August 31, 2023
Matthews Automation Solutions is a leading provider of material handling systems and software, servicing customers from two North American locations. Our Pyramid | Compass team in Cincinnati, OH provides advanced warehouse execution software (WES) and warehouse control systems that integrate islands of automation and balance work for optimum throughput. Matthews’ Lightning Pick team delivers pick-to-light, put walls, picking carts, and other light-directed systems from Waukesha, WI.
Matthews Automation offers exciting career opportunities to help global brands enhance their manufacturing, distribution and fulfillment processes with innovative warehouse automation including robotics, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and other state-of-the-art technology. Our new Meet Matthews series introduces our employees and the interesting things that they’re working on. You might have seen his name on our blog page before, Dann Woellert, Matthews NEXUS Software Product Manager. Dann cut his professional teeth as a Process Controls Engineer in plant automation. Over the years he’s played the role of product manager in a variety of manufacturing industries. He’s a foodie, avid kayaker, and history geek.
What did you do/where did you work before working at Matthews?
I have spent over 20 years as a product manager in the B2B space in industries from inkjet printing to food equipment. But, I started out my career as a young chemical engineer in controls engineering, working with chemical factory process automation using Allen Bradley PLCs and Wonderware and Intellution SQL-based SCADA systems – which were the predecessors to WCS systems.
When did you join Matthews and how long have you been working for Matthews?
I joined Matthews in November of 2019 right before the pandemic!
Why did you come to work for Matthews Automation Solutions?
I was looking for a technology-based product management position closer to Cincinnati than where I was working at the time.
What is the most exciting aspect of your career with Matthews?
I like being a technology scout and assessing customers’ needs and competitive advantages for our WES product.
Can you share an interesting project or customer challenge where you helped provide a solution?
My job is to find aspects of our software that will solve customers’ solutions in a unique way that outperforms our competitors.
What is the most interesting project you are working on right now?
My life is NEXUS (and controls standards).
Why did Matthews Automation choose to create NEXUS?
When Pyramid and Compass were acquired, we realized that we had two best in class WES software products. NEXUS combines the best of the two products to be one software platform we focus on going forward.
How does NEXUS differ from Pyramid Director, Compass CORS, and Competitors?
NEXUS is web-based and will be the future platform we focus on moving forward. We can encompass all modules used in a warehouse and use algorithms to move an order from creation to pack out in the most efficient way. NEXUS is flexible to handle any of the equipment vendors being used in the marketplace. Our customers can choose what vendor they feel is best in class for them.
The difference between WMS v. WES v. WCS?
There are many blurred lines between the three, but WMS primarily handles inventory and order creation. The WCS interfaces with PLC controlled equipment like conveyors and PANDA stations and creates one interface that can fulfill orders through the WES. WES creates one interface with the equipment and interfaces with the WMS or other order management systems to break up order flow into the most efficient route. Sometimes a WES can manage inventory as well, a job traditionally done at the WMS level.
How does NEXUS utilize real-time data to make intelligent decisions?
As the ‘eyes’ of the warehouse – meaning we have data and control all the islands of automation – we can use preprogrammed business algorithms to create the most efficient flow of an order from creation to pack out. These algorithms use the system’s real time data and send orders to the best locations in the warehouse for fulfilment.
What type of operations/situations that need solutions would be a perfect fit for NEXUS software?
Any DCI or warehouse that handles order fulfilment for stores or individuals is a potential customer for NEXUS. We call this omnichannel fulfillment.
Why is it important for NEXUS to be Modular & flexible with customizations to accommodate customers?
It’s important to have standard modules to build from. We don’t want to recreate the wheel for every application or have different modules for different customers. That can create a support nightmare. However, one size doesn’t fit all in the logistics software world, so it’s important that we also have the flexibility to customize these modules to a client’s specific needs.
When we connect equipment to the software do we have a specific vendor we prefer?
We are software agnostic, meaning we don’t care what equipment vendors our customers use.
How many types of sortation, conveyer, and sorter systems have we retrofitted?
We have interfaced with over 34 brands of loop sorters and other types of unit sorters including Beumer, Tech Conveyor, Interrroll, and Eurosort
Do you have any suggestions for customers on how to support WES/NEXUS with our solutions?
Yes, get a software support agreement with us!!!
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I enjoy the people I work with and the customer applications we serve.
What interesting industry trends have you noticed in distribution and fulfillment techniques and automation?
Robotics implementations in the logistics industry have taken off significantly in the past year, and we’ve helped customers implement a variety of those applications.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I’m a huge foodie and history geek. I do historical reenactments and tours for organizations like the German American Citizens League (of Greater Cincinnati) and the Brewery District and am involved with several museums and local historical societies. You may see me locally as a Cincinnati beer baron or a member of the Ohio 9th German Regiment. You may also have seen me on Season 4 of Food That Built America on the History Channel. I enjoy travelling to historic sites and hiking/kayaking in our great national parks.
Are you looking for opportunities for career growth and innovation?