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Microsoft Dynamics GP Warehouse Management: Integrated RFID vs. Barcodes

Posted on Tue, Dec 01, 2015 @ 07:56 PM

Dynamics_GP_RFID.pngThis is the fourth in a series of guest blog posts from our friends at Panatrack and the second contributed by Michael Burnham.  We have been offering our Dynamics GP integrated shipping software, StarShip with Panatrack WMS for years.  The combined PanatrackerGP and StarShip solutions bring together industry leaders to offer a complete warehouse management solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP customers. Michael provides further insight into the barcoding side of the equation in his guest post below:

RFID Primer

First off, there are two essential types of RFID—active and passive. Passive RFID works much the way your old crystal radio set did, by harnessing electromagnetic energy in the atmosphere to generate a small electrical charge. These passive RFID tags consist of a chip and an antennae, and must be positioned just right to receive energy from a scanner and be recognized. Active RFID tags are battery-powered and a lot more expensive. They will send an intermittent signal to a receiver that will determine their position. Active RFID may be useful in a facility setting where you need to monitor the location of expensive, mobile equipment assets.

There are certainly cases where having individual items tagged with RFID will be useful. We are not the first people to realize that the cost of tagging individual items for either active or passive RFID must be justified by a high-value item. But getting item-level tagging to work the way you would like is the challenge. The location of those tags for instance must be based on the physics of what is being tagged and how easy it is to read those tags.

Literal Barriers to Adoption

Apart from cost of tags and hardware, which are substantially higher than the cost of barcoding, there are literal barriers to adoption for RFID. Metal interferes with the RFID signal. Liquid absorbs the signal. So RFID will not work consistently across all products or items.

There are also barriers in terms of practicality in a warehouse environment. When you have multiple items in a container for instance, you can’t guarantee you have read each item through RFID scanning. So you have to create choke points and ensure each item has gone through these choke points. At a choke point, an electronic eye can detect whether each item has been read.

Hoisted by its Own Petard

One advantage of RFID is that it allows a large number of items to be scanned at once. That might or might not work consistently. Unlike barcodes, you can in theory read contents of a container without unpacking it. But that is very much dependent on the physics of the product, the packaging and the facility.

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Michael_Burnham.pngPanatrack President Michael Burnham founded the company in 1996. He had previously held technology leadership positions with Pillsbury/Green Giant, Burnham is Past President of eInnovate, an organization for technology professionals in Southeastern Wisconsin focusing on economic and technology development, co-founded the Information Technology Association of Wisconsin and is former Co-Chair of University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium’s RFID Workgroup. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Tags: Dynamics GP

Microsoft Dynamics GP:  Hard Questions to Ask Automatic Data Capture Vendors

Posted on Wed, Nov 04, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

This is the third in a series of guest blog posts from our friends at Panatrack and the first contributed by Charles Rathman.  We have been offering our Dynamics GP integrated shipping software, StarShip with Panatrack WMS for years.  The combined PanatrackerGP and StarShip solutions bring together industry leaders to offer a complete warehouse management solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP customers. Charles provides further insight into the barcoding side of the equation in his guest post below:

How stable is the integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP?

How stable is the integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP? Barcode software is not an island unto itself. It collects data through scanning of tagged inventory or assets and uses that data to update the tables running under ERP software. So the stability of that connection between the barcode software and the ERP software is of critical importance. But depending on a number of factors including the number of ERP packages an ADP vendor integrates with, the openness of their technology and their investment in research and development, these integrations can become unstable.

New versions of ERP software and other changes to the architecture of one or both systems can throw a curve ball at a barcode software vendor that they may not be able to handle. Obviously, if this integration has proven unreliable, that is a significant impediment to getting value from the barcode software. A vendor will certainly not volunteer this information, so we strongly suggest people considering barcode software ask for written assurance of compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics GP during their consideration cycle. But any data provided by the vendor may be suspect. So it may be most efficient to simply watch out for specific design features that can lead to problems, including:

Read more...

Panatrack Product Evangelist Charles Rathmann helps people understanderstand the value of automatic data capture (ADC) technologies. Rathmann has more than 25 years of experience as an industrial marketing executive, journalist, analyst and researcher.

 

 

Tags: Dynamics GP

Cloud ERP:  How to Avoid the Cost and Overhead of Maintaining Dynamics GP and Hardware Infrastructure

Posted on Fri, Oct 02, 2015 @ 05:36 PM

EXTENDING GP IN THE CLOUD


This is the first in a series of guest blog posts from our friends at Panatrack contributed by Michael Burnham. We have been offering our Dynamics GP integrated shipping software, StarShip with Panatrack WMS for years. The combined PanatrackerGP and StarShip solutions bring together industry leaders to offer a complete warehouse management solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP customers. Please read Michael's guest post below:

Microsoft Dynamics GP differs from a lot of other business software in that it predominantly relies on a thick desktop client to present the best user experience. More recent versions, including GP 2013 and GP 2015, also offer a web browser interface. However, the thick client is usually preferred due to the usability advantages of a rich user interface.

Web-based business software often presents usability tradeoffs because it must be simplified to the point where it can be delivered via a browser. However, a cloud instance of Dynamics GP is typically presented to users using remote desktop technology such as terminal server or Citrix Server. Users get access to a virtual desktop that is in fact located on a remote machine. This delivers a “richer” user experience than web-based software that is limited to HTML and related technologies. In months and years to come, GP’s web client will become more advanced and present a user experience on par with the thick client. This will make cloud provisioning of Dynamics GP even more attractive from a cost and performance standpoint.

Today, when someone operates Dynamics GP in the cloud, they are basically relocating the database server and application server from an on-premise location to a data center run and managed by a third party. This cloud arrangement offers an organization running Dynamics GP a number of benefits. First of all, it eliminates their need to invest in the hardware necessary to run their instance of Dynamics GP. It also removes the need to have the technological skill to administer a SQL Server database or the application itself. Furthermore, if their business operates in multiple time zones, it is easier to support users 24x7x365 even as IT staff may take vacations, get sick or just go home and sleep.

A managed cloud vendor will also be able to deliver a degree of predictability that is hard to attain internally, thanks to their extensive resources and infrastructure. What makes the cloud different from traditional managed services however is the scalability and global accessibility of data centers like those run by Microsoft Azure. As your business grows and your computing needs increase, a cloud data center can scale your server capacity dynamically and eliminates the guesswork involved in hardware sizing for server capacity. You often pay for what you use, with the confidence that your applications and data will be available anywhere in the world.

So there is a strong upside to running a thick-client version of Dynamics GP in  the cloud, and a future that promises an even more robust interface designed for cloud-based software delivery. However, moving the application to the cloud is more than relocating a few pieces of software.

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About Panatrack - Guest Blog Author Michael Burnham

Panatrack has been in business since 1996 and began its life in the field of operations consulting and software development. Today Panatrack is a software development firm specializing in systems for tracking inventory, assets, and activities. Using data-capture technologies such as bar code, RFID, and wireless mobile computers, the company creates pre-packaged and custom solutions to track comprehensive details about the real-time transactions that are critical to efficient business operations. Headquartered in Delafield, Wisconsin, Panatrack’s customers span the range from large corporations to very small operations. Additional information about Panatrack and its solutions is available at http://panatrack.com.

Tags: Dynamics GP

Dynamics GP Automating Warehouse Management

Posted on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 @ 02:10 PM

Dynamics_GP_Warehouse_ManagementPick, Pack and Ship for Dynamics GP a Complete Order Fulfillment System

If you are a distributor or manufacturer running Dynamics GP you do not want to miss this blog!  Learn how together PanatrackerGP's pick-pack solution and StarShip shipping software transform Dynamics GP into a robust warehouse management system.  Dynamics GP users can eliminate double data entry and associated errors by using this combined solution.  Here is how:

  1. Sales orders are packed using Panatrack 
  2. Shipping details are sent to GP.
  3. A Unique serialized shipping box ID (license plate) is created
  4. GP is updated with packed item information in the box and/or pallet
  5. Shipment is automatically processed based on the license plate or by the order 
  6. GP is updated with shipping details
  7. StarShip EDI integration completes an end-to-end order fulfillment system

Watch our presentation below to learn more:

Please give us a call if you would like us to ease the struggle via our automated shipping solutions - 800-462-4016 or email us!

Tags: Shipping Software, Dynamics GP

Shipping Software: OnTrac for Starship Shipping Software

Posted on Fri, Dec 07, 2012 @ 05:48 PM

OnTrac CoverageThe shipping process for a distribution company can be extremely time consuming and frustrating.  Thankfully there are automated shipping solutions to save time and money.  OnTrac is a regional carrier that competes with UPS and FedEx and can offer up to 40% off shipments compared to the national carriers. OnTrac offers value added services such as late evening pick-ups and earlier delivery times.

StarShip shipping software works together with OnTrac and many other carriers to allow the ERP software user to select OnTrac as an option to fulfill the order shipment.

  1. Simply enter your order number from your ERP system, StarShip shipping software will retrieve all the shipment data including the ship via code which will be translated for OnTrac and all the services offered.
  2. Perform a rate shop that can be sorted by carrier and service, transit time or cost.
  3. Process the shipment to produce the OnTrac label, either a thermal label or laser label which you can also print to PDF.

Please watch our demonstration of the OnTrac module in action:

Tags: Sage shipping software, OnTrac shipping software, Epicor, Macola, Dynamics GP

Con-way LTL Shipping Software: Automatically Process Shipments

Posted on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 @ 03:59 PM

LTL Shipping SoftwareWhether shipping across town, across the state, across the country, or across the globe, Con-way Freight has the service options to meet your needs, including:

  • More next-day and two-day delivery points than any other single carrier
  • State-of-the-art on line shipping tools including Tracking, Rate Quote and Electronic Bills of Lading for visibility and efficiency. 
  • Local, dedicated Customer Service Representatives who know you and your business
  • 15,000 uniformed Driver Sales Representatives with the flexibility to provide a competitive advantage
  • Guaranteed on-time delivery

Con-way Freight was founded in 1983, has over 21,000 employees and has over 33,500 tractors and trailers (source http://www.con-way.com/en/freight/about_con_way_freight/)

StarShip shipping software allows Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor, Macola, ETC., ERP software users to process shipments with Conway directly via the carrier's web services.  ERP software users can retrieve negotiated rates in real time, produce a Con-way BOL and PRO number that can be pushed back into the ERP software from StarShip shipping software for tracking puposes.  

StarShip shipping software users can follow the steps below to automatically process shipments via Con-way web services:

  1. StarShip shipping software users enter the ERP software order number to populate the StarShip screen with all relevant order data.  
  2. Pack-up the goods
  3. Select required shipment options
  4. Book the truck for the window of time the carrier will pick up the goods.  
  5. Process the shipment and the uniform straight bill-of-lading will be produced with the PRO number, ship-to ship-from, order reference numbers, number of boxes, NMFC number class and weight, etc.  
  6. Print custom package and pallet labels 

Tags: Shipping Software, Sage shipping software, Epicor, LTL Shipping, Macola, Dynamics GP

Shipping Software: Bill of Lading Customization for StarShip

Posted on Mon, Nov 05, 2012 @ 05:39 PM
Shipping Software

Question:  Chris, our Bill of Lading always reflects every item shipped individually.  Is there an easy way using StarShip shipping software to easily organize and roll up all of our shipped items into a single group on our Bill of Lading?  

Answer:  Yes, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Go into maintain inventory and select the items you want to assign to a group found on the freight tab.  
  2. Go to set-up on your menu select preferences 
  3. Select Bill of Lading
  4. Go to Group items on the Bill of Lading select drop down option of choice
  5. Indicate your order number 
  6. Click ship and process
  7. Then the Bill of Lading will be prepared as a single group
Please watch our recorded step-by-step tutorial below:

Tags: Shipping Software, Sage shipping software, Epicor, LTL Shipping, Macola, Dynamics GP

LTL Shipping Software: How can Freightview and Freightquote help save time?

Posted on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 @ 01:12 PM

LTL Shipping SoftwareQuestion:  Chris, we use multiple carriers to ship our products.  How can using StarShip shipping software combined with Freightview and Freightquote to save my company time and money?

Answer:  Using an ERP integrated shipping software (StarShip) combined with Freightview and Freightquote can save your staff up to 100 hours a week. Freightview is a web based TMS (Transportation Management System) side by side cost comparison tool that allows you to upload your contract carriers to evaluate the best way to ship your products.  FreightView allows you to also do electronic tendering.  Freightquote is FreightView'ssister company.  FreightQuote's 3PL rates give you the ability to compare your contract carriers with other service options for potential cost savings. 

To Process this workflow using StarShip shipping software's interface follow the steps below:

  1. Indicate the sales transaction order number 
  2. Pack up ship the shipment
  3. Click on the dollar sign within StarShip shipping software, this will cycle through all the various rates on your Freightview account and give exposure to Freightquote rates side-by-side
  4. Select the preferred rate and carrier
  5. Book the truck over the internet and get the confirmation back from Freightview with the carrier information and StarShip pushes that back into the ERP system.
  6. The bill of lading will be automatically populated StarShip will fill in the carrier and scac code, the pro number bill of lading number and all the carrier details along with freight rules indicated.
Please view our short video demonstration below:

Tags: Shipping Software, Sage shipping software, Infor, LTL Shipping, Macola, Dynamics GP

Shipping Software: Can I create custom carriers in StarShip?

Posted on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 @ 05:13 PM
Red Fleet Trucks

Common Customer Question:  Chris, I have my own fleet of trucks and use regional carriers can I create custom carriers within StarShip shipping software?

Answer:  Yes, you may add custom carriers in StarShip.  Many of our clients use their own fleet of trucks, regional carriers etc. to ship items.  It is a simple process to set-up custom carriers in StarShip.  

Please follow the these 10 steps:

  1. Go to the maintain menu in StarShip shipping software
  2. Select maintain carriers
  3. Select new carrier
  4. Name the carrier
  5. Configure for manual processing if appropriate. This means StarShip will not reach out to an external service to book the truck, it will just look at whatever is indicated on the StarShip shipping software screen to prepare your documents, BOL, shipping labels, packing list.  
  6. Set-up the tendering type, daily pickup, call etc.
  7. Go into the set-up menu to configure the ship via code, this will pull the ERP data over from the sales transaction take your ship via code and link it to the carrier
  8. Navigate to the set-up menu
  9. Select printing and find the documents you want to enable for this carrier
  10. Process your order for the carrier, based on the ship via code the order number will automatically pull up the custom carrier information you created, indicate freight rules, pro number or charges if applicable, click on process shipment

After completing the 10 steps above your bill of lading and labels will be generated for your new custom carrier.

Please watch our short video for a step-by-step demonstration:

 

Tags: Shipping Software, Sage shipping software, Epicor, LTL Shipping, Macola, Dynamics GP

YRC LTL Shipping Software Integration for Roadway and Yellow Freight

Posted on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 @ 04:50 PM

EDI Software resized 600YRC LTL Shipping Made Easy Right from Your ERP!

StarShip 12 shipping software eliminates the need for duplicated data entry to and from your ERP system and YRC here is how:  

  1. Enter your ERP sales transaction number and StarShip shipping software will pull up all of the order information on the integrated ERP sytem StarShip screen.
  2. Based on the order ship via code StarShip will bring over the appropriate service level.  
  3. StarShip gives you access to shipment options from one screen.  
  4. Specify a pick up time and date from the StarShip screen  
  5. Tender your shipments electronically over the internet without having to visit the website or give the carrier a call, you also have the option to select call for pickup or daily pickup.  
  6. Grab real time rates from the StarShip screen to get your negotiated contract rates directly in real time.
  7. Process your shipment from the StarShip screen to push the BOL number and PRO number back to your ERP for tracking purposes.  
  8. StarShip will retrieve your BOL from YRC and directly fill in your order information reference fields, accessorial fees, commodity information and handling units are displayed.  
  9. If you have the BOL module for StarShip you have the ability to use a cusomizable label and BOL as well.
Please watch our short video demonstration to watch live!

Tags: Shipping Software, Sage shipping software, Epicor, LTL Shipping, Macola, Dynamics GP