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Cheers to 30 Years: Ted Thompson

In 2016, five Retrotech employees celebrate their 30th anniversary with the company. We’ll recognize each of them on our blog over the coming weeks. This one goes out to Ted Thompson.

Success often stems from routine. Some people eat the same breakfast every morning. Other people do the same workout every night. Ted Thompson has been going to work at Retrotech every day for the last 30 years, but the only thing routine about Ted’s job is showing up.

Cheers to 30 Years: Shirley Maslyn

NOTE: In 2016, four Retrotech employees celebrate their 30th anniversary with the company. We’ll recognize each of them on our blog over the coming weeks. This one goes out to Shirley Maslyn.

“A lot of my friends ask me why I stay here,” Shirley Maslyn says. “I must be an oddity, but I love my job. I love what I do, I love the people I work with. I work with some of the smartest people ar
ound. They’re just awesome with what they can do, what they can visualize and what they can make into reality.”

A Tradition of Thanks

For more than a quarter century now, we’ve enjoyed a unique Thanksgiving tradition at Retrotech. It has all of the joy and appreciation of Thanksgiving dinner, with one major difference …

It’s breakfast.

Cheers to 30 Years: Donna Laman

 NOTE: In 2016, four Retrotech employees celebrate their 30th anniversary with the company. We’ll recognize each of them on our blog over the coming weeks. This one goes out to Donna Laman.

Family is important to Donna Laman. Originally from Alexandria Bay, she now lives in Mendon with
her husband and enjoys spending time with her two daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughter. Her family doesn’t stop there, though. The people she has met and worked with for the past 30 years at Retrotech have made a substantial impact on her life.

Online Retailers Can Get in Shape through Dim Weight Control

The explosion of online retail in the past decade has brought with it an equal increase in parcel shipping. Never before have so many small, personalized orders been distributed around the world. It’s an area that continues to grow with no signs of slowing down.

FedEx and UPS certainly have felt the impact as the two leaders in parcel delivery. The workload has increased so much that they introduced the dimensional weight system for parcel shipments at the start of 2015. Dim weight is a pricing technique for commercial freight transport, which uses an estimated weight that is calculated from the length, width and height of a package. This affected anybody that ships parcels directly to consumers that now are predominantly small with one to three items per order.

What this has done to retailers is forcing them to rethink their packaging practices through cubic optimization practices. But before going down that road, there’s a basic question that needs to be answered: What’s your current dim weight factor?  Read more »

5 Reasons You Need to Modernize Your Automated Material Handling Operation

Every so often, challenges present themselves to a supply chain that threaten efficiency. Some are obvious, others are more subtle and harder to validate, but all are reasons to ask one question: Is it time to modernize? Modernizing is a cost-effective way to adapt to a new and changing world of logistics, but how do you know if it’s right for your business?

Here’s a list of five reasons you need to modernize your automated equipment, from most obvious to least. Read more »

Watch That First Step Before Upgrading from PLC-5

This time next year, the PLC-5 platform will be a thing of the past. Between now and then, operations will be looking to upgrade to a new controls system as a necessity. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a one to one upgrade is the way to go.


Before choosing how to cope with the loss of PLC-5, companies should take the opportunity to assess their entire operation or potentially suffer the inefficiencies (and monetary losses) of not taking the opportunity to make the best possible operational decision.  Read more »

After a generation relying on PLC-5, it’s time to move on

For more than three decades as the standard in the logistics industry, Allen-Bradley’s PLC-5 is receiving its gold watch. After June 2017, the fifth generation programmable logic controller will be retired after being deemed obsolete.

Upon the announcement of PLC-5’s retirement—which includes PLC processors, input/output modules and related network products—the costs for these programs has shot up. Operations desperate for an immediate solution will be charged a premium over the next 11 months for a program that won’t have the warrantees or support that normally come with that kind of investment. Those who hang on to PLC-5 beyond next summer will be forced to lean on third-party vendors who specialize in patchwork—a less-than reliable approach to the future.

Which begs the question: Where do we go from here? Read more »

Tom O’Dette, director of engineering, Retrotech, Inc. (

A main goal in warehouse automation is gaining efficiencies. Companies need to review their processes, identify workflow inefficiencies, safety concerns, and opportunities to improve with either modernization, expansion, or greenfield options. Self-evaluation is difficult because companies are engaged in multiple fast-moving, need-driven initiatives ranging from operations to market analysis. Their concern is often that automation systems restrict their ability to adapt on the fly. In fact, automation provides the flexibility to adapt quickly and seamlessly with minimal manual retraining.

Centralization of production and distribution centers is a trend that aims to increase efficiency and decrease supply chain costs.  Read more »

Retrotech Enables Grocery Chain To Boost WCS Functionality With Layered WCS Approach

Retrotech Inc. has taken a layered approach to providing solutions tailored to manage existing systems to fit customers’ specific business needs. This includes an extensive software library to augment or fully replace proprietary OEM WCS applications.

One grocery chain client using Retrotech’s Base WCS (basic crane movement taking order processing and replenishment direction from the WMS) added some additional functionality that is normally part of the Enhanced WCS, such as some highly specialized put-away logic.

“Our software architecture allows a great deal of flexibility... Read more »