Sunday, September 30. 2012
We continue to build on the great customer feedback we receive on SQBX, our package tracking software system. Our latest release adds a bunch of new features requested by our customers. You see, we're able to introduce new features into SQBX mostly free of charge. We add these features based on our customer's package tracking best business practices. If you can find a more feature rich receiving and delivery application buy it. If you can find a package tracking system that is more liberal with its licensing buy it. You'll find that our package tracking system will handle just about any situation you have in your receiving, chain of custody, and proof of delivery operations.
Monday, September 17. 2012
If your package tracking system offers a desktop label for this process that's ok. However, the most efficient process is to print a label directly at the point of receipt. If your using your handheld computer like our Motorola MC55 handhelds, that means you'll need a mobile printer. We recommend Zebra ZPL enable label printers such as the RW220+.
Monday, September 10. 2012
Wednesday, September 5. 2012
Since millions of barcodes are scanned using our SQBX package tracking software, I'm often asked what information is in a FedEx or UPS 2D barcode. It's the hope of the receiving team that input can be reduced while logging in packages. there's good news and bad news.
The FedEx 2D barcode does contain some information useful in logging packages into your package tracking system. Let's take a look at a FedEx 2D scan for a package that came to our office:
As you may be able to note above the FedEx barcode indeed has some useful information it. Notably the recipient, tracking number, service and weight are on this package. Your package tracking software should be able to decipher this information. Note however that information you use internally, for example email address, phone number, internal locations, or route codes obviously will not be on this scan. So scanning this barcode will most likely still require data entry.
How about a UPS bullseye scan?
As you can see above, this scan offers little information for your inbound package tracking system. The tracking number and service can be determined but there is no recipient information in this barcode....sorry
Monday, August 27. 2012
There seems to be two schools of thoughts when it comes to receiving goods into and organization against purchase orders. On one hand, warehouse personnel want their receiving software to be fast and efficient by allowing them to quickly agree to the items received. For example, perhaps the quantity received field is pre-populated with the amount expected based on open purchase order quantities. If a quantity received actually matches the operator simply acknowledges the items perhaps by as a little as a mouse click. In some cases warehouse personnel even want a single button that states that all items on the open PO were received so that they don't have to physically acknowledge each line item. Of course this is dangerous since less attentive operators may simply acknowledge purchase order receipts without spending time matching item counts.
The other school of thought is to not pre-populate item quantities and to have the operator physically enter the quantities received against each purchase order line item. There are no shortcuts to receiving goods in such as a single button to receive all goods in. This is the most financially accurate method, but does slow the receiving process down.
It's challenging for software developers to find a happy medium between these two methods.What are your thoughts?
Sunday, August 19. 2012
Your package tracking software should provide the primary processes of receiving and delivering packages. Whether using a hand held device or a desktop computer, most solutions scan the tracking number barcode on packages delivered by the carrier. At that time the recipient, department, or location are noted in the package tracking software.
However prior to delivery, some packages may need to be grouped so that their statuses can be updated en masse. For example, perhaps a pallet of packages is built for one particular location. This pallet will be delivered by a company owned vehicle. Let's say 100 packages are scanned onto the pallet. Your package tracking software should note that these 100 packages now have two statuses: received and palletized. Hopefully when moving this pallet all 100 packages do not need to be scanned.
The best practice for moving these packages now should be to create a single barcode/pallet label that associates all of the packages on that pallet. Here are two ways to do that:
License Plating: You package tracking software should allow you to group packages together and print one barcode label for all of the packages on the pallet. updating the status of all the packages on the pallet is now simply done by scanning the pallet label. For example, now the pallet can be scanned to show:
Routing: Companies that have multiple people delivering packages may have them deliver to the same locations each day. In this case your package tracking software should let you map out delivery routes. Systems that do this usually create a route manifest which essentially license plates all the packages for that route onto the manifest.The route manifest can be used to mass update package statuses.
The difference between these two is that route manifest are uniquely tied to a specific delivery route where license plating is more flexible since any package can be grouped regardless of the route. One example of this is when groups of packages are being stored temporarily.
If your package tracking system is flexible enough to be used for process tracking then it must provide a license plating feature. Process tracking rarely requires a routing mechanism since the sole purpose of process tracking is to know where an item is in a process. Read our blog on process tracking for more on this.
Sunday, August 12. 2012
We often hear that warehouse managers are cautious to alert employees of packages received for them. Most package tracking software systems are capable of sending an email to the employee on receipt. However warehouse managers are not always happy with this because employees tend to want to know the status of the package right away. In some instances as soon as they receive an email they're calling down to the receiving dock to find out when delivery will be made. This may be disruptive since the receiving staff have not finished receiving all packages into their system. As a result some warehouse managers choose not to alert the employee at all.
Your package tracking software should be customizable enough to provide information about the package to the recipient then schedule emails to go out after the all packages have been received. An advanced messaging system not only schedules emails, but can also create different types of emails based on the employees job type. For example executives may get a different email message than staff do. Perhaps certain employees can pick their package up while others are delivered.
Another way that you can provide information to employees about their packages is to provide a portal that gives visibility over the receiving and delivery process. Employees can then check the status of their packages at will. The portal should be capable of filtering visibility for just the employee. If allowed perhaps the employee can also view packages for his department as well.
Check out SQBX if you'd like to see the all these options in action!
Monday, August 6. 2012
Here's a handy gadget you can use with your Motorola MC55 or MC65 series computer. The MSR5500-100R snap on magnetic stripe reader let's your MC55 or MC65 scan ID cards, loyalty cards, and even credit cards. We tested this device and it works a treat in a proof of delivery environment. If you're delivering packages to employees or college students and your organization issues ID cards, this might be a great way for your recipient to acknowledge receipt of their package.
Monday, May 14. 2012
Motorola has had a long and storied success rate with rugged mobile handheld computers. We've deployed MC70, MC75, and MC55s with ease in our package tracking software. In fact the latest iteration of the MC55, the MC55A0 has been fantastic albeit the Windows Mobile 6.5 interface seems to be more directed to the consumer market than the industrial market. This is a nice segway into the newest ultra-compact offering from Motorola: the ES400.
Monday, March 19. 2012
I suppose any discussion about cloud computing should first start with a definition of cloud computing. Think of cloud computing as a a bunch of servers residing in one or more data centers accessible via The Internet. It's called a cloud because it expands and contracts on demand. Cloud computing reduces and contains IT budgets because little capital investment is required. Furthermore, IT management is greatly reduced so that your in house IT folks can focus on more strategic issues. System maintenance and upgrades are mostly performed without notice.
Monday, January 16. 2012
It's a the dirty little secret that UPS and FedEx don't want you to know about.....or is it? Did you know that you can achieve next day delivery by using UPS or FedEx Ground? Yup that's right! In many cases a ground package will get to its destination in one day GUARANTEED. In fact by using the ground delivery map you'll notice that ground packages can get to their destination for the most part between 1 and 5 days. This is very useful knowledge whan comparing next day air, second day air, and three day shipments to ground shipping. By doing so you can save several dollars on overnight and second day air packages.
Typically warehouses are in the know about this. But you shouldn't leave this to the warehouse to make the decision. These rules should be built into your busines systems. For example, our solutions automatically rate shop and provide a list of carrier services that will meet a specified delivery date.
Tuesday, January 10. 2012
If you're the type of company that ships mostly the same type of item or perhaps you have batches of shipment that are similar, a batch shipping module in your order fulfillment process might just be the ticket. Our objective is to process shipping labels for multiple, nay, hundreds of packages with a few clicks, than collect the labels from our printer and apply them to the packages.
To determine routing and shipping rates, carriers are primarily concerned with four main factors ; delivery location, dimension, weight, and contents. So for batch shipment processing we need to ensure that the packaging and weight are all the same. The contents may be different as long as no special services need to applied to any particular package i.e declared value. It's ok to apply a special service to a batch process. Just remember that in the batch we assume all packages will get the same special service. For example, it's ok to ship 100 smart phones to 100 different customers and to add declared value (insurance) to each one for $200.00. That means that each package in this shipment have the same packaging, same weight, and same value. Some may have different versions of phones but it doesn't change the weight or value (for shipping purposes). Some systems can print separate packing slips and shipping labels. In many cases it's even more clever to have the packing slip and shipping label combined in one document.
So a batch shipping process might flow like this in Zenventory:
100 customers order Samsung Galaxy S2 Cell Phones
1. Group the cell phone orders for picking and packing in Zenventory.
2. Print the picking slips.
3. Pick the phones into the boxes.
4. Pack verify the orders in Zenventory.
5. Group the packed orders for shipment processing in Zenventory.
6. Acknowledge the weight and special services.
7. Press ship and collect your combination packing slips/shipping labels.
8 Distribute them throughout the packages.
Read more at the Zenventory site.
Thursday, February 11. 2010
The SQBX package tracking system is an enterprise mail and package tracking and delivery management system that supports both workstation and mobile computer receiving capabilities. In other words you can receive inbound mail and shipments using multiple computer workstations or use our mobile handheld computers like the Motorola MC55. Depending on your situation workstations, mobile computers, or a combination of both may fit your needs.
Situation: You Simply Want A Count Of The Packages Dropped By The Carrier
Both our mobile computers and the web-based workstation software have the capability of a quick scan of inbound packages to get a count of the packages unloaded by the carrier. All that's required is a quick scan of the carrier barcode on each package to give you a count of the total packages received. This allows you to verify the number of packages the carrier is having you sign for. Later when time avails itself you can rescan each package and enter the details required for your internal operation.
Situation: Computer Access To Your Receiving Dock Is Not Available
No problem, use our mobile computers to receive packages into your organization. You can enter the same details on the mobile computer that you can with the desktop computer. In fact, multiple mobile computers can receive on the dock. Each user can than take his packages directly out for delivery.
Situation: Your Company Has Detailed Data Requirements To Track Inbound Packages
In this case it may work better for you to enter receipts into the workstation. Obviously a computer workstation has a much larger monitor and usually a full size keyboard for entering data. Entering large amounts of package receipt data into a mobile device slightly larger than a cell phone may get tedious.
Situation: You Require Internal Routing Information To Be Attached To The Package
Typically this requires using the computer workstation with an attached label printer. However, this will soon be available on our mobile computers as well.
Speed vs Mobility
A computer workstation has a lot more horsepower than the processor on a mobile computer and therefore is a lot faster when receiving packages and conducting research on your receipts and deliveries. However, sometimes the mobility of the handheld computer is so convenient that using it for receiving outweighs the speed of the desktop. This is certainly the case during the delivery process. It's unlikely you're going to be satisfied lugging your desktop computer around your mail route to capture the recipients signature.
SQBX Mobile, whether used on the Motorola MC55 or on your Windows Mobile cell phone, is built the world's fasted compact database technology. Our mobile application can support the largest data capacity in the industry. It's also very fast. So feel confidant that whether you chose the computer workstation or the mobile software, you'll receive and deliver packages and mail expeditiously.
Wednesday, February 10. 2010
Today a customer called after his company owned PC went to computer heaven. His IT department installed a new hard drive and applied their corporate image. "But what about my SQBX receiving system?", the customer enquired. Now that's the beauty of a web-based system. All he needed to do was simply navigate to SQBX.com and start receiving again just like he did before the big crash. Even more importantly, all of his data was safe and secure on our managed servers. Even better, this customer could have switched to any PC in his organization so that his inbound receiving process was not delayed while his computer was repaired.
That's what software as a service is all about. A fully managed service that provides your application, your technical support, and your data backed up daily and readily available from our secure data center in a flash from any computer with proper credentials. All of our applications are provided this way:
Sunday, January 24. 2010
SQBX is a web based receiving, visitor tacking, and asset tracking system that you access through your web browser. It is completely hosted and managed by us. There are several reasons why this is cost effective for our customers.
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