Transportation Management Software (TMS)
Warehouse Management Software (Radio Frequency) (WMS)
Batch Inventory verification Solution
Pack Verify, MH10 and ASN file builder
Load Planner
Route Planner
Print and Apply
Ticketing Station
Barcode-Relay Program
Automatic Diverters, Scan Tunnels and Conveyors
Automatic Returns Processing High Volume
Carton Handling
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Warehouse Management Solutions
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Imagine WMS - Warehouse Management Solutions
    
 TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE (TMS)
        

- TMS GENERAL FEATURES

- MORE STANDARD FEATURES

- STANDARD CONFIGURABLE OPTIONS

- TMS BENEFITS

- TMS/WMS INTEGRATED BENEFITS

         - WHITE PAPER WAN/SERVER SHIPPING SYSTEM

 
 IMAGINE TMS GENERAL FEATURES
 
Windows 
 
       - Not Data-base dependant
       - Single Station version
       - LAN (Multi-Station)
       - WAN " Thin Client" multi-Location       
Perpetual Imagine License 
         - Upgrades and enhancements included in maintenance agreement
                 o Training and implementation costs may apply.
Hardware 
         - No obligation to use Imagine hardware (req. specs. will be provided)
Multiple company capable "same station"
         - Printing labels configurable by customer
         - Rating (merged, separate or different rate bands)
Handles 
         - Prepaid, Prepaid non-rated, Collect and Third party
Automatic rate Shopping
         - Includes cube, services, and options for all carriers and taxes
         - Live consolidation on-the-fly
Pack and Hold 
         - Pre-process orders for future release
Printing 
         - Labels, BOL's, Manifests, 
Tracing of all shipments 
         - View on screen or Print
Self- invoicing 
         - Carrier specific
         
Reports
         - Activity and shipping
Rated manifests 
         - For all rated carriers
Service on-line via Modem
         - Customer connection required
       
 
 MORE STANDARD FEATURES
 
       - Multiple Cost Centres
       - Customer configurable non-rated carriers
       - Inquiries search engine 
       - Automatic shipping (scanning)
       - User friendly Add/Delete/Modify customer file
       - Tab screen modification by the customer
       - Create unique Idoc automatically for special shipments
       - Approval box for reporting non routine shipments
       - Enter or download shipment value for accruals
       - Records # pieces/ skids and bundles individually
       - Capability to produce only the # of labels required for LTL shipments 
         without affecting the BOL data - Pop up window to calculate cube if not known - Standard cubed boxes for selection - Long goods description box - Long special instructions box - Long customer PO box - Rate shopped results screen with details per carrier (Tariff, surcharges,
         options, handling charges, and taxes all separately detailed on the screen) - Customer can activate or disable carrier at will - Interfaces to electronic scales with RS-232. - Interfaces to scanners and most printers, Dot Matrix, Thermal or Laser. - MULTIPLE DOCUMENTS entries for the same shipment for tracing purposes. - RECORDS CUST.P.O.# and prints it on the label and BOL. - Not cheapest used reference vs chosen carrier - And more,,, Imagine is constantly looking to improve the standard features
         and when a customer gives us a good idea we usually implement in the next
         version and the enhancement update will be FREE for all customer's that
         have the maintenance agreement.
 
 STANDARD CONFIGURABLE OPTIONS
 
Interfaces to Customer host Systems
       - PC, AS400, UNIX, LEGACY systems       
Interfaces to Warehouse Management Software ( WMS )
         - Imagine/Radio Beacon WMS
                 o Exchange Information
                 o Fully Integrated
         - Other WMS
                 o Exchange Information
EDI capable
         - Carrier specific
Carrier rates "User Maintainable" 
         - if desired, some restrictions may apply
Simulation rating module 
Manager/Supervisor/Customer Service Station for inquiries 
         - ON LINE TRACING as per carrier specs can be integrated in Imagine TMS
            system tracing file, no need to go out of the system.
 
 IMAGINE TMS BENEFITS
 
IMAGINE TMS offers complete warehouse transportation management software that provides efficient, accurate, and timely operations. Imagine has a solution for every function - from reception of goods, pack verify, carrier rate shopping (includes cube, services and options), carrier bar-coded label printing, MH10's, rated manifests through to the preparation your ASN's - Imagine is designed in an easy-to-use Windows environment.

IMAGINE TMS also communicates or integrates with your Host system. Imagine can provide a dynamic exchange of data and in itself justify the implementation. The integration will save hours of duplicated work to maintain your database, verification of ship-to addresses, corrections of data entry errors, paper filled notes for freight costs to charge back the customer, reports, tracing customer service and more depending on your requirements.

IMAGINE TMS can handle your company requirements. Imagine is available in "Stand-Alone" mode, Multi-Station "LAN" or Multi-Location "WAN" thin client environments.

IMAGINE TMS is not "Data Base" dependant.
 

IMAGINE provides an Efficient Process
           - IMAGINE is not just software. It is a PROCESS for effectively running your              distribution center and the tools necessary to help you do so. Think of it as a             "PC-in-the-Warehouse" that focuses on helping you boost warehouse             productivity, improve customer service, reduce errors and slash costs!

IMAGINE delivers Efficient Shipping Operations
           - Paper handling and carrier selection is a major source of warehouse            inefficiency, lost productivity and errors. Warehouse workers often spend valuable            time selecting the appropriate carrier, rating the shipments, writing out labels,            waybills, internal logs and filling out carrier books. IMAGINE uses a computer to            become your expert in the warehouse, carrier rating books, lists or logs are no            longer required manage your warehouse efficiently.  Reports and shipping           analysis are all generated from reports in the Imagine software

 
 IMAGINE TMS/WMS INTEGRATED BENEFITS
 
IMAGINE Radio Frequency (integration) makes your decision simple. Imagine can also integrate or communicate with IMAGINE/RADIO BEACON WMS or other RF solutions.

           · IMAGINE TMS can also communicate or integrate with it's own Imagine/Radio              Beacon RF (WMS) package or with your current system. Again the data is linked              and the benefits just multiply.

           · IMAGINE boosts productivity and diminishes errors by eliminating the              guesswork in the warehouse. The system produces shipping labels for cartons              (if integrated) to our IMAGINE/RADIO BEACON WMS. BEFORE an order is              picked, estimates the shipment cube, and encourages you to pick orders directly              into the final shipping cartons. It can also rate-shop the shipment, print freight              labels for the empty cartons, and manifest automatically. The result: pick, pack              and ship in one step!


IMAGINE TMS/RADIO BEACON WMS provides Flexible Picking Styles

           · IMAGINE/RADIO BEACON promotes a vast array of picking styles and              combinations, including wave, zone, batch, product and carton picking. The              system's tremendous versatility decreases the time spent "walking around" a              warehouse and permits your operation to adapt to new or changing              requirements.


IMAGINE TMS/RADIO BEACON WMS supplies Interactive Verification

         · Often the biggest single opportunity for productivity and customer service gains is            to process each order right, first time, every time. RADIO BEACON verifies each            product interactively, using bar codes and RF "laser" handhelds, to let you run at            full speed with no fear!

IMAGINE TMS is PC-Based

         · The system uses familiar, easy to maintain Windows and LAN technology. You            can be up and running with only a PC, a bar code label printer, manifest printer            and a scale. Large warehouses may scale up to the IMAGINE LAN or WAN            versions by assigning separate PCs to transfer host files, manifest shipments,                     and run reports.

 
 IMAGINE WAN/SERVER SHIPPING SYSTEM (WHITE PAPER)
 
The Imagine TMS "WAN/Server" Shipping system was designed to address the needs of mid to large sized corporations with multiple shipping locations looking to better control and maintain their shipping process.

This version of the Imagine TMS Shipping software was designed as a thin client-server application from the top down, specifically addressing some of the challenges facing companies who ship from multiple locations that are geographically separated and connected into a wide area network via ISDN or T1 type connections. This permits the system to deliver on the important advantages it has over traditional stand-alone or LAN systems.

Some of the key challenges facing organizations with geographically separated shipping sites include;

-Limited Bandwidth
-Distributed Data
-Support, Recovery and Data Security
-Centralized control
-Process scalability
-Software Updates/Upgrades
-Equipment Costs

Limited Bandwidth : Effective shipping solutions are tied in a closed loop with existing ERP, WMS, or ordering systems both getting information from, and feeding information to, the host system. Most companies have centralized systems located at their head office or regional offices which serve the entire network or satellite branches within a geographic area.

Branch sites are often connected to the network via ISDN lines (64-128Kbit), or, more rarely through T1 connections (1.544Mbit). In comparison to the now standard 100Mbit connections used in LAN's, ISDN and T1 connections are significantly limited in their data carrying capacity (bandwidth) and can easily become choke points for the network decreasing branch site efficiency and frustrating end users.

Traditional shipping systems built around single station models, or LAN models can become unworkable in WAN environments due to their demands for bandwidth. Many companies are forced to adopt distributed data models in order to make these systems work. Although this solves the bandwidth problem, it creates new problems in terms of getting information to and from the branch sites as well as in supporting these locations.
The Imagine system has been designed for low-bandwidth utilization. Transactions across the network are kept to a strict minimum and contain only the information required to complete a request. Report requests, which can become inadvertent bandwidth hogs if users accidentally select large data sets can be controlled or limited to supervisor level passwords.

Distributed Data
Shipping systems can use and create large amounts of data. These systems generally require access to rate tables, order files and customer files as well as generating detailed information on each shipment that is processed. The information generated by the shipping system may be required by many different departments at different locations across the company's network including customer service, sales, accounting, traffic, etc.

When the data is distributed across the network, which may be required by some systems due to bandwidth considerations, methodologies have to be employed to ensure that data being sent to and received from the shipping systems are current and accurate. This can often lead to errors in the process as information is not in the right place at the right time.

For example, if order files used by the shipping process are only transferred to the branch sites once a day, any changes which are made to shipping instructions may not reflect last minute requests made by customers, or errors detected in orders and changed by customer service personnel.

If files are only picked up from the branch on a periodic basis, the issue of data security may present problems. Crashed systems at a branch may mean the loss of any data not already transmitted. Securing data across the network may required the implementation of expensive hardware simply to secure this data. The Imagine System's Server(s) are located at the company's central or regional office and can communicate directly with the Host system in the local LAN environment. Requests are serviced across the entire WAN network providing up-to-the minute information without the need for transporting large amounts of data. Only the requested information is fed to the clients as needed. Completed transactions are stored by the Server at the Host site as they occur making them instantly available to all clients on the network as well as securing the data from remote system failure.

Support, Recovery and Security
A multi-branch organization's head office or regional office generally contains the bulk (if not all) of the IT personnel who, among other responsibilities, are charged with maintaining and securing the systems and data, supporting the users of the system, and overseeing the interface with customers and vendors through EDI and the Internet.
Supporting branch locations present a particular challenge to IT staffs. Only a certain number of problems can be handled over a phone line and talking users through complete system reconfigurations can often be impossible.

If a shipping station containing the days data must be recovered, often direct intervention of the IT staff will be required, both extending down times as well as incurring traveling costs. Further complicating the problem is the fact that many warehouse and distribution operations have evening or night shifts at which times IT supports staff may be severely limited and outside resources may not be available.

With the Imagine system, the information of each transaction is centrally stored on the company's main server location where data security is at its highest. Any shipping station which crashes risks only losing the data on the shipment in process at the time of failure. The shipping process may be resumed at any other station by simply restarting the current shipment. Getting a backup PC shipping station up and running can be accomplished simply by plugging in the backup PC or launching the process from another station in the location.

Centralized Control

Applying rules and company policy or implementing new rates across a distributed network of shipping sub-systems can be a difficult task. If individual systems are installed in multiple locations, it generally falls to the supervisor or local IT support staff to implement changes and provide for training of staff in order to effect policy or process changes. Affecting these changes can be time consuming and open to errors in communicating policy changes, or training at the branch level may not be sufficient to effect and monitor changes properly.

Decisions such as designating a new national carrier for specific types of shipments can be difficult to implement and as a result, companies often have to resort to simplistic models (such as giving the entire business to one carrier) in order to control the process properly. This can result in giving up significant savings in shipping costs and removing options for customers for the sake of a more controlled process
.
The Imagine WAN/Server's rich management control allows companies to easily deploy regional, area, or corporate wide shipping policy changes from a central source. Changes implemented at Head Office are instantaneously broadcast to all the shipping systems in the network. Stations which are not logged on at the time, will automatically receive the change the next time they log on. Changes to policy/procedure or rates s can be designated to take effect immediately, or at a specific date and time in the future.
Optional messages can be attached in order to alert staff of the change as well as providing a means to deliver any other information that the shipping department's staff will need in order to fulfill the request.

The Head Office can also delegate control on a regional or location level allowing specific decisions or all decisions to be made by local supervisory staff. Local staff at particular branches may be allowed more decision control over their shipping process than other branches at the discretion of the Head Office. A local branch for example could be allowed to override a national carrier decision with a local carrier that better fits their needs.

Process Scalability
As a company's needs change, the demand on the shipping process can rise or fall. Branch openings or closings, new decisions regarding consolidation of shipments or new arrangements with individual carriers or customers can all affect the number of shipping stations or the number of transactions that need to be processed.
The Imagine WAN/Server solution provides for easy scaling from a small number of shipping locations serving a limited number of shipping transactions to large operations processing thousands of shipments a day at many different locations.

Imagine's Shipping Servers are multi-threaded processes permitting a single server to simultaneously respond to many requests. Furthermore, each Server is independent allowing for multiple servers to be easily setup to meet growing demands. The Servers will automatically load balance the requests optimizing response to the users. Server utilization reports can help IT staff determine when and how the process will benefit from a new Server being installed, or when a Server could be decommissioned and used elsewhere in the organization. New Servers can even be temporarily setup to meet demands at crunch time (such as new product releases), and easily re-assigned to other tasks during slow periods.

Equipment Cost
Traditional shipping systems built as stand alone systems or multi-user LAN version generally require full fledged PC's in order to provide efficient response times as well as for data storage and retrieval. When many stations are required, the costs of this additional PC horsepower can add up significantly as well as creating further costs in terms of maintenance and support.

Imagine's thin client design reduces the requirement of the shipping stations allowing for savings in terms of hardware installed at each shipping site lowering total cost of ownership of the system without sacrificing system responsiveness.

Incompatible Databases
Introducing any new software system into the current mix of systems that a company is currently using can bring new challenges. Often outside systems are built using a specific database that a company's IT staff is not familiar with. Although this does not necessarily create problems, it can make it difficult for on-site staff to support the product. Also, data collected by third party systems may be of benefit in other processes not foreseen by the company who built the system.

Imagine has recognized this problem and addressed it in the designing of is WAN/Server product. The product has been designed to work independently of the database it uses and therefore can be tied to most of the popular databases in the marketplace (e.g. MSSQL, Oracle).

Not only does this allow for a company's internal IT staff to provide better support of the system, but further permits access to this data by the company's own development staff. This also has the additional benefit of reducing the overall costs of the system and allowing it to be scaled to meet each business's particular requirements.

Software Upgrades
Deploying software upgrades across a network can be a time consuming and error prone task often resulting in a multitude of versions in use at the same time. This can lead to problems in support as well as integrity issues in the data managed by the systems.

With the Imagine WAN/Server system, an upgrade need only be made at the central site once at an administration screen. Shipping stations across the network are then automatically advised of the upgrade and can self-install the new upgrades across the network. The system has the provision to permit the user to delay non-critical upgrades, but will continuously remind them until done. Management reports can be run to see which stations have not performed upgrades.

Summary
The Imagine TMS "WAN/Server" system represents an important new technology for companies managing multiple and geographically distributed environments to consider. The system offers unparalleled benefits in terms of control, decision support, security, scalability, system upgrades and support over traditional single station or LAN shipping systems.

Imagine also offers RF WMS solutions as well as other automation solutions that can be integrated with the WAN/Server system. For more information, contact your local Imagine Reseller.

 
Contact us for more details on how this solution can fit your requirements