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    Benefits of a Multi-Tenant Solution

    Through technology, today millions of users are generating huge volumes of information that are stored directly on their devices, external drives, databases, or, more commonly, in the cloud.

    Every second, an hour of video is uploaded to YouTube; In other words, up to 86,400 hours can be loaded in one day, which means, annually, about 3,600 years of video. Facebook figures are no less impressive: more than a thousand personal photos are published every second, about 3,000 million photos a month.

    As for the term cloud, computing refers to a virtual medium to host information of any kind, text, photos, graphics, etc. That is, you do not have it stored on your device, it is on some server anywhere in the world.

    Information systems have also adopted this modality and large software manufacturers already offer their applications in the cloud, which allow you to manage, store, and access data and applications through the Internet.

    In this way, you do not worry about everything that hardware implies (maintenance, operating system updates, space, and infrastructure) and focus on taking advantage of technology for the strategic benefits of your organization.

    In addition to the savings in infrastructure, the implementation is quick and easy, where the highest levels of security are also highlighted to prevent attacks or information theft.

    Sectors such as logistics cannot be left behind in technological implementations that optimize daily operations; especially due to the fact that the adaptability of the supply chain is of the most importance, as it has to be at the forefront of changes in the market and its consumers.

    Achieving efficient, dynamic and quality logistics improves indicators and customer satisfaction since today’s organizations need high levels of agility, integration, and visibility that go beyond what traditional systems were designed to provide.

    For example, as is the case with a WMS in the cloud, you can manage inventory from anywhere in the world, check the status of a specific order, monitor productivity in the CeDi, obtain real-time information for decision making, and many more benefits.

    A Cloud Suite provides technology for all links in the supply chain, from production plants to the last mile, they are comprehensive solutions for all business sectors or verticals of a business.

    The cloud is a giant, robust, secure, reliable service that is within your reach. Like any investment, evaluate the market options, benefits, and modalities, and you will surely find the service that best suits the needs of your organization.

    Benefits of a Multi-tenant solution

    • A cloud-native enterprise BI platform must be built from the ground up as a multi-tenant system. True cloud BI solution providers use technologies that elastically scale in capacity as their database or user base grows to provide the best possible performance for small to very large-scale solutions.
    • Several solutions enable scaling by adding new computing power, and performance is optimized through techniques such as caching, pre-aggregation, and optimized Structured Query Language (SQL) generation.
    • These optimizations can significantly reduce the cost of cloud analytics when used against cloud database solutions that charge for processor consumption versus storage.
    • Using a multi-tenant platform in the cloud ensures that your organization will always have the latest version and can take advantage of the provider’s continuous improvements and innovations.
    • In single-tenant and on-premises deployments, resource limitations mean an organization can be out of date for months or years, and frequent updates are disruptive to business.
    • Another benefit of having multi-tenant software is that it creates virtual, not physical, BI tenants that interact with each other.
    • The use of these virtual instances is important because, traditionally, delivering reliable data across the enterprise required the development of a large and complex monolithic data warehouse that attempted to answer all business questions and relied heavily on physical replication. of the BI infrastructure, not just hardware, but also data, metadata, user profiles, and system configurations, making it a complex, time-consuming, repetitive, and expensive effort.

    These new virtual BI instances make it easy to deliver data as a service to the organization.

    Additionally, virtual BI instances help with agility by providing the flexibility to easily create new instances to explore new analytics use cases. If the value is proven, these instances can be “produced” and handed over to IT for management. If the value is not realized, the virtual tenant can be removed simply by avoiding the time, costs, and resources associated with configuring physical hardware and software.

    As a subscription service, cloud solutions are a low-risk way to acquire business intelligence without the usual high costs, onerous commitments, advanced technical skills, or high resource requirements. The rewards of deeper business insight, increased efficiency, increased productivity, and lower costs make this a winning strategy for businesses of all sizes.

    Source: Infor/Why Business Intelligence in the Cloud?/ Page 4-5; 2021

    By Xavier Cordova, Customer Support Manager at Cerca Technology.

    Supply chains: Benefits of digitization in SMB today

    Year after year, Cerca Technology has stood out for accompanying its clients in the growth of their operations, they have been participants in changes in best practices that seek to react to the current market. Hence, Cerca has stood out for supporting the acceleration of digital transformation and making organizations much more competitive, taking into account that supply chains are a strategic factor for all companies.

    The company has witnessed the changes that its clients have experienced in recent years, and they are aware of the need for process optimization in the supply chain that many SMBs in the region have, so much so that they have begun to talk about a “democratization of digital transformation access in the supply chain”.

    In an interview with Bryan Buitrago, General Manager of Cerca Technology, he explained it this way: “Digital transformation has accelerated in all organizations, regardless of size. And an example of this is Internet access and the use of mobile devices that have increased significantly in the last decade in Latin America and the Caribbean… but it is still insufficient when in Chile only 90% of SMBs that have an Internet connection, use it to send and receive emails, while 40% have a website and only 27% carry out electronic commerce. This scenario should be projected to the rest of the countries in the region that reach 99% of the business ecosystem in Latin America”.

    Taking into account this reality and the experience that Cerca has had in digital transformation processes, Bryan was asked if he, as a leader, has thought of any strategy to support small and medium-sized companies in facing this challenge. To which he replied: “Starting from the fact that there is still a lot of ignorance in SMBs about how to get the most out of the technology that is already within their reach, the strategy is planned in two ways; The first is to evangelize and be able to bring this knowledge to these organizations and the second is for more actors in the chain to join, for example, associations, technology companies, consultants, even governments themselves. In other words, we all start working towards the digital transformation processes of SMBs in the region.”

    He added that to begin this evangelization it is important to define the digital logistics transformation designed for SMBs; seeks that all processes within the chain can be digitized to make the company more productive while reducing costs and obtaining a vision from start to finish of the operation. Having said that, he stressed the distinction between the following aspects. – systematization – through software, and – technical – through machines, and robots, among others.

    Is it necessary to have a very robust structure to be able to implement technologies that support supply chains?

    When it comes to systematization in the SMB segment, many are scared because they believe that it is for the exclusive use of large companies, however, today the very development of the industry has made it unnecessary to set up large implementation teams since There are technologies that allow low-cost adoptions, in addition to all the benefits of being in the cloud. With this, the myth about the robustness that a company must have to be able to implement technologies that optimize the supply chain is clarified.

    Complementing the above, Bryan adds that “technology for the supply chain has been evolving, however, being business solutions with impacts on processes and productivity, they are not solutions that are implemented alone, they need support at a strategic level aligned with the objectives of the company and here SMBs have a great advantage over their competitors: their flexibility and agility.

    Is a very high investment required to acquire technologies for the supply chain?

    There really is no high investment, but rather that it is not paid, because a low investment can be made, but if it is not recovered, that is when it becomes a high investment. Technology implementation projects for distribution centers have very interesting returns on investment. For example, entering processes such as batch management, and rotation by expiration date, the expired product begins to decrease where a lot of money can be left monthly due to poor rotation. So, beyond just perceiving the size of the investment, it is better to understand how to obtain a return on investment.

    Now, when it comes to cash flow, with cloud solutions, acquisition models have changed, allowing subscription payments to be made according to the requirements of the operation.

    Finally, taking advantage of Bryan’s experience and knowledge, we wanted to know his perception about what he considers to be the 3 key points to start a digital transformation process, which we list below:

    • Review processes in supply chains:

    Identify which are those that will generate a rapid improvement impact and with which to leverage the strategic objectives of the organization. This can result in addressing transportation processes, planning at distribution centers; etc.

    • Define a technological and logistics development roadmap:

    Define a roadmap with specific priorities and the starting point where the company can be visualized in three and five years in order to scale the processes to the rest of the company since the savings achieved in the first processes will help pay for the technology.

    • Expert support:

    Having an experienced team is very important. Companies or people who have the knowledge and experience of having accompanied others to overcome the logistical challenges of different companies and industries and thus maximize the investments they have made.

    Taking into account his experience, Bryan mentions that “sometimes the absence of technology in the distribution centers becomes the limitation for that company to begin to grow, and that is where the leaders of SMEs must be very clear about where they are ?, How can they improve? And what do they need to get to where they want to be in the next 3 or 5 years?”

    And he insists: “I think that we – Cerca Technology – have a great responsibility with the country to support and accelerate the digital transformation in SMEs. That is where the future is and also where we can put our grain of sand so that the organizations develop and therefore the region. It is not a job of a person or a company, it is a job of each government, associations, and private industry, where not only the companies that offer technology have to row towards digitization.”

    Access to see the full interview below:

    Source: Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.

    10 Keys to choosing the right Transport Software

    The distribution and transportation process has become the most critical process in the management and administration of supply chains since not only are its costs highly representative but it is estimated that between 30% and 60% of the total costs of logistics are directly involved with the relationship with customers. This means that companies today have within their strategic business vision the acquisition of transport management and administration software (TMS) or think about changing the solution they have today to better suit their company. To accompany this process, below you will find 10 important keys to guide you in choosing the right software provider:

    1. Customized solution, SMB solution, world-class solution:

      Customized solutions will be an initially attractive option, since it will allow you to adapt it to the current requirements of the operation, however, its development will take a long time since it must involve algorithms advanced routing, complex formulas for transport settlement, among other features. Additionally, the evolution and updating of these tools will be very expensive in the end. An SMB (Small Medium Business) solution is a small solution that will allow small and medium-sized companies to acquire software that optimizes their distribution operation, normally these solutions are not TMS but are small tools with some functionalities. If your company is large and moves more than 30 vehicles per day, it would be worth looking at a world-class solution, which are robust TMS solutions with more than 20 years of development, that will respond to the challenges of your company. Having defined what kind of solution your company is looking for and needs will allow you to select the appropriate providers and compare them under these premises.

    2. Scope:

      Understand the scope based on the business model, if it is on-premise if it is cloud if its model is SAAS, and what is included. It is advisable to choose a cloud model as it will always allow access to constant software updates without sacrificing information security.

    3. Scalability:

      It is important that as the company grows it has a scalable solution that allows it to respond to the challenges of a constantly changing market, which supports multiple operations and multiple business models. Likewise, it is necessary to understand if the software will allow it to reach other functionalities that its operation may require in the future, such as traceability, control of deliveries, surrender of trips, and settlement of freight, which in general are components of a comprehensive TMS software.

    4. Flexibility:

      Having robust and world-class software should not be restrictive or oversize the needs of the company, a modular solution will allow you to implement the components that your company requires without having to fully acquire the software and even implement them in phases according to needs and available resources.

    5. Configuration:

      How well is the tool adapted to the needs of my operation? How configurable is it? You have to understand if the tool allows you to configure all the business rules of the organization, all the restrictions, and all the necessary variables such as geography, customers, orders, delivery times, traffic conditions, weight, volume, pallets, and vehicle capacity, among many others. Generally, small tools do not allow a high configuration, are restrictive, and require many post-implementation developments to be able to adjust to the needs of the operation, which will imply subsequent costs.

    6. Processing time:

      Another important factor to consider is the data processing time since many systems collapse or take many hours to achieve results, so depending on the need it is an important point to evaluate.

    7. Integration:

      Understand if the tool allows integration with the systems that the organization has such as ERP, WMS, CRM, eCommerce, if the integration will be native or if it will only be through flat files, and how flexible it is.

    8. New technologies and innovation:

      Machine Learning, IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and other concepts should no longer be alien to TMS solutions. The digital transformation that Logistics 4.0 requires to continue advancing makes a well-adapted routing software the best tool to meet the objectives in the Supply Chain, in addition to having a good team and well-defined processes

    9. Support:

      Verify support coverage, the language in which they provide it, their response times, and that they have a specialized area to provide services. It is not enough just to provide support when the customer seeks it, you must also interact proactively.

    10. Manufacturer and implementer experience:

      The manufacturer’s trajectory is quite important when choosing a routing software, this will give us an understanding of how robust the tool is, how developed its routing algorithms are. Likewise, the number of implementations, the industries in which it has been implemented, and the size of its clients.

    Taking these aspects into account, you can ensure that the solution you have selected will cover the functional, technical, and strategic requirements of your company.

    Cerca Technology, a company with more than 27 years implementing world-class solutions in leading companies in the supply chain, has a consulting team that will accompany you in understanding the scope of the implementation of a solution for distribution and transportation, taking into account the challenges and needs of your company.

    Benefits of the Implementation of Voice Technology in your Distribution Center

    As can be seen in the development of operations within the distribution center, the demands and demands to fill orders efficiently are increasing, not only is it expected to have much more precise but also faster processes.

    This situation increases the need for companies to provide their workers with adequate technological tools and solutions that are capable of increasing performance within the employee’s working day, without sacrificing their well-being.

    Voice CD technology currently represents, undoubtedly, one of the safest, most efficient, and accurate alternatives, with superior performance to many other options such as radio-frequency terminals or traditional picking lists. This technology is capable of increasing productivity by 30% or more, as well as the consequence of effectiveness or precision rates higher than 99%; significantly impacting overall employee safety and satisfaction and, consequently, business retention rates.

    Benefits of implementing Voice in your business

    • Structured work: through voice instructions, the worker is guided with indications of location and tasks or steps necessary to accurately and agilely complete processes such as picking, inventory control, replacement, and even maintenance or repairs, as required.
    • Time reduction: the devices have an ergonomic design and voice command technology that allows reducing the execution times of the tasks, by keeping the operator with their hands and eyes 100% free during the entire workflow.
    • Easy integration: the flexible software of this solution allows it to adapt to any type of host system, be it a local system, large distribution center management systems (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs for small and medium-sized Business. . ; which allows assuming the administration of existing processes as well as the implementation of new workflows optimized to the individual needs of the business.
    • Data collection and analysis: Honeywell Voice has a data collection and analysis system that allows identifying and optimizing workflows, increasing effectiveness and productivity within the operation.
      This process automation allows the identification and monitoring of business performance objectives and inventory levels in real-time, allowing to obtain highly useful information for decision-making.

    The implementation of these solutions means a reduction in training time in the use of the tool by up to 85% compared to other technologies, allowing employees to immediately join the job, even in the case of temporary collaborators. or not natives.

    Honeywell Voice is a solution that has been proven for more than 20 years with successful results in different environments, successfully meeting multiple operational needs, which are changing and require flexible and highly adaptable technological support.

    Some of our clients say:

    “We save money every time we don’t have to make an express delivery to a customer. And that enhances our image ”. – Managing Director

    “Since the deployment of the voice, we have been able to confidently handle our seasonal fluctuations. Work assignments are more flexible, which has helped us reduce our work hours by more than 20%, decrease inventory adjustments in pickup areas by 80%, and reduce our training time by 80%. . “- CIO”

     

    Planning Integrated by Scenarios: What it is and How It Helps Cope with the Impact of COVID-19

    Facing the new realities generated by COVID-19, unknown and not possible to prevent, has required, on the part of the executive levels, a practically immediate reaction and response to lead their teams in making decisions and promoting the direction of their business in these troubled waters. It is a priority to effectively mitigate risks and also take advantage of the opportunities that these circumstances can offer, mainly those who are in certain segments such as Health, Protection and Food.

    This has had an impact on the industries by requiring strong business leadership, rather than traditional executive leadership.

    Effectively managing the supply chain requires that each business-link of it be comprehensively managed, that collaboration conditions are quickly identified and accepted at each node and that win-win relationships are created from executive levels to ensure synchrony of changes, savings, value generation and speed throughout the chain, in response to the rapidity in which new expectations from markets and consumers have been emerging.

    Strengthening the competencies of the management teams, supported by their tactical teams, to manage their businesses through scenario planning has been one of those new demands, now considered a necessary condition to navigate these new waters.

    What is ISP

    It is necessary to understand scenario planning as an integral part of the strategy generation processes, the IBP (Integrated Business Planning) management process and the short and medium-term tactical processes. Consequently, its name is “Integrated Scenario Planning“, ISP (Integrated Scenario Planning), whose main characteristics are:

    • “Provide a structured framework for organizations to think ahead and manage change”
    • Answer the question “What if …?” and enable senior leadership to consider what future events are likely and important, what the impact would be, and how they might respond to or benefit from the possible situation
    • Identify alternative scenarios with clear assumptions, simulations, roles and responsibilities and with defined trigger points to develop and implement agile responses
    • Provide executives with credible information in real time to facilitate decision-making in short times of uncertainty or in longer planning horizons.

    As a process, the ISP must be established in the organization, formalizing its objectives, inputs, managers & roles, sources of information, frequencies of review and monitoring and the deliverables, which will be the action plans decided as a result of the analysis of the scenarios proposed to the direction.

    ISP works at two levels: planning and implementation. In the first, one or more scenarios are identified, analyzed and outlined as a response to mitigate risks, leverage opportunities, and define action plans. In the second, the mitigation and / or leverage plan is approved, execution is monitored and results are controlled, to also ensure a learning curve.

    ISP, integrally leverages the planning and Integrated management of each business-link in the chain. The integrated management of the chain, now increasingly strengthened in each of its links with the incorporation of integrated planning by scenarios, ISP, ensures effective Integrated control of operations.

    ISP Contributions to the Comprehensive Control of Business Operations

    Traditionally, a meaning has been assigned to the control of Operations as well as to the control of the execution of Operations of the production and distribution of products. The current meaning, now with a comprehensive scope, provides a holistic – systemic vision and understanding, which links and integrates to the strategic & executive IBP process all the tactical activities of the business, that is, those related to: a) planning; b) programming; c) execution & control. These extend both to the field of Demand (commercial and marketing processes) and to the field of supply or “Supply”.

    In the monthly cycle of the management process, (IBP) in its Executive Business Review stage, reviews, questions and approves, in executive consensus, a single company plan, which contains the strategy, decisions and guidelines of senior management .

    The single plan, thus revised and approved, is communicated to the entire organization; it constitutes the authorization and is the “trigger” of all the actions or “Operations” of the planning, the consequent programming and its execution & control, both in the Demand (planning, execution & control of the Sale), as well as in the “Supply” (planning, execution & control of Production, Purchase and Distribution).

    From this perspective, Operations control acquires an integral scope to the entire business, being now more strengthened with the greater competition for Integrated Planning by Scenarios, ISP, that business leaders are focused and defined to develop in their organizations.

    The current practice of excellence implies, therefore, that responsibility for the operations of a business begins at the executive level, which is the one that gives the guidelines and the one that sets the strategy; and it continues at the tactical level, in which it is ensured that these guidelines and strategy are integrated into the plans that will become detailed programs, to then be executed and controlled at the Operational level.

     

    Alberto Fonseca

    Principal Consultant,  Oliver Wight Latam

     

    Agility is the Magic Word. Urgency is the Driving Force

    Today’s global economic uncertainty has put more pressure on the supply chain. Today more than ever the food, mass consumption, medicine, retail (e-commerce) sectors must be able to respond quickly to changing market conditions, adapting to the different restrictions that each government is establishing in order to safeguard the well-being of its population.

    Fortunately, with proper information management and the inclusion of technology that enables remote real-time reading, companies can increase their agility and ability to manage their supply chain.

    Supply chain overview

    In countries such as the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, the economic crisis due to the effects of the Coronavirus is being treated as an induced coma, that is, governments are supplying the amount of cash necessary for the local economy to suffer as little as possible and with the Over time, the economy can be reactivated easily. This is at least the plan until June.

    In contrast, companies in Latin American countries need long-term stability and planning to adjust processes and take advantage of opportunities, but it is clear that political decisions can dramatically trigger scenarios that were not contemplated.

    However, the challenges stimulate innovation, hence the tools that promote greater capacity to mitigate risks, greater control over their supply chains and a simplification in decision-making, will be competitive advantages that companies must consider.

    Time for action

    Making predictions about market behavior and the impact it will have on supply chains would be irresponsible and imprecise, especially when logistics is not a “plan and forget”, changes must be monitored and strategies must be adapted. What can be predicted is that companies that prepare, that contemplate omnichannel scenarios will have an advantage. Agility is the magic word. Urgency is the driving force.

    If you want to know how to orchestrate your supply chain and establish a healthy logistics ecosystem that is receptive to change from a holistic point of view, in order to make more effective decisions in real time and generating value for all the actors involved, leave us your data and we will send you the Whitepaper “THE PATH TO THE AUTONOMUS SUPPLY CHAIN” with the steps to take and the basic questions to ask.

      Preparing your Supply Chain for the New Age

      xLet us begin by understanding that the only thing that is known with certainty is that there will be a global and local uncertainty of multiple variables that will impact our businesses. Of course, each organization experiences specific circumstances and delving into each of its variables would be like putting a very long list as a task. However, the huge questions are:

      When and how will demand be restored?

      What resources will be available, when and at what cost?

      And consequently, how can we prepare our business?

      According to a Harvard Business Review article (Carsgtem Lund and Thomas Ritter), the actions of each company will be defined by the analysis of each of the following five topics that are understood around 5 P’s:

      1. Position: Analyzing the organization in the market and its supply chain
      2. Perspective: Deciding how the organization will operate
      3. Projects: Defining to study, execute and coordinate
      4. Plan: Based on assumptions and changing variables
      5. Preparation: Planning and execute

       

      Organizations will then need to define what their position will be in the market, considering the offer of products that will remain; how it will compete and the strategies it will carry out, considering the capabilities it has or will have in the future and, which management technologies will support for decision-making and execution.

      The restoration of market and supply forces will be gradual and geographic. This involves defining assumptions of expected dates and available capacities that will be gradually (or not) being incorporated, which will require two main strategies: quickly determine the assumptions over time and assess the risks to make cost decisions – benefit.

      It has been commented that there will be no return to normality, that we will enter a new way of doing business, and that there will foreseeably be changes in:

      • The internal work culture
      • Internal collaboration and with business partners
      • Redefinition of trust agreements

      The pandemic caught many organizations unprepared to work from home, and in many cases the maturity of their planning and implementation processes will determine their resilience.

      Today organizations face a list of initiatives and each one must be analyzed in depth in order to gather enough information to determine priorities according to:

      • The analytical strengths of each organization
      • Resources: Working capital, physical capacities
      • Cost-benefit
      • Risks
      • opportunity

      Each process in the supply chain will be subject to careful planning and its degree of maturity will determine its survival capabilities.

      It is possible that some organizations know their limitations to face one and the other projects, but all can start to prepare according to their position, perspective and projects, with two specific actions:

      • Understanding the capabilities that the organization will require
      • Analyzing business processes and information technologies

      For both tips at Cerca Technology we make ourselves available, bearing in mind that we offer solutions to simulate and optimize your supply chain model, allowing you to have your digital twin to quickly and accurately define possible scenarios and support decision-making, as many times as the situation in your supply chain changes.

      Models allow you to develop optimal, feasible plans with analysis of demand, distribution, transportation, manufacturing, and purchasing decisions. In addition, they give visibility over time, considering randomness, assumed changes in the variables and interventions in the assumptions. Optimization scenarios allow you to comprehensively determine, with the required level of detail, specific action plans that maximize and / or minimize key indicators.

      We know that these are challenging times in many ways, but we are convinced that with a conscious planning process and an understanding of technological solutions as enhancers and facilitators, we will be able to transform our organizations so that they have an interesting panorama in this new era.

      Improving Productivity: Just a Matter of Time in Times of Crisis?

      We are in times of crisis, where increasing productivity is one of the main challenges in logistics management. Today doing “more” with the same resources and maintaining security protocols is the goal.

      Over time, companies have faced different business challenges in logistics management, one of the most significant has been the evaluation of the level of productivity, which impacts the final objective of the supply chain specifically in the speed of response, is say having the “right product, in the right place, at the right time, at the lowest possible cost.” Today after the current crisis, making processes more agile and identifying the cost of an operation, where it is won, where it is lost, becomes vital to keep a company afloat.

      Productivity is defined as the result of the implementation of methods that allow a better performance of the available resources. Frederick Taylor was one of the pioneers in the evaluation of productivity, contributing at the end of the 19th century to the development of a “task” -based system, where the standard time it took the best operator had to be measured through a stopwatch qualified to carry out an activity, determining maximum, nominal and proven capacity.

      The results of Taylor’s studies brought about the reduction to a third of the personnel and a profitability of almost 50% to the companies that applied it, however Frederick has not been the only one to study labor productivity, the Gilberth husbands, Adamiecki and other European authors have also made their contributions.

      Defining the time that should be invested in an activity allows identifying which tasks can  negatively influence the productivity of a process and with this, resources can be better controlled. At the logistical level, all the activities carried out in a distribution center can be measurable and quantifiable, however, “What is not defined, cannot be measured. What is not measured can not be improved. What is not improved is always degraded ”(Lord Kevin, S XIX). Therefore, defining measurement indicators will provide a complete overview of the processes, with which commitments with clients and final consumers can be established, which will even result in optimizing the use of resources. All this translates into cost reduction for the company.

      There are manual and technological productivity measurement tools, your choice will depend on the size of the equipment you want to measure and the possible integration that can be generated with other systems. Labor Management System (LMS) or Workforce Management for example, is an excellent technological tool that allows you to have real-time information on the performance of your employees through the condensation of productivity assessment methodologies.

      To implement such a tool, the following methodological steps must be taken into account:

      1. Identify the main processes. In a distribution center the main operations are the receipt, storage, preparation and dispatch, however, it must be identified which one or which activities have the greatest impact on your organization. This depends on the logistics model that is implemented, it is not the same, a warehouse that only handles pallets to the office, where possibly the main impact may be the receipt, to a warehouse that is only responsible for dispatching units, where preparation should be considered. of orders. Analyze process diagrams, identify key processes using engineering tools, analyze function manuals and identify operation metrics such as number of items, number of receipts, number of units dispatched, among others.

       

      1. Establish the activities of the processes. The direct and indirect activities of the processes must be identified. In a distribution center you have the step by step of each process, for example, a receipt, it can be broken down into various activities, taking items, counting, registering LPN, among others. Likewise, indirect activities such as rest times, change of uniform, industrial safety routine, among others, should be established.

       

      1. Define standard process times. Once the activities have been identified, it is important to establish a time standard, for which different techniques can be used such as: decomposing the tasks into different activities, identifying a sample size, taking records through timing; analyze the conditions and environments for carrying out the activities defined in the distribution center, taking into account personal fatigue or delay; perform average calculations, carry out pro rata if necessary, and finally as a result, type-times can be set which will be the point of analysis and evaluation of productivity.

       

      1. Establish the plant layout. It involves the identification and, if necessary, the reorganization of the physical distribution of the distribution center where the reception and office doors, hallways, storage areas, order preparation areas, among others, are contemplated. Take into account in the design, the importance, frequency and safety of the areas for the definition of CeDi workflows (routes) and spaces. Now, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, due to the current crisis, the distribution of human resources will be essential, taking into account the distances for the safety of its employees, ensuring that the routes and process times are not affected.

       

      1. Identify the equipment. It is important to list the equipment that is available in the CeDi, considering the corridor spaces to define equipment restrictions, resources that said equipment will use, capacities and movement times. Keep in mind that a forklift is not the same as an electric forklift in times and movements. Additionally, it will be important to consider handling equipment that ensures quality in product handling. It may be a good idea to start contemplating new voice-assisted product management technologies.

       

      1. Identify the staff plant. It is important to know the number of resources that are available for each process, there are multiple time and movement evaluation tools among them, the basic and normally used, list the activities and sub-activities of each process and take time, taking into account account for the most and least qualified operators, and also identify tolerances.

       

      Now, once the methodology is understood, the key to improving productivity in CeDi will be in the integration of the information previously collected, that is, first when defining the main processes with the plant design, the result will be the process flow, likewise, establishing a new distribution between areas will generate a reduction in the dead times per route and will allow establishing the safety distances currently required to care for human resources during these times.

      Subsequently, the equipment (machinery) that will allow the flow of materials, products and operators to be more dynamic must be included, as well as the production capacity being increased, since one of the effects of the current crisis is that contemplating the right inventory it is not safe, on the contrary a large security inventory must be kept. It should be noted that it is essential that the staff identify who or who are the most efficient in the processes, often qualitative evaluations are not the best option.

      By now you will have built an operating model and the next step will be to pilot test to ensure that the expected savings and increases in productivity are achieved; it is here where the organization methods acquire all their importance that will allow showing a victorious result in these times of crisis, doing “more” with the same resources, faster and now including one more variable, security.

      Once the pilot tests are finished, it can be said that the live start is given way, and it is where you can assess whether implementing a methodology such as Labor Management was a good decision. Thus, through the different reports and management indicators that can be viewed in the required periods, the final result of this implementation can be evaluated, where the main advantage for its use will be the almost immediate increase in CeDi productivity. . Improving the performance of employees and physical resources through control and monitoring.

      Labor Management sees not only the evaluation after, but also the before, that is, the planning, where weekly activities can be established and the required resources can be defined according to the activities that must actually be carried out, possibly before This implementation if a number of employees were considered to work a shift, the decisions were made in a qualitative and visual way, now they will be quantitative and real.

      Many times, it is thought that the main disadvantage for a company to implement it as a practice is the high investments that the implementation of technology implies, but frequently at the end of a project of this type, management manages to demonstrate and compare the return on investment.

      Since the focus of the functionalities of a Labor Management system are planning and reporting of work, including calculation of goals and ability to determine operating costs, even by specific clients, associating them directly with orders, you can even motivate the work team through an incentive payment plan.

      Therefore, keep in mind that implementing a system or any methodology to measure productivity will allow you to have cost control, increase or maintain the operating margin even in times of crisis, and finally, demonstrate that the final result will be the definition of fair and measurable standards that will increase job performance by retaining the best employees and developing best practices. Given that this implementation not only generates efficiencies immediately, but long-term visibility will be maintained to continue making adjustments as the needs of the company, the market or the environment change.

      By: Ana Katerine Benitez, Solution Consultant at Cerca Technology

      In Times of Crisis, Responsiveness and Speed ​​are the Gold

      The worldwide impact that Covid -19 has had on public health, society and the economy simultaneously, has been the differentiating factor of the crisis that today involves more than 170 countries, including world powers. Although all economic sectors have been affected, there are industries that have not had the same levels of damage.

      The automobile, tourism, consumer goods, and service delivery industries, to name a few, have been highly affected, for example: in Korea, a market-leading automaker had to close 7 of its factories due to the inability of its Suppliers deliver components to produce wire harnesses for their vehicles. Well, the city where these providers are located was completely closed by the government.

      The company that was in charge of launching a new model, estimated that 40% of its production was affected. It is here that planning and purchasing professionals must evaluate various strategies that balance the cost and risk that companies have by applying planning models and leveraging technology to support rapid responses.

      In this situation, what actions should companies take in relation to their value chains?

      Traditionally, the methods used in value chain planning have been based on time series techniques based on the sales history, however real-world events, climate change, market trends, natural disasters, among others are factors that take away weight from these values.

      Now, taking up the current situation in the world and taking into account the teaching of the Korean company that is only one of the cases worldwide, it is essential that companies direct their eyes and efforts on strengthening their supply chains:

      1. Carrying out supply chain risk assessments from start to finish, engaging each part of the ecosystem, i.e. suppliers and suppliers of suppliers, in order to identify risks, define common objectives and short-term resilience strategies. deadline and deploy action plans.
      2. By developing solid risk management processes and diversifying the digital logistics network, a map must be drawn that involves each of the nodes present in the supply chain, including final consumers, in order to establish risks and methodologies for each actor, increasing responsiveness.
      3. Involving the use of technology in processes. Companies must take advantage of technology by putting it at the service of their interests, implementing tools that facilitate and support decision-making and allow a quick reaction to contingencies.
      4. Innovating in the way of doing things, it is necessary to evaluate to what extent the processes can change maintaining quality standards, production capacities and response, for example through the use of automation or IoT.

      This is the moment in which companies must assess whether their business model is capable of responding to impending generational changes, increasingly versatile competitors and historical events such as the one we are experiencing.

      Source: EY Building a Better Working World.

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        Infor SCE a World Class WMS according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

        The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a tool that allows us to know what position the best management system providers occupy worldwide, their characteristics, the points of innovation, optimization and relevance and how their products and systems can contribute to a center of distribution maximize your efficiency.

        Gartner has carried out numerous studies in relation to technological advances and their influence on organizational environments, especially with regard to companies’ suppliers. That is why this quadrant works as a list where only the best systems on the market worldwide score, complying with high standards of efficiency, effectiveness, optimization and management. One of the systems that has met Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Leaders category standards is the Infor WMS solution: Infor SCE.

        One of the great advantages that Infor has and that makes it remarkable in the Gartner quadrant, is that it allows the respective cost structures to be carried out in an automated way, which becomes a considerable saving since many companies will not have to invest in a Public accountant in charge of managing said work.

        Therefore, Infor SCE has been classified as a warehouse management system with an extremely high positioning, to the point that it is now part of the quadrant of market leaders, since the wide number of functions it has offers to the centers of distribution work more orderly and quickly.

        Why is Infor SCE a leading solution?

        In Gartner’s magic quadrant there are different evaluation points, but the most important are the characteristics that systems must have to be considered leaders. Within the study, the systems that score worldwide must have aspects such as:

        • Strong execution ability and customer retention
        • Solid brand positioning
        • Functional, robust and innovative
        • Global scale
        • Participation in a high percentage of new businesses
        • Have a high-quality implementation
        • Reliable and efficient processes
        • Multiple functions, with a large customer database
        • Proven success in medium and high complexity operations
        • An ecosystem of allies

        Infor SCE’s strengths

        The main strengths that have made Infor SCE one of the leading solutions worldwide are the following:

        • It adapts to a large percentage of ERP systems. It is also a good fit for companies that want to have the same provider for WMS and ERP.
        • It has remained one of the most competitive and solid suppliers internationally. The Infor SCE solution is present in nearly 40 countries with a strong presence in the United States and Asia, having its main facilities in China and Japan. Likewise, it maintains a large percentage of indirect and direct sales, as well as centralized support that allows it adapt to emerging markets.
        • Infor’s vision of cloud and strategy is one of the strongest among WMS system providers.
        • Infor SCE is the only one on the market that has an effective extensibility support method known as Mongoose, which allows end users to make changes or improvements without code, meanwhile, it offers technicians the option to upgrade with full code, allowing for more advanced application changes. This point certainly helps the constant customization and advancement of the WMS, focusing on the requirements and needs of the client.
        • The intersection of the SMS Cloud and Virtual Work WMS with Infor Nexus (GT Nexus) is unique and highly differentiated.
        • Infor SCE leverages and benefits from Infor’s latest technology investments such as: Birst for analysis development, Coleman for the establishment of Artificial Intelligence and ION for integration between Infor with external applications. Its remarkable user experience constantly improves the UI and allows you to visualize the distribution center in 3D.

        WMS market considerations:

        To assess the level of each system, one of the key points that the quadrant analyzes are the current market considerations, therefore some of the solutions that are evaluated are the reception, storage, packaging, transfer of merchandise and selection of inventories . This means that leaders like Infor manage to satisfy the needs of the majority of clients who tend to focus more on providers that are functional and efficient, mainly due to the time factor that is vital for them.

        Now, it is important to mention that the general WMS market is divided into three types of providers that are part of the magic quadrant, which are:

        • Application providers: These types of providers offer a large portfolio of applications that will allow us to increase the productive development of the organization. Some of the functions it brings are human capital management, production, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management.
        • SCM suite providers: These providers have a logistics WMS, plus two applications specifically focused on storage, international trade or transport.
        • Specialized providers in WMS packages: These types of providers focus mainly on the use of the Software, some of which are part of this group are: Vinculum, Generix Group and Softeon.

        It should be mentioned that, to be part of the magic quadrant, a series of elements must be evaluated that greatly influence the positioning of the suppliers and, of which, clearly Infor SCE fully complies:

        • Global reach: The WMS trade is getting bigger and more influential in the world, therefore, those providers that have worldwide recognition, excellence and satisfaction must be taken into account.
        • Feasibility: The commercialization of products is becoming more comfortable and is always a concern for customers, which is why it has become a factor of utmost importance for achieving the stated objectives.
        • Innovation: The changes that it experiences in the market in a technological and informative way have a notable influence on the way in which activities are developed, therefore, those WMS that are adapted to current work methodologies will have great importance within the magic quadrant. Automation: Corresponds to the methods used by suppliers to carry out their respective activities quickly and easily, in order to streamline and optimize work times.
        • Employee engagement: The fact that the employees of a WMS are committed to meeting customers is a crucial element in the success of suppliers, since the human capital and motivation that workers have to carry out their activities will lead to the success of the organization in achieving the objectives.
        • Intelligence: When we talk about intelligence, we are referring to the ability of WMS providers to solve any problem that arises quickly and easily, without wasting much time that may well be invested in other activities.

        For all the above, Infor is in the list of world-class WMS systems, offering companies the opportunity to have an effective, strategic and constantly developing support.