Methods. Go beyond the basic inventory allocation methods of LIFO and FIFO! Logistics providers can strategically leverage 40 inventory allocation methods. All products for a customer or an individual product can specify the method on how to allocate inventory.

Why is this important? It’s important as logistics providers bend over backwards to “please” their customers in a wide variety of product types. It’s also important as warehouse efficiencies in storage and labor must be met. For example, a single bin may contain a lot controlled item that has 32 pallets. The inventory allocation method must permit a “FEFO with an N day window at the bin”. This is to avoid having the forklift driver digging out to get the oldest lot – therefore our driver just takes the first available pallet at the bin and moves on.

Configurable Inventory Attributes. Another item we like in the Accellos 3PL WMS is the configurable inventory attributes. Each SKU can have five configured inventory attributes. These five attributes are renamed from C1 through C5 to the names that you give them. In this manner, all of the inquiries, forms, and RF screens adapt to the new names. Inventory may be retrieved by these attributes. Examples of attributes include: Lot, Serial #, Roll #, Color, Size, Pattern, and Catch Weight.

This is very important for logistics providers as they handle many types of inventory, which vary from customer to customer. These variations of product characteristics MUST be tracked, so the correct inventory may be ordered, allocated, and picked by attribute. Out of 200 competitors in the WMS field, only 3% of the competitors have configurable inventory attributes.

Multi-Tasking. In the next release of 3PL WMS, picking and putaway can be tasked together. Future releases will expand multi-tasking. We consider this a current weakness of the product.

Customer Problem Tracking. Accellos 3PL WMS has a Customer Service Management (CSM) function that can handle both damaged goods and customer issues arising that need to be recorded. By starting a CSM, each step (conversation, disposition…) is recorded with optional images. In this manner, issues and damaged goods can be resolved. Even a damaged goods bill can be sent to the carrier from the CSM. Users will know how much time their staff is taking on problem resolution via a customer by customer basis, which could be an important factor when deciding whether to keep a marginal customer or not. The Accellos 3PL WMS has this CSM and is a critical need area for 3PLs. Suprisingly - this feature set is found only in a very few WMS solutions.

TMS for Logistics Providers. Accellos TMS handles LTL, TL, LCL, and CL for private and brokerage based companies. It is multi-modal and multi-leg supported. TMS includes freight order entry, track and trace, driver settlement, EDI, split revenue, and freight billing with accessorial and adjustments into AR and AP. It includes web-based order entry and track and trace. Routes can be optimized through a connection with PC Miler. BTW - one of IDII's clients - a tough turn-over-every-stone Kansas City-based 3PL, has examined many TMS solutions and has landed on the Accellos TMS.

Route Based Deliveries. Accellos RealDispatch has ECM, GPS, customer freight billing, and data feeds for driver trip instructions. Driver uses Blackberry or any Windows Mobile 5 device with any cell phone carrier to receive instructions and confirm drops. RealDispatch also handles the data feeds for driver settlement. Logistic providers need this for customers with regular delivery routes.

Conclusion

The 3PL WMS has special features of allocation methods, configurable inventory attributes, engineered labor standards, and the customer service management that can benefit any logistics provider. The investment of new functionality and people is a motivating reason for software buyers to take a serious look at Accellos. The company is continuing to invest R&D dollars into the current and new products. And because of their dedication, investment, install base, and new technologies – we call Accellos an athlete that can successfully win each race!

About this Research

Analysis and research report work has been done by Philip Obal of IDII. IDII has worked with clients of Accellos over the last eight years and has been an active participant in three recent, detailed, and lengthy demonstrations of the Accellos 3PL WMS software.

EXCITING RESOURCES

Facilities Design: (Second Edition - June 2006) by Sunderesh Sesharanga Heragu - Learn more at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0595359388/indudatainfoidii/

Facility Layout and Location: An Analytical Approach by Richard Francis, Leon McGinnis Jr., John White- Learn more at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0132992310/indudatainfoidii/

James B. Ayers's "Handbook of Supply Chain Management, Second Edition (Resource Management)" Learn more at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0849331609/indudatainfoidii/

IDII News

Phil Obal will be at DC Expo in Chicago research WMS & TMS software solutions - See you there!.

New White Papers   - White Paper Index -Suggest A White Paper

Progress in the largest RFID market of all: ITEM LEVEL TAGGING - http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000483.asp
Voice Recognition Systems in the Warehouse - Excellent - http://www.prologisresearch.com and search for the paper on voice recognition systems.

Technology & Software Product News

ATMS - Hepworth Building Products (Wavin Group) will use UK based ATMS plc for the implementation of a 25 plus user Warehouse Management System (WMS) for its expanding distribution facility in Doncaster. The ATMS StockTrackPLUS (STP) Warehouse Management System will control all aspects of the warehousing and distribution operation including management of the trailer yard. The system will optimize the narrow aisle zone being installed, and will also control the picking and packing operation, including control of their multi-staged packing process.

Barco signed a partner agreement about the SmartStock.WMS representation on Ukrainian market with ETC,
professional IT solutions provider for retail, HoReCa, logistics and transport, industrial and ICT industries and integrator in the area of barcode, wireless WiFi networks, GPS / GPRS systems, retail and industrial weighing systems, POS terminals, printers & cash registers. The expansion of the SmartStock.WMS system successfully continues to East European markets. The SmartStock.WMS is already available in the fifth countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine. www.barco.cz

Logistics System International (LSI) chosen by Bic Australia to automate its eCommerce, inventory control, distribution, freight management, pallet management and invoice production, using LSI's warehouse management technology - iSupply.

Phase one of the project will see iSupply, with a bi-directional interface with the Bic Australia host system - GEAC/i2, automating all the back end business with a single RF pick to SSCC scanning process providing considerable labour savings and eliminating data transfer errors. Phase two will see the implementation of WMS functionality including scan receipt, directed put away and scan cycle count technology.

McLeod Software Introduces LoadMaster Version 8.1. There are several new features and enhancements in LoadMaster Version 8.1 including:
• Recurring Orders Scheduler - this user-defined scheduler allows customer to set up daily, weekly or monthly trips in advance allowing for better resource planning. Helps a carrier improve service for dedicated operations and for high-volume customers.
• Round-trip Functionality - streamlines functions for improved visibility and execution of round-trip operations, a common model handled by dedicated carriers.
• Local Mileage Table - used to help with contracts negotiated with specific mileage requirements, this feature provides users with the ability to enter specific mileage on routine trips where the actual or agreed-to miles differ from mileage in standard lookup programs. It is especially useful for deliveries in rural areas.
In addition to product and feature enhancements, Version 8.1 hosts new optional interfaces with third-party vendors including: CarrierWeb mobile communications, Qualcomm Hours of Service, Qualcomm T2 Trailer Tracking, TCH Interactive Fuel and Teletrac FleetDirector mobile communications.

Oracle to Buy PLM Provider Agile.

Numina Group's Cube 3 provides all of the information necessary to weight, size and determine the most cost effective shipping method. Customers that have Transportation Management Systems or Shipping Manifesting Systems can easily integrate the information from Cube3 though its Open Systems software interface. "The data helps us determine if we send an order by parcel service, commercial carrier or our own private truck fleet," said one of Numina's premiere heath care products distributors. "Carton dimensional and weight data is integrated with our Transportation Management System to ensure customer satisfaction and save thousands of dollars a month in shipping costs." Product dimensional data can not only be used for shipping cost savings but can also provide the data to optimize warehouse space, determine the best case order picking, and validates case picking by comparing the picked cases to expected weight and dimensional standards. This last feature allows companies to identify and prevent picking errors in real time prior to shipping. The health care distributor concludes, "Cube 3 enables us to catch mis-picked cases and also improved our facility space utilization from product receipt, to how we stage, store and plan our shipments."

RedPrairie to Supply Convenience Store Solutions to Chevron. RedPrairie’s BlueCube Enterprise is a comprehensive solution for obtaining effective and efficient operations for petroleum and convenience stores. A web-architectured framework allows operators to manage the scale and price of the solution to meet business objectives while quickly achieving the benefit and payback of optimized inventory and employees. BlueCube Enterprise Solution for petroleum and C-stores impacts virtually all of the site-based operations-related environments, from daily budgeting and forecasts of inventory and employees to production planning, fresh item control, recipe management, and employee scheduling and time and attendance. EDITORS NOTE: Very Interesting - BlueCube for the retail world! Going WAY BEYOND the SCE space.... S-M-A-R-T --- M-O-V-E in our opinion!

RedPrairie Announces Standard Integration to Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP Suite. The pre-built integration employs both the Microsoft Dynamics GP webservices and RedPrairie® Integrator middleware products.

Savi Technology, Inc. and Unipart Logistics Limited announced plans to form a “preferred partnership” to market Savi’s Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-based supply chain solutions to commercial customers in Europe. Unipart is one of Europe’s largest logistics service providers with expertise in end-to-end supply chain management and Savi Technology is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] that provides RFID-based total asset management solutions.

Swisslog Holding AG said it purchased Accalon, a Swedish maker of conveyor systems and stacker cranes for warehouses and distribution centers, for an undisclosed sum. The group said the primary goal of this acquisition is to improve the competitiveness in the market segment for less complex projects. Boxholm-based Accalon employs some 140 staff and generated sales of around 55 mln sfr in 2006. Source:

TECSYS Inc. (TSX: TCS) announced that ROE Logistics, a Montreal-based global provider of logistics services has selected TECSYS' warehouse and distribution management software solutions. Editor's note: VERY INTERESTING - as TECSYS has an ERP and WMS solution with a stronghold in wholesales - and is now targetting the 3PL sector. "There are many similarities between wholesale and 3PL." quotes Phil Obal, President of IDII

Scripture to Ponder - List of Scriptures to Ponder from prior issues.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they lay up their food in the summer." - Proverbs 30:25

Famous Quotes to Ponder - List of Quotes to Ponder from prior issues.

"To be successful you have to enjoy doing your best while at the same time contributing to something beyond yourself." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Websites To Check Out

Usability Guidelines - Interesting site on software usability guidelines
LogisticsAbout.Com - http://logistics.about.com - Good reference site - educational - informative


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