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Shipping Integration

In a world where efficiency is a key factor for the success and profitability of a business Keystone Data developed the perfect product to save time and effort. With just one click you will be able to send all the delivery details to your selected carrier and at the same time get back the tracking number assigned to that delivery.

Untitled-2At the point of shipping the order in NetSuite a script will send the shipment details to the carrier. Once the details are in, the carrier will send back the tracking number which will then be displayed on the dispatch e-mail and on the item fulfilment. Also carrier shipping labels will be automatically printed. Say goodbye to manually inputting the delivery details for each order.

Benefits:

  1. The product will speed up the shipment process and make it more efficient.
  2. The client has access to his tracking number withing seconds from the shipment of his order.
  3. Automatic printing of shipping labels for the desired carrier.
  4. Frees up human resources.

 

We encourage you to contact us and get a taste of this product which will change the way you ship items and it will give your business more freedom.

Have a great day!

 

kit components

Kit Components Tree

Hello Everyone!

We’ve just developed a new way of looking at your KIT components in a more user friendly manner.

As you can see in the picture below KIT5 is made of KIT1 which is made of inventory items INVN-1 and INVN-2. In a simple scenario where a KIT is made only of inventory items you could easily find and access them from the item tab. In a complex case where your KIT is made of multiple KITS which in turn are made of multiple items you would have to dig different levels and open many tabs to be able to access the information and then use the information to create a complete list of the components.

Luckily, we at KeyStone Data developed a custom high level visual map which is available at the KIT level and lets you navigate through all the components of your KIT. The way we do this is through an IFRAME which access a SUITELET. The SUITELET finds out the children of your particular KIT and returns it in a HTML format.

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If you are interested about this bundle please give us a shout.

 

Hope this helps, Have a nice day!

KeyStone Data

 

 

 

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NetSuite – Aftership Integration

NetSuite as standard is integrated with UPS and FedEx. Also as a NetSuite partner we regularly integrate with other carries such TNT, The Post Office and Parcel Force for our clients.

These integrations allow us to automatically generate carrier labels when goods are scanned out of warehouse and pull tracking no. back into NetSuite. However in order to provide an excellent level of customer service we need to be able to update our customer at any moment in time on where exactly is their order. For example we ship one pencil and we get a tracking no. which we then use to interrogate our carrier website to get the details that we need.

One way of doing this is to create a script in NetSuite for each carrier, or you could use AfterShip www.aftership.com app which will do this for you, thus you will only need to create one NetSuite script which links NetSuite to AfterShip. The result is that you reduce the number of scripts that you have to create/to run in order to have access to all your tracking no. independent of the carrier.

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If you need more clarification don’t hesitate to contact us, thank you everyone and have a nice day!

 

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Netsuite Available Kit Quantity

Hello people of NETSUITE land!

Today’s issue that we at Keystone Data tackled was to have the available kit quantity easily accessible for internal (client access-backend) and external(available on website-fronend) purposes. For example we need to calculate the available KIT A quantity which consists of 1 inventory ITEM GREEN,  1 YELLOW and 1 ORANGE each with their respective quantities.

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In the above example the quantity for KIT A should be 2 because we only have 2 YELLOW items, thus we can only create 2 KITs. Another important step is to make that quantity easily accessible.

Our first solution is just a simple three steps process.

1.Create a customised item field (ex: Available KIT quantity) which will be available to all the KITs created by our customer.

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2.Write a scheduled script which will calculate the available KIT quantity based on its components quantities.

3.Make the script post into the customised field created at step 1.

This way the user can see the available quantity at all times at the kit level and also can use the field as a transaction column.

 

The Second solution is just to create a saved search which returns the available quantity for each kit item.

 

Depending on your preference and client needs you can opt for one or the other.

If you need more clarification don’t hesitate to contact us, thank you everyone and have a nice day!

Keystone Data out!

Eassy Composites

Easy Composites go live

Easy Composites, the Stoke-based supplier of a huge range of advanced composite materials with associated services to businesses and end users has gone live with its NetSuite implementation project.

This project included the using our JCatalogue product to re-site their website integrated with NetSuite and customisation functions.

The customization included a range of tailored user interfaces in the warehouse and customized dashboard information. Because Easy Composites supply products that fall under the Dangerous Goods Act we also included customizations to auto calculate suitable packaging for orders containing dangerous goods and auto generates highly accurate Dangerous Goods notes and Commercial Invoices.

Why you should care HOW (not if) your Warehouse System integrates with your Parcel Carrier

Our customers always want want to know: “Does your system integrate with our carrier?” But they leave out the important question of….  How does this work?

Most carriers offer two approaches to integration:

 

 

The Traditional Method

 

This is a desktop computer installed in the warehouse. There is a different one for each carrier. This type of system has been in use for years and, by definition, is not integrated with your system at all. Although your warehouse management system may integrate with this desktop software and automatically print a label when an item is scanned your warehouse system is communicating with the desktop software only.  IE there is no communication with the live systems hosted by the parcel carrier.

The main problem with this approach stem from the fact that your warehouse system is not actually connected to the parcel carriers internal systems and cannot have a live “conversation” with these systems.  So live information such as delivery slots, pricing and live quotes based on a package content and its destination cannot be obtained for any prospective system.  This approach does allow you to auto print a label, which is useful, however going forward the approach will soon start to look dated.

Another problem is the desktop software is often rather dated and can only be installed on an older operating system (Eg windows XP).  Parcel carriers are often not updating these old systems as they are starting to invest resource in new types of system. These older systems present a security risk to the business if warehouse operatives are able to browse the internet on these systems as older browsers are often installed.

Traditional Warehouse Integration - Warehouse and Parcel Carrier are dis-connected

 

Diagram showing dis-connection between Parcel Carrier Systems and Warehouse Management System.

 

Something New: Server-to-Server Communication

A step-up from that is connecting your warehouse management system to the carrier directly.

This is vastly superior to entering data in two different system. It opens up a whole range of possibilities including:

– Live pricing lookup for shipments. You can use this to quote a customer shipping cost over the phone or on an ecommerce website at the point of sale.

– Ability to manifest shipments – in the traditional desktop model there is no direct communication between systems, therefore manifests must be manually created at the end of the day.

– Ability to generate labels in multiple locations and not just at a single machine where the software is installed in the warehouse.

– Reduce support costs. The traditional approach requires the installation of a computer in the warehouse.

The take away message is that your system should integrate with your parcel carrier as there are time-saving and cost-saving reasons to do that. Many carrier including Royal Mail, TNT have built interfaces that let your warehouse management shipping connect to their delivery systems, hence this is now something you should look for when selecting a system.

Logistics and Sales: Trends and Moving Averages

There are two ways to do planning:  you can use some kind of analytical software or take an educated guess, based upon your experience.  If you saw the Brad Pitt movie ”Moneyball” then you know that making a projection based upon one’s experience does not always work.  In the movie, Brad Pitt has come to Oakland to coach the A’s baseball team.  He hires a recent Harvard graduate who has some ideas about how one can use statistics to gain an advantage on the field.  This logical approach to baseball does not sit well with the old hand, tobacco-chewing, foul-mouthed, seasoned baseball scout.  His job is to scout the minor leagues and universities looking for new talent.  The scout says of one fellow, ”He can knock the ball out of the park.”  The newcomer from Harvard asks the more important question, ”Yes, but does he get on base?”  For those in UK, who might not know much about baseball, getting on base is what matters.  The coach listens to the statistician and not the scout.  The A’s turn around their dismal record, come in 2nd in the national tournament, and the old-time scout is shown the door.  (Note:  this blog writer does not care much about baseball either, a sport where 25 seconds of excitement are follow by 4 hours of boredom spent watching grown men spit and scratch their groin.)

This same thinking can be applied to business.  Analytics software is supposed to be the oracle (meaning prophet, not the database with a capital “O”) that looks at one’s data and tries to pick out some pattern to make a projection about the future.  These are commonly called forecast and trends.  But the software is only of any use, if you understand what you are looking at.  A misinterpretation of the data is like listening to the foul-mouthed baseball scout.

Here we provide a brief description of what analytics means.

There are several ways to spot a trend.  One is to use a moving average.  The other is to do what is called regression analysis.   You can do both in Microsoft Excel.

Suppose you want to know if your business is growing over time or a recent uptick in sales is just a fluke.  Your sales appear to be going up in a linear fashion.  But can you call this a trend or just a run of good luck?  Let’s see how we can project future sales given past ones.

Take a look at the sales data in the chart below.  Here have sales by week and average weekly sales by month.  We have taken the first four months of the year. The idea of a moving average is you can move the average along the calendar.  For example, it might be more relevant to your business to look at the past three months rather than the whole year.  So you maintain the data in a spreadsheet, but them you adjust the formula to include, say, January to March one measurement and then February to April for the next, thus keeping a three month window or three month moving average.

 

A B C D
1 week January February March
2 1 100 75 66
3 2 200 230 214
4 3 100 124 124
5 4 150 100 175
6 average 138 132 145

sales by month

F G H
2 January 138 1
3 February 132 2
4 March 145 3
5 April (forecast) 136 4

The average shown on row 6 of the spreadsheet is the weekly average sales for each month.  The data in column G is the same average shown up and down instead of horizontally.   (Note: We have plotted average weekly sales by month in a pivot table and shown it in the graphic above to make the data easier to see.)

Now we want to forecast sales for April.  We can use the Excel statistic function =trend to calculate this.  We give it two arrays:  (1) the month expressed as a number (H2:H4) and (2) average weekly sales during the month (G2:G4).

In the cell G5 we enter the function =TREND(G2:G4,H2:H4). This says take the month in column H and the sales in column G and then project the next month. If sales are increasing in linear fashion the you would expect the value for April to be higher than March. It is not. But this is too little data to make a positive declaration about the growth in sales. You would have to repeat this exercise over time to see if the sales are trending upwards.  Hence the idea of a moving average.

This is not the best example of how to apply regression analysis to a business problem. The whole point of regression analysis is to show how one value is related to another: from the statistical point of view, the month number and sales figure have nothing to do with each other.  To understand what we mean, consider another example.  This one model that does determine the relation between two inputs. Consider advertising dollars spent versus customer inquires to judge the effectiveness of your advertising campaign. The basic technique is the same as with the sales projection, except you would want to use the function =linest to plot a line that shows the relationship between advertising dollars and customer inquires.  That could give you a formula you could use like: customer inquires = ((0.023)(dollars spent) + 0.003).  Then take this to your ad agency and complain about their lack of good ideas.

One problem with our model is it does not take into consideration seasonal variation. It does sort of, in that the point of regression is to make an estimate given some series of values over time. By definition, this is an average that would toss out any large variation from the average, e.g., seasonal variation. Large variations can affect the average and, thus, the projection. So there is a need to build into our model seasonal variation, especially for a business that is seasonal, such as manufacturing sporting goods. We will discuss how to do do that in another blog post.