Skublox Webinar - Simplified Sorting & Error-Free Fulfillment

Webinar Transcript

Hi, everyone, let’s see, we already have a bunch of people, sort of a continuation of the webinar that was done back in August. At that point, we just had two customers demoing Skublox. Since then we’ve added a dozen additional clients onto the Skublox system, we’ve added a lot of new features. So I figured we’d have another webinar to sort of update where things stand today. And that way people can learn more about it. If it’s the first time joining, I’ll try to give you a little bit of an intro into Skublox. But we’ll also focus on some of the things that were added from August till now, go through a little bit about Skublox.

We tried to address challenges the customers have with multi-item orders. Very often people would have to print out packing slips, they’d be laying them down on a table, trying to match products with packing slips. And there’s a lot of mistakes that can happen, human errors. It’s a slow process, it’s tedious. It’s very hard to track the progress of a process like that. And we wanted to take the fact that we already had Skustack in the mix with warehouse management, picking the orders, and to basically create something that was a bridge between Skustack, and our shipping solutions, or between picking the orders off the shelf with our warehouse management system, Skustack, you would be able to sort the items with with Slublox.

So looking at put-to-light systems out there, we tried to design a system, called Skublox, which would address a lot of these issues out there with existing systems that are out there. There are put-to-light systems out there that cost like 50 000 to set up. It’s very expensive, it’s price prohibitive for a lot of small businesses. Doing things, the manual tedious way of matching paper to products is obviously not very efficient. And that’s why we came up with Skublox. As you see these lights, they light up various colors, you can mount them on to a shelving system.

At the time of our last webinar, we just had the maximum number of lights on a particular wall, it was about 80. At this point, we have people using even 150 of them together, we can really have a pretty big setup. What happens is, as you scan a product, it lights up where you should put it. You can have multiple people using it at the same time, each person with a different color. And then as the orders are ready to ship on the opposite side of the wall, it lights up green. That’s the basic idea of Skublox. It’s very easy to set up. As long as the first box is connected to the Internet, whether it’s through Sellercloud, or through a mobile app, you can basically interact with those boxes, and we can control when they light up and turn off.

This process saves a lot of time. It’s more efficient, and we can also track who did what. Instead of them having to fish through a pile of stuff looking for an item for a particular order, they just pick up the items as they come into their hands and it lights up the appropriate light.

Since we’ve had the webinar in August, we actually had two testimonial videos on our YouTube channel – the two first customers that started using it. I’m just showing a few seconds from those videos. For the people that want to learn more about the basic idea of how the system works and hear it from the customers themselves that use it. Go to our YouTube channel after the webinar and watch the full testimonial videos of how people are using Skublox.

This is sort of an idea of how the mobile app part of Skublox works. You can access it from a phone, or in this particular case, with a zebra scanner gun with a built in scanner. Basically, you scan a product that actually shows you a picture of the item. And then you’ll scan an actual box to confirm that you put it into the right place. If you’d want to cancel like in this particular video, it’s actually showing the person scan the product and then back out of it. We actually added the ability to force the user to put in a PIN code. What we noticed was that people get so used to just scanning and putting it into the box that by accident, they could theoretically cancel out of the scan. So we added that PIN code option over there. So that’s something recently that was added to the mobile app.

We’ve done some integration work with Skustack, and Skublox. You could interact with Skublox from within the Skustack application. And in this particular example, we’re actually scanning the shipper part of the Skublox and printing out a license plate label. So in some cases, when the slot already has all the items in there, and the green light turns on, people want to scan that and print out the shipping label right away. And in other cases, they want to print out a license plate label that references the order number, in which case, they could have one person pack a box, put that license plate on it and a separate person actually do the shipping, printing, the shipping label. It really depends on what type of products you have, how big they are, and whether you have that separate stage of putting on the license plate label or not.

Because Skustack already integrates with the printer and this is a warehouse application just like Skustack and you’re using the same device to access Skustack and Skublox, we figured we would add this option to print the license plate from within Skustack. As soon as you scan the barcode, it actually automatically prints from the printer instantaneously. So it’s a pretty fast workflow and then it also interacts with Skublox to mark the slot is open for another order to free it up for the next order to go into the slot on the wall.

Once we started working with Skustack what we’ve done is we’ve actually built in an additional option, which we’re just beta testing now – to actually do pick-to-light. So primarily Skublox is put-to-light. After the things have been picked, you would sort them on the wall. But in this case, what we’re trying to do is from within Skustack, as you pick an item off the shelf, you would immediately put it onto a cart that has the Skublox light side, and they would light up and as you confirm the item going into the slot, it would not just pick the order off the shelf and move it into the picking bin but would also associate that item with the order. At that point, once the card is all full, they would bring that to the shipping area, and they’d be able to just ship it.

Instead of picking in bulk, theoretically, someone could pick one item, like 10 units of it and just bring those forward and then sort those on the wall. Over here, it’s immediately sorting it as you’re picking it. We actually have one of these mobile carts in the office with a battery on it. Because the lights are very low voltage you can easily have a battery on a cart that lasts the whole day. Similar to a medical cart where they have a computer mounted with a battery, you can have a laptop, or a tablet attached to the cart. It’s one of those things we’re experimenting with. This is one of the next steps we’ve developed.

We also have a shipping app, currently beta testing called Exactship. Not everyone’s heard of it. It’s a mobile app for shipping orders from a mobile device. In this particular case, you would be able to scan the Skublox once it’s ready to ship and it would load that order and you’ll be able to to ship the order immediately or make changes to the order, and whatnot.

Skustack is interacting with skew blocks without ever leaving the Skustack application. Whatever labels print from that pick to light, you wouldn’t necessarily want the person in the warehouse to be able to modify any of the shipping options and things like that. So it’s all going to go with preset options. Exactship gives you more control over modifying the order. It’s another interaction with Skublox from within the suite of Sellercloud products.

Going on to the next thing over here, we noticed that some customers were giving us feedback. Skublox uses an algorithm to figure out the most efficient place to place the item. It’s not going to send you from one end of the wall to the other unless there’s a reason for it. One of the challenges is that sometimes the item is a certain size that needs a certain size slot, or there’s another reason why there’s an advantage to putting it in one place rather than the other. So we added an option that you could do what’s called slot swapping. Basically, after you scan the item, you’d have an option to click that button, and it would give you an option to scan an alternate slot. Then the system would be updated that that’s the right slot for that order.

Replacement products. So we found we had customers who were picking replacements. In some cases, the customer ordered a generic item where there might be two or three different, unique barcodes that could be used to fulfill that order. And we made sure that if the guy picked it with Skustack, picked a replacement, he can continue that workflow from within Skublox, and scan that replacement item and it will connect it with that order. It’s basically seamless with the function replacement functionality within Skustack.

Within Skublox, there’s also a hub, where you can manage the whole system and visualize what’s going on with the various slots. In this particular app, we added the ability to search products. You can free up slots, and you can also flash a slot. As you have a big wall, if you see something happening to a particular order, you could easily identify where that is on the hub and where the physical slot is. Because we added the ability to layout the flow direction of the blocks. So depending on how someone lays out the blocks on the wall, it might not be right to left to left to right and may go like in a snake pattern or, or zigzag or something like that. So we basically added options to make sure that the hub visually looks very similar to the actual wall itself.

Additionally, with the hub app, we added the ability to search for an order by scanning a particular product. If you see progress on a particular order, you can click into it and actually see what’s going on with that order and locate the related products. See over here, it turns red because someone’s actually scanned one of the units of an order. And then you can easily click into the product or the order to see more details. And similarly, you can search by an order number and see where it is on the wall. Or if you have an extra product, you could scan that product and see which slots have that product in it. These are different things that we developed as we got feedback from the customers and also gave us the ability to better debug what’s going on. Over here you see this guy searched by the product and it brought up that that particular order.

Flashing slots. This video we took in our office here. We added some diagnostics so you can test to make sure everything’s good connected right and working right. You can basically flash all the slots in a sequence. It’s helpful also to see what the pattern is of how they’re laid out and make sure everything’s connected properly.

Another thing we did was, we added a downloadable app for Android. At first, when we had the first webinar, it was a browser-based app. So you could access it from, let’s say, the browser on your phone or the browser on the Zebra device. We noticed that there are a couple challenges with that. One is that some of our clients want to lock down the device so that only certain apps work. If you see this picture, there are a lot of random apps on it, they don’t want the employees necessarily using the devices from work for all these other apps. When it’s browser-based, you can’t really have as much control over which websites they’re accessing and whatnot. So what we did is we created a downloadable app, which can be installed on an Android device and you can grant access to that app. At the same time, the browser based app is accessible on any browser, so you could access it from a desktop from an iPhone. But if you wanted to really lock down a company device, you could use the downloadable app.

When we had a few customers, we were mostly dealing with customers, just one by one. Since then, we’ve actually opened up and done some significant documentation – how to do things, a place where people can find answers. We want to make sure that Skublox is really well supported. And it’s very easy to use. Part of that is really documenting it. So we’re ahead of the game with that. Additionally, we’ve actually added a nice Help icon on the Skublox app itself, where you could see context sensitive help from within the app itself without actually navigating to the website. From that context sensitive help, you can detect what device is being used, and what version of the app is being used. It can give advice, based on things that are relevant to you, what version of it that you’re using, and what device you’re using it from. That’s the first time we’ve done that with any of our apps. It’s additional help. As we get feedback from customers, we’re trying to make Skublox better and better. That’s really what we always try to do. For a lot of things, we get ideas from the customers that maybe we wouldn’t have gotten ourselves.

Another thing we’ve done is we’ve actually created a print guide of how to set up Skublox. We wanted to make it really easy and straightforward. So we’ve actually printed a handbook, a quickstart guide for setting up the Skublox that we can actually ship with the Skublox sets.

The whole Skublox app is really interacting with the Sellercloud server over APIs. So we’ve documented those. We have our first customer that has some unique requirements or unique workflows. We’ve actually had people integrate with this API to do whatever they need. We’re trying to keep Skublox itself pretty standard, but using the API, we could customize things, so still have that option. So that’s pretty much what I wanted to present. I know everyone is very busy. I think we have a little bit of time to take some questions from the customers.

Someone’s asking about Bluetooth scanning. Theoretically, you could use Bluetooth scanning with any mobile device – with your cell phone or whatever it is, if it’s a smartphone. The Bluetooth scanner is a really cost effective way of doing it. I think you can get them on Amazon for like $75 or something like that. The only catch is that there is a slight delay, like maybe it’s a fraction of a second but typically the Bluetooth scanners work through keyboard input. So you’ll see the characters show up in the box for like a split second. It’s slightly slower than the Zebra devices that are instantaneous. I believe most of our customers, there are definitely some who are, you know, if they have 10 people using it, they don’t necessarily spend the money on 10 Super devices, but it is definitely an option. But there is a slight delay related to it. Also, when it comes to Bluetooth pairing, it’s exclusive. So you’d have to keep track of which ring scanner is connected to which device. So it’s a little bit tricky. When it’s all built in one device it’s simpler for the employees, more dummy proof.

Okay, so someone’s asking if you ship out the order, will the shipping rates be the same as in Sellercloud? As far as the shipping rates are concerned, Skublox doesn’t actually ship the order. In order to actually print the shipping label, you use Shipbridge or Exactship that’s integrated with Skublox. So it would work exactly as Shipbridge would work with your regular rates and whatnot. Exactship would also use your account rates, it’s a different shipping engine. It’s not working with Shipbridge, it’s shipping in a different way. It’s basically like a rewrite of our shipping functionality. But it’s also going to be at the same rates.

Someone’s asking over here: How many bins can we use all at once? There’s really no particular limit to how many you could use and it will continue working. It works over Power over Ethernet. So basically through the cable that connects the Skublox, it sends not only the signal, but also the electricity that powers it. So every 20 slots, there’s a power injector, we call it, or adapter that gets plugged in, that keeps the power going. As long as you keep on putting one of those in after every 20 slots there’s no particular limit to how many could have been set up. We’ve tested up to 160 slots. We do also have some customers that have more than one set up, more than one wall within their warehouse. There’s no limit to how many roles you can have set up. It really depends on like I said, the size of the items, the nature of your warehouse set up, how big your items are, these types of things will factor into how you want to set it up.

Another person is asking: Can you prevent someone from handling an order that’s not fully picked? Yeah. So if you have a bin controlled warehouse, like you’re using Skustack, certainly it will automatically require that the orders are fully picked. So if you scan a product it will only light up the box for an order that’s fully picked. We do have at least one customer that’s using Skublox without Skustack, in which case it will not require that it is fully picked.

Can this be used with an Android phone? Yes, it can be used by an Android phone. You’d need to use it with a ring scanner, or some type of scanning device in order to scan the barcodes. It’s not really efficient use the camera of the phone to scan things, that’s very slow. The key over here is efficiency and speed. So if you take one of these ring scanners, which I could show you one on the camera, if you want. They are really inexpensive or if you want to do it the best way you’d buy one of these Zebra scanners with the integrated barcode scanner in it but there’s obviously an expense related to that.

Does Exactship do rate shopping? Yes, it does have a rate calculator built in Exactship. It can highlight the rate that is the best rate and the default rate. Typically, we’re going to be presetting all of the shipping options before the guy even loads the order in Exactship because that’s really the fastest way to do it. We are using some AI type things in order to preset the orders – to limit the amount of steps you have to take to process the order.

Someone’s asking: How do you allow a user to scan an item in Skublox before the order is fully picked? If you’re not using Skustack, what happens is when you configure the wall for Skublox, it asks you which warehouse you’re associating this Skublox setup with. It’ll actually pull the status of that warehouse, whether that warehouse is bin enabled. And then, as you’re using Skublox, whether the users realize it or not, if it’s been enabled, it will require them to be fully picked. So if someone scans a product, and there is no order associated with that. Let’s say, for whatever reason, the person who’s picking picks additional items, so then they will get a message that there’s no fully picked order available for that. It means that there might really be an order that needs to be shipped but it hasn’t been picked yet by the picker. How it got there is a different story.

Obviously, there could be errors in how they’re picking stuff, especially if you’re not scanning the items. In Skustack they are various options where you could lock down to require people to scan the items as they’re picking. But if you don’t require that, or if you allow people to do it in bulk, theoretically, someone could pick an extra unit and bring it to the Skublox wall. Over there, you’d be left with an extra unit that you would scan and Skublox will tell you there’s no order to be sorted for that. So itll say there’s a fully picked order in that particular case.

Someone’s asking if they could use Skublox in conjunction with Shipbridge and does it have to be exclusively if you’re using Skublox with Shipbridge? The answer is you could use Skublox for a subset of your orders. Just because you’re using Skublox, doesn’t necessarily mean that every order in your company goes through Skublox. In some cases, we have people using it only for the multi item orders, or for particular picklists that are complicated. And within Skublox, there is a filter where you can start off the process by saying which picklist you are working on, and only working on that picklist. Every other order could go through your existing workflow with Shipbridge. You don’t necessarily have to follow all the orders through Shipbridge. But the ones that are going through Skublox could generate shipping labels with Shipbridge.

I think we’re good now. That’s it, all the questions. Thank you all for listening. Everyone should be healthy and I’m looking forward to the next webinar. All the best.

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