Skublox Webinar - Make Your Team's Life Easier and Your Customers Happier

Webinar Transcript

Jeremy Greenberg

Hi, my name is Jeremy Greenberg. I want to thank everyone for joining this webinar. Today, we’ll review the basic features of Skublox and then also go into some new features that were added over the last year or so since the last webinar. Customers have been using it heavily, and as they use it, they often make suggestions. We take those suggestions to heart and keep on trying to improve, just like with Sellercloud and other products. We’re constantly trying to improve it, and customer feedback has been critical to that. So, thank you to the customers who reached out to us and suggested things.

As the title says, “Make Your Team’s Life Easier and Your Customers Happier.” So, the team’s life is easier by giving them the tools that make their job easier. It reduces a lot of stress and tension, but it also makes the customers happier when they don’t receive the wrong item, or it gets short-shipped, which seems to be a prevalent issue with online sales and shipping.

Sorting orders and fulfillment can be a messy business. As the slide says, there are errors, and no accountability or traceability. Who touched the order? Who picked it and packed it? We were trying to solve some of those problems with Skublox. Error rates vary. Some employees are very meticulous and don’t make mistakes. But ultimately, the industry standard and averages show that between two or three percent of orders have some type of mistake made in the fulfillment process that Skublox tries to eliminate to near zero.

What is Skublox? 

Some of the people attending the webinar use Skublox already. Bear with me. We’re just going to talk for a couple of minutes for those who are not familiar with it. Skublox is a technology that we developed with little lights like the one on my desk over here. The lights light up as you scan products, and they guide people where to put the items, whether it’s where to pick the items from or where to place them as they’re sorting through items, and the fulfillment process basically makes it almost like a thoughtless process and following the lights. And instead of matching SKU numbers or, you know, reading product descriptions and things like that eliminates a lot of mistakes by using this technology.

Historically, you know, there have been a lot of put-to-light solutions out there for decades, but they typically are very expensive to implement and take a lot of time to implement. 

With this unique technology, which uses a combination of unique hardware and software that we developed, we’re able to make it available and affordable for small businesses. For as low as $250 a month, you could have it up and running within hours. That’s unheard of in this industry.

We even offer a 30-day free trial, which will continue through the month of March. Basically, Skublox takes an old idea and puts a new spin on it. We have two different tracks: pretzel light and pick to light. The put-to-light track is the most efficient way of picking orders off the shelf in bulk. Once the items are picked, they’re brought to a sorting area where they’re scanned, and a slot lights up, guiding you to where to put the item. Each slot is related to an order, and when it’s ready to ship, another light lights up, and you just scan it and print the shipping label or license plate label.

Pick to light is a little different. In the picking process, you have a mobile cart, and the lights guide you as you pick the item off the shelf and place it where it needs to go. With pick to light, there are fewer steps and fewer hands touching the item before it gets fulfilled. 

But it really depends on what type of products and various factors. Whether you go with put to light or pick to light, or a combination of both, we’re going to discuss both of those today. Here, you can see a video demonstration of scanning an item. The light lights up green, and he places the item there and scans it to verify or confirm that it’s in the right slot.

It’s as simple as that. People will just scan all the items, and it’ll tell them where to place them. Each person has a unique color; this guy’s color is green, so it lights up green. But you could have multiple people doing this process at the same time, each one with their color. On the other side of the wall, it turns green when it’s ready to ship, and he scans it, and then it prints out a label. It’s as simple as that.

This is a diagram of how it looks when you have multiple people working on it at the same time. You see, there’s a picking ban, and on one end, they’re sorting, and on the other end, they’re fulfilling the orders and shipping them out.

As I mentioned, it’s effortless to do it yourself. The parts are designed to fit onto your shelving, so you don’t have to buy custom shelving. You can either attach the lights by velcro, zip tie or screw them into the walls. It also gives you the ability to do it at your own pace. We do have options to help people who need additional help, but it’s pretty straightforward, and we can guide people through the process in most cases.

Skublox has a hardware component, and there’s also a software component in the form of an app that’s used to scan items. We call it the sorter app, and the guy who scans the individual products is using that. As you scan a product, it’ll show you a picture of the product, and on the back end, we have what’s called the hot bath, which is used for management and analytics. So we can track performance per user and various trends.

You know, all of this is done through the Hub app. This is just a review of the Skublox app for those who aren’t familiar with it yet. The cheaper part of this webinar is really focused on functionality updates. We’ve been up and running for over a year, and during that time, we’ve received feedback from customers. We’ve tried to turn that feedback into new features for the app, and thankfully, customers have beta-tested these features. All of the features that I’m describing here are already in use and available to anyone who uses Skublox.

One of the features is the hub app, which works on a mobile phone and allows for remote control. You can test lights and do all those things from your phone, wherever you are. You don’t have to be in the warehouse to monitor things. You’ll see an example diagram on a smartphone like an iPhone, and you can trigger the lights to turn on and off through the app, which is a cool feature. We recommend that people use this feature when testing the lights as they assemble the wall. They can flash the slide, which means turning the light on and off remotely through their phone to verify that everything is connected properly. This helps with labeling the slots.

Another major feature that was added was support for serial numbers. We’re going to go through that here, and you can actually see it in action. Whereas, as you go through the regular process with the sorting app and scan a product, it will prompt you for a serial number if that product requires one. It’s just an extra step in the process, but what that means is that we’re actually collecting the serial number. In the hub app, you’ll see an example where the serial number was scanned, and you can see it on the hub app.

Usually, after the product is shipped, we can track it to a specific segment and see the serial number on the order. Once the product is scanned into Skublox, it is tracked on the order level. Numbers are crucial for expensive items, ensuring that the item returned is the same one sold and for warranties, rebates, and other purposes. The Skustack Lens is a warehouse management visualization platform that shows the serial numbers as they are scanned.

You can enable the serial numbers and see various settings on this platform. We added an option to require or validate serial numbers on your main account. For Skublox, you can configure it to prompt for the serial number, and there is an option to match the serial number to the purchase order or just collect it. We offer both options.

Moving on from serial numbers, we made several user experience improvements. One of them is adding the option to see the location notes related to a product within Skublox. This feature is helpful for completing orders that are in process on the wall. If the product is not in the picklist for any reason or has changed, this location note will guide the user. This feature was requested by customers.

Another option people requested was to choose their own color for sorting. Initially, when we released the sorter app, the first person who sorted was always red. However, some users did not like being the red person, so we added the option to choose your own color. Now, each user can be a different color, and when they scan a product, their color will light up. Available colors will only be shown if no one else on the wall is using them.

Another feature people requested was the ability to sort with a picklist in two ways. You can either enter the picklist number or select from a list of picklists. People also wanted some basic statistics on the picklists, such as the number of picked and unpicked items. This makes it easier to find today’s picklist without knowing the picklist number.

We also added multi-sorting for orders with multiple quantities. Instead of scanning each unit individually, users can now select all 10 units in one shot by scanning the product once and then selecting a quantity of 10. The Hub shows how the 10 items were sorted in the order.

To make it easier to navigate to Skustack Admin or Sellercloud, we added an app switcher to the Hub. No separate login is required if you’re already logged into the Skublox Hub. Simply clicking on any links within Skublox Hub to see an order or product will take you to the app switcher, which is all handled under the hood.

Another improvement is that originally when we were shipping out our Skublox kits, we were sending out a mini PC, and we expected the customer to get a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor, which was a little bit clumsy. It’s much simpler with a touch tablet where everything is on one computer, and the screen and the interface are all one piece. So we just found that to be a much better solution. We started shipping out all new starter kits with the Microsoft Surface tablet, which is a nice improvement as far as new features management features on the hub. If you see over here, you can actually see when an order is ready to be shipped. In many cases, people generate a shipping label, and in other cases, they’ll generate a license plate. You can actually see those events in the hub because it tracks every step and every interaction with the item. So, in this case, you can filter by those events, which is a new filter that we added, and you can even reprint the license plate if the printer malfunctions or something like that. The administrator could manually do that.

Over here, you can see if you want to print barcodes for the Skublox, it used to be that you could only print all of them at once. We had a number of customers that have over 100 Skublox set up on a wall, and in many cases, they only wanted to print one or two, or three of the barcodes. So over here, we allow you to select which barcodes you want to print, which makes it a lot easier.

When an order is ready to be shipped, in many cases, they’re printing out a license plate. You’ll see over here what a license plate looks like; it’s pretty much a barcode that references the order. In many cases, companies print license plates because they have a different process for actually shipping the order. So once it’s all boxed up, they put it on the license plate. Once everything’s in the same box, someone else actually closes the box, or a machine closes the box and scans that license plate number to print the shipping label.

We can print those in both PDF or CPL, which makes it easier for these labels to be printed on a Zebra printer. We also added various printing options to make it more universal and easier for people to print, whether they’re printing the license plates or something else. So you can see over here the various options, the size of the label stack formats, and various other things. We tried to make it user-friendly, so you can choose which way is best, and even on the license plate, you can choose which value you want to print, like the order number, a special confirmation code, or the channel order number.

Okay, so as I mentioned at the beginning, we initially started Skublox with Put-to-Light. However, we also offer  Pick-to-Light, which requires Skustack as well. Basically,  Pick-to-Light enables you to pick through the Skustack and interact with the Skublox system without leaving the application.

Here’s an example a customer sent us of one of their mobile carts, which is battery-operated and has Skublox running on it. However, you can configure it in any way, depending on the size of the item. Obviously, if it’s for smaller items, you’d configure it differently.

From within Skustack, the warehouse management system, you could load up a pick list, and as you’re picking an order, when you scan the bin where the item is and pull it off the shelf, it will suggest that you place it into a specific slot on the wall, light up, and then you scan it. As far as Skustack is concerned, you’ve completed that task, and it’s part of the same process. As people started to use this feature, some suggestions came in, so we added the ability not just to enter the picklist ID to initiate the pick list but also to be able to search, similar to what we have in Skublox itself, where you can search and see a list of pick lists and the various statuses on the pick list. This way, you can easily find today’s pick list and start that process.

Another feature is slot swapping or swapping. Slot swapping gives you the ability to override the slot that lights on. Initially, when you scan an item, the system will try to find the most efficient empty slot for it to go into. But if, for whatever reason, you think that there’s a better slot for it to go to that’s empty, you can actually override that.

Okay, as I mentioned at the beginning, we initially started with Skew Blocks with Put to Light, but we also offer Pick-to-Light. So Pick-to-Light requires a Skustack as well, but it enables you to pick through the Skew Stack and interact with the Skublox system without leaving the Skustack application. Here’s an example: a customer sent us one of their battery-operated mobile carts that have Skublox running on it. However, you can configure it any way you want, depending on the size of the item. If it’s for smaller items, you’d configure it differently.

So here’s an example from within Skustack, the warehouse management system. You can load up a pick list, and as you’re picking an order, you scan the bin where the item is and pull it off the shelf. Then the system suggests you place it into a specific slot on the wall, which will light up. Once you scan it and the task is complete, you’ve picked the item, and the same process continues. As people started to use this feature, some suggestions came in, and we added the ability to not just enter the picklist ID to initiate the pick list but also to search for pick lists, similar to when we have Skublox itself. You can see a list of pick lists and the various statuses on the pick list. You can easily find today’s pick list and start the process.

Another feature is slot swapping, which gives you the ability to override the slot that lights on. Initially, when you scan an item, the system tries to find the most efficient empty slot for it to go into. But if you think there’s a better empty slot for it, you can override it. Here’s an example: he’s once again picking the item off the shelf, and the hub is lighting up. There’s one particular slot that it wants him to scan with, so he clicks to initiate the swap. Then he chooses a different slot on the wall and scans it to confirm that it went there. When you look back at the hub, you’ll see that a different slot took that item. 

Obviously, on the wall itself, it’s lighting up properly to show physically where the item is. But the hub gives us a virtual representation of what’s happening on the wall.

Another thing that was worked on is that we have some people who are sorting the wall, and some of the items they’re sorting are bigger than others. So, what we did is we added the ability to set capacities or designate certain slots for big items or big orders and other ones for smaller orders. You can say, based on cubic measurements, what are the different size slots that you have, and then you can assign the various capacities to those slots. Then when you scan a big order item from a big order, it will automatically choose the bigger one. Typically, people choose to put the bigger items on the bottom. This shows you how that configuration goes.

Another thing people were trying to do is we told their customers that Skublox was going to choose the best algorithm for where they should go. People question, “Why is it sending me over here? Why is it sending me over there?” Typically, we’ll try to keep someone in the same area of the wall. What we did is we created a heat map that you can actually review the methodology of us choosing the slots. If you see over here mostly, in this example, they’re mostly chosen at the top and in the middle of the wall simply because it’s hard for people to bend down to the bottom of the wall. It’s showing red and blue because those were people who were logged in as the red user and the blue user. 

Basically, if you have a scenario where multiple people are picking, we can draw a heat map to show you whether you’re satisfied with the process. We can make adjustments based on that. As we continue to improve the algorithm, it becomes much easier to identify any issues.

We also received some requests for ad hoc interaction with Skublox, so we opened up the API. You can find some developer docs on our developer.soundcloud.com. On the right screen on Swagger, which is an API tool, you can see someone playing around. Basically, through the API, you can turn on lights and choose their color. This opens up many possibilities and use cases for Skublox. Right now, we’re primarily dealing with sorting and picking, but in the near future, we hope to expand on the various features related to skew blocks.

Another thing to mention is that because we’re dealing with a physical item, we took the time to get it certified to ensure it’s safe and won’t catch fire or anything like that. We put it through some intense testing by UL and got it listed. Just wanted to mention that if it’s important for some of our customers to have insurance requirements and things like that, we did our homework as far as that.

Last but not least, we made it easy to order skublox. You can actually order them directly on the Skustack website. But if you contact sales, we have a promotion going on in March for a 30-day free trial. There’s no major investment here. It’s mostly investing your time to try it out, which is just a matter of hours. You can see whether it’s something that’s going to make big improvements to your fulfillment workflow.

That’s pretty much what I wanted to present today. We’re continuing to work on various features. But I’m happy to share these improvements and keep people informed about all the changes that are being made. One more thing to mention is that, in some cases, we added a way onto the Skublox website where you can figure out how many slots you need depending on your order volume. That might be helpful for people as well.

Thank you, everyone, for joining. I see one question here about ITF 14 barcodes. Do you have a case or something like that? Can you scan the case barcode? That’s something we’re still working on. Hopefully, we’ll have that added in the next feature release.

Also, someone is asking about the mobile carts for the pick-to-light. What type of battery does that use? We did a series of tests on various batteries and found a pretty inexpensive battery that lasts like 20 hours.

So we can make that information available to anyone who’s interested. Just reach out to us, and we’ll point you in the right direction of where to get it.

Thank you very much, everyone. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. Thank you for your time.

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