Answers by Terry Brown, Systems Sales Client Executive
Let’s start with an introduction to VARGO® and its operations – how would you describe the company and its services to Retail Merchandiser’s readers?
VARGO® leads industry with its equipment integration services and WES COFE® software. COFE® is the first and most advanced waveless Warehouse Execution System software supercharging fulfilment by sequencing and synchronizing workflows. From our decades of industry expertise and innovation and our engineering integration prowess to our proven software and automated solutions we have earned a reputation for being the best at empowering fulfilment. Additionally, VARGO® is a successful, technology integrator for material handling solutions; including storage, pick modules, Goods to Person, conveyance, sortation, AMR and others.
Can you describe how you work with major retailers and what brings them to VARGO®’s solutions?
VARGO® solves complex distribution challenges through meticulous understanding of the client’s needs to develop the most advantageous solution for their requirements. By integrating storage solutions, pick modules, sortation, robotics and more, VARGO® can deliver increased order accuracy and efficiency with systems that are self-correcting and solve common retail distribution challenges.
How important are warehouse management and automation for retailers – are they top priorities?
Today’s climate begs for warehouse management and automation. The consumers demand for ‘right now’ availability and delivery combined with the diminishing availability of the labor pool are clear priority indicators. When implemented properly, both warehouse management and automation technologies are operational enhancers that can assist with these and other challenges.
What are the main issues your retail customers are facing?
Diminishing availability of labor as well as the increased demand for immediate availability and ‘right now’ delivery are some of the main issues facing retailers today. Our focus is always on mitigating these while still maintaining order accuracy and keeping fulfilment costs low through automation and associated WES tools designed specifically for their unique needs.
I see VARGO® is attending three events early in 2024 – what will you be demonstrating that’s relevant to RM readers and what topics at these shows are you most interested in?
VARGO® focuses on educating the market with respect to COFE®. COFE®’s automated decision-making stack maintains flow and efficiency, migrating away from complicated and difficult to operate processes. This WES offers the most success to existing and new facilities in terms of organizing, sequencing, and synchronizing all warehouse resources (MHE, devices, employees/labor) all in real-time; moving orders in a continuous flow to expedite fulfilment. These events and trade shows allow us to meet a larger number of offerings in a compact period and location.
Moving onto your own work background – how did you get where you are today?
A bit of luck! Or perhaps more appropriately, time, dedication, and the willingness to learn. Understanding complex workflows and interpreting tools that can improve processes is a learned skill. I believe my education helped define the foundation of what is needed to learn these additional skills; the continued investment of time and experience and a commitment to continue to learn has developed my abilities and character.
What do you thinks hold back businesses (ie: lack of training/investment etc)?
Currently, the economic climate is influencing business most by forcing or encouraging them to be cautious with investment decisions. Unfortunately, this can be a self-defeating prophecy. Not making or postponing decisions may save capital short term but prolong the pains of manually operating or less efficient operating that warehouse management and automation provides.
Do you have any business advice that you consider essential?
A willingness to learn is necessary is applicable advice across the board. Technology and ideas are developing and growing at a rate that we have perhaps never seen before. Remaining committed to investing time in continued learning has served me well throughout my career.
What companies do you admire and why?
Admiration for me is a trait that requires a few key qualities: innovation, integrity, value and financial soundness. Two companies that I currently admire incorporating these traits are NVIDIA and Apple.
What do the next three to five years hold for VARGO® and its retail customers?
VARGO® is keeping an eye on future consolidation in the supplier arena as well as the continuous evolution of technology, including software. Plans for VARGO® include increasing our market presence and working to help as many clients as possible by executing COFE® WES.
Terry Brown is experienced in consultative project development of material handling solutions with an emphasis on order fulfillment and sortation in the retail and eCommerce industries. Since earning his Master of Business Administration, supported by his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Terry has compiled a comprehensive background in business development, management, relationships and customer advocacy.
Terry’s experience ranges from concepting order filling solutions for the CD and DVD industry in the 1990’s to order fulfillment and shipping solutions for some of the nation’s largest retailers.