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Clean, Clear Interface-Error Reporting from WAERlinx

Category : warehouse management · No Comments · by Feb 19th, 2018

Interfacing between NetSuite and a SuiteApp is complex, and given the large volumes of data involved, data issues can inevitably occur. When they do, they have to be identified, addressed and fixes deployed quickly, in order to avoid disruption.

At Waer, our customer operations were occasionally being slowed down by reporting formats that were in need of an overhaul, so our developers put their heads together to find a solution.

 

Previously, the Waer team were having to look through large amounts of data on spreadsheets via email, drilling down several layers to find the information they needed and consequently spending valuable time clearing or dealing with interface issues.

After some nifty work, the team has brought together elements that were previously on several screens, and the reporting of interface errors has been made infinitely clearer and more manageable:

  • Data issues are now grouped together in one place, making administration a lot simpler;
  • problems with interfacing one NetSuite Object Type (Sales Orders, for example) no longer impact on interfacing in other, unrelated NetSuite Objects and;
  • the Interface Message Errors can be configured using Automated Reports.

“With any NetSuite SuiteApp, there is an element of managing the integration between the App and NetSuite and we wanted to make this as simple as possible for our customers.  This is a win-win situation, as customers can easily resolve any data-integration issues without having to rely on intervention from the Waer Systems support team.”

Dave Roberts, Waer Systems Technical Director

 

 

Which Couriers does WAERlinx Integrate to?

Did you know that at the time of writing, WAERlinx WMS for NetSuite integrates to over 30 couriers worldwide:

NetDespatch APC, NetDespatch Royal Mail, NetDespatch Royal Mail International, NetDespatch UK Mail, NetDespatch Yodel, NetDespatch Yodel International, 13Ten, GFS DPD, GFS Hermes, GFS Yodel, GFS Royal Mail, GFS Royal Mail No Signature, GFS Nightfreight One Man Home, GFS Nightfreight One Man Store, GFS Nightfreight Two Man, TNT, TNT International, Whistl, Fedex, UPS, BlueGrace, Secured Mail, Parcel Perfect, Temando, Hermes, DPD, Direct Link, Metapack, Globegistics, Stamps, GSO (Golden State).

WAERlinx – as flexible as our customers are unique.

US Co. VHA Installs WAERlinx to Manage its Four Warehouses

Category : NetSuite, warehouse management, WMS · No Comments · by Sep 27th, 2017

VHA supplies mobile phones and accessories to retail businesses across the United States.  They are currently operating out of four warehouse locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Diamond Bar and Houston.

Background

VHA has been operating since 2001 and has enjoyed huge growth in the last few years.  They were searching for a WMS that could bring their four warehouses in line, using the Houston warehouse as the template, and integrate to their NetSuite ERP.

Each warehouse has an area where customers can come and collect orders raised in advance.  This business is referred to as Will Call inside VHA and as a middle-ground between the warehouse and a shopfront, it required the development of additional real-time interfaces in WAERlinx.  Will Call makes up a small but significant proportion of the processed orders, however, most are sent out via a carrier.

This was the first project involving Waer partner and NetSuite Solution Provider, Concentrus and has provided a platform for partnership in the US, with Concentrus offering local time-zone support for US based WAERlinx users.

In addition to the standard WAERlinx solution, additional unique developments for the project included:

  • A large display in the packing area showing a clear snapshot of the warehouse operation in real-time, with the number of orders waiting to be shipped and shipped in the last hour, allowing staff to keep tabs on their up-coming workload and performance.
  • A ‘cash on delivery’ amount calculable for each carton shipped so that carriers can take payment for packages.
  • Real time updates to the fulfilment status of the NetSuite order so that invoices can be printed and given to the customer without delays.
  • Tote-box handling: barcoded, reusable plastic trays (similar to those you’d find at airport security) are used for picking. The tray stays with the order right through to packing, saving time and resources by negating the need for creating cartons and printing labels and assisting in the drive towards a paperless operation.
  • Serial tracking – to speed up picking, serial numbers are assigned to phones via a list which is scanned after This is then recorded in NetSuite against the order.
  • Rapid scanning of serial numbers – allowing pickers to scan items one after the other without having to wait for the system to refresh between each one.

“It was WAERlinx’ flexibility and the productivity metrics developed for us that made VHA decide that this was the absolute best product for the project.  We look forward to a long and strong relationship with Waer Systems.”  Darryl Wooten, Director of Operations, VHA.

We Are Looking for a UX/UI Contract Designer.

Are you capable of transforming ideas into software design?  We are looking for a contract designer for an initial period of six months.

The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate that they are highly customer-focused, have a portfolio of excellent work and experience of product design.

For more details, email ahaynes@waersystems.co.uk.  NO agencies please.

Why Switch from a DIY Warehouse Management System to a Leading WMS?

Category : NetSuite, warehouse management, WMS · No Comments · by Sep 13th, 2017

There is often a great deal of reluctance about moving from a DIY (do-it-yourself) warehouse management system (WMS) to an industry-leading model. Companies with a DIY WMS may be understandably wary of implementing a new system – as the saying goes, “if it aint broke….” but there are clear and measurable advantages to taking that leap. 

 

The three most common barriers to making the switch

I know my WMS requires a lot of IT time to maintain and it may not always be up-to-date, but it has grown and been adapted as our business has expanded and it works.”

A 21st century WMS is highly configurable to specific customer needs, market demands and regulatory requirements.  Every company is different and a really good WMS developer will understand which elements of your business processes can’t, or needn’t be changed, and those which can – and should.

Good warehouse management software will have been built on decades of experience and hundreds of implementations in receiving, put-away/flow-through, inventory management, order processing, replenishment, picking, packing, loading and shipping.

It should be able to manage the most highly regulated and complex distribution environments world-wide and be easily configurable to meet current demands, yet flexible enough to adapt to future requirements.

Personalised workflows should be standard, enabling the WMS to meet your company’s specific needs. A good WMS developer will work with you to understand the years you’ve spent developing and tweaking your business processes to your competitive advantage.

 

“Our ERP System already has a WMS that can support our business needs.”

Many ERP systems have their own bolt-on WMS and while this type of system may be fine for a single warehouse with basic processes, the wheels can come off when things start to get more complex.

A best-of-breed model should easily integrate with your ERP system, sales channels and distribution networks and should have the capacity to be configured to the level of detail needed to grow with your business.

 

“I have a team and system built around maintaining and upgrading our WMS. It will be too costly to implement a new system and re-train everyone.”

The ease of using a leading WMS will reduce your IT staff time, including the time spent on upgrades. While a DIY WMS may require hours of additional coding when an upgrade is installed, a leading WMS will have been designed to be upgraded quickly and painlessly and with minimal disruption. Additionally, the inner workings of DIY systems are often tied up in a few, critical resources in IT, leaving many companies very vulnerable should these resources ever leave.

With a best-of-breed WMS, you get the backing of a software provider that is dedicated to making the best product in the market.

It may also be costing you more to keep an obsolete WMS that requires you to maintain older versions of related infrastructure such as databases and operating systems. With a WMS that can integrate with these other systems, the entire warehouse operation can become more efficient almost overnight.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

While your DIY WMS system can serve the needs of your company today, flexibility, efficiency, scalability and adaptability are essential business requirements in our new economy and are to be overlooked at your peril.

You can keep tweaking your DIY WMS as your company grows and expands into new markets but every inefficiency will mount up and cost you in the long-run.

A highly configurable, future-proof WMS will save you money and time, and keep you ahead of the competition.

WAERlinx saves time booking in and despatching stock from the warehouse

Category : warehouse management · No Comments · by Jul 27th, 2017

WAERlinx uses barcodes to record receipted goods into specific stock locations, , making putaway quick and simple. 

It also makes retrieving them when they are needed, a doddle, as staff can locate them instantly at a later date for picking and despatch.

WAERlinx customers use many and varied tracking methods, most commonly serial and batch numbers. With WAERlinx these can be recorded at the point of receipt or at the point of picking, against a specific sales order.

This enables warehouse staff to quickly pick products in specified quantities from the most suitable location in the warehouse e.g. where there is the exact quantity required in a specific single bin, and these can be scanned individually or in bulk.

All stock quantities are visible in real time in WAERlinx and NetSuite giving the whole business an accurate picture of the business at any time.

Sector-Disrupter BUILT/ Chooses WAERlinx for Exciting New Development

Category : warehouse management · No Comments · by Jul 12th, 2017

The ways builders buy their building materials is about to change… BUILT/ is an exciting new business venture (in partnership with a leading industry player) that will pioneer significant changes in the building materials industry. Currently, the building supplies sector for trade has a very traditional, relationship-based approach to commerce, with pricing for building supplies negotiated from customer to customer.

Those same customers, while very familiar with today’s on-demand economy in their private lives, are not seeing it reflected in their business life. While the three issues of range, price and proximity are as important as ever, there is also a craving for consistency and transparency, which the traditional model cannot easily deliver against.

BUILT/ will bring the building supplies industry in line with other, forward-thinking retail sectors, providing customers with a choice of purchasing methods for the building materials they need, both online and off-line.

In short, customers will have the option to buy online for collection at a dedicated place and time, or arrange delivery to an address or a locker. They can also walk in and make their purchase at their local warehouse shop-front, or use the quick and convenient drive thru for orders made online. Such a wide, and easy to use range of choices will cement BUILT/ as the number one choice for the professional trade.

Realising the Vision

The complex requirements of this project called for an extremely robust and forward-thinking ERP and WMS combination. The team at BUILT/ considered several options before settling on the combination of NetSuite with WAERlinx; clear winners in terms of their functionality and flexibility.

The Solution

A typical BUILT/ customer will be a process tradesperson or general builder. They will place an order for building materials in advance and book a time slot to collect them. If they have added their vehicle registration number during the ordering process (where prompted) their licence plate will be registered upon arrival and signs will direct them to the BUILT/ Drive Thru, where BUILT/ operatives will be ready at assigned collection points to load the different materials being purchased. Each site will be divided into a number of zones based on the type of material being stored.

Additionally, BUILT/ will ship building materials to customers at their chosen delivery address, or to collection lockers using their own vehicle fleet as couriers. The WAERpod proof of delivery app will be used with drivers’ iPhones to record delivery, keep customers informed of their order status and plan efficient routes, all of which will be tracked and recorded back to NetSuite.

“We were really impressed with the flexibility of WAERlinx and the experience and knowledge within their development team. We are extremely confident that we have made the right choice and that WAERlinx will be instrumental in making this project a huge success.”

Nick Thomas, BUILT/ CEO

Development

BUILT/ has a complex and challenging set of requirements, however, WAERlinx’s built-in flexibility makes it easy to modify to the solution in order to tailor it to the needs of the project, some of which are outlined here:

  • Standard WAERlinx receiving and put-away amended to combine into a single process, determining a location for the put-away based on the part number parameters for that warehouse (which can be manually over-ridden)
  • Locations are maintained where possible, in order to present a ‘shopfront’ type experience to the customer
  • Collection and delivery orders are prioritised and picked according to urgency
  • Inventory is allocated and dispatched for convenience of pick and delivery
  • Order amendments are captured in real time, hence they are managed in real time
  • Customer ID is used to identify the order that is to be picked – and for matching it to the receipt signature
  • Partial collection of an order can be recorded and logged if customers wish to return at a later time

The project is scheduled to go live in August 2017 and will challenge traditional thinking in this market. We are very excited to be working with BUILT/ on this brand new proof of concept.

Error-free Picking from WAERlinx

Category : warehouse management · No Comments · by Jul 5th, 2017

With its incremental scanning functionality, using just a smartphone as a bar code scanner, WAERlinx WMS for NetSuite can validate each item picked for either sales orders or receipted into stock against purchase orders.

Scanning the product code quickly and automatically records and tracks each individual item on a job list. You can also print a dispatch note and detailed carton label at the point of completion using batch number, serial number, use-by date or any other unique reference code.

These are automatically recorded, eliminating picking errors, and the data recorded in NetSuite in real time.

WAERlinx significantly improves the receipt, picking and dispatch of orders by removing the paper element of warehouse processes. Using bar code labelling and smartphones with real-time integration into NetSuite provides 100% stock accuracy.

Profitability and performance are improved by efficient pick-management, ensuring warehouse staff are working smarter, not harder.

Sandpiper Books Chooses WAERlinx to Manage its Unique Warehouse Operation

Category : warehouse management · No Comments · by Apr 26th, 2017

NetSuite implementation partner NoBlue introduced Sandpiper Books to WAER to get their warehouse operation in better shape and running more efficiently.

The Detail

Sandpiper Books is a UK based company selling discounted and newly published books through its monthly catalogue and website.

The company purchases end of line and excess stock from publishers and wholesalers, of which there are around 700–800, and sells them, primarily through the catalogue, which is published on a monthly basis and distributed to 125,000 subscribers.

At any one time Sandpiper has around 8,500 titles in the warehouse, rising to 14,500 at peak times. Of these, approximately 2,500 are active in the catalogue/website.

The peaks occur on a monthly basis when the catalogue is published, with the major peak being at Christmas when 4,000 orders/day are handled. A typical order will be for 3–4 books.

The company needed a new warehouse management system to work in partnership with their ERP – NetSuite – and following a detailed selection process, chose WAERlinx.

The Solution

Issues particular to Sandpiper that they needed WAERlinx to address were to:

  • Store pallets of received purchase order lines without breaking the pallet so that they could rapidly receive items and only have to manage them at a SKU level when they became due for sale
  • Receive items into both stores but primarily perform this activity in the receiving store, in order to separate out the deep storage inventory from the picking inventory
  • Separate out inactive titles to locations where they could be picked occasionally until they were removed from the store completely
  • Identify obsolete items that should be considered for destruction
  • Identify ‘mint’ inventory and segregate it from ‘off-mint’ inventory
  • Pick books by ISBN for dropping in packing area to be stored alphabetically for packing.

The Waer team has developed solutions for these niche requirements and the project is ongoing with a scheduled go-live set for July 2017.

WAERlinx Gets a Make-Over

Category : warehouse management · No Comments · by Apr 18th, 2017

At Waer, our goal is to reach a point where all releases are customer-driven. And as part of this, we are interviewing WAERlinx users and asking what they would change if they were in charge.

The feedback so far has been invaluable, and has driven a very exciting development…

I’m pleased to announce that the WAERlinx home screen is getting a complete overhaul.

   

The new Control Center will give an instant snapshot of all Open, In Progress and Completed work in the warehouse, and simultaneously provide one-click access to the areas of WAERlinx most frequently used by warehouse supervisors.

Watch this space for more teaser screenshots which we’ll release in advance of the SuiteWorld 17 expo. (we’re at booth #1332, come and say hello.)

To find out more, please get in touch. We’re keeping this fairly quiet just for now but we’ll keep you posted on developments so watch this space…