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Posts, Retail Order Management, Supply Chain

4 Ways to Prepare Your Retail Supply Chain for an Unpredictable Holiday Season

Retailers must deploy creative tactics to remain competitive, build customer loyalty and get a piece of the holiday pie. We’re sharing some strategies to help prepare your retail business for an unpredictable season.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

3 Symptoms of an Unhealthy Healthcare Supply Chain Strategy

For many executives the COVID-19 pandemic revealed cracks, gaps, and in some cases chasms, in their healthcare supply chain strategy, with vast shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies. While it took a pandemic to highlight these issues, they have in fact been plaguing the industry for quite some time in terms of…

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Posts, Retail Order Management, Supply Chain

Optimize Your Retail Space to Fuel Your Order Fulfillment Strategy Engine

Times are tough for brick-and-mortar retailers. Foot traffic is down and, in some cases, non-existent. But this only means that now is the time to innovate.

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Posts, Warehouse Management

The Future of Warehouse Efficiency and Accuracy: Multi-mode Warehouse Management

Specialized warehouse technologies like voice picking have been around for a long time. And while these technologies are popular in some very specific industries, they have not gained mainstream traction. One might argue it’s because they are restrictive, expensive and complicated. Fortunately, there is a new approach coming that will remove these barriers and bring…

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Posts

Three WWII History Lessons for the Post-Pandemic Boom

Please enjoy this republication of a The Canadian Business Journal article.   As COVID-19 sustains its grip on our lives and global economies, the blistering devastation of it all is taking center stage. Comparisons to World War II have been made by politicians around the globe, with world leaders scrambling to find a benchmark for the…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Post-Pandemic Retail: Lessons from SARS and the Success of Alibaba

The very best will understand the intricacies and demands of omnichannel and the unique requirements of online consumers who, in the years since SARS, have become uncompromising in their expectation of a unified buying journey.

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Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Warehouse ‘Just in Case’ Safety Stock: Balancing Inventory Levels vs. Risk

There are many risks you need to factor into your supply chain strategy. Safety stock has always played a vital role in protecting your organization. Whenever there is an increase in demand or a delay from your supplier, safety stock ensures your business continuality and customer satisfaction. With the advent of COVID-19 many organizations are…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

The Rise and Staying Power of Curbside Pickup

With physical retail shopping on ice and comfort levels with in-store browsing likely to take some time to thaw, stores are jury-rigging alternative fulfillment channels that leverage their physical locations and personnel to offer social distant-friendly and contactless in-store and curbside pickup.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

The Journey to a Healthcare Consolidated Service Center

The dire shortage of critical medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic shined a massive spotlight on the need for healthcare providers to take control of their own supply chains rather than rely on third-party service providers or distributors. Supply chain professionals across the globe competing all at once to source products from suppliers, mostly based…

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Posts

Marketing in the Time of COVID-19: The Importance of Authenticity

At the best of times, marketing is a delicate balance between mission and margin. It’s sharing your brand’s story through the value it delivers and sharpening why your company exists. In the context of a society scarred by a global pandemic, this delicate balance becomes even more fragile. Clear-cut programs have become negotiations in temperament…

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Healthcare, Posts

Three Post-COVID-19 Outcomes Likely to Impact the Healthcare Industry

Six months ago, news of Trump’s possible impeachment, nestled between Epstein’s death and Weinstein’s conviction, held mindshare. Headlines included WeWork laying off workers and musings on a new IPO called Zoom. On April 20, oil dropped to less than $0 per barrel and Zoom’s stock more than doubled in value. A new concept of the…

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Healthcare, Posts

How Healthcare Is Managing Unpredictability

  Health systems are flexing their emergency preparedness muscles like never before. The unpredictability and power of COVID-19 is slowly unveiling which hospitals are prepared to manage a major epidemic. Although every health system conducts emergency preparedness training year-round, each organization builds a unique culture and strategy that works best for their organization. At Tecsys,…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

The Eight Benefits of Curbside Pickup

Retailers will shutter if they do not take proactive steps to open new revenue streams. This is not meant to be alarmist; it is the stark reality that COVID-19 has placed on traditional retailers that have trailed omnichannel frontrunners who are better equipped to weather the closure of retail stores. With physical retail shopping on…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Retail Doesn’t Die When Stores Shut Down

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, retailers are scrambling to rewrite their playbooks and overcome challenges they had never imagined. Without foot traffic in the store, traditional retailers are looking for ways to modernize by giving shoppers new ways to buy their products.

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Posts, Supply Chain

60 Seconds with John Reichert, Executive Director at MHI Solutions Community

Please enjoy this republication of a Material Handling 24/7 Interview. Title: Executive director, MHI Solutions Community; senior director of SCE Solutions, Tecsys Location: Charlotte, N.C., and Montreal Experience: More than 20 years in the supply chain software business. Duties: The MHI Solutions Community provides a venue where materials handling solution providers and users can work collaboratively. Modern: Tell us a little about the…

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Posts

Shrewd Retailers Think Outside the Big Box

Please enjoy this republication of a RETHINK Retail article. In his opening keynote for NRF’s Big Show 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella casually dropped some staggering stats: 31% of the world’s GDP can be attributed to retail. 15% of all retail sales today are made online. 75% of all shopping begins online. What does this tell…

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Posts, Supply Chain

Predictability Is the Key to Supply Chain Sustainability (Part 2 of 2)

Making predictions involving your supply chain can occasionally feel like divining, but it becomes more of a science with each passing day. To improve predictability in your own supply chain, take these three steps:

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Posts, Supply Chain

Predictability Is the Key to Supply Chain Sustainability (Part 1 of 2)

Please enjoy this republication of a Supply & Demand Chain Executive article. Supply chain predictability remains a holy grail of sorts to manufacturing operations — it is something many organizations aspire to, but few actually achieve. Companies that aim to make this dream a reality understand the stakes: As rising consumer expectations and omnichannel distribution…

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Posts, Supply Chain

Transform Your Supply Chain Operations With Visual Logistics

Visual Logistics is one of the technologies that supports your warehouse foundation and makes it much easier to be flexible, scalable and innovative. Just imagine if you were developing a new customized packaging program for just one sector of your customers. The benefit of implementing this program most likely would be a competitive advantage for your organization. However, the challenge would be embedding a new process into the warehouse picking process. How do you ensure every order gets picked and packaged in the correct way without slowing the pickers down to a crawl?

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Three Tips for Enhancing the In-Store Experience

Despite an increasing number of brick-and-mortar stores closing and e-commerce growing at an exponential rate, physical stores are evolving rather than dying. The focus is more on quality over quantity by refining the customer experience within flagship stores. Brands are transforming their stores from being strictly point of sale to a hub for experience and point of service.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Four Ways to Reduce Hospital Supply Chain Waste

Clinical supply waste is a significant, and growing, financial and environmental challenge in healthcare. Hospitals must implement programs to reduce overall waste while finding cost-effective treatment and disposal methods of their non-regulated and regulated medical waste.

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Healthcare, Posts

Budget-friendly Tech Tools for Your Healthcare Storeroom or Warehouse

When tasked with designing/redesigning a storeroom or warehouse within the confines of a very tight budget, it’s oftentimes difficult to decide which technology tools to implement or ignore. Have no fear because there are solutions that will help make product flow more effectively, efficiently, fast and seamless — without breaking the bank.

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Posts, Supply Chain

3 Essential Ingredients to Transform Your Supply Chain

At Tecsys, we’re passionate about helping companies discover their greatness. If you are on the journey of trying to achieve operational greatness in your supply chain, here are three essential ingredients you need to have.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

The Rise Of Omnichannel: Critical Benchmarks For ‘Click-And-Collect’ Success

Consumer demand for a multichannel shopping experience continues to mount. The ability to leverage physical stores through BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) can be a crucial advantage in this regard. Business owners are rushing to adapt to evolving consumer expectations, and BOPIS is one of the primary channels that modern consumers expect, leaving retailers to carve out best practices.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Quiz! Do You Have the Right Distributed Order Management Solution?

Many retailers, 3PLs and distributors are still not entirely clear on what qualifies as a distributed order management system (DOM). Additionally, there is confusion about how or why to use them. Distributed order management is the key part of making a customer’s shopping journey seamless, easy and natural. Selecting the right DOM solution is going…

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Distribution Management, Posts, Supply Chain

5 Secrets to Supercharge Your Industrial Distribution

Industrial distributors have an absolute need to provide timely customer service, fulfill orders accurately and carry the right mix of inventory. If you can’t do this, your customers will go elsewhere. One of the key components to being more competitive is information technology. Not just choosing any technology—choosing the right information technology for your business.…

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Distribution Management, Posts, Supply Chain

Listening and Learning from Leaders in Supply Chain Management

Every customer’s journey is unique; and each organization builds a culture and strategy to support its journey. It was a privilege for my colleague Bill Denbigh and I to moderate a customer panel during the Tecsys User Conference this past September in Phoenix, Ariz. We heard stories around innovation and transformation, employee engagement, the challenges…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

What Exactly is Retail Order Consolidation?

Retail Order Consolidation is the ability to bring together all the merchandise of an online order with multiple products into one single shippable package. Bringing the complete multi-product order into one single package to be shipped means saving on packaging, delivery, and is what most customers expect when placing an order. What? ... How difficult…

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Distribution Management, Posts, Supply Chain

Are You Ready for a Modern Distribution Management Solution?

Transforming the way you run your business can be nerve-racking. I’ve heard expressions like, "installing a business software solution is comparable to open-heart surgery." What I take from that is, if that’s the case–how good is your surgeon? How confident do you feel about them? Have you done your research? Have you asked the right…

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts

Perioperative Analytics: Exploratory Data Analysis in the OR (Part 4 of 4)

I am now entering the final phase of this blog series, in which I am delving into the analytics of knee replacements at one hospital. You can access the first three posts in this series here: part 1, part 2, part 3. The Seven Bridges of Königsberg to the Rescue Leonard Euler’s 1736 paper on…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

What Exactly Is A Split Payment in Retail?

Omnichannel retail evolves almost on a daily basis. But it has to because customers are more and more demanding. For a long time, omnichannel retail meant to buy from anywhere, and fulfill from anywhere. But has another component now been added? Should 'pay in any way' be added to our definition? What are Split Payments?…

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts

Perioperative Analytics: Exploratory Data Analysis in the OR (Part 3 of 4)

After having painstakingly gone through all the legal, procedural, and data engineering pain points that I described earlier, I now have in my possession a data set from a hospital system that I can eagerly sink my exploratory analytics teeth into. The data, which is now ingested, formatted, prepared, cleansed, combined, scaled, and loaded in…

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

The Clinical Value of Operating Room Inventory Best Practices

The topic of operating room inventory management and point of use capture in the OR continues to be an important one as healthcare organizations look to improve supply chain visibility and reduce costs. Recently, I had a good discussion with Stephanie Mittler, Senior Clinical Consultant at Mercy Hospital Washington as well as a former OR…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Omnichannel Retail ROI – Does it Exist?

Omnichannel Retail ROI has been a highly elusive topic. Sure omnichannel retail is critical to a retailer’s competitive edge. We have all espoused this enough to know that it must be true... right? It might be a competitive edge, but does it pay? It is important to your brand, and to cater to your customer’s…

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts

Perioperative Analytics: Exploratory Data Analysis in the OR (Part 2 of 4)

In part 1 of this four-part blog series, I invited you, the reader, to join me on a data-driven journey: Exploratory Analysis and Discovery in the OR. The goal was to discover whether there were any business process insights that may be leveraged from the hospital supply chain at the point of use. I also…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Retail Returns Best Practices

There is no doubt about it. To most retailers ‘returns’ is like any number of four letter words in the foul language category. However, there are a number of retail returns best practices that retailers can use to make the process smoother, and to even put a silver lining on it. After all, following a…

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Distribution Management, Platform, Posts, Supply Chain

E-commerce Distribution: How to Embark on a Digital Transformation

According to the Gartner Digital Commerce Vendor Guide, 2018, “Digital commerce is a major component of a superior customer experience, with a growing ecosystem of technologies, vendors, and services.” Opportunities abound when trading partners work together to create a seamless, automated, and error-free supply chain with a focus on providing a simple, effective, and enjoyable…

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Distribution Management, Posts, Supply Chain

Being More Competitive in Industrial Distribution

A key component to being competitive in industrial distribution entails choosing the right software and considering key factors such as design, use, and scalability.

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Posts, Supply Chain

An Effective Brand Inspires Intentional, Meaningful Behavior

When it comes to branding, I feel confident in saying that I have seen it all. I have had to answer obtuse questions like, “What kind of car would your company be?” I have had to make things out of clay in workshops. I have been through pages of spreadsheets on consumer data. I have had a front-row seat to all of the trends – the good and the bad – through all of marketing.

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Platform, Posts, Supply Chain

Electronic Data Interchange: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Although electronic data interchange (EDI) has been around since the early 1970s, many businesses are taking a fresh look at how this powerful commerce platform can affect their cash conversion cycle. A strong EDI strategy can increase efficiency and reduce errors, streamlining trading partner onboarding and transactions. In this post we’ll review expectations for the future of this technology as well as how it’s changing.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

E-Commerce and Physical Stores: How Do They Stack Up?

Can one retail channel truly exist without the other in today’s omnichannel world? With traditional e-commerce giants like Amazon making the move to open brick-and-mortar locations, the trend towards an omnichannel retail experience is undeniable. Both digital and physical stores continue to play important, if not always equal, roles in the shopping journey of modern…

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

3 Myths about Point-of-Use Inventory Management Systems

Health systems looking to control costs while strengthening patient care often struggle to bring lasting change to hospital supply chains with complex requirements.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Omnichannel Order Management: What Exactly is it?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Omnichannel Order Management – what is it in the context of ‘The Age of the Customer’? Even though we are in ‘The Age of the Customer’ we still see and hear of retailers not providing the…

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts

Perioperative Analytics: Exploratory Data Analysis in the OR (Part 1 of 4)

The vast swathes of data being collected in modern health systems suggest that perioperative analytics (or OR analytics) are at the ready. The truth is that extracting meaningful information from all those data points takes some coordination and a little exploration. Let's take a look at the exploratory data analysis that underscores analytics, and the different 'flavors' of perioperative analytics, from descriptive and diagnostic to predictive and prescriptive.

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Posts, Supply Chain

2018 MHI Annual conference ‘Last Mile’ panel session review

On October 16 2018 I had the good fortune to represent Tecsys on a panel session “Smart cities and the last 50 feet” at the 2018 MHI annual conference. The panel was an hour of discussion around the topic of changes in last mile logistics technologies and how they will impact industry over the coming five years and I have to say it was a lot of fun and really educational.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Playing It {Too} Safe with Inventory?

Although no business likes carrying safety stock, experiencing a stockout simply isn’t worth the risk to customer satisfaction. Take an industry-informed look at how to achieve demand planning ‘greatness’ when it comes to optimizing your inventory levels and still meeting customer requirements.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

11 Reasons for In-Store Pick Up

In-Store Pick Up is the core service of omnichannel retail. It is the main reason businesses buy retail order management systems. What follows are the top 11 reasons why your operation needs pick up in-store, too. Whether you call it click and collect, grab & go, or buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) – this…

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Posts, Warehouse Management

4 Ways Optimizing Warehouse Picking Can Help Save Time & Money

At its essence, efficient warehouse picking is about fulfilling customer orders via your warehouse management system (WMS) with the least amount of material handling and labor output. It’s an important task to optimize as more than 50 percent of a DC’s labor force is typically involved in picking. Many organizations today overlook easy ways to make warehouse picking more efficient and less costly. Below you’ll find four ways to tackle this problem followed by an in-depth look at various picking methods and associated technologies.

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Posts, Warehouse Management

The Trials and Tribulations of Warehouse Returns Management

Ask anyone in your warehouse how well they like to handle returns, and you’ll likely hear a sigh or groan in response. That’s because the returns management process, with its time and space requirements and excess inventory management, is a sizeable hassle for most distributors.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

5 Perspectives on the Clinically Integrated Supply Chain

When addressing supply chain integration, we are inherently talking about connecting the traditionally disconnected, and it becomes a complicated—and often messy—state of affairs.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

What Exactly is Dynamic Inventory Visibility?

Dynamic inventory visibility is a view of stock levels that can change contingent on certain criteria. These criteria can range from geographic boundaries to promotional timings, among others. In the case of geography, users can configure specific regions or groups. Then they can apply specific stock thresholds to those virtual groupings. Dynamic Inventory Visibility in…

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

It’s Time to Transform the Healthcare Supply Chain

Transformation is a disruptive undertaking, but the risks and opportunities within the IDN Supply Chain warrant a closer look into a health system's nextgen supply chain readiness.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Closing the Operational Gaps Between Clinical and Supply Chain in Healthcare

It’s an interesting time in the healthcare industry, and for the supply chain specifically. Each of the following market factors is thrusting the supply chain to center stage and calling on all of us to up our game in the face of more complex operations. These factors include:

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Should You Use A Retail Ship-from-Store Strategy To Fulfill Online Orders?

Should online orders be fulfilled using a retail ship-from-store strategy or rather from fulfillment centers? That’s a very serious question facing retailers driving omnichannel today. There are good reasons for both fulfillment methods. Yet one better leverages a retailers’ full resource base. It’s NOT – “All or Nothing!” Too many people take extreme positions on…

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Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Cross-Docking: A Great Choice for Handling Specialty Items

Effective inventory management is always a delicate dance between the cost associated with carrying too much inventory and the risk of not carrying enough to fulfill a customer order at the right moment. With ongoing pressure to ship orders within compressed timeframes, there’s no room for error, and competitors are always on your heels.

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Posts, Supply Chain

How Distributors are Solving the “Last Mile” Transportation Problem — a Real-world Example from a Market Leader

Increasingly we are seeing distributors being pinched between spiraling shipping costs and rising customer expectations. Orders are getting smaller and customers are demanding faster and faster delivery methods, all without expecting to pay anything extra to cover the additional costs of the shipping.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Are YOU a Distributor Becoming a Courier?

Not that long ago, distribution networks happily and conveniently operated through strategically-placed distribution centers, delivering, say, a pallet a month through LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers. Things might have seemed complex at the time, but there was no real thought about what could possibly happen next.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

6 Retail Click and Collect Services Customers Demand

Shoppers can be fickle about the retail click and collect services they want. Of course, it all started with the desire and ease of researching and buying online. Starting with a multi-channel approach meant putting up an online ecommerce site. It supplemented your bricks and mortar presence. However, that was not good enough. All brand…

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Healthcare Supply Chain Embraces E-commerce Trends

Historically, the margins in this specialized industry have compensated for lack of advanced healthcare supply chain capabilities. Now, though, the industry is no longer standing still due to the increasing pressures on margins, traceability and customer demands.

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Platform, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

The Future of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Must Support Complex Warehouse Requirements for a New Era of Buyers

A new era of buyers has arrived, and they are focused on the customer experience. It’s not enough to simply deliver a product into a buyer’s hands. No matter the industry, today’s savvy consumers expect a seamless, superior experience that delivers on a company’s brand promise.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Omnichannel Retail vs eCommerce Pureplay

Bain & Company published a powerful newsletter articulating “The Power of Omnichannel Stores.” The research did an excellent job of highlighting the changes gripping the modern retail world. It highlights the importance of omnichannel retail, the growth of eCommerce, and compares the irony of the cross-pollination of these two trends. Ultimately the Bain & Company research,…

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Logistics, Posts, Supply Chain

Data-driven Supply Chain Strategies: Tecsys Named a Top 100 Logistics IT Provider

Each year, Inbound Logistics researches the supply chain challenges of business logistics managers and measures those against the capabilities of technology providers across the industry to develop a list of the Top 100 Logistics IT Providers.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Healthcare and Cloud: What a Difference Two Years Makes!

I recently wrote an article for Becker’s Hospital Review Health IT & CIO Report titled “Offloading IT Headaches to the Cloud is a Win for Healthcare”. It is remarkable how far we have come in the last two years. If I would have written this article then, it might have been titled "Overcoming the Fear of Cloud in Healthcare", because not too long ago, the benefits enabled by cloud technology were also shrouded in fears over perceived security risks; concerns such as "Where's my data?", "Can someone steal it?", "How do I know it is safe?".

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Posts, Retail Order Management

Retail Order Routing – What Exactly is it?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.  Retail Order Routing is the efficient allocation and fulfillment of customers orders based on a set of predefined business rules. Basically, it means getting a customer order, finding the item in a retailers inventory and getting…

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Demand Planning and Forecasting, Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Supply Chain and Finance: Shared Metrics Drive Business Success

In the January-March 2018 issue of APICS magazine, APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi contends that if supply chain leaders bring business success then that makes them business leaders. Mr. Eshkenazi goes on to state “organizations that consider their supply chains as strategic and competitive assets outperform the market”.

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Posts, Retail Order Management

BOPIS & Ship-To-Store – NOT the Same!

BOPIS and Ship-To-Store are easy to confuse. Kind of... Ship-to-store is what it says. It is about taking an order (often an online order) and shipping items to the store to fulfill. Then the customer can have it shipped to their home. Alternatively, they can have it held at the store for them to pick…

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Posts, Retail Order Management

What Exactly is Omnichannel Fulfillment?

Omnichannel has become more than just a buzzword in retail. Omnichannel retail is gaining momentum. So, what exactly does it mean? What specifically is omnichannel fulfillment, in the retail environment? More importantly, does it matter? What is Omnichannel Fulfillment? Order fulfillment happens after a customer makes a purchase. In short, it takes the customer orders…

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Demand Planning and Forecasting, Posts, Supply Chain

How Do You Feel About Predictive Analytics?

I just read a blog post entitled How do you feel when someone mentions predictive analytics? Well, I feel like it’s a good thing. How about you?

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Posts, Supply Chain

Seasons Come And Seasons Go

Seasonal variations in consumption occur for many reasons; summer, back to school, various holidays. In fact, most industries experience annually recurring spikes in demand — even healthcare as they prepare for the dreaded flu season. Furthermore, the duration of a season differs depending on geography and demographics.

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Demand Planning and Forecasting, Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Moving Stuff Back Up The Supply Chain

There has been a lot of focus on optimizing the supply chain for order fulfillment.  The on-going efforts to perfect the ‘order to cash’ process have yielded great rewards.  But what about returns?  Automation has reduced the number of returns due to errors however the world must move from a linear to a more circular economy and this will impact the entire supply chain.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Are Wholesalers an Endangered Species?

The traditional role of wholesalers is quite simple; they buy significant quantities of products from different manufacturers, store them in warehouses and resell them to customers, whether retail, industrial, commercial, institutional or contractors. Their role is to have the right product when it is needed, at the lowest price. Pretty simple.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain

Evil A/R Threatens Cash Flow – Time to Fight Back

Given that accounts receivable (A/R) are essentially zero interest loans extended to customers, one might be forgiven for considering credit sales a necessary evil. Maybe one day crypto-currencies like Bitcoin will replace all other forms of payment, but in the meantime many companies have a ton of cash tied up in receivables. So how evil is your A/R?

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Posts, Supply Chain

Coffee Stockout & Other Supply Tragedies

Holding inventory is a way of life. Everybody carries inventory of some kind. In my home, the central supply location is the kitchen. In supply chain speak, my kitchen is a multi-bin facility designed to optimize labour and storage. I also have a separate supply location for specialty items which require refrigeration. This would be the products that fall into the dairy and meat category. Some items are critical. Running out of sugar is one thing but a coffee shortage will definitely disrupt operations.

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Platform, Posts, Software Development, Supply Chain

Can You Have Everything and Still Be Unique?

I find it fascinating that today, in our personal lives or in business, we need so many things that we did not have before. I personally never thought I needed that much, but when I look back at when I started my career, I realize that today compared to then, I do.

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Demand Planning and Forecasting, Posts, Supply Chain

Role of the Distributor in a Demand-driven Sup­ply Chain

There is a famous anecdote about Volvo car dealers heavily discounting green models because consumers preferred other colors. Volvo’s manufacturing plant, seeing the resulting spike in demand for green models, perceived it as consumer interest and upped the production. That’s right…even more green cars! Ouch!!

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Get Down to Brass Tacks

A lot of focus has been placed on advanced and predictive analytics, and rightfully so. I have written many posts and have spoken publically on the merits of advanced analytics for several years now. What I find disorienting and misleading are marketers harping on how important it is to adopt advanced analytics right now. The thing that they just don't get (or maybe they don't want to get?) is that an organization will need to transcend a series of analytical maturity levels before they can truly capitalize on the benefits of advanced and predictive analytics.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Suppliers and Other Business Buddies

Good relationships are good for business. Building a relationship with a vendor takes time. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to work with the same rep for many years. They become friends, share stories and have a routine. That’s all good, right? Turns out the answer may be “not so much”.

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Posts, Software Development, Supply Chain

Situational Software Development

Previously in this series I wrote that the principles of agile software development are more important than the development process (see Agile Software Development: It’s not a process). Consequently there isn’t just one correct way to do software development – the approach must be based on a careful examination of the needs of each project.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Competing on Data Talent

In my last post, I introduced the longitudinal study that MIT Sloan Management Review has been conducting over the past five years. From 2010 to 2012 they indicated that 67% of those surveyed believed that analytics gave their organizations a competitive edge. In 2013, that figure stabilized at 66% revealing the so called 'Moneyball Effect' where leaders lost their competitive edge that they once enjoyed because followers matured and made analytics core competencies. In 2014, that trend continued, falling to 61%.

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Demand Planning and Forecasting, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Warehouse Inventory Management: Getting The Right Product To The Right Person

When supply chain professionals plan for future demand, their thoughts gravitate to meeting customer service levels while minimizing the amount of capital tied up in inventory.  Demand planning and warehouse inventory management is about having the right product in the right place at the right time … right? Four occurrences of the same word would cause my old English teacher to shudder at this excessive use of a word in a single sentence. However, let us return to the important business of meeting consumer demand without incurring the cost of excess inventory.

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Platform, Posts, Software Development, Supply Chain

The VISION thing

“If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything!” That was one of my Dad’s favorite expressions and I think it’s wise; I try to live by it every day. It applies nicely to software development too where I put it in the following terms: “If you don’t have a vision for your product you’ll clutter it with lots of unnecessary features!”

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Platform, Posts, Software Development, Supply Chain

Agile Software Development: It’s Not a Process

Once upon a time, agile software development was revolutionary and cellphones were for making cellphone calls, but those times are long gone. Agile is a mainstream best-practice and if you aren’t applying it then I must brand you a laggard. But agile has changed in the last decade, and not always for the better.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain

Competing on Data

By now, most of you have probably heard of, or read, the book entitled Competing on Analytics by Thomas Davenport that demonstrates how some of the most successful organizations in the world have made analytics a core capability and integral to their strategic planning. MIT Sloan has been tracking this phenomenon since 2010 echoing Davenport's findings. From 2010 to 2012 they indicated that 67% of those surveyed believed that analytics gave their organizations a competitive edge. However, in their last installment of their longitudinal study, something interesting happened. Something that I like to call the 'Oakland Athletics Effect'.

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Platform, Posts, Software Development, Supply Chain

The Benefits of 20/20 Hindsight

Choosing the technology for a long-term project is a risky business – this season’s hottest software may be horribly out of fashion a year or two from now. That’s a big problem if you’ve built your supply chain on it; no-one wants to upgrade their software platform very often.

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Platform, Posts, Software Development, Supply Chain

Introducing a Blog for Your Inner Software Geek

Tecsys develops innovative software products. Yes, we are a provider of supply chain solutions (and hey, Your Supply Chain Matters!), but underpinning all of that is a team of software development professionals who build our products with the latest technologies and tools.

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Demand Planning and Forecasting, Posts, Supply Chain

Measuring Forecast Accuracy – Getting Started

Improved forecast accuracy leads to many downstream improvements in operations and ultimately, on the balance sheet. That is why Gartner, Inc., a highly respected information technology research and advisory firm, puts forecast accuracy at the top of its pyramid of supply chain metrics. In a study published in February 2012, Gartner stated that a 6% forecast improvement could improve the perfect order by 10% and deliver a 10-15% reduction in unnecessary inventory.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Increasing Profitability with Automation & Validation

I was reminded recently that there are really only two ways to improve your organization’s profitability; increase revenues or decrease costs. Arguably, increasing revenues does not necessarily translate into higher profits.Take a moment to think about how much revenue it would take to bring the same amount of dollars to the bottom line as would a 2% decrease in operational costs.

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Posts, Supply Chain

The Evolution of Business Forecasting

Back in the mid-nineties, I attended a conference on business forecasting. The focus was on the science of statistical forecasting, and, well...I may have drifted off during the second half hour of discussions on Winters’ triple exponential smoothing.

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Analytics, Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

About Forecastability

Forecastability is an important word in demand planning.  Oddly, the word forecastability is not listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary nor is it found in Wikipedia.  However Wiktionary describes forecastability as “A measure of the degree to which something may be forecast with accuracy”.  That something could be an item used in the production of a finished good or the finished good itself.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

What defines BIG thinking?

In the movie Big, Tom Hanks plays a child trapped in the body of a 30-year-old who challenges the status quo at a toy manufacturer. To the audience it all makes sense as the movie progresses – think like a kid when selling stuff to kids. How revolutionary! Yet the audience also relates to the adults who pretend to know what kids like.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Pushing the Boundaries of Your Value Discipline

In my last blog post, I mentioned the three forms of value in a commercial transaction: Technical, Organizational and Personal. This trilogy of values reminds me of one of my favorite books, The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wieserma. The big message in this book is that no company can succeed by trying to be all things to all people.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Big Data – Synthesis

In 2013, Gartner conducted a survey on Big Data Adoption in Supply Chain Industries and found that adoption has been flat and is lagging behind the overall adoption rate of other industries such as banking, insurance, and retail to name a few. Gartner ascertained that these characteristics pertaining to the Supply Chain industry are attributable to an inherent lack of understanding of what Big Data truly is and a fundamental lack of the required skill sets. This, in essence, is the challenge facing the Supply Chain industry.

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Posts, Supply Chain

Is Your Supply Chain Evolving Into a Value Chain?

Information technologies have evolved and so have the expectations of the business community. Do you remember when the main objective was automation? Now organizations who continue to view their supply chain applications as transactional engines are missing huge opportunities. Supply chain applications must provide a competitive edge by offering differentiation, depth of functionality, adaptability and robust analytics. The supply chain is also continuously evolving; its evolution leads us to the value chain.

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Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

Supply Chain Visibility at Becker’s Annual Meeting

The recent Becker’s Hospital Review Annual meeting in Chicago was invigorating and thought-provoking, with many presentations from CEOs of many leading healthcare systems. I wanted to share an overview of three breakout sessions that spoke specifically to Healthcare Supply Chain.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Big Data Implications

Big data and big data analytics pose a series of implications and challenges.  Organizations that seek to become analytical competitors must have an established analytics culture consisting of  well trained employees who are using the right enabling technologies.  However, these organizations face challenges maintaining consumer privacy while they collect and use sensitive information.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Big Data Analytics

Big data is all around us.  As we have seen, big data is characterized by its volume, velocity, and variety (the infamous three 'V's).  Great, you have a lot of data...now what?  Well, these untapped 'dark data assets' give rise to vast opportunities for those organizations that seek new ways to compete.  Studies have shown that organizations that compete on analytics by focusing on their core competencies fare much better than those who do not.  Some have gone so far as to call big data the ‘new oil’.  In part two of this four part series, we will take a closer look at big data analytics.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain, Warehouse Management

Big Data Demystified

With the advent of big data, organizations are beginning to recognize the impact that big data and analytics can have on their ability to compete in their respective industries.  In a recent study by MIT and the SAS Institute, 67% of leading organizations firmly believe that analytics give them a competitive advantage.  This recognition has revealed that it is not only about the volume, velocity and variety of the data at hand, but having the right culture, skillsets, and technologies in place, while respecting the privacy of consumers.  This post will be the first of a four part series aimed at demystifying the term 'big data', and touching on opportunities, implications and challenges related to big data.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Healthcare, Posts, Supply Chain

The Hierarchy of Healthcare Supply Chain Metrics

In my July post, I introduced the 'Hierarchy of Supply Chain Metrics', which is a framework of supply chain metrics conceived by Gartner, the world's leading information research and advisory company.  The model provides 3 tiers of integrated metrics to assess, diagnose, and correct supply chain performance, and is a great example of what constititutes a supply chain scorecard.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain

Tecsys Analytics with WERC Benchmarks

It has been said that you can't manage what you can't measure.  In the world of analytics, this is our daily mantra.  However, as succinct as the statement may be, you can't help wondering if it is missing something —  a little something called perspective.

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Analytics, Business Intelligence, Posts, Supply Chain

The Hierarchy of Supply Chain Metrics

Since 2010, Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, has been publishing an annual report entitled 'Gartner Supply Chain Top 25' which ranks organizations that demonstrate leadership in supply chain management.  In each of these reports, the 'Hierarchy of Supply Chain Metrics' is positioned as the ideal set of metrics to measure supply chain operational performance.  To emphasize Gartner's stance, the subtitle reads: 'The Metrics We Wish We Had'.

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