Nem_160214_084851The rave reviews keep pouring in for TUG Connects 2016, with participants talking about the knowledge they took away from conference sessions and the tips and advice they picked up from their colleagues and peers.

From first-time participants to TUG veterans, we keep hearing how much value participants received from the conference—and how certain they are that they’ll be back next year.

Jumping In With Both Feet

Logan Smith of Alaska Industrial Hardware first heard of a couple of months before the conference. “That first day, I probably read hours’ worth of TUG posts,” he says. “I saw issues we didn’t even know were issues until then, so we were sold.”

The company initially decided to register two staff members for TUG Connects. “Then we started putting checkmarks to every class we wanted to go to, and realized there were more classes than there were enough of us to attend. By the end, we had four full-time employees there for the entire conference,” and “none of us were prepared for how much we learned in those four days.”

Solutions That Work

Before the conference, Smith was looking for a solution to a problem with substitute items coming in from vendors. A simple process in Alaska Industrial’s legacy ERP system seemed to require manual entry in SX.e—until Smith and his team began talking to their colleagues at TUG.

“The first day there, we met someone from another IT department who had the same issue,” Smith recalls. “Not only did he offer to help. He showed us the solution he’d come up with. That was our first impression—two hours into TUG, we had met a group of users who all had the same issue, and one person who was able to share his solution with everyone.”

Another discussion brought an unexpected solution for stock orders in a distribution center running under TWL. Smith says a simple process change will save his company five to 10 minutes per order on a volume of 300 orders per day.

“We were wasting hours of staff time just trying to get orders shipped,” instead of using the counter sales system that already worked well for AIH’s eight retail outlets. “We didn’t know our process was broken,” he says. “We would have just continued on the way it was.”

21 Years of Content and Networking

For Jeff Focke of Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, it’s no news that TUG Connects! is the place to be to get the most out of his distribution software. He’s been attending the conference for 21 years and has no plans to stop.

“What keeps me coming back is the excellent content, and the networking with my fellow users and peers that I’ve worked with over the years,” he says.

Someone recently asked Focke what he gets out of the conference when he’s a regular presenter each year. “I answered by quoting Confucius,” he recalls. “’Only the wisest men and the stupidest men have nothing to learn.’ I always have something to learn and people to share ideas with, to hear about things we may not have considered. It’s just a first-rate forum.”

‘The Business is Always Changing’

TUG Connects! 2016 focused on the transition to the Web UI, but Focke says every year’s conference features state-of-the-art content on the latest industry issues.

“The distribution business model is nothing new, but the business is always changing and evolving,” he says. “So there’s always something new to do, a new way to do it, a new feature set. It’s always something we haven’t thought about before, something new on the horizon that’s going to challenge us and push the limits of what we know, or of what we think we know.”