The Faces of Generix: Stefan Oberdieck, Pre-Sales Solution Engineer
Published on 4 May 2023
A true pillar of the pre-sales department at Generix Group North America, Stefan Oberdieck has been with the SOLOCHAIN team since the spring of 2009. Over the years, his deep knowledge of the SOLOCHAIN Warehouse Management System (WMS) has proven a rare and precious asset to companies looking for technology solutions that can improve their operation’s efficiency, agility, and resilience.
Technical expertise, however, is not the only thing that Stefan brings to the table. His keen sense of vision for how SOLOCHAIN’s capabilities can potentially be leveraged by clients to maximize the system’s impact their operations and reach their goals faster has been a defining trait of his career as a pre-sales engineer with Generix Group.
We sat down with Stefan to talk about what he saw in the SOLOCHAIN WMS, back in 2009, that made him want to join the pre-sales team.
The Faces of Generix: Stefan Oberdieck, Pre-Sales Solution Engineer
Stefan, you joined Sologlobe in 2009 to work with the SOLOCHAIN WMS pre-sales solution team. What did you see in the software back then that, clearly, Generix Group also saw when it acquired the company and its prized WMS in 2016?
When I was first introduced to SOLOCHAIN, I didn’t just see a modern WMS—I saw a powerful and agile supply chain execution (SCE) system. Of all the things that impressed me, those that struck me the most were SOLOCHAIN’s outstanding configurability and the fact that it came with a fully embedded Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Back in 2009, it was something I had simply never seen before. In fact, still today I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like that on offer from competing WMS providers. It’s quite unique!
Aren’t all WMS supposed to be configurable and adapt to the client’s operations?
Well yes, of course.
However, when a WMS needs to be modified, the configuration process is usually both time consuming and expensive—even if it’s to meet the smallest and simplest of requirements. Truth be told that problem is not specific to WMS, MES, or SCE; it’s true for any kind of software.
What makes SOLOCHAIN different, in terms of configurability, is that it is designed to drastically cut down on the time—and capital—needed to implement modifications.
That’s all because of SOLOCHAIN’s Genesis Platform, which is an internal development platform that allows you to modify web pages, mobile processes, labels, paper-based reports, and systems interfaces quickly and easily. In essence, what the Genesis Platform does, is that it gives you the power to configure the system without having to modify the core code. Not only does that save time, but it also goes a long way towards preserving system stability.
To be clear: some levels of technical skills are still required to leverage the Genesis Platform. But we’re no longer talking about engineers or programmers with a deep knowledge of the coding language. In-house super-users can perform modifications when required. That makes it much easier, faster, and cheaper for companies to scale to growth or adapt SOLOCHAIN to changing business requirements/regulations.
All that to say: SOLOCHAIN is amazingly agile, configurable, and scalable. And you don’t have to take my word for it! For the last four years, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for WMS has ranked SOLOCHAIN as a leader in terms of adaptability and configurability.
You also spoke of SOLOCHAIN’s native Manufacturing Execution System (MES) capabilities, and how that’s unique in the WMS market. Why do you think it’s such a game-changer?
Because it is!
More seriously: of all the companies around the world that operate a warehouse or a distribution center, there are millions that require some level of MES capabilities, whether it’s to support kitting, repacking, light assembly, or production processes. The problem is that the vast majority of WMS solutions on the market offer those companies little to no support when it comes to such operations.
If you combine that with the fact that a WMS isn’t cheap, what you get is that companies that decide to invest in a WMS will often not have the capital to acquire an MES as well.
By investing in just one warehousing solution that delivers fully integrated WMS and MES capabilities, companies unlock more efficiencies in their facilities and maximize their ROI.
SOLOCHAIN gives them accurate inventory visibility as well as the ability to precisely and efficiently track raw materials, components, packaging materials, and finished goods throughout the supply chain. The SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES provides detailed item traceability and recall reporting tools.
Companies can also leverage SOLOCHAIN’s core WMS capabilities (Lot Number, Expiry Date tracking & management, waving jobs, inventory allocation (FIFO, FEFO), picking jobs, location tracking, etc.) to manage various types of work orders, including multi-level/stage work order processes.
Paired with the system’s levels of configurability, SOLOCHAIN’s WMS and MES capabilities have the power to streamline an entire operation well beyond what most single WMS solutions can do.
You mentioned Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for WMS” earlier and how SOLOCHAIN’s configurability (and MES capabilities) have made it stand out among its competitors four years in a row. But what about the future? How well adapted is the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES to tomorrow’s warehousing requirements?
The short answer to that question is: the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES is perfectly aligned with the market’s evolution.
Gartner tells us that WMS buyers are increasingly seeking systems that are flexible, adaptable, composable, easy to use, and affordable. Companies now value operational agility just as much as they do efficiency.
I’ve already indicated what makes SOLOCHAIN one of the most configurable WMS solutions on the market. I could also tell you about how well Gartner ranks it for its implementation tools or its usability, but I’d like to pick up on something you said in your question when you talked of tomorrow’s “warehousing requirements”.
You see, all the flexibility and configurability in the world won’t do much good for you if you can’t properly identify your requirements. And you won’t be able to do that, at least not efficiently, if you don’t understand just what requirements a WMS’s functionalities can help you meet.
In my experience, very few people at our clients’ company have a good understanding of what a WMS can do for them. Meanwhile, WMS providers don’t always have the industry-specific expertise to know exactly how their customers leverage their WMS in their line of business. What you get, as a result, are knowledge gaps that threaten to negatively impact the efficiencies you will get out of your WMS.
Cue in “Generix Back Office”.
Generix Back Office is a proprietary platform that is designed to help our customers and implementation partners better understand SOLOCHAIN’s capabilities and align its configuration with client-specific requirements.
Our pre-sales team uses Generix Back Office early in the sales cycle to identify requirements, business processes, features, use cases, system interfaces, etc. Our implementation team then picks up on that information, refines it, and leverages it to achieve the optimal system configuration and deploy the WMS in a timely manner. After Go Live, the data collected in Generix Back Office enables us to produce a thorough Customer Solution Release (or Solution Reference Manual) that gives the support team insight into how the client leverages SOLOCHAIN in their operation.
In other words: not only does Generix Back Office ensure that our clients fully benefit from SOLOCHAIN’s capabilities, but it also guarantees that our teams can better support our clients after Go Live.
A case in point: during the recent global pandemic, we had customers that wanted to modify their business processes—either to adapt to the new reality or to open new channels. Chapman’s Ice Cream is a great example.
People at Chapman’s wanted to do their part during the crisis by storing and distributing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. To that end, the company bought and implemented two medical-grade deep freezers to store the vaccines.
Opening a new distribution channel in addition to their successful ice cream business meant that they had to adapt their SOLOCHAIN WMS to support it. Thanks to the data collected with Generix Back Office and the editing tools available on SOLOCHAIN’s Genesis Platform, Chapman’s was able to rapidly modify its workflows in SOLOCHAIN and contribute to the COVID-19 vaccination effort.
Truth is, there are more stories like this—maybe next time! The point I really wanted to make, here, is that there’s no doubt in my mind that the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES is in a very strong position to support new—and existing—WMS customers in the coming years.
About Generix Group
Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.
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