4 Things We Learned From Black Friday/ Cyber Monday

It’s that time of the year when the seasons change over and we pour into the malls to take advantage of retail sales. The question is: Are we still going to the mall? With the projected $65 billion in global e-commerce sales this holiday season[1], how are these retailers (and their subsequent supply chains) adapting to the e-commerce wave?

Here are 4 things we learned:

Not only is shopping going digital, it’s going mobile too.

In the past, navigating mobile shops was frustrating and tedious. Now our credit cards are linked to our phones and even if they aren’t we can simply take a picture of it to make a purchase. Online shopping is easier than ever, you can do it from home or even on the road. According to the e-commerce analytics firm Custora, mobile shopping accounted for roughly 36% of all online shopping on Black Friday in the US. This is up 4% from last year.[2]

Going to the mall still has advantages.

There is still a demographic that prefers to go into retail stores to see and feel what they are about to buy. Of course, this brings certain advantages. When buying clothes, why not try them on first? Beyond this example, when it comes to the holidays, retailers have an advantage for those last minute shoppers. As Shelly Banjo put it on NPR: “That's when these retailers can really win. But that's when you show up, people are tired, the stores look all tuckered out, inventories picked over. You know, that's when people really need to rely on those brick-and-mortar stores.”[3]

Companies rely on customized software solutions to manage their supply chain.

E-commerce industry leader Amazon has been using in house software to process orders and shipments, but what impact has it had on its competitors? Up until recently, retailer Wal-Mart was using off the shelf software that was said to only display in-store items. It wasn’t until 2012 that Wal-Mart started to implement a customized shopping experience that could tailor results to customers. That year online sales went up 20%.[4]

Each Company Has its Own Mindset & Challenges

Sure Wal-Mart is targeting the market share that Amazon occupies, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense for them to copy the same technology. This year Wal-Mart will invest $2-billion into their IT infrastructure to leverage existing assets to win market share. Wal-Mart CTO Jeremy King’s plan for this holiday reflects this approach, “… by appealing to prized customers who shop across channels. People in stores, for example, will be able to use Wal-Mart’s mobile app to search inventory and see a map of hot products on the shelves. Online shoppers will be able to pay for sale items that were in the past reserved for stores, and arrange to pick them up before Christmas Eve.”

TQS Technologies believes that each business and supply chain has unique characteristics that account for it’s success. Our goal is to implement systems that enable each to thrive and allow management to forecast these activities. A majority of our products were tailored to specific requirements from our clients.

[1]"E-Commerce Returns Best Practices." Packaging News 2015. Shorr Packaging Group. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. http://www.shorr.com/packaging-news/2015-10/e-commerce-returns-best-practices.
[2] "Custora E-Commerce Pulse." Web. https://www.custora.com/pulse/home.
[3] "As Americans Increasingly Bypass Malls, What's To Become Of Black Friday?" All Things Considered. Michel Martin. NPR, 28 Nov. 2015. Radio.
[4] Nash, Kim."Wal-Mart Revamps E-Commerce Technology as Amazon Applies Pressure." CIO Special Report. The Wall Street Journal, 25 Nov. 2015. Web. http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2015/11/25/wal-mart-revamps-e-commerce-technology-as-amazon-applies-pressure/?mod=djemlogistics


3 Challenges (and Solutions) for Web-based programs in the Logistics Industry

As more and more of everyday life is offloaded from local processing onto web-linked apps and programs, computing technology has faced some specific challenges. Sure it is simple enough for a program to handle a login, check an entered a username and password against a database of registered users, but add online functionality and suddenly now web services need to be consulted, connections checked, and e-mail registration offered. These challenges can also be further compounded when taking specific businesses into account, as individual logic and pre-existing processes might need to be met. Below are three additional challenges that the web has introduced to the Logistics industry, and possible solutions.

1. Local Hardware

While a web based program has many advantages when it comes to hardware, as covered in an earlier post, it also has its drawbacks. Many devices, like printers and ruggedized warehouse handhelds, are crucial to a Logistics businesses day-to-day operation but have not seen the same explosion of innovation and web-based adoption that computers and cell phones have. Many printers, even if wireless, are locked behind firewalls and all the App store access in the world will not help a Windows mobile based handheld.

A solution to this problem is to have a separate downloadable desktop program to assist, and provide information to web based programs, allowing the latter to handle delivery. This allows each to maximize their individual strengths and mitigate weaknesses. A website can access a local printer from any location, and the local program that allows this can be updated and downloaded online.

2. Existing Email Integration

During a signup procedure, many services ask the user to provide an e-mail address to complete the process. This e-mail is used as an easy way to assign the user a unique identity, and provide an initial point of contact. However an ineffective website, after the initial ‘welcome’ e-mail, will do nothing further with the address. The average user relies heavily on their e-mails for a wide variety of contexts, and logging into a service to check on something might be an unwanted extra step.

To resolve this problem, lots of websites have implemented the ability to add e-mail notifications for events or updates, and the same can work for the Logistics structure. Adding a scheduled report, customized to arrive for certain users, at certain times, can add immeasurable value and increase the importance of a service, even if less time is spent on the actual webpage.

3. Support and Connectivity

Modern websites need to be tested extremely thoroughly for compatibility, as there are a staggering amount of combinations of operating systems and browsers. Unfortunately this also means that issues will arise that are specific to a certain user or that are ephemeral in nature. For Logistics this might be an extra challenge when taking remote warehouse locations or the specialized requirements of a program into account.

There is no one answer to this issue, but some steps can be made to limit the impact. A dedicated process for reporting and repairing bugs should be in place, along with the ability to make adjustments or corrections on the fly. To accommodate remote locations that might not have full connectivity, a buffering system to store information might be considered, something that could work with local hardware (as seen in point one).

Clearly these are just a few of the issues that could arise when integrating a program, not just with the web, but with Logistics businesses. TQS Technologies has been working hard to address issues like these, and many of the solutions listed above have already been implemented into the FUSION 2 warehouse system.

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The Internet of Things is Here and it’s Taking your Supply Chain Along for the Ride


Everything is connected, or it will be soon. The Internet of Things (IoT) is making sure of that. Emerging technologies mean that sensors connected to the internet can be detect almost anything. The IoT is no longer an idea of the future, but a current phenomenon. And it’s one that will drastically affect people’s lives and their work.

Imagine your car is coming up on its regularly scheduled maintenance. A reminder email is sent to you, and at the same time an email is sent to the car’s manufacturer. Before you have even had a chance to check your email, there’s a coupon in your inbox for an oil change at the dealership.

The IoT is also making its way into the supply chain and the manufacturing industry is leading the way for this technology. It’s being used to automate processes, increase productivity, heighten safety protocols, and make countless other improvements. And manufacturing is not the only aspect of the supply chain that can benefit from the IoT.

Most people are pretty familiar with the advantages of using a GPS. Tracking your own location on a map to navigate around unfamiliar streets has become commonplace for many. Attach a GPS to a delivery truck and suddenly you have real time visibility. As GPS becomes more sophisticated and technology advances, the possibilities will keep growing. GPS technology will reroute carriers around traffic and accidents and it will become more accurate in predicting delivery times. At the same time, this data will be collected and analyzed to create further efficiencies along the delivery route.

GPS tracking is only the beginning when it comes to the real time visibility of a shipment. Adding sensors to individual palettes can also help with more in depth tracking. The palette can be tracked from vendor to customer, regardless of how many distribution centres it passes through. Sensors on pallets could also keep track of the internal temperature of refrigerated trucks to ensure that the goods being transported are kept at a safe temperature. The IoT continues to increase the possibilities for a completely transparent supply chain.

The power of the IoT stretches beyond what is easily imaginable. With the internet continually growing it is creating a new kind of industrial revolution. Realizing the power of the IoT and embracing it early can give you a step above the competition.

This doesn’t mean that tomorrow your washing machine will send you a text message indicating that it needs service. It does mean that fully integrating the IoT into our lives is a very real possibility in the not-so-distant, ever-connected world we live in.

Check out our TQS™ iRoute Solution | Mobile Pickup & Delivery Tracker | Route Planning GPS Vehicle Tracking | Fleet Management Solution



5 Reasons to Choose Software as a Service for your Logistics Company

There are many factors to consider when adopting the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Time and money are among the biggest concerns for businesses who are considering the transition.  

Just because it isn’t broken, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix it. Even if your existing system works just fine, there is a great benefit to the implementation of SaaS within your organization. Efficiency is important for successful business and SaaS delivers that by improving on existing processes and finding efficiencies. Software as a Service can help your logistics business excel.

Why mess with a good thing? Because there is a better thing out there. Here are five of the best reasons you shouldn’t wait to switch your company over to SaaS.

No Software Installation

With SaaS, you don’t need to install a program; you just need to navigate to the website. This saves on the time you would spend on multiple installations over multiple computers. Anyone in your organization can access the software immediately.

Available from Anywhere

Since there is no installation, you can access your software from anywhere as long as you can access the internet. With all your information being on the cloud you can check warehouse inventory, shipment status, or other information along supply chain from anywhere and at anytime. Mobile accompaniment apps help you check up on your business needs more easily while on the go.

Quick and Easy Deployments

Since the software is accessed online, you can access it as soon as you have your account set up. New releases, or small bug fixes, won’t become huge company implementations. New deployments are effortless on your part so you can keep your business running.


You can get exactly what you are looking for. Everyone’s business needs are going to be different and your software can be customized to suit your needs. You don’t have to settle for a one-size-fits-all type of software. And as your business grows from one warehouse to many, the software can grow and adapt with you.

Lower Costs Overall

There’s no large upfront investment on your part. Signing up for a few accounts before taking the plunge and connect all of your employees.  It will also greatly reduce the burden on your IT department. No additional server installations and no upgrades to perform on your part both equal a cost savings.

Check out our SaaS solutions for your business here.