Archive for the ‘Case Studies’ Category

RFID Asset Management – are you Passive or Active?

In the field of asset and consumable inventory management, there are two main types of RFID tags—passive and active. Just like the various roles shared by the employees of your company, passive and active tags play very different parts in ensuring the smooth operation of your business.

Passive tags sleep until woken with a sensor device. You know that nice $800 leather jacket you liked? Get it within a few feet of those white towers at the store exit and you’ll wake them up, letting everyone in the store know you were leaving with the jacket.

Active tags have a little power source like a battery that enables the tag to always stay awake—just like NoDoz during exam week. There are usually sensors in the ceilings of the building; the tag talks to the sensor and says something like, “I’m going on break now.” In effect, the software platform always knows where the tag is and how long it’s there. Active tags have an ongoing conversation with the software—like my daughter with me, while passive tags sleep until something or someone wakes them up—like my son.

In this case, let’s use the library as our business model and talk about how a thought through deployment of RFID could have made a positive impact on all aspects of the business being – warehousing, inventory control, technology application, and human resource frustration.

You’ve been to the library right? You know the drill: You take a book on culinary history from the history section. You may walk through the children’s section and see a book that your son or daughter really likes, so you pick up that book and decide to return the other book to…”Now what section was this culinary book in?”

Sure enough, the theory of the path of least resistance kicks in and you set the history book down in the children’s section. No harm done, right? Nope.

Someone comes looking for a book on culinary history. Library staff and software system says there’s one over in the history section. You go over there and can’t find it and walk back to the desk. Nice library person gets up and goes over there with you. Staff person says, “Well it’s here somewhere”—and grins. Says, “This happens all the time.”

The library quite often has RFID tags in the books and magazines, right? They sure do. The problem is that someone had blinders on when they installed these systems because they are using passive tags.

With a few in-ceiling sensors, active tags, and smart software, this problem is solved. All the libraries did was allow the customer to check out their own books. They really did not enable the library and improve upon the customer experience.

The message is that you always want to look past the technology and ensure you will truly receive the benefit you’re after.

Oh, by the way…the library ordered a replacement culinary book in from a partner library. It arrived at the library a week later just in time to be put on the shelf with the other book they finally found.

They now have two when they only needed one – not always a good thing when carrying inventory.

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Little Bo Peep has Lost Her Sheep …

Dan Belanger

So my guess is that right now there are a number of businesses that have heard of RFID tags and either don’t fully understand the possibilities or believe it is to expensive or complex to implement.

Well let’s bring clarity to the very foundation of the technology. Most automated data processing techniques; such as scanning UPC codes, or capturing QR codes require “line of sight.” This means that you must see the code and be close enough to capture the code in order to use the codes value. You initiate the conversation. Not true with RFID.

Radio Frequency Identification or RFID as it’s called does not require line of sight. Remember when you tried to get that $200 leather jacket out of the store and the buzzer went off? Think RFID. RFID tags can talk to you without you knowing a conversation needs to take place.

Now if you open your mind you should be able to see the possibilities. Product in Ocean containers, product hidden from view, product that is walking out the door or “on the move”, and the list goes on and on.

Case in point …

The Problem:

A company located in Louisiana, involved in servicing the Oil and Natural Gas industry. This company uses a product out in the field that could have a purchase price from $500 – $15,000 and has a lifecycle of over a year if maintained well. They have over 250 of these items. So they REALLY want and need to control/track these items.

The challenge being that due to weather and other environmental concerns, it is difficult at best to “tag” the items. In addition, multiple units are packed on a trailer to be transported back and forth from the work sites and if there were some identification present, a human would not see it.

The Solution:

The assets are constructed of a poly material. So we used a plastic seal gun to seal the RFID tags in the walls of the asset. The tags are hidden from view, and are not impacted by water, heat, humidity, or any other damaging environment. You can drive over the tags and they’ll keep on performing. 

The Benefit:

Now they have full visibility as to the location of each asset. Entry errors into their software have been eliminated. Efficiencies and cost control have greatly improved. That huge investment in assets is  protected. The net result? PROFIT!

As a possibility thinker, I can tell you the applications of RFID technologies are everywhere. Truth is that Little Bo Peep should have placed RFID tags in those sheep!

Dan Belanger

“Possibility and Yes you Can Thinker”

NO BOUNDARIES

Dan Belanger

What if you could decrease operating expenses and at the same time increase profit as a result of bar-coding?
In business 3 key money events take place.
1. Sales or Income.
2. Operating Expense.
3. Profit.
Increase your sales while keeping expense the same and you gain profit. Simple?  Not always.
Too often, as sales Increase, and demand is placed on inaccurate operations, operating expenses escalate; sometimes to an alarming number.
If you implement bar-code technology, you will find that hours spent correcting errors, can now be focused on income and profit generating events.
Case study at a customer in Orlando, Florida.
The Problem: Part numbers were 25 positions long and a mix of numbers and letters. When product was presented to order entry there were always data entry errors.  The customer may have presented a product that sells for $20.00 and the order taker would enter a similar, but incorrect part number, that priced for $10.00. The customer would pay $10.00. The result being the business lost at least $10.00 on the sale, and the system now shows 1 less of the $10.00 item, causing them to re-order the $10.00 item.
In reality, they physically moved the $20.00 item. Now they are stuck with too many of the $10.00 items and not enough of the $20.00 items. Problem? They don’t know it. Our evaluation revealed they were losing some $10,000 per month. In addition, this business had 2 full time people who would count inventory every day with the hope of catching these errors.
The Fix: We installed wedge laser scanners, and cross referenced the bar-codes on the product, with the part numbers in the system. When the customer presented the product, the order taker would scan the bar-code and the correct item would be sold and the inventory updated accurately.
The Result: Errors were eliminated along with the $10,000 per month loss. They placed the 2 inventory count people in the inside sales department and were able to significantly increase income while actually decreasing operating expense. The result? Profit.

Email Dan at:
dan.btg@gmail.com

IT’S ALL SO SIMPLE-(EXCEPT WHEN IT ISN’T)

Dan Belanger

Studies reveal that a very competent keyboard operator will make 1 error per 300 key strokes. Take a mediocre keyboard operator and they can easily make 5 errors per 300 keystrokes. Just 5 key errors per day, over a month, can have a devastating impact on a business. Increase the volume, and quite often you have some explaining to do to your customers and vendors.

So what do we do about this?

Wherever a human has to key a value, Introduce scanning if a bar-code is present. For those areas where no bar-code is present, apply a bar-code. Considering all the technology that is present today, bar-coding remains one of the most accurate and effective tools in enabling businesses to enjoy profit. 

Case study at a conference in New Orleans, Louisiana

The Problem. While I was walking through the vendor display area, I had a conversation with a couple of guys who sold oil for various industries. They wanted to bar-code the bottles they used and were unsure of how to do this. They were also struggling to record an accurate match between their part number and the suppliers part number during their receiving process.

The Fix. We offered them 3 solutions. They could work with the bottle supplier and have the bar-code printed as part of the manufacturing process, or they could ask their supplier to apply bar-code labels directly to the bottles after the manufacturing process, or they could apply the bar-code themselves when they received the product. We discussed the value relating to each of the 3 options. We also recommended that they cross-reference the suppliers part number to the part number in their system.

The Result. They asked the supplier to print the bar-code as part of the manufacturing process. They were now able to scan the bottles into their inventory and at the same time match their part number to the suppliers part number. The scanning eliminated errors at the point of receipt thereby allowing them to use scanning at the time of their picking and packing process. The result? Happy vendors and customers – and you’re right; Profit!

dan.btg@gmail.com

THE “RIGHT” MIX OF CUSTOMERS?

Dan Belanger

Well the story goes like this.

A large company (call them A) has what they believe is an effective customer base. 20% of that customer base represents 60% of their income, 60% represents 30%, and 20% represents the remaining 10%. Things are great in their eyes. However, that 20% of their base is very demanding from price points to service and care levels. They find that one of those big customers in effect is making them lose money. That customer’s purchases of $1.8 million a year is very impressive but the operating expense of 2.1 million a year is not.

So after some very difficult discussions “A” disengages from the customer. The customer is livid! The customer says “Well then we’ll go to your competitor who would love to have us!” It’s true and the competitor welcomes the customer with open arms and brags to the market of their achievement.

Funny thing happens. The competitor begins to lose money and no longer poses a competitive threat to “A”. Then the customer goes out of business 1 year later and leaves open receivables at the competitor in excess of $600k. Then the competitor goes out of business 6-months later. Oh … it gets better. The customer comes back to “A” and accepts all terms that “A” asks for.

The moral of the story you ask? A good relationship between a customer and a business is one that both parties want each other to make a profit and that letting go of a customer is something that any business should not fear.

dan.btg@gmail.com

Anyone Looking for Profit?

 

Meet Dan Belanger

 

Looking for Profit $

 Studies reveal that a very competent keyboard operator will make 1 error per 300 key strokes. Take a mediocre keyboard operator and they can easily make 5 errors per 300 keystrokes. Just 5 key errors per day, over a month, can have a devastating impact on a business. Increase the volume, and quite often you have some explaining to do to your customers and vendors.

 So what do we do about this?

 Wherever a human has to key a value, Introduce scanning if a bar-code is present. For those areas where no bar-code is present, apply a bar-code. Considering all the technology that is present today, bar-coding remains one of the most accurate and effective tools in enabling businesses to enjoy profit. 

 Case study at a conference in New Orleans, Louisiana

 The Problem. While I was walking through the vendor display area, I had a conversation with a couple of guys who sold oil for various industries. They wanted to bar-code the bottles they used and were unsure of how to do this. They were also struggling to record an accurate match between their part number and the suppliers part number during their receiving process.

 The Fix. We offered them 3 solutions. They could work with the bottle supplier and have the bar-code printed as part of the manufacturing process, or they could ask their supplier to apply bar-code labels directly to the bottles after the manufacturing process, or they could apply the bar-code themselves when they received the product. We discussed the value relating to each of the 3 options. We also recommended that they cross-reference the suppliers part number to the part number in their system.

 The Result. They asked the supplier to print the bar-code as part of the manufacturing process. They were now able to scan the bottles into their inventory and at the same time match their part number to the suppliers part number. The scanning eliminated errors at the point of receipt thereby allowing them to use scanning at the time of their picking and packing process.

The result? Happy vendors and customers – and you’re right; Profit!

dan.btg@gmail.com