Softeon: Powering Distribution Center Excellence

Warehouse operations management is not an easy task. A warehouse management system (WMS) that seeks to optimize processes presents implementation challenges due to the need to marry the logical world of the software with the physical world of the distribution center. Even though the WMS industry has evolved significantly over the last four decades, the implementation process is often still too painful and fraught with challenges. “What differentiates Softeon is our 100 percent track record of implementation success,” says Dan Gilmore, CMO of Softeon. With a string of successful implementations on record, Softeon leads the supply chain and logistics landscape with their customer-centric supply chain execution solution that provides advanced and intuitive functionality to drive operational excellence and business value.

From execution to planning, Softeon provides a broad, organically built suite of solutions in a single, integrated, and flexible platform, which is web-native and cloud-ready. Based on service-oriented architecture (SOA), the hallmarks of the Softeon platform are its flexibility, ease of use, and ability to easily combine different components.

The three main elements of the Softeon supply chain execution solution encompass the main WMS, distributed order management (DOM) and the new order fulfillment system (OFS). The WMS solution has add-ons including order management, labor and resource management, yard management, transportation management, kitting/ assembly, and slotting functionality, among others.

Softeon’s DOM solution enables omnichannel processes like buy online, pick-up in store, or return to the store without changing existing systems. It can also facilitate the optimal sourcing of an order, selecting the lowest cost node across the network, based on commitments to the customer, available inventory, facility constraints and more.

As an inherent component of Softeon’s WMS solution, the OFS solution offers tremendous flexibility to use new technologies such as voice, pick to light, smart carts, put walls, mobile-robots and more, without utilizing any third-party software. It takes direct control of picking subsystems, which in turn optimizes the picking, replenishment, and slotting processes. OFS can also be deployed as a stand-alone product outside of the WMS.

Gilmore also draws attention to the fact that pick to light systems are typically expensive due to the software component. “With Softeon, as the software is an integral part of WMS, customers can choose any commodity hardware and gain a big advantage.”

What differentiates Softeon is our 100 percent track record of implementation success

What also differentiates Softeon from others in the supply chain landscape is their integration capability. The typical integration points for WMS include integration with ERP, legacy order management systems, and material handling equipment. Softeon addresses these needs with its simulation tool and integration configurator that allows the selection of messaging formats and protocols to quicken the integration process.

A retail customer that exemplifies Softeon’s extended WMS capabilities and deployment approach is Casey’s General Stores—a large retail chain with 2000+convenience stores across the Midwest. The company had requirements to move, store, pick, pack, and load ambient, refrigerated, and frozen goods. Apart from managing the complex picking process and support for automation and voice picking, the sophisticated Softeon system provides the plan to replenish the stores and route the trucks each day.

The Softeon WMS also provides a visual system to DC operators to build and load the pallets correctly on to each truck across the three temperature levels.

With the recent creation of its Distribution Center of the Future Lab, the Softeon team continues to push the envelope in terms of finding new ways to create value for their customers. The OFS—which includes a real-time locator system for mobile robots—is an innovative breakthrough developed out of the innovation lab. Advanced integration and control with multiple types of DC automation, as well distribution robotics is on the research roadmap.

Driven by continuous progress, “We are committed to improving the functionality of WMS, while other providers don’t see the additional opportunities,” concludes Gilmore.