IOT & Big Data Analytic for Industry 4.0

 

Basically, this blog will explain how the IOT & Big Data Analytic by our Platforms and Solutions could help the Manufacturers , Transporters & Logistic operators and Healthcare Providers to implementing industry 4.0 in their organization.

175 thoughts on “IOT & Big Data Analytic for Industry 4.0

  • How Supremesoft can leverage Smart manufacturing Platform Visibility Services portfolio for customer success ASSET VISIBILITY SERVICE , OPERATIONAL VISIBILITY SERVICE
    Customers, more than ever, are turning to Supremesoft for assistance in establishing a comprehensive strategy to monitor, manage, and track the utilization and health of their business-critical devices.

    According to Forrester Consulting1, customers are looking for assistance from solution provider to help them:
    • Maximize ROI based on significant investments in technology assets
    • Better leverage their existing MDM solution functionality

  • Smart Manufacturing Platform – Potential Use case Scenario :-

    1. Overall Asset Inventory
    2. Unused Devices or Lost / Stolen Devices
    3. Too Many ‘Due Backs’ into Service Repair Depot
    4. Tracking Devices in Dedicated Spare Pool Managed by Vendors
    5. Tracking Site-level Device Distribution (Sites, Functions, Models, Etc.)
    6.Tracking Seasonal Devices
    7.Tracking Devices in Different States Throughout Operational Process
    8. Tracking New Deployed Devices That Are Shipped to Site but Not Active for Too Long
    9. Tracking Repaired Devices That Are Shipped to Site but Not Active for Too Long
    10.Tracking Devices In / Out of Vendor Managed Spare Pool Dedicated to Specific Enterprise 1
    11.Provide High Level Repair History for Devices
    12.Tracking Smart / Serialized Batteries
    13.Prevent Device Issues Beforehand with Predictive Analytics
    14.Improve Printer , or Machines Performance with Operation Analytics

    This is basically for Predictive Maintenance and Operation Optimization to avoid production downtime and improve yields in Manufacturing industry.

  • Predictive Analytics now available with Smart Manufacturing Platform and Solution

    At Supremesoft, we are continuously exploring ways to improve our service offers to increase customer value and satisfaction. This includes periodically reviewing and updating our existing services portfolio. We are pleased to extend our Platform and Solution Connect visibility services offerings with the addition of Predictive Analytics reports for our clients machines and devices.

    Our Smart Manufacturing Platform and Solution provides customers deep analytical insight, control and manageability of their enterprise asset inventory including customers machines, printers (Link-OS) and third party devices via a single portal interface, giving customers more visibility into their asset inventory, utilization and performance.

    Predictive analytics is the branch of advanced analytics which is used to make predictions about potential unknown future events. Predictive analytics uses many techniques from data mining, statistics, modeling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze current data to make predictions about future events.

    Our smart manufacturing Platform and Solution provides insight into device health, identification, location and now also offers predictive, actionable analytics on customers devices and machines enabling customers to track their business-critical assets and optimize their operation performance

  • Can you afford to be without visibility into your critical business devices and machines ?
    If not, Supremesoft can help.
    Think about the following questions:
    • Do you know where all your devices are?
    • Are your devices or machines ready for use?
    • Are they being charged and maintain in good condition every day?
    • How are they being utilized/underutilized?
    • Have they been out of contact? If so, why?
    • Are they communicating with the network?
    • Are devices and machines performing per your business needs?
    • Do you know how many devices are in the repair depot? Or are they still waiting to be shipped back to Vendor for repair?
    • Do you know the status of your open technical support case?

    Therefore, the manufacturer need to know all above status and conditions of their production capacity in order to accept an new order during this fast rapid changing environment.

  • CUSTOMER PAIN POINTS

    Supremesoft Smart Manufacturing Platform solves a host of pain points for our customers:
    • Enterprises lose productivity when devices are not available to support critical business processes
    • Enterprises need actionable data on device health and performance to improve business operations
    • Enterprises currently capture this device performance data from multiple sources
    • Enterprises need specialized technical personnel to collect and interpret the data they collect particularly for those manually monitoring device health, a process that is costly and consumes valuable personnel resources

  • CUSTOMER BENEFITS

    Supremesoft Smart Manufacturing Platform delivers important benefits to our customers:
    • Allows enterprises to improve business performance by tracking and analyzing device health, performance and usage
    • Enables enterprises to predict and prevent downtime, solving problems proactively rather than reactively
    • Provides insight and analysis of the health of critical business assets remotely via a single, customizable data screen
    • Empowers enterprises to maximize productivity while minimizing risk

  • Users Case Scenario:
    Use Case 1: Overall Asset Inventory

    Problem Description
    Often times, enterprises do not know what device assets they have. There is no single place for enterprises to go and check all assets under various service contracts, contracts duration and expiry, device models, serial numbers, when the device was placed into operation, etc.

    How Smart Manufacturing Platform (SMP) Solves It The main landing page lists all devices, machines, equipmemt, computers and printers under contract loaded on to SMP system. Users can access all contract details and see visual alerts if a contract is nearing expiration date.
    The dashboard also shows device and printer serial numbers, model name, first seen date, and last seen date. Users can assign an friendly name to each asset (asset tag, assigned user, etc.) for easy identification.
    Users can create tags to conveniently categorize devices and later filter the list view to only see devices of a category of interest.

    Vendors Benefits
    • Check how many devices their customer has purchased and related details.
    • Periodically check and see contract renewal alert details on the SMP dashboard.
    • Collaborate with customer on budgeting for contract renewal.
    • Track which devices arrived newly at site, turned on and connecting to SMP (sorting on the first seen date) during deployment phase.

    Customer Benefits
    • Customer’s service operation team can keep track of all newly deployed devices.
    • Enables Customer to easily get counts of each device model or user defined category for better asset planning.
    • Enables Customers to better allocate budget for service contract renewal.

  • Users Case Scenario:
    Use case 2. Unused Devices/Equipment or Lost / Stolen Devices

    Problem Description
    If a deployed device/equipment is not connected to the network, it is most likely not being used. In enterprise environments, it could mean that device could be misplaced, lost or stolen.

    How SMP Solves It The main SMP Dashboard shows all devices that are out of contact. While some are out of contact for known reasons such as device in transit, not yet deployed, device is assigned to a person who is on holiday or offline due to other known issues, this information can be used to understand which devices are not being used. SMP Dashboard also shows if a device is out of contact for an extended period of time (>30 days), typically indicative of a lost or stolen device.

    Vendors Benefits
    • If vendors is providing a value-added service, they can use this information to determine if a device/equipment is lost or at least not being used. SMP allows the vendors to do early-intervention, leading to possible recovery, before it is too late.
    • Enables Vendor to use ‘out of contact’ information as a way to keep track of devices /equipment that are on contract, but not active in the operation. This is common for devices/ equipment being deployed or coming back from repair/spare pool.

    Customer Benefits
    • Reduction of lost or stolen devices to less than 2% by incorporating SMP visibility into recovery process.
    • Higher utilization of devices and improved device ROI (Ex: If customer sees too many out of contact devices which is indicative of device not being used, customer can potentially redeploy them to other sites.

  • Use Case Scenario:
    Use Case 3: Too Many ‘Due Backs’ into Vendor Repair Depot

    Problem Description
    Often times a broken device/ equipment is not shipped back promptly to Vendor Repair Depot for repair after an RMA is opened, causing delay in repair completion. If advance exchange services is entitled, this also causes spare pool depletion since devices are not repaired and put back into spare pool at a timely manner.

    How SMP Solves It SMP tagging feature can be used to easily tag a device as “Due Back” upon RMA creation.

    SMP Portal also shows which devices/equipment are at the repair facility at Vendor so the “Due Back” tag can be removed from the device. If devices with “Due Back” tag are showing active after several days, user should investigate if repair is necessary on the device.

    Vendor Benefits • Without SMP, Vendor needs to manually keep track of devices/equipment that are ‘due back’, and need to contact principal to verify if the device reached the repair facility. Using SMP, Vendor can easily check if devices entered the repair cycle, upon which they can remove the “Due Back” tag.

    • Enables Vendors to search using “Due Back” tag to see all devices that are due back and see additional details such as model number and other relevant tags, so they can do better planning to replenish those devices for the sites.

    • Enables Vendors to understand if an RMA needs to be cancelled because the device remains in operation.

    • Enables Vendors to intervene early based on due back aging info.

    Customer Benefits

    • Enables a site manager to keep track of due backs to understand if their site may need additional devices (for cases without advance exchange entitlement), or if the site is not sending broken devices back promptly, and take corrective actions if needed.

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 4: Tracking Devices in Dedicated Spare Pool Managed by Vendors

    Problem Description
    Enterprises may have no visibility to devices in their vendor managed spare pool (dedicated for the enterprise) used for advance exchange.
    In such case, enterprises do not have accurate info on device inventory. How SMP Solves It ?

    • Vendor needs to ‘tag’ the devices as they enter into the spare pool and remove the ‘tag’ when the devices are taken out of spare pool.
    • Vendor needs to communicate the name of the ‘tag’ used for spare pool device identification with their customers, so customers can search and view those devices in SMP Portal.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Enables Vendor to remind their customers if spare pool is approaching depletion and work with customer to address the situation. For example, vendor can discuss with their customer on the impact of ‘due back’ backlog on spare pool size and corrective actions to be taken.
    • Enables Vendor to use the information to better plan, budget and size the spare pool.

    Customer Benefits
    • Allows Customers to have accurate view to their device inventory.
    • Enables Customer to track spare pool and determine if spare pool is right-sized.

  • User Case Scenario
    Use Case 5: Tracking Site-level Device Distribution (Sites, Functions, Models, Etc.)

    Problem Description
    Enterprises/Vendors needs to understand where the devices are often moving between different sites or functions. They often use manual tracking which causes inaccuracy and increased cost.

    How SMP Solves It
    • Solution 1 (with current implementation) — SMP provides tagging feature for users to tag the devices per site locations and / or functions. This requires the user to know the device movements and tag / un-tag the devices accordingly in a timely manner.
    • Solution 2 (with new auto-relocation feature) — SMP will enable auto-relocation for devices to be automatically tagged per IP address. This requires the devices to be under the roof or for a WLAN / WWAN device to reside on a site and communicate on WLAN (preferably) at least once a day. Also auto-relocation can tag devices based on parameter stating site device (usually a field in device created during staging).

    Vendor Benefits
    • Enables Vendor to help customers to accurately track devices moving between different locations and / or functions and thus maintain more accurate inventory of devices.
    • Enables Vendor to use the information to monitor device locations at deployment.

    Customer Benefits
    • Enables Customer to accurately track the devices in different sites and / or functions and thus maintain more accurate inventory of devices.
    • Enables Customer to monitor device locations at deployment.

  • User Case Scenario
    Use Case 6: Tracking Seasonal Devices

    Problem Description
    It is common for customers to deploy seasonal devices to cope with high device utilization during “high seasons” (ex: Christmas through new year) and recover those devices after the season ends. Customers need visibility to these devices so they can better plan and allocate budget per seasonal requirements.

    How SMP Solves It Users can leverage the ‘tagging’ feature to ‘tag’ the seasonal devices as they are deployed as “seasonal – deployed” accordingly to view their states and locations within their operation.
    If there are too many “seasonal-deployed” devices showing OOC (Out of Contact) on a site, it may indicate that the deployed devices are more than actually needed. And users can also tag the devices as “seasonal-recovered” after the season so they can track the recovery of those devices. NOTE: during off season, “seasonal recovered” devices should be the state of all seasonal devices.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Help their customer to better plan the deployment of seasonal devices.
    • Plan and track inventory per customers’ needs for seasonal devices.
    • Accurately track which seasonal devices are deployed and recovered, which can be leveraged to manage the financial agreements with their customers regarding seasonal devices.

    Customer Benefits
    • Enables Customers to better manage their budget, as well as deployment and recovery of seasonal devices.

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 7: Tracking Devices in Different States Throughout Operational Process

    Problem Description
    Enterprises / Vendor need to track devices flowing in different stages of its operations. One example would be Vendor-managed repair process, which may include multiple processes between customer, Vendor and Principal — all impacting the states of the devices involved.

    How SMP Solves It
    SMP will leverage the device/ equipment states (such as ‘repair’ and ‘active’) and ‘tagging’ feature to identify different states of the devices in the operational flow.
    Users can use the ‘tag’ to search and view the states of the devices/equipment accordingly. This will require timely update of ‘tagging / untagging’ devices/equipment, and also cooperation between different parties.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Improve tracking through the lifecycle of a device/equipment and maintain visibility to a device/equipment.
    • Use the information to streamline its operational processes as well as customers’.
    • Provide more value to its customers in planning, deployment, repair, etc. with better visibility.

    Customer Benefits
    • Track devices/equipment with more accurate and timely information to improve visibility through the lifecycle of their devices.

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 8: Tracking New Deployed Devices/Equipment That Are Shipped to Site but Not Active for Too Long

    Problem Description
    For newly deployed devices shipped to site, Enterprises / Vendors needs to know if they are in operation. If a device is sitting inactive for too long after shipped, it might be misplaced, lost or stolen, or there could be a delay in putting the device(s) into operation, or it could be an indicator that too many devices are deployed to the site, but not in use.

    How our Platform Solves It . Our Platform provides information such as “First Seen Date” that can be leveraged to resolve this issue. The “First Seen Date” is the date for the device to be seen by the SMP Portal for the first time, which indicates the device/equipment has been started in operation. SMP users can view the device list and look for devices showing no “First Seen Date”, and if it’s been some specific period of time compared to the ship/receive date, users will know there could be an issue and can investigate why the devices are not in use for such time after arriving to site, and also determine if the device deployment is following plan and schedule.

    This solution requires Vendors / Enterprises to know when the devices/equipment have been shipped to site. If customer’s process is to turn on the device/equipment(s) upon receipt at the site, this approach will help to detect any exception to this process.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Work with customers to implement process to monitor device/equipment deployment.
    • Use the information to help customers to improve deployment planning and budget.
    • Provide the information to customer to help them reduce lost / stolen devices/equipment.

    Customer Benefits
    • Track newly deployed devices/equipment and identify those not in operation.
    • Better plan and budget device deployment on their sites.
    • Reduce lost/stolen devices.

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 9: Tracking Repaired Devices/equipment That Are Shipped to Site but Not Active for Too Long

    Problem Description
    For devices/equipment shipped to site after repair, Enterprise/Vendor needs to know if they are in operation. If the devices/equipment are not active for too long after shipped, they might be misplaced, lost or stolen. Or it may indicate the device/equipment still has issue(s) even after repair.

    How SMP Solves It ?
    Vendor can work with customer to establish a process to ‘tag’ the devices/equipment shipped (“Shipped from Repair”), and communicate the tag and ship date to customer. A User can use the ‘tag’ to search and view these devices.
    If devices are showing ‘Out of Contact”(OOC) and there is a significant gap between the ship date and today’s date, the User will be aware there could be an issue with the device/equipment and investigate accordingly.

    If customer’s process is to turn on the devices/equipment upon receipt at the site, this approach will help to detect the exception of the process.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Work with customers to track repaired devices/equipment and address issues related before it’s too late.
    • Use the information to help customers to reduce number of lost / stolen devices/equipment.

    Customer Benefits
    • Track the repaired devices/equipment and identify those not in operation after shipped to site.
    • Reduce number of lost / stolen devices/equipment.

  • User Case scenario:
    Use Case 10: Tracking Devices/equipment In / Out of Manufacturer Managed Spare Pool Dedicated to Specific Enterprise

    Problem Description
    Enterprise / Vendors to have accurate information of their device inventory (ex: how many devices they have in spare pool managed by Manufacturer.) Although spare pool device information is available in Manufacturer Select Support Portal, the User needs to choose the specific report to view the information.

    How SMP Solves It
    SMP provide spare pool device information for dedicated spare pool managed by Manufacturer and User can view the information on the SMP Dashboard right after they log into the SMP Portal.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Notify customers if spare pool is approaching depletion and work with customer to address the situation. For example, Vendors can discuss with their customer on the impact of ‘due back’ backlog on spare pool size, and corrective actions to be taken.
    • Better plan, budget and size the spare pool.

    Customer Benefits
    • Have accurate view to their device inventory.
    • Track spare pool and determine if spare pool is right-sized.

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 11: Provide High Level Repair History for Devices/Equipment

    Problem Description
    For devices/equipment repaired before, customer needs a brief overview on the repair history. Without SMP, customer needs to have access to Vendor’s repair system to look for the information.

    How SMP Solves It
    SMP provide high level repair history on ‘Device/equipment details’ page so customers can easily access the following information: RMA #, ship date, in repair date and repaired date.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Enables Vendors to provide the information to customers to help them get a quick view of the repair history.

    Customer Benefits
    • Easy access to repair history info without logging into separate portals Vendors

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 12: Tracking Smart / Serialized Batteries/ consumable items

    Problem Description
    Customers need to identify batteries/consumable items that are “bad” or soon to go bad, where ‘bad’ means a device is not expected to last either a shift or a significant amount of a shift without recharging or replace new consumable items.

    Customers also need to be able to estimate the number of batteries/consumable items that will need to be replaced at site, or some combination of sites, in some defined time frame (months or a year) for planning and budget purpose.

    How SMP Solves It
    For smart/serialized batteries or consumable items, SMP provides a similar Dashboard as for devices including the information such as total batteries in operation, active batteries and ‘Out of Contact’ batteries so User can have a quick and easy view of the battery inventory.
    SMP also provides more details including battery Serial Number, Date First Used, Date First Seen, Date Last Seen, Serial # of Device Last seen in, Charge Cycle Count and health Status. Battery details page is provided for specific battery unit.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Improved view of smart / serialized batteries or consumable items provides better understanding of customers’ battery or consumable items inventory and battery health, and helps them better plan and budget for batteries or consumable items
    • Use the information to drive battery or consumable items sales.

    Customer Benefits
    • Quick and easy way to view battery or consumable items inventory and operational states of the batteries or consumable items.
    • Quickly identify bad batteries and track batteries with device and location info.
    • Better plan and budget for battery or consumable items purchase and replacement.

  • User Case scenario:
    Use Case 13: Prevent Device/equipment Issues Beforehand with Predictive Analytics

    Problem Description
    When a device/equipment has performance issues, Customers/Vendors will go through trouble-shooting and possibly repair processes —time consuming and costly. When a trouble occurs, it will disrupt the business process until the problem is resolved or until the User replaces the devices/equipment.
    This impacts productivity and customer bottom line. Also, many devices/equipment are sent to Repair, but there’s no fault found, (NFF / NTF) as the issues may be related to site environment (high battery discharge due to weak Wi-Fi signal on site, etc.)

    How SMP Solves It
    SMP provides Predictive Analytics based on the device’s/equipment’s historical performance data, as well the data across the same model of devices/equipment stored in the database.
    SMP provide such information with easy to understand dashboard indicators such as green, amber and red on the dashboard for Users to be aware of the issues that ‘may’ happen to the devices. It also indicated actionable suggestions with rationale for Users to possibly address the issues in advance.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Monitor customers’ device/equipment inventory and alert them for possible issues.
    • Help customers to prevent device performance issues by taking actions as suggested by SMP.
    • Reduce the triage effort for customers’ device/equipment issues.

    Customer Benefits
    • Know about the health status of their devices/equipment and prevent issues in advance.
    • Reduce the number of devices/equipment sent to repair or reduce the “No Fault Found” rate.
    • Reduce the need to go through the repair process with vendors.
    • Better allocate devices /equipment between sites per the predicated health status of their devices/equipment.

  • User Case Scenario:
    Use Case 14: Improve Machines/equipment Performance with Machines/Equipment Analytics

    Problem Description
    Vendors / Customers often deal with machines/equipment related issues in a reactive manner when the issues happen and they need to go through the time consuming process for troubleshooting and possibly repair. When a trouble occurs, it will disrupt the business process until the problem is resolved or until the user replaces the machine/equipment.
    This will impacts productivity and customer bottom line. Also they often lack visibility to the media consumption which could possibly cause downtime when they replace worn accessories (batteries, printer head, etc.) and replenish media (consumable items).

    How SMP Solves It
    SMP provides analytics for Machines/equipment so Users can monitor the performance of machines/equipment with the most recent data. SMP uses easy-tounderstand indicators to indicate the health status of machines/equipment and also provides specific machine/equipment insights such as machine settings checking, machine utilization, etc. Actionable recommendations are also available for Users to act on possible issues predicted.

    Vendor Benefits
    • Enhance machines/equipment repair process with customers with the analytical insight.
    • Differentiate their service offers by providing the analytical information to their customers.
    • Identify revenue growth opportunities for additional Supplies through analytics.

    Customer Benefits
    • Obtain predictive analytical insight into machines/equipment availability and uptime within the operation.
    • Enhanced machines/equipment diagnostic and problem management.
    • Reduce time and cost to go through the troubleshooting and send-to-repair processes.
    • Better plan ahead for media(consumable items)/accessory supply replenishment.

  • Why WOULD Customers be interested in Cloud Platform?

    Gartner’s top 10 strategic trends for 2013 include three in particular we think your customers should be considering right now:

    1.The rapid growth and evolution of mobile devices are setting new user expectations of what is possible with technology.
    2. Cloud computing is no longer a concept but a reality.
    3. Integrated ecosystems and enterprise app stores are fast becoming the norm – meaning everything is becoming much easier to use.

    In-line with these trends, we wanted to make the Supremesoft user experience easier, more integrated and simpler for our customers to work with. We have done this with the world’s first integrated devices/equipment and machines management platform, designed exclusively for our customers

    Benefits for Vendors
    • Gives access to combined hardware and software revenues that did not exist before.
    • Provides a new way to meet customer challenges and establish a trusted, long-term relationship via a partnership approach.
    • Provides end customers with new services and better printing solutions.
    • Offers a point of differentiation from other providers.

    Benefits for customers
    • Allows new and creative ways for organisations to manage their devices/equipment and machines.
    • Enables smarter business choices from new data-driven insight.
    • Supremesoft Platform and Solution are now more cost effective than ever – reducing time spent on deployment, administration and trouble-shooting.

  • The exponential growth of omnichannel shopping and ever-burgeoning demand for faster merchandise deliveries is redefining the supply chain’s distribution of consumer products goods. A seminal shift in how shoppers increasingly buy via multiple touch points — online from desktop computers, mobile devices and in-store — has created the need for the “smarter” warehouse to serve today’s connected consumer. As retailers look to merge their brick-and-mortar and online operations to cut costs and boost efficiency, warehouse management systems must keep pace.

    This wave of next generation, technology-enhanced warehouses is bringing unprecedented levels of real-time visibility into organizations’ assets, people and transactions across a myriad of industries, from discrete manufacturers in automotive, electronics and machinery to food and beverage processing companies, to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, to name just a few.

    But it’s the transformation of the supply chain ecosystem that has prompted operations professionals to take a hard look at upgrading their warehouses with an eye towards boosting productivity, slashing transportation costs and expediting merchandise shipments.

  • Continue from yesterday comment:-

    As a result, supply chain networks are poised to undergo an extreme makeover over the next few years. Indeed, the retail, wholesale, transportation and logistics sectors are transitioning to “best-of-breed” warehouse management systems that take automization to new heights — from equipping workers with mobile devices that increase the speed and accuracy of order picking to the rollout of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) for real-time inventory visibility.

    At the same time, executives plan to roll out more warehouses, while reducing their size and retrofitting them from legacy systems into highly mechanized, leaner facilities. This approach is designed to reduce costs and increase responsiveness to customers

  • INVESTING FOR THE FUTURE – 5 ways

    As warehouse executives prepare to increase the volume of items shipped in the coming years, they rank outfitting staff with new technology, as well as increasing the use of barcode scanning, tablets and the Internet of Things, as their top initiatives and lead investments for an optimized supply chain.

    1. Equipping staff with technology:
    Executives have big plans to outfit their staffs with technology that increases visibility and mechanization across warehouse processes, from inventory validation and order picking to packing and loading.

    2. Barcode scanning:
    Warehouse executives plan to expand the use of barcode scanning by 70 percent over the next five years. That expansion is driven by the marketplace’s increasing demand for greater efficiency, automation and speed in the handling of inbound and outbound inventory, as well as more stringent supplier requirements.

    3. Tablet computers:
    For inventory validation, warehouses will upgrade from pen/paper, spreadsheets and computer on wheels to mobile/handheld tablets that offer real-time access to warehouse management systems

    4. Warehouse/truck loading automation:
    Load optimization is expected to grow by 4 percent over the next few years. Warehouse executives will turn to new mobile and data capture load optimization technology solutions to maximize efficiency and agility in packing, staging, loading and shipping. These pack and load solutions offer real-time analytics designed to boost worker productivity and reduce transportation costs.

    5. The Internet of Things (IoT):
    A new wave of connected devices, also known as The Internet of Things, is poised to grant warehouses a heightened level of visibility into every facet of the supply chain. IoT technologies offer the promise of facilitating real-time workforce interaction to elevate productivity, while adding a new level of precision to tracking the route of inventory throughout the supply chain, among other things

  • MOVING TO BEST-OF-BREED, REAL TIME WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

    Succeeding in the new supply chain paradigm calls for shortening merchandise delivery times and slashing transportation costs, which were cited by executives surveyed as the core reasons driving the move to the smart warehouse.

    Warehouses must adapt to the growth of e-commerce in the retail sector, and the flood of online orders and proliferation of goods in the supply chain.

    These initiatives reflect the move to best-of-breed warehouse management systems and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) — which track the whereabouts of objects in real time — and will replace legacy operations, survey respondents said.

    As part of that shift, warehouses will upgrade to yard management systems, for one, which offer real-time data on the location of trailers in the storage yard, enabling yard employees to move trailers from staging to docks to fill orders more efficiently.

    Warehouses will also migrate to on-demand and cloud based, SaaS (software-as-a-service) systems to eliminate the cost of on-premise equipment and personnel.

  • INVENTORY MANAGEMENT MAKEOVER

    Big investments in automating inventory management, the heart of a warehouse operation, are another strategic imperative.

    To automate cycle counts, warehouse executives plan to replace pen and paper spreadsheets with mobile handheld computers and tablets that provide real-time access to warehouse management systems. The idea is to boost inventory accuracy, reduce out-of-stocks, and enhance customer service.
    That means phasing out the manual computer-on-wheels or handheld batch access models, and moving toward providing workers with mobile handheld technology with instant, direct access to the WMS.

  • MAKING VISIBILITY A REALITY

    RFID technology is another big push. The Internet of Things, objects enhanced with electronics, sensors and network connectivity that enable them to collect and exchange data, has sparked a big buzz around “smart’ consumer products, such as fitness wearables that track a user’s activity level.

    But the warehouse industry is also banking on the IoT to streamline and link up the many moving parts of a supply chain by allowing for real-time, sharable and actionable data insights across a variety of processes, from inventory tracking and order picking to maximizing fleet routes

    IOT AND RFID
    When it comes to the application of IoT technology, RFID, once cost prohibitive and now significantly more affordable, will play a critical role in modernizing warehouses for the era of digital commerce. RFID offers the promise of heightened inventory visibility —the ability to know precisely where any pallet, case or SKU is in the warehouse at any given moment. For this reason, retailers, manufacturers, distribution and logistics providers are planning to more than double their usage of RFID for cycle counts and inventory validation by 2020.

    An RFID-enabled warehouse-management system can boost efficiencies in put-away and picking, verify shipments received from the manufacturer and those shipped to stores with greater precision, increase everything from inventory accuracy to merchandise replenishment speed — while reducing opportunities for human error.
    Optimizing warehouse logistics so that the right goods reach the right customers at the right time has never been more crucial amid the explosion of direct-to-consumer sales.

    A changing ecosystem means retailers, wholesalers and transportation companies are not only delivering items to stores, but shipping them to consumers’ homes. In addition, they are servicing more customer who buy online, pick-up in-store and meeting the growing demand for same-day deliveries

  • USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF WORKER PRODUCTIVITY

    Warehouse executives are also turning to technology enhancements to ratchet up worker productivity when it comes to order picking and fulfillment, which eats up 70 percent of a facility’s operating costs.

    Today, it takes an estimated 49.5 hours of training for new staff to reach full productivity. In a bid to cut that time to 36.2 hours, the industry is moving from voice-only directed picking to voice and screen directed inventory picking and replenishment over the next five years.

    The move to multi-modal picking, which augments voice picking with screen-directed picking on mobile devices, be they handheld and vehicle-mounted or wearables, is designed to automate and quicken the workflow to accommodate order volume surges in the supply chain, reduce pick and fill costs and enhance profit margins.

    At the same time, companies will turn to task interleaving to boost worker efficiency. The productivity practice
    maximizes employees’ movements based on their location and equipment usage in the space by assigning them multiple tasks, such as order picking or truck loading. Studies show that task interleaving can boost worker productivity from 10 percent up to 40 percent.

    Over the next five years, warehouse executives will expand the use of cross-docking, which minimizes material handling by eliminating unnecessary put away. Their goal is to increase inventory throughput and decrease delivery times without the need for additional storage capacity — efficiencies that have gained new importance as order volumes increase and per order values decrease.

  • GOING GREEN

    Over the next few years, warehouses will become increasingly eco-friendly. As “conscious capitalism” has moved from the margins to the mainstream in business practices, the warehouse industry is no exception.

    Key eco-conscious initiatives include reducing and recycling the packaging materials used during shipping, and cutting down on energy consumption by purchasing high-efficiency equipment.

    When it comes to implementing environmentally friendly practices, doing good can also mean doing well: While most respondents said they view green initiatives as an expense, they also see it as a savings opportunity.

    Beauty company Kiehl’s, for example, recently switched from box to envelope shipping. The move reflected a push toward sustainably, but it also ended up reducing Kiehl’s product shipping costs

  • IoT Automation Systems, The Solutions to Industry 4.0

    Supremesoft maps out a solution blueprint for Industry 4.0, which seamlessly integrates connected manufacturing and big data cloud computing.

    The integrated cloud-enabled services such as remote management, big data analytics, machine learning, and business intelligence (BI) can provide benefits such as remote monitoring to enable exception management and advanced process control

    For instance, operators can benefit by getting an accurate measure of machine status and factory operations in real-time, as well as integrating enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES) systems to optimize supply chain management. Based on live field data, big data analytics and machine learning can establish predictive models that assist operators in managing factory operations, identifying causes for abnormal conditions, and taking corrective actions.

    Preventive maintenance can be executed prior an equipment failure to ensure production efficiency and yield rate.

  • From Cost Center To Growth Center:

    Warehousing 2018

    HOW WAREHOUSING OPERATIONS AND IT PROFESSIONALS ARE RESPONDING TO THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE INDUSTRY OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

    A Growing Complexity At its most basic, warehousing is a simple concept. It’s about storing materials or goods and filling orders from one end of the supply chain to the other. But in the real world of today, tomorrow and especially five years from now, warehousing is evolving to become anything but simple. Today’s warehousing professionals are feeling significant pressures from multiple internal and external sources.

    The global recession affected the industry in many ways. In an effort to free up capital, there were major cuts in held inventory, adding capacity was de-prioritized and expansion of existing or construction of new warehouses and distribution centers scaled back or halted altogether. Now, as the economy has begun to grow, warehouse operations are growing again, too. But as they grow, they are also being transformed by a number of issues that go well beyond simple increases in volume and throughput.

  • New Warehousing Realities

    Today’s warehouse professionals face a series of significant changes in the ways warehouses, distribution centers and the entire supply chain operate. More facilities and larger spaces demand high-speed mobile communications virtually everywhere on or off the floor. A virtual across-the-board customer demand for personalization is driving an increase in the number of SKUs leading to increased inventory visibility, accuracy and efficiency needs. New regulations call for more accurate product tracking and tracing.

    The movement to re-shoring is bringing manufacturing and other business closer to the customer, creating a need for more efficient and effective cost and labor management. Fuel cost volatility impacts logistics and much more. The growth of omnichannel transactions creates the need for increased inventory control, flexibility and faster, more accurate fulfillment. All these factors contribute to the need to convert warehouses and distribution centers into assets for competitive differentiation.

    Cost Center to Growth Center
    Responses to the the survey create a snapshot of how warehouse IT and operations professionals across a number of vertical markets view their operations today, and where they see them going by 2018. In aggregate, survey responses reveal a forward-looking new way of viewing the warehouse: no longer as a pure cost center in which operational focus is placed almost exclusively on wringing out inefficiencies and inaccuracies in order picking, but increasingly as a powerful asset that can drive profitable growth for the business with a heightened focus on improving inbound, storage and outbound material handling.

  • The Future Of Warehousing

    As the global economy continues to recover, the warehousing industry—after a period of marking time while under intense pressure to reduce inventory levels to free up capital—is now in the position of having to quickly keep pace with today’s increased fulfillment demands. The industry must also anticipate the areas in which even greater growth will occur in the next five years and beyond. This has vast ramifications for both operations and IT.

    Of course, before you start planning for the future, your organization must first identify its current status, honestly answering the question, “where are we now?” Once you have a handle on today’s reality, you’ve got to clarify your vision of where you want to be in two, three, four and five years, and make the critical decisions of where to invest, and what types of investments should be considered.

    Respondents to the survey represent many organizations currently in the midst of making these assessments and decisions. In their responses, they identified some of the most important of today’s realities, and shared their visions for the next five years.

    – ( to be continue by tomorrow)

  • REALITY TO VISION:

    Top 5 Alignment Opportunities
    Today, the reality in many, if not most, warehouse operations is the existence of separate islands of information. The vision for the future is the linkage, integration and consolidation of the Warehouse Management System (WMS) with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), the Yard Management System (YMS) and Transportation Management System (TMS).

    These linkages help remove inefficient information silos, promoting collaboration and increasing the recognition that changes in one process can and will affect others downstream and upstream. For example, changes in packing and staging can affect load plans, trailer drops, routes selection, rates and more.

    Anticipation of—and response to—these effects is crucial to not only improve warehouse efficiency and productivity, but also to create a more synchronized and agile supply chain.

    – (To be continue )

  • OPTIMIZE STORAGE AND DISTRIBUTION NETWORK GROWTH

    REALITY
    Evaluation and adjustment of the storage and distribution network to reduce total landed costs, enhance customer service and minimize fulfillment costs.

    VISION
    New initiatives to increase the number of warehouse facilities launching twice as fast as expansion plans for existing warehouses; lower transportation costs; shorter delivery times; responding to new supplier and partner locations and requirements. Shifting view of the warehouse and DC from cost center to center with potential for differentiation and growth.

  • DECREASE LABOR TURNOVER AND TRAINING TIME

    REALITY
    Need to decrease the impact of labor turnover and shortages, and reduce the time and cost of training (currently taking 48 hours or more before reaching full productivity).

    VISION
    Reduce average length of training by 44 percent, while at the same time preparing employees for an increase in new procedures they will need to perform as a result of task interleaving. Realizing such a dramatic reduction in training time will require new thinking, new solutions and new technologies

  • REDUCE RATE OF RETURNS

    REALITY
    Even as the volume of returns grows—due in part to the rise of omnichannel and Internet retailing—retailers and wholesalers expect to reduce the orders resulting in returns by nearly 20%.

    VISION
    The percentage of organizations with reverse logistics programs is expected to almost double; from only 16.7 percent in 2013 to 30 percent by 2018. Redesigning returns management from one of the least automated processes in the warehouse into one in which automated reverse logistics enables faster receiving, return to inventory and customer credit issuance. In addition, reduce the volume of returns caused by internal warehouse problems by consistently operating outbound order fulfillment in a “no fault” mode.

  • INCREASE AUTOMATION IN INBOUND AND OUTBOUND HANDLING

    REALITY
    Need for increased efficiency in inbound and outbound handling processes by requiring more ubiquitous barcoding and increasing supplier requirements and support for more automated processes

    VISION
    The industry vision is to increase the number of barcoded items received at a warehouse or DC from 67 percent today to 84 percent by 2018. It is also to ensure that supplier and partner processes meet the requirements of, and properly utilize the capabilities of, GS1, GDSN, ASN and RFID, support more highly prioritized picking and storage processes and enable stronger collaboration across the supply chain

  • LINK AND INTEGRATE WAREHOUSE SYSTEMS

    REALITY
    Desire to consolidate and integrate islands of information in the warehouse: ERP, WMS, YMS, TMS to increase visibility and accuracy in every aspect of supply chain operations. Increase awareness of how changes in one system can affect others.

    VISION
    Unlocking value by providing a single source of accurate information. A strong shift away from homegrown and basic WMS solutions, with 68 percent of organizations moving incrementally to best-of-breed, cloudbased and full-featured WMS systems, and to increasing communications and collaboration across IT and operations.

  • Ensuring IT And Operations Alignment

    To maximize warehouse and DC productivity, operations and IT leaders must be on the same page in terms of technology systems and business processes. Although we often see at least partial alignment between IT and operations today, in many instances there is still a basic technology divide. It starts with differences in overall assessment of current capabilities and risk perspectives for the future. Survey results demonstrate that today IT often perceives higher levels of WMS integration with other systems than does operations; in addition, IT projects higher incremental integration rates by 2018 than their operations counterparts.

    Today’s IT departments also tend to be more aggressive in setting new standards and deploying new tools to reduce technical risk—and to be more accepting of business risk—than operations, which is usually more risk-averse and focused on running the day-today operations of the warehouse with minimal technical disruption. Bringing the two departments together to share a common vision is one of the most crucial goals moving ahead in the next five years.

  • Automation and Mechanization

    As the industry prepares for the future, it’s vital for IT and operations to be aligned in terms of WMS plans, since these systems are the backbone of the entire warehouse/supply chain operation, and the seed from which all automation plans grow. One thing both departments agree on is the need for substantial increases in process automation and mechanization; another is the critical importance of the WMS. Survey responses indicated that while about 40 percent of today’s organizations are not currently pursuing increased mechanization to streamline processes, this percentage shrinks to 17 percent by 2018.

    But if there is agreement on the importance of WMS as the underpinning for greater automation plans, there are other areas of dispute.

    The Batch Access Battleground

    One of the most glaring differences is a divide in the projected use of batch mode access versus real-time access to the WMS and other relevant business systems. This is especially problematic in the cycle counting process. Historically, cycle counting has been much less automated than picking, but that’s about to change.

    Although both IT and operations agree that cycle counting needs to become more automated, they seem to be at odds about the best solution for leveraging the WMS for inventory control and validation in the future.

    IT forecasts a slight increase in the use of mobile batch access to the WMS, while operations has a different view. They predict a movement away from the computer-on-wheels or handheld batch access model, to providing workers with mobile handheld technology with immediate, direct access to the WMS.

  • Direct WMS Access

    The survey indicates that in the next few years, more organizations will begin moving away from manual and batch systems access to full-featured access of the integrated WMS.

    Going forward, it seems clear that IT and operations will need to come to an agreement on shifting their focus to end user requirements and enhanced worker productivity, with a healthy balance between technical and business risk tradeoffs.

    To this end, they will need to collaborate in the selection of both an overall solution architecture and the specific mobile computing and advanced data capture devices that will enable workers to streamline virtually every aspect of warehousing operations.

  • WMS EVOLUTION
    The use of Warehouse Management Systems continues to evolve, with about 51 percent of respondents planning to use Best of Breed WMS applications or Full Featured WMS systems.

    SYSTEMS LINKAGE AND INTEGRATION
    Linking WMS systems with other systems will continue to grow, with 52 percent of respondents expecting to link WMS with ERP by 2018, 35 percent linking it to the Transportation Management System and 20 percent linking it to the Yard Management System.

    INCREASED SUPPLIER AND CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS
    A growing number of warehouses are planning to increase efficiency by placing more stringent requirements on suppliers. By 2018, for example, 38 percent of respondents will require suppliers to use RFID; 33 percent requiring them to use ASNs; 22 percent requiring compliance with GSDN standards, and 15 percent requiring GS1 standards.

    EXPANDED AUTOMATION
    Automation is expanding from the picking process to adjacent materials management and inventory control processes, such as cycle counting. By 2018, only 12 percent of respondents expect to use pen and paper-based processes; 66 percent plan to use handheld mobile computers with real-time access to WMS systems.

  • Streamlining The Path To Flawless Fulfillment

    It wasn’t so long ago that warehousing automation conversations were dominated by picking and replenishment topics. That’s no longer the case. As warehouse professionals are facing increasing pressures to deliver more top- and bottom-line value, they are taking a broader view and re-evaluating their capabilities across all their major warehousing processes.

    The goal is flawless fulfillment, and it calls for a pragmatic, workflow-driven analysis of how you want to run your warehouse. The technology keys are increased flexibility, automation, integration and real-time access to the WMS with purpose-built, yet adaptable, solutions that can demonstrate lasting value in the face of changing demands.

    The survey reiterated that order picking and filling remains the top investment priority due to its relatively high costs and greater opportunities for errors. But in today’s warehouse environment, the search for increased efficiency, accuracy and productivity also requires a broader, more holistic workflow and process evaluation. Achieving truly flawless fulfillment demands it.

  • Harder Working Workflows

    In pursuit of flawless fulfillment, warehouse professionals are raising the bar for efficiency across every part of their workflow: inbound handling, storage and inventory control, pick and fill and outbound handling.

    In the past, and largely even today, these tasks were performed in isolation, often using separate teams for each function. This model drives efficiency in specialization, but suffers from some fundamental overlap and duplication of effort, such as when a picking employee walks down an aisle followed by an employee doing cycle counting, each in the same place at the same time, but doing a different job.

    These situations are leading to innovative new processes—such as task interleaving—aimed at integrating activities across several processes, reducing inefficiencies, improving productivity and decreasing costs. As processes collapse and change, the technology used in performing them must change as well.

  • HOW TASK INTERLEAVING ENHANCES PRODUCTIVITY

    As warehouses strive to increase worker efficiency, more organizations are practicing task interleaving to help increase workflow flexibility by cutting down on walk time. With task interleaving, workers no longer have to concentrate on a single task, but are able to support multiple workflows through an ability to perform a range of tasks during each trip.

    The process begins with an in-depth analysis to determine the optimum workflow and technology decisions for alignment within the new, commingled task workflow. Key to the process is embracing a broader, more intuitive, more flexible hardware and software portfolio.

  • INBOUND HANDLING
    The receiving and put-away functions will grow in importance as the first chronological step in streamlining warehouse operations. Changes include growth in the percent of inbound materials that are barcoded, more stringent demands from suppliers to support the receiving process, and increased use of productivity enhancing activities such as cross docking.

    PICK AND FILL
    As the number one priority for most warehouse operations, pick and fill processes are becoming even more automated and more flexible using efficient new procedures such as task interleaving. Major technology changes include the reduction of scan-only or voiceonly picking and replenishment, giving way to more productive multimodal processes using efficient new handheld and wearable devices.

    STORAGE AND INVENTORY
    Paper cycle count processes are on the endangered list as organizations turn to realtime, automated WMS entry, more frequent cadence for inventory validation (instead of just compliance for financial regulations), technology driven efficiencies in cold storage and improved asset tracking and management.

    OUTBOUND HANDLING
    In the new warehousing world, customer satisfaction is seen as a major corporate objective and differentiator. Fast and accurate customer-driven requirements are playing a more important role in the packing, staging, loading and shipping functions, taking advantage of processes such as load optimization and performance monitoring.

  • Inbound Handling: TODAY AND TOMORROW

    Receiving and put-away processes can have a domino effect on virtually every other warehouse process. The harsh reality is, receiving and put-away inefficiencies are a significant cause of potential problems upstream and downstream. In response, today’s warehousing professionals are currently trying to solve a number of significant inbound handling issues.

    Today’s Realities
    Too many shipments arrive with missing or damaged barcodes and other auto-ID technology, causing slow and inaccurate receiving, sortation and put-away. Pallets and cases can be placed in the wrong locations, causing them to become “lost” within the facility. Slowdowns in put-away can cause longer out-of-stock conditions and restrict cash flow. Usage of cross docking is low, resulting in crowded, clogged receiving areas. Inbound items frequently have no data—such as lot numbers or expiration dates—to help in tracking and traceability. Even with increasing return rates, reverse logistics are non-automated and slow, adversely affecting inventory accuracy as well as customer satisfaction.

    Tomorrow’s Solutions
    Survey responses showed a growing commitment to enhancing the receive/ put-away process. Stronger supplier management programs will result in increasing use of Advanced Ship Notices (ASNs), GS1-compliant barcodes and RFID tags for accurate, automated shipment identification. Higher use of cross docking will increase throughput and decrease delivery times without requiring additional storage capacity. When validated and accepted into inventory, inbound materials will be put away in the right locations and linked directly to the WMS. Consistent track and trace solutions will enhance quality control—including overages, shortages and damage (OS&D)—as well as compliance and recall management. Streamlined, automated reverse logistics systems will help the returns process become faster and more accurate.

    Technology Enablers
    The technology portfolio for inbound handling is growing more innovative. Increased use of ASNs and GS1 standards will help speed receiving and put-away at the pallet and case levels. Handheld and wearable computers, scanners and multimodal devices will speed sortation. Use of tablet computers will enable workers to view a full manifest quickly and easily. Vehicle-mounted mobile computers and long-range imagers provide the foundation for omnidirectional scanning from rolling stock, and support for both 1D and 2D barcodes.

  • Storage and Inventory:
    TODAY AND TOMORROW

    In the next five years, warehouse storage and inventory processes are poised to undergo a seismic shift, moving from still prevalent pen and paper processes to automated and mechanized inventory solutions. With these new automated processes, cycle counts will be performed more often and with less effort, increasing inventory visibility, and leading to more accurate fulfillment, fewer out of stock situations and fewer lost sales. More confidence in inventory accuracy will lead to a new focus on optimizing mix, expanding selection and accelerating inventory turns.

  • (Continue yesterday topic: Storage and Inventory )

    Today’s Realities

    In the many facilities still using pen and paper systems, cycle counting is seen as a costly, disruptive, non-value-added activity. Today’s manual counts are generally performed either haphazardly when time and resources happen to be available, or during a costly and inefficient total facility shutdown.
    Manual processes are also more disruptive of operations, and are prone to re-entry delays and transcription errors. These inaccuracies lead to a WMS that is not up-to-date, resulting in inflated errors-and-omissions, write-downs and unnecessary accumulation of held inventory, or the occurrence of costly and avoidable out-of-stock conditions.
    In facilities where dry storage and cold chain operations co-exist, typical bifurcated operations use different processes and supporting technology, leading to costly inefficiencies.

    Tomorrow’s Solutions

    In the next five years, the trend is toward conducting cycle counting more often, with a significant opportunity to interleave it with other activities that happen every day in the warehouse. The goal is to ensure that what is in the WMS is on the shelf, and vice versa.
    The focus is also shifting: moving from regulatory compliance to minimizing costly out-of-stock conditions. Increasingly, cycle counts will be used to drive better top- and bottom-line performance. Workers will also have direct access to the WMS on a variety of new mobile devices.
    In warehouses where dry goods and cold chain are part of the same facility, the trend is toward using more automation and more consistent processes to move away from inefficient and expensive bifurcated systems.

    Technology Enablers

    Innovative inventory and storage technology includes adaptive, platformbased and modular computing solutions that deliver the flexibility needed for enhanced interleaving that enables cycle counting to be conducted simultaneously with other processes.
    Mobile access throughout the warehouse is provided by intuitive, easy-to-use industrial browsers on larger format tablet and vehicle-mounted computers. Also growing is the use of robust, reliable network and device options that enable consistent operation across cold chain and dry storage operations.

  • PICK AND FILL:
    TODAY AND TOMORROW

    The warehouse survey reiterated that the picking and replenishment processes—which account for up to 70 percent of operating costs in a warehouse—remain the top priority for warehouse professionals to address with advanced technology solutions. As the industry continues to reduce pick and fill costs and increase worker efficiency and productivity, it is turning to innovative processes, such as task interleaving, and innovative mobile technology, increasingly using wearable, vehicle-mounted and handheld devices capable of multimodal operation.

  • Continue ( Pick and Fill)

    Today’s Realities
    Due to the high cost of labor and employee management, picking and replenishing is usually among the most technologically enhanced warehouse processes, although many organizations are using older, less flexible and less ergonomic and intuitive technologies.
    In many warehouses, there tends to be more automation at the piece and case level, and less at the pallet level. This can be a significant issue depending on omnichannel fulfillment pressures and where in the end-to-end supply chain the warehouse is located.
    In general today, picking operations tend to focus either on scanning or voice-directed solutions, with limited integration between the two, which often results in awkward adaptation of workflow to technology instead of the other way around.
    Training is also a time- and cost-sensitive issue, which is a problem in high-turnover warehouse environments. In addition, because pickers are under a great deal of pressure to meet volume and accuracy targets, downstream activities like staging and loading can be negatively affected in the rush for ultimate picking expediency.
    And in today’s marketplace, as order volume increases and per-order value decreases, pick and fill costs eat away at margins, and warehouse managers are looking for new solutions to help protect profitability.

    Tomorrow’s Solutions
    The picking and replenishment solutions of the next five years will focus on the adoption of more ergonomic, intuitive, adaptable and flexible technologies designed to enhance pick and fill workflows and position the facility for future requirements. There is already a significant shift towards true multimodal picking, with the integration of voice-directed and screen-directed picking on flexible mobile devices that provide for voice-, scan- and keyed-response activities.
    This also includes the ability to augment pick-to-light (PTL) and other picking automation schemes with scanning and computing, delivering even higher levels of accuracy and productivity. Organizations are also planning strategies for reducing training time by deploying more intuitive and more flexible technologies, while also providing more consistency across piece, case and pallet level picking processes.
    The need is to capture and validate more information during a picking operation—such as serial numbers, expiration dates, catchweights and more—helping to enhance everything from traceability initiatives to regulatory compliance to more accurate billing to customer service.
    The need to reduce training time and capture such diverse data is driving the increased use of multimodal devices in which traditional voice picking is reinforced by screen direction and complemented by barcode scanning for challenging data, such as complex serial numbers, or keyed entry for exception-based input.
    This is particularly important for warehouse operations with a heavy dependence on temporary labor, and for warehouses that plan to share devices between teams or extend the use to non-picking activities.

    Technology Enablers
    The industry is seeing a major shift to multimodal devices and software tied into the WMS backend systems and offering flexible, user designed interfaces and workflows. Other new software solutions include client-side and cloud-based picking applications that speed deployment and enhance flexibility, while changing investment models to help achieve an accelerated ROI.
    In terms of devices, innovative new form factors—handheld, wearable and holstered—offer advanced capabilities to help meet aggressive picking efficiency targets. Robust, facility-wide industrial-grade wireless networks and solutions will maximize reliability while increasing the speed of the picking process, and minimizing delays caused by latency issues or coverage gap

  • Outbound Handling:
    TODAY AND TOMORROW

    As customer demands and requirements grow, and as customer retention and loyalty become more crucial to profitability, increasing pressures are being placed on warehouse managers to maximize efficiency in packing, staging, loading and shipping.
    Nothing impacts customer satisfaction more negatively than an inaccurate, damaged or late shipment. At the same time, nothing cements customer relationships better than efficient outbound material handling processes that consistently provide accurate, on-time deliveries and always meet downstream customers’ supplier compliance initiatives.

  • Continue ( Outbound Handling)

    Today’s Realities
    Customer expectations aren’t the only requirements the outbound handling process has to meet. Stringent supplier compliance demands on last mile warehouse operations, if not met, can also result in significant amounts of wasted dollars and time. These include shifting pricing models from carriers, such as changing from weight-based to dimensionbased strategies that can affect rates and costs.
    They also include financial penalties for excessive dwell time and idle time for carriers forced to wait at the dock for shipments that are not ready.
    Loading and staging workers are encouraged to work faster, but at the risk of an increased number of mistakes, heightened safety concerns and instances of OS&D during the outbound handling process.
    Limited automation in the packing, staging and loading areas not only decreases efficiency, but also the ability of outbound materials handlers to catch mistakes and protect downstream customers from upstream errors occurring elsewhere in the warehouse or the broader supply chain.

    Tomorrow’s Solutions
    As warehouse professionals look to the future, they are planning to increase efficiency and accuracy through the use of new technologies and enhanced quality control capabilities in the packing, staging and loading processes.
    Powerful mobile and data capture technologies and devices will help link and integrate WMS, ERP, YMS and TMS systems, providing greater synergies and efficiencies among the warehouse, the yard and the transportation links of the supply chain.
    Pack and load optimization solutions provide real-time analytics that help reduce transportation costs and penalties from carriers and customers. These systems and devices empower workers to be more efficient while minimizing errors, enhancing downstream compliance and lessening the impact of upstream inconsistencies or disruptions.

    Technology Enablers
    A wide variety of technology solutions are poised to help warehouse operations provide outbound material handling operations that maximize efficiency, reduce costs and enhance customer satisfaction.
    Packing stations can be equipped with mobile wireless computers, scanning and RFID devices, as well as fixed mount kiosk solutions, to increase speed and efficiency while reducing errors and damage.
    Workers can utilize convenient wearable devices to see real-time updates on pack and load plans. Robust wireless outdoor coverage will integrate dock and yard operations with the warehouse, providing end-to-end efficiency. Integrated video capabilities can be used for quality control and proof of compliance.

    A NEW FOCUS ON CUSTOMIZED PACKING
    Although many warehouses and transportation companies continue to utilize traditional pre-defined packing standards and load pricing, a trend toward dynamic weight and dimension-based packing is rapidly developing. The trend is driven in part by large-scale e-tailers that are increasingly relying on custom-built, just-in-time packages and boxes that minimize wasted materials, space, filler and postage.
    As reported by the survey, the average percentage of dimensionbased packing is projected to rise by almost four hundred basis points by 2018. Similar increases are reported across the board in the retail, manufacturing, wholesale and 3PL (third party logistic) market segments.

  • Vertical Market Warehousing:
    CONSISTENCIES AND DIFFERENCES

    Not all warehouses are the same. In fact, hardly any are. There are significant differences across warehousing operations in the various segments of the supply chain: manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing. But there are also similarities, especially at a macro level.

    CURRENT VERTICAL WAREHOUSING REALITIES:-

    MANUFACTURING ·
    . Highly capital-intensive, more often seen as cost center ·
    . Prioritization on revenue generating processes and facilities, such as finished goods
    · Growing implementation of reverse logistics
    · Traceability capabilities becoming more important
    · Some interest in third-party logistics management (3PL)

    WHOLESALING ·
    . Slow movement towards branch-based automation investment
    · Seeking incremental reduction in return rates
    · Strong interest in traceability initiatives
    · Little interest in 3PL management

    RETAILING
    · Significant consolidation of direct-to-consumer fulfillment and store replenishment activities ·
    . Seeking a slow but steady reduction of returns as a percentage of business
    · Movement away from location level overstock management
    · Slight interest in 3PL management

  • Continue Vertical Market Warehousing

    Vertical Consistencies
    When viewed holistically, similarities exist in virtually all warehouse operations. No matter what vertical market segment they operate in, most IT and operations personnel are committed to three common pillars of warehouse wisdom.

    1. Automating and streamlining warehousing processes.

    2. Providing the flexibility in technology and process management that increases efficiency, productivity and cost control.

    3. Optimizing risk management across IT and operations throughout the supply chain

    Vertical Differences
    Although almost all warehouse professionals would agree on these overarching objectives, each segment also has its own specific issues that impact procedures and workflows.
    These are most efficiently and effectively addressed through unique, segment-specific strategies and tactics for achieving flawless fulfillment, as dictated by each vertical’s specific business and management models.

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning For Change:
    EVALUATING YOUR RESPONSE

    What steps should your organization be considering in response to the major changes that will impact your warehousing operations today and in the next five years?
    The time to start is now, and the best way to begin is by carefully analyzing the issues and evaluating the steps you can take to help your warehouses increase productivity while decreasing costs.

    (To be continue……)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    1.Make sure IT and Operations are on the same page.

    With the survey uncovering key differences between IT and operations, you need both to work closely together even as each concentrates on its own specific activities. IT must be able to act as a voice of reason for high-level issues such as standardization, integrity and risk management.
    At the same time, operations must define and execute current workflows, plus identify new business initiatives and align with IT on the new systems, interfaces and workflows they will require

    ( To be continue…..)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    2.Understand changing wireless needs and solutions.

    The increasing demands on warehouse operations necessitate thinking of them as complete systems that enable and support new standards, devices and capabilities. It’s crucial that changes in devices and applications aren’t made without corresponding wireless adjustments.
    New devices like wearable computers, new applications like multi-modal picking, new access systems like industrial browsers, new cloud-based system architectures and new tools like video analytics, can dramatically impact the performance and reliability of existing wireless networks.

    ( To be continue…..)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    3.Plan for shifts in processes throughout the supply chain.

    Look into how the increased shifts in frequency and size of deliveries and shipments, and shifts in upstream and downstream piece, case and pallet identification can affect workflow efficiency and productivity. These and other process shifts can drive many new technology requirements.
    Movement toward more value added services means you should explore partners and vendors with a broad portfolio to address your changing needs

    (To be continue….)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    4. Evaluate purpose-built and adaptable technology alternatives.

    Evaluate the benefits of using technology that is purpose-built for specific tasks versus using more flexible, adaptable technology.
    Flexible devices running on a common core platform, with modular adaptability and a rich accessory ecosystem can help you maximize productivity-enhancing functions—like task interleaving and automating and connecting workers whose activities are not driven by the WMS— while at the same time mitigating obsolescence risks.
    Consider how best to balance the mix of unique, task-driven form factors with technology that can be more readily adapted to a range of workflows.

    (To be continue….)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    5. Place renewed emphasis on risk management.

    Dramatic change is already overtaking the warehousing industry, and with those changes come new and evolving risks. The question becomes how to insulate your organization against these risks, many of which are caused by standards churn.
    The goal is to turn activities driven by regulations into factors that also drive more value for the business: in terms of accuracy, efficiency, productivity and quality. Many of these are technology-driven, such as the increasing use of data capture at multiple process points and enhanced imaging technology to drive new capabilities with minimal disruption.
    These enhanced capabilities include omnidirectional and 2D barcode reading, more ergonomic and intuitive design, more frequent and more accurate cycle counts and enhanced traceability.

    (To be continue….)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    6. Consider the ramifications of more and bigger warehouses.

    The need to expand the size and/or number of warehouses can significantly impact your technical planning, your staffing requirements and your ability to support processes and workers remotely.
    Shifting from a centralized system to a branch-based distribution and storage network may require new procurement, deployment, management, troubleshooting and security models for mobile and wireless technologies.
    Be aware that a move to more but smaller warehouses may strain your existing IT resources, as well require more standardization within your own operations, and greater collaboration with supply chain links and trading partners.

    (To be continue…)

  • Warehouse 2018

    Planning for the change:
    7. Build an ROI model encompassing top-line and bottom-line results.

    In the warehouse industry, ROI models have often been measured purely on cost savings, but as warehousing changes, so do the models used to drive investment decisions.
    Although the bottom line is obviously critical and cost savings are easier to measure, it’s also important to take a broader view of how improvements in warehouse operations can also enhance top-line performance.
    Among these top-line performance improvements are avoidance of out-of-stock conditions and enhanced pricing power enabled by a track record of faster, more accurate fulfillment, customer-driven enhancements in quality, visibility, traceability and service levels.

  • Warehouse 2018
    A 5-Year Evolution from Cost Center to Growth Area

    As customer satisfaction and supply chain efficiency become more important drivers of warehousing operations, the industry is re-examining its perceptions of the business.

    Fewer organizations continue to view warehouses and DCs simply as commoditized links between endpoints of the supply chain. Senior business executives across all market segments can no longer afford to simplistically look at warehouses as necessary evils that are fundamentally cost centers.

    The movement from linear to complex, multi-node supply chains recognizes this shift in perception, and is being driven by greater volatility, constrained capacity, evolving regulations, major shifts in customer demographics and buying patterns, and increasingly demanding customer and supplier requirements.

    Overall, the warehouse survey points to more industry professionals seeing the bigger picture and viewing warehouses and distribution facilities as historically underleveraged centers that can drive competitive differentiation and, by doing so, increase profitable growth.

    These changes are positive. They provide warehouse management with an opportunity to benchmark their current capabilities against what their businesses, their suppliers and their customers are going to need in the next five years and beyond.

    They can also take inventory of where their current performance levels are, and how they stack up across their different processes— from inbound handling to storage and inventory control to picking and filling orders and, ultimately, to outbound handling.

    This reshaped vision of warehouse operations as a fundamental driver of top-line and bottom-line business value points the way to achieving the ultimate objective of flawless fulfillment.

  • Get the benefits of mobile document capture with Supremesoft Technologies’ advanced document imaging
    Instantly Capture all the information on virtually any form and drive error-prone inefficient paperwork out of your operation.

    Are paper documents a big part of your business?
    If you are manually capturing and moving information on shipping labels, bills of lading, invoices, work orders and other documents, your workforce must spend time managing the paperwork and delivering it to a department that will then manually enter the data into a computer.
    The impact of this slow movement of information can ripple throughout your organization and ultimately affect your bottom line by inserting time and cost into your business processes, increasing the opportunity for errors, reducing customer service quality and increasing billing cycle times.
    But imagine if your workers could accurately capture the contents of an entire form with the single press of a button — including bar codes, text fields, phone numbers, images, signatures, and even check boxes — and instantly send that information to your business applications.
    You have just imagined the power of SimulScan Document Capture.
    With this powerful software application on your Supremesoft Technologies’ Android mobile computers, you’ll get instant visibility into information, the moment it is captured, streamlining your business processes and driving efficiencies throughout your operations. No more paperwork for your workforce to manage. No more data entry. No more struggling to scan a specific bar code on a form with multiple codes.
    The result?
    Increased workforce productivity. Faster cycle times. “Greener” operations. Cost-effective compliance with recordkeeping requirements. Better customer service. And improved cash flow.

  • The Supremesoft difference: Truly advanced document capture
    When you choose SimulScan, you choose a document capture solution that sits in a class of its own. What sets SimulScan apart from the competition?

    Powerful Template Builder This cloud-based utility provides an easy-to-use graphical interface that allows you to quickly and easily define the data you want to capture on a standard form.
    Fields can be grouped if needed to meet the requirements of your back-end application — such as city, state and zip code.
    A template can be deployed to any number of mobile devices. And templates can be packed together to create multi-templates.
    The Template Builder helps you identify and validate the data you want to capture. You can upload, edit and store templates for quick retrieval. And you can easily install template XML files on your mobile devices easily manually or via an MDM tool, making deployment easy for any size enterprise — from small businesses to large multi-office operation.

    (To be continue….)

  • The Supremesoft difference: Truly advanced document capture

    Two ways to capture information: camera or 2D imager

    Workers can use either the on-board color camera or the 2D imager to capture documents. The color camera is point-andshoot, providing an ideal user experience for structured and unstructured data. Imagers provide enterprise-class performance when intensive bar code capture is required.
    And since imagers provide an aiming function instead of point-and-shoot, they are the ideal choice for picklist applications, where users need to capture just one specific bar code when other bar codes are present.

    Regardless of whether the camera or imager is utilized, you can enable a feedback loop that allows users to review the results and determine if they want to accept it or retake it.

    (To be continue…)

  • The Supremesoft difference: Truly advanced document capture

    Manual and automatic image capture modes
    Two modes of operation ensure the capture of a high quality usable document. In automatic mode, users can simple aim at the form and SimulScan takes over and snaps the picture when conditions are optimal to process a high quality image — ensuring that the entire form is visible, the user is holding still and lighting is optimal.
    In manual mode, the user determines when to process the image by pressing the trigger or tapping on the screen.
    Security — no locally saved data Once the data has been sent to the host application, it no longer resides on the mobile computer. Since there is no locally saved instance of the data, sensitive information is secure.
    Ease of use The technology is easy to use — regardless of whether your workers are using the color camera or the imager to capture a document, no training is required.
    To capture documents with the camera, workers use the device screen to align the aiming reticule that appears with the document.
    To capture documents with the 2D imager, workers press a button to project the bright laser-aiming pattern (crosshairs) onto the target document. Either way, users will hear a beep tone to indicate that a quality image of the document was captured. Flexible document sizes
    You can capture a wider variety of document sizes than the typical competitive document capture solution — including Legal, Letter, A4 and A5.

    (To be continue….)

  • The Supremesoft difference: Truly advanced document capture

    Comprehensive data capture capabilities
    No matter what you need to capture, Supremesoft is up to the job, including: • Virtually any 1D or 2D bar code
    confirm data accuracy
    Once the data is captured, it can be presented for workers to verify prior to accepting the data, providing the opportunity to prevent data errors that could impact customer service and delivery times.
    • A specific bar code when multiple codes are present
    • Multiple bar codes — simultaneously
    • Signatures
    • Checkboxes
    • Any text in any field on a form and turn it into fully editable data with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities
    • Group fields as needed to meet the requirements of your back-end business application — for instance, you can group street, city and zip code together to create a single string of text.
    • Check boxes, bubbles and radio buttons with SimulScan’s Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) capabilities
    • Automatically add the date and time to an image capture — ideal for proof of delivery and proof of service for overnight and other expedited delivery services
    • Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) data on checks and other negotiable documents
    • Content in machine-readable zones (MRZs) found on documents such as passports and visas.

    Real-time and batch modes Your data can be processed and sent instantly to your business application or stored on the device and uploaded later. And if you choose real-time processing, in the event the wireless connection to a web-based back-end business application is lost, no problem — Supremesoft will store the data locally and send the data when the connection is re-established.

  • Ensure high-quality image capture with comprehensive automatic image processing features

    Capturing documents out in the field can be very challenging.
    There are different lighting conditions that can impact the ability to capture a good image of the document — the image may come out dark or part of the image may appear dark. There could be an undesirable obstruction in the field of view, such as a finger or mobile computer hand strap. A document might be small, resulting in an image with a lot of background around it. And then there is the file size associated with high-resolution documents that can sap battery power.

    Our advanced document imaging technology is loaded with features to address these issues and more. Once the document has been captured, the software automatically assesses the image and utilizes the features below to create the best image possible, eliminating the need for users to assess the document image before they capture it — or view the document image to check its quality after it is captured. Features include:

    Automatic image Processing features

    Auto De-skew :-
    Any image skew (off-angle) is automatically detected and corrected, so the document is the proper size and shape.

    Auto Rotate : –
    Robust templates capture the document regardless of orientation — text and bar codes are always captured and processed accurately.

    Auto Brighten Brightens the image as a whole for optimal readability. :-
    Auto Shadow Removal Any shadows that are cast across the document are automatically corrected.

    Auto Noise Removal :-
    Any type of noise in the image — for example, caused by grain in the paper — is identified and removed.

    Auto Sharpen :-
    Automatically assesses text and graphics and sharpens as needed to ensure improved legibility.

    Border Obstacle Detection :-
    If an obstacle such as a finger or another piece of paper is in the field of view and blocking part of the border, the image will still be captured, preserving productivity. Since the user is able to validate the data captured, if an obstacle blocks any information, the user can edit or choose to rescan as needed.

    Auto Crop :-
    Automatically detects document edges and eliminates unneeded background areas. The edges of the document are automatically detected and the extraneous background area cropped out of the image. Even if a document is missing a corner, the software extrapolates where that corner should be and crops appropriately so that the document is still sized correctly — critical in the capture of structured documents.

    Auto Compression :-
    After all image processing has been completed, the software automatically compresses the document to a configurable small file size of your choosing. As a result, your workers can transmit smaller files that will protect device performance, battery power and possibly the cost of transmission (dependent upon the data plan).

    Advanced Image Correction :-
    If a doc is slightly crumpled or curved because it is held in hand, no problem. This proprietary Supremesoft-only feature will automatically make the necessary adjustments to ensure a quality image capture.

  • Flexible device-side or cloud-based information processing

    Once a high-quality document image has been captured, the most important phase begins — extraction of the information you need from that document.
    SupremeScan gives you your choice of two methods for processing documents, allowing you to select the method that works best for your workers and your technology environment:

    Device-side processing
    The mobile device processes image, extracts data and stores the extracted data in the right record on the device.
    • advantage: Since a wireless network connection is not required, device-side processing is ideal for workers in areas with spotty coverage; when network bandwidth is a concern; for native applications where all data is stored locally; or when application response times are critical — for example, for law enforcement officers.

    Cloud-based processing
    Use SupremeScan to capture an image of your documents.
    Your application can then utilize cloud-based resources to complete the processing, extraction and storing of data in the appropriate record.
    • advantage: Leverage the power of the cloud for real-time operations or complex advanced processing

    Put SupremeScan to work in your business

    SupremeScan is at home in many different vertical markets, where it can help streamline any business process that requires the capture and movement of information on forms, including:

    a)Transportation and Logistics
    • Proof of Delivery [PoD]
    • Container ID reading
    • Bill of Lading

    b)Manufacturing
    • Asset tracking
    • Intelligent picking
    • Process flow validation
    Healthcare
    • Product packaging

    c)Field Service
    • Invoicing / service automation
    • Key text extraction

    d)Government
    • Travel document parsing (Machine Readable Zones (MRZs) in passports, visas and other similar documents)

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Executive Summary
    Today’s manufacturing and logistics organizations are leveraging advances in mobile technologies to drive operational efficiencies, achieve more intimate and engaging customer interactions and, ultimately, create competitive differentiation.
    From field service and sales to delivery and distribution these business critical processes are often tied to the ability to access and act on real time data using mobile solutions by remote mobile workers.
    Selecting the most appropriate mobile solution to support these workflows and applications is challenging amid the rapid pace of change and innovation and considering the myriad mobile form factor, OS, and I/O options available.
    With the performance of these lines of business workflows closely tied to the reliability and robustness of the mobile solutions supporting them, minimizing mobile device and application downtime and failure is of utmost importance.
    In fact, according to VDC Research, each percentage point increase in failure directly translates into a five percent increase in cost of ownership.
    This white paper will explore the total cost of ownership models for mobile line of business solutions for manufacturing and logistics workflows and key factors and considerations to review when making investment decisions.

    (To be continue……)

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Manufacturing and Logistics Operations:
    From the Industrial Revolution to the Age of Information Manufacturing and logistics organizations globally are in the midst of a massive transformation. Compelled by shifts in markets and key technological advances the competitive dynamic among these organizations is transforming and introducing a new phase of innovation, growth and opportunity.
    Given the macro trends, manufacturing and logistics organizations are investing in alternative approaches to evolve their businesses and differentiate their competitive footprint. One overarching strategy centers on the integration of new services with product offerings to introduce added value throughout the products lifecycle.
    One critical factor behind much of this transformation is that investments in more traditional approaches to improving performance – especially around optimizing manufacturing operations – have largely been exhausted.
    Manufacturing organizations today view investments in operational optimization as a cost of business rather than a long term competitive differentiation.

    Rather, manufacturing and logistics organizations are shifting focus towards product and service delivery innovation and are looking for differentiated approaches to engage and interact with customers.
    In addition, closer integration between service and integration functions to leverage services to drive product design and development enhancements are examples of next generation manufacturing initiatives.
    Consistent themes supporting these developments are the need for more accurate and real time data and a more collaborative workforce to drive highly scalable and distributed decision making.
    Put another way, mobile workers and the wireless technologies supporting them are central to many of these strategic initiatives.

    Mobile workers in the manufacturing and durable goods wholesaling sectors support a variety of critical workflows including service operations, field sales, asset inspection and management and delivery services among others.
    For these organizations, frontline mobile workers represent essential customer facing and engagement professionals whose capabilities are directly enhanced by mobile and wireless driven improvements in real time decision making capabilities and workgroup collaboration.
    Forward looking organizations are focusing on transforming their customer service business and are leveraging significant mobile and wireless technology advances and more capable field service automation software to address these needs. In this vein, the hard line drawn previously between field service and field sales (including Direct Store Delivery) is blurring.

    Some of these critical mobile developments and considerations include:
    • Field service automation solutions have been well documented to cut costs, improve visibility, and optimize service delivery with the recaptured field technician time conservatively resulting in an extra work order per month per technician.
    • However, next generation solutions are migrating beyond task optimization and integrating more advanced capabilities that drive new revenue and evolve the service operation from a cost to a profit center. Specific benefits include improved cash flow and improved up sell opportunities for additional work and service contracts and providing a lead in a structured and manageable capacity so action is expeditious.
    • Real time wireless connectivity has become a critical consideration for field service solutions with advancements in wireless connectivity and improvements to offline capabilities allowing field workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively with headquarters, back-end systems, and other field workers.

    (To be continue…..)

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Although the benefits of automating field worker workflows and equipping these frontline workers with mobile solutions is clear and has been well documented, for many operations, field services continue to represent a weak link in the sense that these operations are siloed from the overall organization.
    This is in part a factor of the highly decentralized approach organizations have taken in running their service operations.
    In addition, in most major markets we are witnessing an increase in field service workload and the costs associated with field service activities due to the introduction of sophisticated new technologies and growing demand from customers for both a wider range and a greater reliability in services. As a consequence of these developments we are beginning to witness a growing skills gap within the field service and route accounting workforce and a demographic transition as a large share of the field-based workers is set to retire.

    Well designed and implemented field automation solutions are addressing many of the pain points and shortcomings of legacy solutions. One critical element of this decision process is selecting the right mobile device for field-based workers. With the recent advances in mobile and wireless technologies the capabilities and performance of mobile devices has reached unprecedented levels. Moreover, the options available to enterprise decision makers – especially considering the myriad form factors, mobile OS platforms, application design options – can be daunting.

    Especially in these times of dramatic change to the mobile landscape, VDC Research believes that a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model that focuses on the most powerful technical and operational cost drivers will provide customers with an accurate baseline from which they can make mobile and wireless investment decisions.
    A critical aspect of any successful TCO analysis needs to include the business elements of TCO. These include length of deployment/replacement cycles, failure rates and causes, opportunity cost of lost productivity, to name a few. Only through such a full analysis, organizations can determine the solution which will best serve the company.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Mobile Device Requirements among Field Based Manufacturing and Logistics Workers: A Moving Target
    While mobile investment opportunities in the manufacturing and logistics industries are growing, key decision makers are faced with multiple technical and deployment options in today’s fast paced mobile landscape.
    From mobile OS, and form factor to level of ruggedness, I/O, and application design the options are virtually limitless.
    In addition with the influx of consumer devices and platforms the potential for confusion is real.

    For enterprise mobility solutions and field service or field sales automation applications, the mobile device selection decision is manifesting itself in the rugged vs. non-rugged (or consumer device) debate.
    The appeal of consumer devices for business and mission critical enterprise work flows is real, however, this appeal extends well beyond their low adoption cost. The appeal of today’s consumer smartphone or tablet has as much to do with its appealing, intuitive and immersive user experience and interface, the ergonomic design of these devices and vast ecosystem of applications, accessories and other customization options available.

    While the importance of rugged mobile solutions for frontline workers is clear – almost eight in ten decision makers claim that some level of ruggedness is critical in a mobile device – there is a need for this vendor community to embrace the developments and benefits coming from consumer solutions.
    Moreover, for many manufacturing and logistics organizations, their field workers represent an important interpretation of their brand and value proposition in front of their clients. Ensuring that the mobile device used by these workers best reflects that is a growing concern and requirement.

    We are beginning to witness leading rugged solutions providers such as Motorola Solutions address these requirements with newer touch-centric form factors, more ergonomic design and more intuitively designed applications and user interfaces.
    For us, it is these developments that represent true “consumerization of IT”. In other words, not the adoption of consumer technologies in enterprise work flows but rather the application of consumer design and interface in enterprise mobile devices. For business and mission critical workflows in the manufacturing and logistics sectors this distinction is critical.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    The Evolving TCO Model Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analyses offer a core measurement to understanding the cost and benefits of mobile solutions. Such analyses are likely to be elevated in importance over the next year due to the need for greater diligence on investment, the growing options available to enterprises and, ultimately, the impact of Meta themes like consumerization and BYOD on field service and field sales automation. At the same time, upfront costs will become critical determinants for organizations looking to spend the least possible for the most substantial, immediate gain.

    TCO is not a standard measurement implemented in mobile deployment evaluations. According to VDC end user data, only 31.6% of respondents performed a TCO analysis during their most recent mobile computing deployment. Key reasons for the lack of TCO analysis is the expense, mistrust of outsider assessment, and lack of justification.

    However, the core idea behind TCO – to measure direct and indirect costs of an investment over time to determine its viability – is a sound and useful business concept. Having a full view of the cost a mobile computing deployment over its lifetime provides insight into the type of ruggedness that needs to be deployed. In particularly, TCO analysis can show the significance in cost of failed devices and the need for a higher level of ruggedness to prevent that failure.

    VDC defines TCO to include the following components:

    Hard costs (Deployment costs): hardware, accessories, software, implementation, and training costs
    Soft costs (Operational costs): productivity loss, opportunity loss, and IT support costs

    Easily quantified through supplier estimates, a majority of TCO analyses overly rely on hard costs. In fact, hard costs for a consumer smartphone for field workers may only account for less than 10% of the deployment’s TCO over a five year period. One of the most striking misunderstandings in TCO is how little hard costs actually matter in the total cost of the deployment, yet price remains the leading product selection criteria among end users.

    Soft costs make up the bulk of TCO and the greatest expenses in soft costs relates to costs that occur in lost productivity, IT expenses, and opportunity cost when a device fails. Considering that mobile field workers in the manufacturing sector spend less than 50% on actual service, maintenance and other direct productivity tasks, optimizing their time is critical.

    According to VDC end user research, the leading causes of device failure are dropping the device and water liquid exposure, two relatively common experiences. Through built-in protections against these and other causes of failure, rugged handheld mobile computers on average experience a 5% annual failure rate compared to commercial grade smartphones which experience a 23% annual failure rate supporting similar field mobile workflows in the manufacturing and logistics sectors.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    The Correlation Between Mobile Device Failure and TCO The factor with one of the greatest impacts on device TCO is productivity loss when a device fails. For field-based applications, mobile device failures result in up to 140 minutes in lost productivity. Consequently, each percentage point increase in device failure can yield in excess of a five percentage point increase in total cost of ownership.

    According to VDC’s TCO analysis of mobile computing deployments, for many users and mobile computing applications there is a correlation between increasing ruggedness and decreased cost over the life of the deployment where there are hazards within the deployment environment that cause failure.
    Long misinterpreted, many organizations do not recognize that failed devices quickly add up to significant costs.

    Therefore, when approaching a mobility investment, it is imperative to balance the user, application, deployment environment, and – perhaps most importantly – the mission criticality of the applications. As the majority of the cost of owning and deploying a mobile computer is not in the upfront hardware acquisition costs, but rather in the life-time operational and management cost, not selecting the appropriate platform will have substantial negative cost ramifications.

    Rugged mobile computers are replaced far less often than commercial-grade devices. While it is expected that commercial-grade solutions have a shorter life span than rugged mobile computers, a higher amount of commercial-grade failures leads to early replacement, rather than repair. These costs start to replicate in various ways that continue to increase the TCO for commercial units.

    Indirect and direct cost of failure and replacement include:

    • Higher turnover of consumer smartphones. Within a typical year, this result in organizations managing a mixed deployment, adding costs related to maintaining multiple versions of hardware and software.

    • Replacements that result in mixed deployments create need for the worker to learn the configuration of new hardware. Also it requires time and often frustration for IT staff to support two or three versions of hardware in troubleshooting and purchasing software solutions that work across units.

    • Devices bought at subsidized prices at the initial deployment (typically a consumer business model) are no longer subsidized for replacement, greatly increasing the purchasing price.

    • In the event of a device failure, the worker is forced out of commission from their normal operations. Workers then waste time troubleshooting and bringing the device back to the IT department.

    • There is a significant lost opportunity costs as a consequence of an unproductive and disconnected mobile worker. Issues such as lost sales, mobile worker profitability, customer service erosion and the potential long term impact on customer loyalty all need to be taken into consideration.

    • Beyond costs to fix problems, IT departments burdened with fixing devices spend less time managing and improving their IT infrastructure.

    • Soft losses include less implementation of preventative IT actions and less time to find better solutions that could improve worker efficiency.

    • Wireless communication failure causes the worker to spend time reconnecting their solution, reloading programs, and reentering data. Session persistence is necessary for efficient work.

    • Wireless communication failure also causes a break in the stream of information for backend dispatch systems. Because many make adjustments based on real time information, this defeats many of the efficiencies these solutions were designed to achieve.

    As a consequence of many of these factors the TCO of mobile devices used in manufacturing and distribution workflows that have a propensity to fail can rapidly escalate. In fact, based on our research, the TCO of non-rugged consumer devices used in the line of business environments is often more than twice the TCO of a similar form factor rugged solution. Moreover, almost 90% of the TCO of non-rugged devices is associated with post deployment ‘soft costs’.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Aligning Mobile Devices with End User Environments The largest determinant for making appropriate investment decisions are mapping device specifications to the potential hazards in the deployment environment. For instance, many field mobile workers in the manufacturing and logistics sectors are using their devices in direct sunlight conditions, are leaving devices in vehicles where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F and may use the device with gloved hands or in wet conditions.

    While in current recessionary times, Supremesoft recognizes that organizations are looking to streamline investments to gain the most bang for the buck, ruggedness should not be viewed as a ‘luxury-item’ that can be forsaken. By preventing the burgeoning costs of failure, rugged solutions more than make up for their price tag within a five year period.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Consumer Mobile Device Challenges Extend Beyond Failure Rates

    The recent advances we have witnessed to mobile technologies have been staggering. Many of these were innovations first made available on consumer devices. As a result the desire to leverage these sophisticated new consumer devices in the enterprise across a variety of use cases is very real.
    Moreover, trends like BYOD have radically changed how mobile devices enter the enterprise and how they are supported.
    However, in scenarios where the mobile device is central to supporting the enterprise workflow – such as among field service workers in manufacturing or delivery personnel in wholesale distribution and logistics – the need for a more traditional or centralized approach to mobile technology deployment that address both the needs of the ultimate end user AND the IT support organization is critical.
    IT organizations must approve and manage the mobile devices and applications in these scenarios and use cases. Not doing so will severely limit the ROI potential of the solution.

    With an ever expanding mobile workforce, enterprises are keen on benefitting from mobility solutions across their organization. This includes deploying consumer devices to critical line of business mobile workers with a combination of I/O and support accessories. However, it is among this segment of the workforce that we are witnessing the greatest challenges for these devices. Included among the challenges are:

    • Protective cases help but do not address the full spectrum of issues. While protective cases do decrease failure caused by dropping devices, the device remains vulnerable to other issues such as exposure to extreme temperatures, dust and vibration. In addition, the display is still vulnerable and exposed when dropped directly onto the corner of a hard surface.

    • Battery performance and management is a concern. Greater than full shift battery performance is a critical requirement for enterprise use cases. According to VDC’s research, more than seven in ten smartphone users frequently or occasionally experience batteries not lasting an entire shift. For devices that do not provide access to the battery, this often translates into the need to purchase additional backup devices.

    • Lifecycle management and sustainable application development are key enterprise needs. While enterprises want to take advantage of the rapid pace of mobile and wireless innovation and do not want to get “locked” into a mobile platform, the rapid upgrade cycle of consumer technology cannot be realistically supported for more sophisticated enterprise mobility solutions. A regular cadence to upgrades and the assurance of longer support scenarios is a critical enterprise requirement and key limitation among consumer devices.

    • The need for enterprise grade data capture. For many field mobile applications and workflows, the ability to capture data efficiently and seamlessly is important. This often translates into the need for an enterprise grade image capture/bar code reader solution. While third party accessories that support industrial data capture and that can be coupled with consumer devices exist, enterprises prefer an integrated solution. Avoiding the accessory cost and management complexities is considered a key benefit.

    • Mobile OS mix and potential for fragmentation more acute with consumer devices. Windows OS has been the dominant platform for ruggedized devices. Conversely, on consumer devices, OSes with modern and intuitive interfaces are pervasive. The clear trend in the market is towards a multi-OS environment, especially for mobile devices.
    However, enterprises are risk averse and are looking to mitigate OS platform risk wherever possible. This means sustainability and lifecycle support when it comes to application development and design, seamless back-office integration capabilities and the use of non-proprietary open tools in a highly scalable and reliable framework.

    • Support for unique enterprise functionality for specialized workflows. From DEX requirements in Direct Store Delivery (DSD) to serial port interfaces in asset management applications, I/O configurations for many enterprise applications can be far from common. One of the strong benefits of specialized enterprise mobile devices is in their design flexibility to support unique interface requirements.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Identifying the Ideal Enterprise Mobile Device

    Ultimately manufacturing and logistics organizations investing in mobile field service, sales and distribution solutions are looking to identify the ideal mobile device and solution to support these business-critical work flows.
    Clearly understanding and evaluating all factors that influence the success of a deployment, from environmental and technical factors to ease of use, intuitiveness and sustainability of application design will lead to more successful investments and contribute to a higher ROI.
    However, this comes down to more than rugged vs. non-rugged design. We are witnessing rugged vendors rise to the challenge as they introduce next generation solutions that embrace many of the advances made popular on consumer devices including more ergonomic and aesthetic design, improved ease of use and user experience in an enterprise friendly capability.

    A TCO model that takes into account the soft costs (i.e. productivity loss, IT expenses, and opportunity cost of failed mobile computers) will provide organizations with a more accurate baseline from which they can make mobile and wireless investment decisions. While this trend is not new, access to investment capital is adding a new level of significance to optimizing every penny.

    While slimmer IT budgets will tempt evaluators to pick solutions with the lower price tag, often organizations will end up spending significantly more on downgraded solutions over time. Organizations looking to deploy mobile computers outside the office space with operational-critical or even high value applications will want to consider a higher grade of ruggedness through the lens of a TCO analysis

  • Field Mobility: Investment Acumen for Next Generation Mobile Solutions – White paper

    Executive Summary
    Organizations with extensive field workforces – such as logistics, delivery and field service operations – are leveraging advances in mobile technologies to drive operational efficiencies, achieve more intimate and engaging customer interactions and, ultimately, create competitive differentiation.
    From field service and sales to delivery and distribution these business critical processes are often tied to the ability to access and act on real time data using mobile solutions by remote mobile workers.
    Selecting the most appropriate mobile solution to support these workflows and applications is challenging amid the rapid pace of change and innovation and considering the myriad mobile form factor, OS, and I/O options available.
    With the performance of these lines of business workflows closely tied to the reliability and robustness of the mobile solutions supporting them, minimizing mobile device and application downtime and failure is of utmost importance.
    In fact, according to VDC Research, each percentage point increase in failure directly translates into a five percent increase in cost of ownership.
    This white paper will explore the total cost of ownership models for mobile line of business solutions for logistics and field service workflows and key factors and considerations to review when making investment decisions.

  • Field Mobility: Investment Acumen for Next Generation Mobile Solutions – White paper

    Field Mobile Workers: The Frontline of Customer Service

    Today’s customer is demanding. When it comes to service their expectations are uncompromising with heightened levels of responsiveness and customer intimacy required.
    For many organizations the field worker represents their primary direct interface with their customers. One trend among organizations with field mobile workers is clear, however.
    In addition to the all-time goal of improving mobile worker productivity and process efficiencies, these organizations are deploying mobile solutions to these workers to enhance customer satisfaction and drive loyalty and retention.

    Forward looking organizations are focusing on transforming their customer service business and are leveraging significant mobile and wireless technology advances to address these needs. These organizations are separating themselves from their peers when measuring many of the critical service metrics.
    Substantial improvements in response time compliance, delivery efficiency, first time fix rate and overall workforce utilization are directly contributing not only to improved customer experiences but are similarly effecting sales growth and profitability.

    Some of these critical mobile developments and considerations include:

    • Field service automation solutions have been well documented to cut costs, improve visibility, and optimize service delivery with the recaptured field technician time conservatively resulting in an extra work order per month per technician. The increases in workforce utilization and first-time fix are helping the companies to achieve their goals as the efficiency gains through these metrics can help tremendously in customer-facing roles.

    • However, next generation solutions are migrating beyond task optimization and integrating more advanced capabilities such as system suggested up-selling and automated cash collection that drive new revenue and evolve the service operation from a cost to a profit center. Specific benefits include improved cash flow and improved up sell opportunities for additional work and service contracts and providing a lead in a structured and manageable capacity so action is expeditious.

    • Real time wireless connectivity has become a critical consideration for field mobile solutions with advancements in wireless connectivity and improvements to offline capabilities allowing field workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively with headquarters, back-end systems, and other field workers.

    Well designed and implemented field mobility solutions are addressing many of these next generation service and logistics requirements. One critical element of this decision process is selecting the right mobile device for field-based workers. With the recent advances in mobile and wireless technologies the capabilities and performance of mobile devices has reached unprecedented levels. Moreover, the options available to enterprise decision makers – especially considering the myriad form factors, mobile OS platforms, application design options – can be daunting.

    Especially in these times of dramatic change to the mobile landscape, VDC Research believes that a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model that focuses on the most powerful technical and operational cost drivers will provide customers with an accurate baseline from which they can make mobile and wireless investment decisions. A critical aspect of any successful TCO analysis needs to include the business elements of TCO. These include length of deployment/replacement cycles, failure rates and causes, opportunity cost of lost productivity, to name a few. Only through such a full analysis, organizations can determine the solution which will best serve the company.

  • Field Mobility: Investment Acumen for Next Generation Mobile Solutions – White paper

    Mobile Device Requirements among Field Workers: A Moving Target

    While mobile investment opportunities to support field mobile workers is growing, key decision makers are faced with multiple technical and deployment options in today’s fast paced mobile landscape.
    From mobile OS, and form factor to level of ruggedness, I/O, and application design the options are virtually limitless. In addition with the influx of consumer devices and platforms and the advances in BYOD policy development, the potential for confusion is real.

    For enterprise mobility solutions supporting field mobile workers, the mobile device selection decision is manifesting itself in the rugged vs. non-rugged (or consumer device) debate.
    The appeal of consumer devices for business and mission critical enterprise work flows is real; however, this appeal extends well beyond their low adoption cost.
    The appeal of today’s consumer smartphone or tablet has as much to do with its intuitive and immersive user experience and interface, the ergonomic design of these devices and vast ecosystem of applications, accessories and other customization options available.

    However, the benefits of rugged design cannot be understated as eight in ten technology decision makers confirm that mobile device quality and durability represents a key feature for field mobile solutions.
    According to a leading US-based logistics organization, they have found that a reliable, industrial grade device is essential for their operations. The devices are exposed to all weather conditions and they need a device that can reliably withstand rain, sleet, snow, extreme temperatures, and potential drops to concrete or asphalt. Moreover, mobile logistics workers can support as many as 100 stops per day meaning that the device is frequently in and out of the vehicle increasingly the likelihood of it being dropped and damaged.
    Their workers and customers depend on these devices to collect package status information and electronic signatures at the point of pickup and delivery so uptime and reliability is essential.

    An alternative that many organizations are evaluating is using a cover or case to protect a consumer device. However, while a consumer device with a rugged case can improve durability it does not protect against all environmental concerns and would not be able to survive several years supporting field mobile workflows. Moreover, the screen on a consumer device is a major concern and point of failure.
    As most consumer devices use a thin layer of glass to cover the display they are vulnerable to cracking if they are dropped. While consumer devices – and the cases supporting them – will improve the durability characteristics, they are not viable to successfully support many of these business critical workflows.

    The benefits of rugged enterprise mobile devices extend beyond their durability, however, and also extend to the stability of the platform and strong lifecycle support provided vendors. While iOS devices do offer reasonable consistency and devices are generally supported for several years, this issue is especially acute with consumer Android devices.
    However, at the same time, technology decision makers are keen on leveraging the intuitiveness and ease of use of mobile applications made popular on consumer devices while also addressing the reliability and support requirements essential to their operations. We are beginning to witness leading rugged solutions providers such as Motorola Solutions address these requirements with newer touch-centric form factors, more ergonomic design and more intuitively designed applications and user interfaces. For us, it is these developments that represent true “consumerization of IT”. In other words, not the adoption of consumer technologies in enterprise work flows but rather the application of consumer design and interface in enterprise mobile devices. For business and mission critical workflows in manufacturing and logistics sectors this distinction is critical.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    The Evolving TCO Model

    Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analyses offer a core measurement to understanding the cost and benefits of mobile solutions. Such analyses are likely to be elevated in importance over the next year due to the need for greater diligence on investment, the growing options available to enterprises and, ultimately, the impact of Meta themes like consumerization and BYOD on field service and field sales automation. At the same time, upfront costs will become critical determinants for organizations looking to spend the least possible for the most substantial, immediate gain.

    TCO is not a standard measurement implemented in mobile deployment evaluations. According to VDC end user data, only 31.6% of respondents performed a TCO analysis during their most recent mobile computing deployment. Key reasons for the lack of TCO analysis is the expense, mistrust of outsider assessment, and lack of justification.

    However, the core idea behind TCO – to measure direct and indirect costs of an investment over time to determine its viability – is a sound and useful business concept. Having a full view of the cost a mobile computing deployment over its lifetime provides insight into the type of ruggedness that needs to be deployed.
    In particularly, TCO analysis can show the significance in cost of failed devices and the need for a higher level of ruggedness to prevent that failure.

    VDC defines TCO to include the following components:

    Hard costs (Deployment costs): hardware, accessories, software, implementation, and training costs
    Soft costs (Operational costs): productivity loss, opportunity loss, and IT support costs

    Easily quantified through supplier estimates, a majority of TCO analyses overly rely on hard costs. In fact, hard costs for a consumer smartphone for field workers may only account for less than 10% of the deployment’s TCO over a five year period. One of the most striking misunderstandings in TCO is how little hard costs actually matter in the total cost of the deployment, yet price remains the leading product selection criteria among end users.

    Soft costs make up the bulk of TCO and the greatest expenses in soft costs relates to costs that occur in lost productivity, IT expenses, and opportunity cost when a device fails. Considering that mobile field workers in the manufacturing sector spend less than 50% on actual service, maintenance and other direct productivity tasks, optimizing their time is critical.

    According to VDC end user research, the leading causes of device failure are dropping the device and water liquid exposure, two relatively common experiences. Through built-in protections against these and other causes of failure, rugged handheld mobile computers on average experience a 5% annual failure rate compared to commercial grade smartphones which experience a 23% annual failure rate supporting similar field mobile workflows in the manufacturing and logistics sectors.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    The Correlation between Mobile Device Failure and TCO

    The factor with one of the greatest impacts on device TCO is productivity loss when a device fails. For field-based applications, mobile device failures result in up to 140 minutes in lost productivity. Consequently, each percentage point increase in device failure can yield in excess of a five percentage point increase in total cost of ownership.

    According to VDC’s TCO analysis of mobile computing deployments, for many users and mobile computing applications there is a correlation between increasing ruggedness and decreased cost over the life of the deployment where there are hazards within the deployment environment that cause failure. Long misinterpreted, many organizations do not recognize that failed devices quickly add up to significant costs. Therefore, when approaching a mobility investment, it is imperative to balance the user, application, deployment environment, and – perhaps most importantly – the mission criticality of the applications. As the majority of the cost of owning and deploying a mobile computer is not in the upfront hardware acquisition costs, but rather in the life-time operational and management cost, not selecting the appropriate platform will have substantial negative cost ramifications.

    Rugged mobile computers are replaced far less often than commercial-grade devices. While it is expected that commercial-grade solutions have a shorter life span than rugged mobile computers, a higher amount of commercial-grade failures leads to early replacement, rather than repair. These costs start to replicate in various ways that continue to increase the TCO for commercial units.

    Indirect and direct cost of failure and replacement include:

    • Higher turnover of consumer smartphones. Within a typical year, this result in organizations managing a mixed deployment, adding costs related to maintaining multiple versions of hardware and software.

    • Replacements that result in mixed deployments create need for the worker to learn the configuration of new hardware. Also it requires time and often frustration for IT staff to support two or three versions of hardware in troubleshooting and purchasing software solutions that work across units.

    • Devices bought at subsidized prices at the initial deployment (typically a consumer business model) are no longer subsidized for replacement, greatly increasing the purchasing price.

    • In the event of a device failure, the worker is forced out of commission from their normal operations. Workers then waste time troubleshooting and bringing the device back to the IT department.

    • There is a significant lost opportunity costs as a consequence of an unproductive and disconnected mobile worker. Issues such as lost sales, mobile worker profitability, customer service erosion and the potential long term impact on customer loyalty all need to be taken into consideration.

    • Beyond costs to fix problems, IT departments burdened with fixing devices spend less time managing and improving their IT infrastructure.

    • Soft losses include less implementation of preventative IT actions and less time to find better solutions that could improve worker efficiency.

    • Wireless communication failure causes the worker to spend time reconnecting their solution, reloading programs, and reentering data. Session persistence is necessary for efficient work.

    • Wireless communication failure also causes a break in the stream of information for backend dispatch systems. Because many make adjustments based on real time information, this defeats many of the efficiencies these solutions were designed to achieve.

    As a consequence of many of these factors the TCO of mobile devices used in manufacturing and distribution workflows that have a propensity to fail can rapidly escalate. In fact, based on our research, the TCO of non-rugged consumer devices used in the line of business environments is often more than twice the TCO of a similar form factor rugged solution. Moreover, almost 90% of the TCO of non-rugged devices is associated with post deployment ‘soft costs’.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Aligning Mobile Devices with End User Environments

    The largest determinant for making appropriate investment decisions are mapping device specifications to the potential hazards in the deployment environment. For instance, many field mobile workers in the manufacturing and logistics sectors are using their devices in direct sunlight conditions, are leaving devices in vehicles where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F and may use the device with gloved hands or in wet conditions.

    While in current recessionary times, VDC recognizes that organizations are looking to streamline investments to gain the most bang for the buck, ruggedness should not be viewed as a ‘luxury-item’ that can be forsaken. By preventing the burgeoning costs of failure, rugged solutions more than make up for their price tag within a five year period.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Consumer Mobile Device Challenges Extend Beyond Failure Rates

    The recent advances we have witnessed to mobile technologies have been staggering. Many of these were innovations first made available on consumer devices. As a result the desire to leverage these sophisticated new consumer devices in the enterprise across a variety of use cases is very real.

    Moreover, trends like BYOD have radically changed how mobile devices enter the enterprise and how they are supported. However, in scenarios where the mobile device is central to supporting the enterprise workflow – such as among field service workers in manufacturing or delivery personnel in wholesale distribution and logistics – the need for a more traditional or centralized approach to mobile technology deployment that address both the needs of the ultimate end user AND the IT support organization is critical.

    IT organizations must approve and manage the mobile devices and applications in these scenarios and use cases. Not doing so will severely limit the ROI potential of the solution.

    With an ever expanding mobile workforce, enterprises are keen on benefitting from mobility solutions across their organization. This includes deploying consumer devices to critical line of business mobile workers with a combination of I/O and support accessories. However, it is among this segment of the workforce that we are witnessing the greatest challenges for these devices. Included among the challenges are:

    • Protective cases help but do not address the full spectrum of issues. While protective cases do decrease failure caused by dropping devices, the device remains vulnerable to other issues such as exposure to extreme temperatures, dust and vibration. In addition, the display is still vulnerable and exposed when dropped directly onto the corner of a hard surface.

    • Battery performance and management is a concern. Greater than full shift battery performance is a critical requirement for enterprise use cases. According to VDC’s research, more than seven in ten smartphone users frequently or occasionally experience batteries not lasting an entire shift. For devices that do not provide access to the battery, this often translates into the need to purchase additional backup devices.

    • Lifecycle management and sustainable application development are key enterprise needs. While enterprises want to take advantage of the rapid pace of mobile and wireless innovation and do not want to get “locked” into a mobile platform, the rapid upgrade cycle of consumer technology cannot be realistically supported for more sophisticated enterprise mobility solutions. A regular cadence to upgrades and the assurance of longer support scenarios is a critical enterprise requirement and key limitation among consumer devices.

    • The need for enterprise grade data capture. For many field mobile applications and workflows, the ability to capture data efficiently and seamlessly is important. This often translates into the need for an enterprise grade image capture/bar code reader solution. While third party accessories that support industrial data capture and that can be coupled with consumer devices exist, enterprises prefer an integrated solution. Avoiding the accessory cost and management complexities is considered a key benefit.

    • Mobile OS mix and potential for fragmentation more acute with consumer devices. Windows OS has been the dominant platform for ruggedized devices. Conversely, on consumer devices, OSes with modern and intuitive interfaces are pervasive. The clear trend in the market is towards a multi-OS environment, especially for mobile devices. However, enterprises are risk averse and are looking to mitigate OS platform risk wherever possible. This means sustainability and lifecycle support when it comes to application development and design, seamless back-office integration capabilities and the use of non-proprietary open tools in a highly scalable and reliable framework.

    • Support for unique enterprise functionality for specialized workflows. From DEX requirements in Direct Store Delivery (DSD) to serial port interfaces in asset management applications, I/O configurations for many enterprise applications can be far from common. One of the strong benefits of specialized enterprise mobile devices is in their design flexibility to support unique interface requirements.

  • MOBILITY IN MANUFACTURING AND LOGISTICS – White paper

    Identifying the Ideal Enterprise Mobile Device

    Ultimately organizations investing in mobile field service, sales and distribution solutions are looking to identify the ideal mobile device and solution to support these business-critical work flows. Clearly understanding and evaluating all factors that influence the success of a deployment, from environmental and technical factors to ease of use, intuitiveness and sustainability of application design will lead to more successful investments and contribute to a higher ROI.

    However, this comes down to more than rugged vs. non-rugged design. We are witnessing rugged vendors rise to the challenge as they introduce next generation solutions that embrace many of the advances made popular on consumer devices including more ergonomic and aesthetic design, improved ease of use and user experience in an enterprise friendly capability.

    A TCO model that takes into account the soft costs (i.e. productivity loss, IT expenses, and opportunity cost of failed mobile computers) will provide organizations with a more accurate baseline from which they can make mobile and wireless investment decisions. While this trend is not new, access to investment capital is adding a new level of significance to optimizing every penny.

    While slimmer IT budgets will tempt evaluators to pick solutions with the lower price tag, often organizations will end up spending significantly more on downgraded solutions over time. Organizations looking to deploy mobile computers outside the office space with operational-critical or even high value applications will want to consider a higher grade of ruggedness through the lens of a TCO analysis.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY
    MANUFACTURERS ARE CONNECTING OPERATIONS TO GAIN GREATER VISIBILITY AND IMPROVE QUALITY ASSURANCE ASIA PACIFIC

    QUALITY ISN’T AN OPTION

    In the not-too-distant past, manufacturers frequently looked for ways to save money on labor, overhead, and supply costs to effectively compete in the global marketplace. However, the rising number of product variants, the growing price of materials and rising customer expectations are shifting that model. Today, forward-thinking companies are embracing a quality-minded philosophy, and it is paving an alternate route to growth and profitability. New processes and technology advancements are enabling companies to focus on quality and reap the rewards that an automated and connected plant floor can deliver.

    According to the survey, manufacturers are introducing quality checkpoints and automation at more stages in the process. After all, checking the status of a product after it’s assembled and finding an imperfection not only slows down production and increases costs, but it also makes it significantly more difficult to identify the point-of-failure.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    TOP STRATEGIES TO DRIVE GROWTH & IMPROVE FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

    1. IMPROVE ABILITY TO ADJUST TO FLUCTUATING MARKET DEMAND
    2. DECREASE COST OF PRODUCTION
    3. INCREASE TOTAL PRODUCTION / THROUGHPUT
    4. INCREASE VISIBILITY ACROSS THE ENTERPRISE
    5. INCREASE NUMBER OF PRODUCT VARIANTS

    STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

    The global manufacturing industry is in the midst of a dramatic transformation that will profoundly alter plant floor operations. With a desire to connect every stage of the manufacturing process, including end-to-end supply chain fulfillment, manufacturers are turning to automation to improve quality and gain unprecedented visibility.
    Driven in large measure by globalization, intensifying competition and, perhaps most importantly, increasingly complex bills of materials due to rising customer demands for product variety — a connected plant floor has become a necessity to ensure high-quality products.
    For the first time in decades, investment decisions are no longer being driven by short-term return on investment (ROI) calculations alone, but increasingly on long-term quality performance metrics. Companies simply can’t afford to produce defective or sub-standard products and maintain their competitive edge.

    The cost of poor quality in terms of scrap, reworks, returns and defects is simply too high. Add to that customer complaints, a lack of customer confidence, and ultimately the loss of brand loyalty, and it’s evident that poor quality products can cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. In their quest to achieve error-free production, suppliers and manufacturers are making incremental changes to their plant floor operations and moving toward a fully connected, smart factory.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    THE RISING IMPORTANCE OF IIoT

    Manufacturers are adopting Industry 4.0 and the smart factory, in which workers use a combination of RFID, wearables, automated systems and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralized decisions.*
    In the factory and across the supply chain, firms are also capitalizing on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve real-time visibility into their goods, assets, processes and places.
    With automation comes instant access to data which is essential to ensuring that the production process operates smoothly. Importantly, data gives suppliers the ability to anticipate the needs of their customers. It also enables manufactures to keep less inventory on hand and eliminate points-of-failure.

    In fact, 60 percent of respondents stated that improving their ability to adjust to fluctuating market demands is one of their top business growth strategies.
    Manufacturers are already realizing the very real benefits of data connectivity: increased visibility into the entire manufacturing process; an accelerated pace in shipping and receiving; faster identification of points-of-failure; and deeper insights into the interworkings of their operations.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    IIoT MOVES BEYOND THE HYPE

    At the heart of IIoT is the way companies capture and share data. The ability to have data about inventory needs immediately available in the cloud and available to both plant floor managers and suppliers offers unheard-of visibility that heightens operational performance. Currently, 24 percent of those surveyed are collecting data from production, supply chain and workers, however the data is remaining in silos rendering much of the intelligence it can provide untapped. In the future, that number is expected to drop to nine percent by 2022, thereby signaling the importance of providing access to this type of critical data to improve productivity and streamline operations

    CONNECTED FACTORY EXPECTATIONS

    Technologies that connect assets, inventory and equipment are essential pieces of the IIoT puzzle. Manufacturers are beginning to see the many benefits of having fully connected operations that include the supply chain. The factory of the future needs end-to-end supply chain visibility on the plant floor to improve productivity and increase quality, which is precisely what IIoT delivers. The number of companies supporting a fully connected factory is expected to nearly triple by 2022 with 46 percent of those surveyed anticipate having this capability.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    A WORTHY CHALLENGE

    The goal of achieving end-to-end visibility in manufacturing and across the supply chain isn’t easy to attain. There are many barriers to adoption, most notably the costs and highly complex processes associated with integrating this functionality into existing systems.
    Often, proprietary legacy systems require a full rip-and-replace to achieve the integration needed for optimal IIoT. It’s likely this is the reason respondents rated complexity of technology and availability of IT resources among the top reasons they aren’t yet realizing a fully connected factory.
    Fortunately, new advancements in technology are making it possible to integrate these legacy systems and are simplifying the process.
    While initial implementation may be difficult, manufacturers want to improve quality and therefore must adopt these processes. In fact, 34 percent of those surveyed expect to support a connected factory by 2022. IIoT deployment may occur in incremental stages, but to stay competitive companies are confronting these challenges.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    BENEFITS OUTWEIGH COSTS

    Companies are aware that IIoT is something they need to adopt. Interestingly, getting executive buy-in or estimating ROI for making such investments do not rate as respondents’ top concerns. Of those surveyed, only 28 percent state that determining ROI is a barrier. The benefits that come from having a fully connected factory that communicates in real time with the supply chain far outweigh the costs and contribute greatly to maintaining a competitive edge. Once a plant floor adopts IIoT, the benefits are immediately evident both in terms of savings, increased productivity and quality improvements.

    BARRIERS TO IIOT ADOPTION
    Complexity of technology -51%
    Budget – 46%
    Security concerns – 45%
    IT resources – 41%

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    QUALITY MANAGEMENT DRIVES CHANGE

    Manufacturers are entering a new realm where quality has retaken its rightful place as a very real competitive differentiator. Producing high-quality products isn’t only required for retaining and gaining customers, it also translates into incredible cost savings that ultimately impact the bottom line. This applies in particular to discrete manufacturing plants where one wrong item can affect the entire process.

    Manufacturers across all industries cite supplier quality as a prominent concern, with a total of 55 percent of respondents stating supplier quality is an issue. Improving quality overall is a top concern for manufacturers and that trickles down to the materials and components they use to produce their products.

    In fact, executives across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America cite improving quality assurance as their top priority over the next five years. The benefits of consistently turning out quality products are overwhelming. Companies can expect to see a reduction in product recalls that can slow down production and tarnish a brand, an increase in sales and improved productivity.

    A study by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) revealed that for every $1 spent on a QMS, companies could expect to see an additional $6 in revenue, a $16 reduction in costs and a $3 increase in profits.* Investing in improving quality in the manufacturing process is a key way to decrease costs, reduce risk, maximize production and ultimately increase sales margins.

    Achieving consistent quality output is now more attainable and affordable than ever before thanks to advancements in technology and automation. With auto ID technologies that enable track and trace, RFID tagging and gate automation, manufacturers have greater visibility into what is happening every step of the way so they can easily identify a point-of failure or reconcile the bill of material. While quality is a top of mind concern, manufacturers don’t foresee this as being a complication in the future with only 35 percent rating it as a potential issue in 2022

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    A NEW ERA OF VISIBILITY

    Gates play an essential role not just to ensure production timings are achieved but also in ensuring quality through the production process.

    Today, more than half of manufacturers use five or fewer gates to track production, which signals that they are primarily checking products at the start and end points. However, this doesn’t provide adequate visibility into the entire process.

    By increasing the number of gates with auto ID technology, manufacturers improve visibility and gain greater control over the quality of products making it easier to identify and remedy issues as they arise. It’s more cost-effective to intercept and fix an issue mid-stream rather than after it’s left the plant floor.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    INCREASING TRACKING POINTS LEADS TO RISING QUALITY

    Gaining quality in the manufacturing process means having multiple checkpoints and real-time monitoring along the production line. In a connected plant floor, every physical asset has a digital profile. Manufacturers use these profiles to track real-time location, material allocation and condition of assets.

    The data can also be used to improve the overall manufacturing process, eliminate bottlenecks, communicate with suppliers and ensure quality. Although only 34 percent of those surveyed currently have technology-driven tracking capabilities in place, it’s something manufacturers know they need.

    In five years, 55 percent of those surveyed plan to increase their tracking with more than 33 percent planning to adopt real-time monitoring.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    According to the study, manufacturers are planning to install more gates across the entire manufacturing process. Increasing gates gives real-time monitoring capabilities that help improve quality and throughput. In fact, 28 percent of respondents report their intentions to increase the number of gates in the production process to six or more within the next five years. More check points will help ensure a higher quality of goods produced and reduce the costs associated with recovery.

    These additional check points will provide much-needed transparency, an element that’s critical to growth. Fifty percent of those surveyed acknowledge increased visibility across their operations will support growth indicating that a connected plant floor with the ability to collect and analyze data is imperative. Providing employees real-time access to that data will improve productivity, decrease unplanned downtime, ensure process compliance, and enable traceability both in production and throughout the supply chain.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    DEMANDS OF INDUSTRY 4.0

    Smart factories are the core of Industry 4.0 where real-time communication between the supply chain and the production line enable a high-level of automation and digitization. Making this possible are machines that can self-optimize and share data in real time to deliver better quality goods, unprecedented visibility and impressive cost efficiencies.

    Increasingly, companies are focusing less on keeping materials on hand and depending more on suppliers to provide goods on-demand. Industry 4.0 brings with it a move toward Just in Time (JIT) shipments in which suppliers anticipate the needs of manufacturers and deliver materials when needed to meet production cycle requirements.

    Currently, 30 percent of those surveyed require suppliers to provide JIT shipment notifications. This is anticipated to increase in the next five years with 40 percent of manufacturers expecting JIT notifications. This also means quality assurance must be top of mind for suppliers as well. If manufacturers aren’t keeping extra inventory on hand and receive a bad batch from their supplier the entire production chain can slow down, thereby decreasing efficiencies.

    However, suppliers aren’t the only ones who will need to start adhering to JIT shipment requirements; manufacturers are being asked to do the same thing by their customers. Thirty four percent of those surveyed state their customers currently require JIT shipment notifications and they anticipate that number to go up to 44 percent by 2022. This trend is particularly prevalent for the high tech and pharmaceutical industries that expect to have the greatest amount of change in this area.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    DEMANDS OF INDUSTRY 4.0

    EXPANDING FUNCTIONALITY

    To meet the needs of customers who require JIT notification of shipments, companies expect to deploy full-featured, best-of-breed Manufacturing Execution Systems (MESs) that track and document the transformation of raw materials into finished goods. Currently, 38 percent of respondents report they are using a full-featured MES in their factories.

    By 2022, this number is expected to increase to 52 percent. Surprisingly, high tech is behind the trend with only 34 percent using best-of-breed MES today. Over the next five years, this industry will likely see the largest adoption with 54 percent of respondents expecting to deploy MES. What will help companies make this leap?

    Most likely on-demand, cloud, and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions will foster adoption. Fifty-four percent of respondents expect to use these services in 2022 compared to 39 percent who use it today. This also signals a move away from using ERP as an MES.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY TO REALIZE GROWTH POTENTIAL

    As the manufacturing industry moves towards more automation, wearables and voice solutions will play a pivotal role. Wearables and voice-driven technologies go hand-in-hand and present exciting opportunities for manufacturers to automate processes and increase efficiencies.

    While still a relatively young technology, wearables offer a plethora of opportunities to improve safety and increase productivity on the plant floor. For example, some solutions can monitor a worker’s physical condition and alert supervisors if issues arise that could be considered a health hazard.

    Employees equipped with video camera glasses will be able to record what’s happening on the line. There are many more opportunities for wearables to transform the production line, which is likely why companies plan to nearly double their use of wearable technology in the next five years.

    As manufacturers seek to eliminate the need to store excessive inventory, voice technologies will play a key role in JIT manufacturing and automating processes. Fifty-one percent of companies are planning to expand the use of voice technology in the next five years. Globally, the most dramatic growth for voice technology will be in the largest companies (>$1 Billion) with a reported use growing from 28 percent today, to 55 percent in 2022.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    THE SHIFT FROM PEN AND PAPER

    Today, 62 percent of those surveyed use pen and paper to track vital manufacturing steps and 47 percent are using spreadsheets or a computer on wheels. The use of pen and paper to track WIP ( work in progress) is highly inefficient and makes the process susceptible to human error. While plant floor managers can use the data stored in spreadsheets to identify areas for improvement, it’s a time consuming, manual process.

    Providing plant floor employees with mobile handheld devices allows them to scan and collect WIP information in real-time, providing visibility to data that can help managers make faster decisions.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    RFID FINDS A HOME ON THE PLANT FLOOR

    Along with wearables and voice solutions, manufacturers are adding RFID alongside existing barcode technologies to provide a more connected plant floor. IIoT is already beginning to transform manufacturing and companies are increasing their usage of RFID as a powerful tool to convert physical materials into digital assets that are easy to track in real-time on the plant floor.

    RFID first gained adoption with slap-and-ship, when retailers began requiring manufacturers to tag all cases and pallets with RFID tags. For retailers, RFID tags helped them save on labor costs. No longer did forklift drivers have to get off the truck to scan a pallet; the information on the RFID tag had all the data they needed.

    Today, 40 percent of respondent are using RFID and that number is only expected to grow over the next five years. By 2022, 48 percent of respondents across all industries plan to use RFID as part of the manufacturing process.

    Using RFID to optimize production is seen as one of the top benefits by respondents in deploying IIoT technologies for a connected factory. Expect to also see increased use of RFID for WIP tracking and Goods Out. It’s no wonder that RFID is becoming more popular, since RFID tags are capable of handling more information than just what’s on a pallet.

    To illustrate, an RFID tag can contain work instructions, bill of materials and tracking numbers. Workers can use this information to better move an item through production. RFID can also be used to improve order accuracy, which is crucial for suppliers, and offers even greater traceability.

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    ASSET MANAGEMENT IS ESSENTIAL FOR SUCCESS

    Manufacturers want real-time asset management and quality control of goods as they move through the production process. This is becoming increasingly important as the competitive landscape begins to encompass the importance of providing quality goods, tracking assets is taking center stage in the manufacturing industry.

    No longer can companies afford to track products solely at the Goods-In and Goods-Out phase of the process. According to survey respondents, only eight percent have real-time monitoring throughout the entire manufacturing process. However, 35 percent expect to add this capability within the next five years.

    Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) in the manufacturing environment enable a host of new benefits. Companies can use RLTS to collect critical data about assets including location, stage and condition. This provides actionable data that managers can use to make smarter decisions and improve production. The data collected by RTLS software can be sent directly from the factory floor to internal and external suppliers so that they can quickly respond to requests. This helps eliminate the need to store excess inventory. Over 55 percent of respondents plan to implement RTLS by 2022

  • MANUFACTURING VISION STUDY

    SHIFTING QUALITY FOCUS IS CRITICAL TO STAYING COMPETITIVE

    Industry 4.0 and IIoT may be transforming the manufacturing sector, but it is the need for quality assurance that’s driving innovation and cultivating competition. Change is already underway and manufacturers and suppliers are integrating visibility solutions into the plant floor to increase quality, expedite production and reduce costs. Key efforts include instituting more gates along the production line, enabling automated communication between suppliers and manufacturers, and deploying advanced technologies to empower workers and decision making. All are strategic steps that companies are embracing to realize the truly smart factory of the future.

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: 2022 HOSPITAL VISION STUDY
    MOBILE TECHNOLOGY ELEVATES PATIENT CARE, EMPOWERS CLINICIANS AND ENHANCES WORKFLOWS

    HEALTHCARE IN 2022
    Clinical mobility is transforming care at healthcare facilities around the world and is having a profound impact on nurses, doctors, IT executives and patients. Zebra commissioned three global research studies to better understand the role of technology in acute care hospitals. The studies focused on nurse managers, IT decision makers and recently hospitalised patients. The Future of Healthcare 2022 Hospital Vision Study summarises the results of this analysis. Zebra’s Healthcare Vision Study
    Respondents identified compelling shifts in acute care hospitals and their impact on quality, cost and outcomes

    WHAT IS CLINICAL MOBILITY?
    Clinical Mobility is the use of mobile devices (such as handheld mobile computers, tablets and mobile printers) by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals at the point-of-care.

    FACTORS DRIVING INVESTMENT IN CLINICAL MOBILITY
    1 IMPROVE PATIENT OUTCOMES
    2 INCREASE STAFF WORKFLOW EFFICIENCY
    3 REDUCE THE COST OF PATIENT CARE
    4 COMPLY WITH NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS
    5 OPTIMIZE PAYER REIMBURSEMENT (IN U.S. ONLY)

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: 2022 HOSPITAL VISION STUDY
    MOBILE TECHNOLOGY ELEVATES PATIENT CARE, EMPOWERS CLINICIANS AND ENHANCES WORKFLOWS

    Exclusive Summary

    The global healthcare industry is facing a seemingly insurmountable number of challenges – from aging populations and staff shortages to rising costs – that are placing enormous pressure on institutions, doctors, workers, patients and communities. As a result, there is a higher demand for services and support that are not sustainable with existing resources and methods. Hospitals are increasingly turning to technology and automation to reduce the strain on an already fragile system.

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: 2022 HOSPITAL VISION STUDY
    MOBILE TECHNOLOGY ELEVATES PATIENT CARE, EMPOWERS CLINICIANS AND ENHANCES WORKFLOWS

    CLINICAL MOBILITY IS THE ANSWER

    The good news is that there is a solution that can help ease the stress on the system, improve patient care, create workflow efficiencies and better utilize limited resources. Thanks to the adoption of clinical mobility, hospitals around the world are eliminating manual, error-prone procedures and replacing them with digital solutions that increase the accuracy of patient identification, streamline processes, improve the quality of patient care and enhance overall visibility. By digitally capturing information, data can be transmitted in real time to clinical staff, reducing – even eliminating – errors and delivering critical time savings.

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  • Warehouse 2019 – Supremesoft Fulfillment Edge 1/5

    The new on-demand economy is placing more pressure on your warehouse. Every day, the number of orders increases, while fulfillment turnaround times shrink. You’re tasked with finding a way to increase productivity without increasing costs. And while there are new technologies that could help, your Warehouse Management System (WMS) doesn’t support them. Introducing Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge, a brilliant approach to modernizing your existing WMS — without costly and risky upgrades and backend changes that could disrupt your current operations.

    Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge™ integrates your existing real-time WMS data with real-time location information from your WiFi access points and RFID sensors, providing visibility into the location of your workers, your inventory and your material handling assets — as well as any other desired data source. The Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge advanced analytics engine then analyzes the new superset of information, transforming linear work orders into real-time dynamic work orders that factor in: a worker’s location, all possible tasks that can be performed in that location and the priority of incoming orders. Now, a single work order can allow one worker to pick multiple orders and put away incoming shipments and returned items, all in a single trip through the warehouse. And if a rush order arrives for same day shipment, no problem — Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge instantly identifies which worker is closest to the items in the order and automatically adjusts the work order in real time, resetting the bar for the fastest possible fulfillment times.

    In order maximize reductions in cycle time and steps, Warehouse Edge allows you to leverage the best of today’s technologies. For example, the Terminal Emulation application you use today can’t take advantage of the intuitive and interactive applications that Android can support, forcing your workers to continue to use decades-old ‘green screens’ that put a ceiling on workforce productivity. But Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge is technology agnostic — it can utilize all the features in any supported Android mobile device or peripheral. Now, you get the best of Android, able to transform your legacy ‘green screens’ into the highly graphic, interactive apps today’s workers expect, modernizing the user experience and the user interface. You can opt to utilize spectacle head-mounted display to direct your workers through the most efficient path to complete all the actions on their new dynamic work orders. And more. And as new technologies are developed, you’re free to integrate what you want, when you want — you will no longer be restricted by your legacy WMS.

    In addition, Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge also gives you the power to continually refine your warehouse processes to improve productivity with real-time analytics. Instead of reviewing after-the-fact reports, you can see how each worker is performing against defined metrics right now, and why. Armed with this information, you can determine areas where you can continue to increase productivity by modifying workflows, the user experience and your application interface.

    The result? Substantial productivity increases — workers can pick 24% more orders. Your new simplified processes can cut training and onboarding time and cost by 90%. And the ability to fully utilize the features in your Android mobile devices and extend the lifecycle of your current WMS improve the return on your existing technology investments.

    Get the most out of every step that your workers take with Warehouse Edge — the 21st century approach to warehousing.

  • Warehouse 2019 – Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge 2/5

    Turbo-charge your warehouse productivity with dynamic workflows

    The challenge: the need for even more speed in the warehouse The new on-demand economy is placing pressure on warehouses all around the world — translating into more orders to fulfill, faster than ever. You’re tasked with figuring out how to empower your workforce to handle the increased volume of work — while cutting costs to protect profit margins. You need to streamline your operations.

    But, while your Warehouse Management System (WMS) is the backbone of your warehouse operations, it is unable to take full advantage of today’s mobile technologies — including your Android devices. While Terminal Emulation (TE) does run on your Android devices, the inflexible and out-of-date TE interface can’t take advantage of the intuitive user experience your Android devices can support — or new technologies that could simplify processes, such as head-mounted displays. And while your WiFi network can track the WiFi devices in the hands of your workforce, you’re unable to utilize that real-time location information to improve workflows.

    But what if there was a way to transform your current WMS into a modern 21st century brainpower that enables your current workforce to pick 24% more orders — a system with an interface that’s so simple that training and onboarding time are reduced by 90% — all without changing a thing in your WMS?

    With Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge, you can.

    Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge puts you in the drivers seat, giving you complete control over your operational productivity and efficiency.

    Real-time analytics provide visibility into how every worker is performing, right now. Instead of analyzing reports ‘after the fact’, now you can not only see who and where performance is falling short of expectations, but also why, allowing you to determine and make the real-time changes required to meet your key performance metrics.

    The solution: a new approach to warehouse workflows

    Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge is a completely new and smart approach to warehousing that wraps around and modernizes your current WMS — without upgrades, backend changes or disrupting your current operations.

    FulfillmentEdge removes the constraints of your WMS and TE apps, allowing you to easily leverage new information to build better and more efficient workflows, fully utilize the features of your mobile devices and utilize any of today’s latest technologies — all without risky WMS modifications. For example, with FulfillmentEdge, you can utilize the real-time location of your workers, inventory and assets that you already collect via your WiFi access points and RFID systems, allowing you to transition from linear to dynamic workflows that enable the picking of multiple orders by one worker, simultaneously.

    You can modify a work order in process, in real time. For example, when a rush order for same day shipping comes in, FulfillmentEdge can instantly identify any workers who are picking orders along a path that includes the location of items in that order — and automatically update the work order to enable fulfillment in record time.

    And while TE can’t take advantage of the intuitive applications that your Android mobile devices can support, FulfillmentEdge removes that limitation, allowing you to present the data however needed to maximize efficiency and minimize steps, utilizing whatever technologies you want — including spectacle -mounted displays.

    The result is the delivery of the ideal mobile user experience, allowing you to dramatically increase productivity and throughput in your warehouse — without adding workers. Leverage your WMS to make the most of every step your workers take with FulfillmentEdge — warehousing re-imagined.

    To be continue…..

  • Warehouse 2019 – Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge 3/5

    Key Features

    Boost picking productivity by 24% with dynamic workflows
    FulfillmentEdge allows you to aggregate work orders that enable one worker to complete multiple work orders on one trip through the warehouse, delivering a dramatic increase in workforce productivity, business efficiency, and order fulfillment times.
    Electronic work orders delivered to Android mobile computers can contain rich content, such as step-by-step directions to the next pick location and a photo of the item to ensure picking accuracy.

    No modifications required to your current WMS or ERP systems
    FulfillmentEdge adds a technology layer that integrates easily into your existing infrastructure and architecture. The Mobile Optimization Platform Server sits in between the mobile devices in the hands of your workers and your WMS/ERP system. It constantly accesses up-to-the-minute information in those backend systems, where it applies the intelligence required to aggregate, create and prioritize work orders that can be executed with maximum efficiency.
    As a result, the risk and costs associated with modifying your WMS/ERP systems are eliminated — along with long development cycles.

    90% less onboarding and training time
    Intuitive screens and clear, real-time step-by-step instructions reduce training time from weeks and months to just days, and enable near-instant onboarding — especially crucial for seasonal temporary workers. The end-user experience is improved, while training and onboarding costs are practically eliminated.

    Device agnostic — choose the right device for every user
    Utilize any mobile device, from the spectacle mounted display for ‘vision picking’ to wearable computers paired with ring scanners to handheld mobile computers and tablets, vehicle mount mobile computers and more.

    Mobile technology agnostic — utilize all the available technologies on your mobile devices.
    Whatever technology is integrated into your enterprise and your mobile devices can be utilized in your FulfillmentEdge solution, including RFID, locationing and voice-enabled workflows.

    Utilize the data in multiple business systems
    It doesn’t matter which business systems contain the data required to create the dynamic workflows that will best serve your business, or where those systems are located. With FulfillmentEdge, you can integrate them all.

    Continually improve workflows and productivity with real-time analytics
    Your WMS system provides information on how any specific worker is performing against defined metrics — but can’t explain why.
    With FulfillmentEdge, you get real-time visibility into how each worker interacts with their mobile device — and how that interaction impacts productivity. This information enables the identification of process issues and the workflow adjustments that can address them.

    ARCHITECTURE BENEFITS

    Server
    • Holistic architecture • Maximum scalability • Maximum flexibility • Support comprehensive analytics • Reduce cost and risk ‘

    Thick’ Android Client
    • Fully leverage device features • Eliminate TE constraints • Freedom to pick virtually any Android mobile device • Integrate virtually any new technology • Implement workflow optimization

    To be continue…..

  • Warehouse 2019 – Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge 4/5

    Comparing TE Based terminal Vs Supremesoft Fulfillment Edge workflow

    Today’s TE-Based Linear Workflows :-

    1. Limited to information in your current warehouse management system (WMS) only

    2. Inflexible linear static processes with no analytics

    3. Requires workers to sequentially complete tasks, such as picking

    4. No ability to leverage new technologies

    Tomorrow’s FulfillmentEdge Dynamic Workflows :-

    1. No limitation — aggregate data in any number of business systems

    2. Completely flexible dynamic processes based on comprehensive real-time analytics

    3. Determine next steps for each worker based on tasks, task priority and real-time location of workers and assets

    4. Ability to leverage virtually any new technology, including head-mounted display

    To be continue…..

  • Warehouse 2019 _ Supremesoft FulfillmentEdge 5/5

    FulfillmentEdge Architecture

    The elegant architecture of FulfillmentEdge allows you to transform your WMS into a modern system that eliminates limitations that prevent you from utilizing today’s modern technologies to maximize productivity in your warehouse.

    Instead of a very time-intensive, costly and risky upgrade that could impact day-to-day operations during development, integration and deployment, FulfillmentEdge integrates with your existing WMS — zero changes are required. FulfillmentEdge seamlessly pulls and pushes information to and from your WMS, integrating locationing and other information that can be leveraged to improve process efficiency — and provides support for all of today’s mobile technologies.

    Now you can give your workers an Android device and deliver intuitive and interactive screens — no more TE text-based and code-driven aging green screens. You can use the latest devices, such as spectacle -mounted displays. You can integrate information from technologies such as RFID and locationing. You can enable voice interaction, for example, for voice-directed picking. Re-imagine your warehouse and eliminate the limitations in your WMS with FulfillmentEdge.

    HOW IT WORK

    1. All of the real-time data in your WMS/ERP and other backend systems, plus data collected by mobile devices and their accessories via numerous input modalities is aggregated in the Mobile Optimization Platform Server database.

    2. The FulfillmentEdge Analytics Server analyzes this superset of data and creates dynamic real-time workflows that automatically adjust priorities based on real-time data. Workflows can aggregate tasks, such as picking and put-away, based on the real-time location of your inventory, your workers and your warehouse assets. As a result, the number of steps and time required to execute all tasks is minimized.

    3. Business benefits include: • Improved labor and asset utilization • Increased operational efficiency and throughput — without additional staff or warehouse vehicles, or modification of WMS/ERP systems • Reduction in time spent training and onboarding

    In any warehouse with a WMS, FulfillmentEdge allows you to re-imagine the ceiling for efficiency and productivity in key warehouse processes, including:
    • Picking • Put-away • Replenishment • Packing • Shipping • Receiving

  • The Factory of the Future – part 1

    A practical guide to harnessing new value in manufacturing.

    HOW MANUFACTURING SOURCING, SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT AND PRODUCTION OPERATES TODAY.

    With around $900 billion of waste in global manufacturing supply chains*, it’s clear there’s scope to cut costs dramatically and create new value. As manufacturing regains favor with economic and political stakeholders worldwide, progressive enterprises are exploring ways to work more efficiently using asset information, system integration and process innovation.

    There are, of course, the ongoing challenges. Product and supply chain complexities are unavoidable. Rising raw materials and energy prices require constant monitoring and reassessment. The global marketplace is defined by aggressive competition and pace of activity.

    Small, hungry, local enterprises are often better placed to compete on price than multi-national organizations trying to balance economies of scale with meeting customer needs in regional markets.

    Production lines have to be able to produce shorterrun products for specific markets and end user needs. And manufacturers may operate multiple sites in different time zones producing the same item.

    The shift from capacity to capability

    To streamline operations, manufacturers are looking to measure success based on production capability and flexibility rather than efficiency and production capacity.

    The trend is to move away from a make- to-stock manufacturing approach and mass production, and embrace more of a quality-driven, make-to-order approach to meet defined and specific customer needs.

    As a part of this shift, plant floor staff are becoming more ‘knowledge workers’ than operators, not only having a technical understanding of the machines they run, but also having the analytical and decision making skills to make adjustments to machine operation to support the most efficient means of delivering the products required

    Living lean
    There’s significant potential to adapt existing processes and work with greater precision. Companies that follow lean principles, like building to actual customer demand – rather than adhering to forecasts – and bringing material to the plant only when needed as opposed to keeping stockpiles on hand, operate more efficiently.

    Increasing efficiency, especially where materials handling, energy and labor costs are concerned, is far easier with visibility not only into individual processes, but also to a network of connected devices across the entire business ecosystem.

    Every point in the supply chain where visibility is less than complete can potentially harbour inefficiencies. Conversely, every visible asset or event that can be identified and placed in context can be potentially improved.

    Wasted data
    As the number of devices linked to manufacturing production processes has increased dramatically, so has the amount of data available. However, much of this information sits in disjointed data silos.

    In supply chain operations, warehouse management systems and inventory management systems are implemented at a local distribution centre, with proprietary integration back to an ERP system. While some of this data may be accessible centrally, the actual asset tracking devices often lack real-time connectivity, giving only a historical view rather than a current perspective.

    When this scenario is replicated across the enterprise, with innumerable devices running disparately, the inability to harness the data available is just another manifestation of wider system inefficiency.

    By capturing the data, and turning it into actionable information that provides full visibility into the supply chain, enterprises can streamline their processes and move towards optimal production

    To be continue……

  • The Factory of the Future – part .2

    THE FACTORY OF THE FUTURE IS CENTERED ON VISIBILITY

    The key for manufacturers is to know exactly what’s happening in front of and around them. At the heart of the factory of the future will be data, visible, comprehensible and actionable.

    This authentic, accurate, accessible data, pointin-time or real-time, gives status of machine, component or finished goods, enabling existing processes to be more precisely managed, and new value to be created.

    To succeed, best-in-class manufacturers give their physical assets a digital profile that enables them to know the real-time location and condition of those assets, and timing and accuracy of the events occurring, throughout the value chain. Data visibility empowers you to orchestrate production and deliver to order, cutting out operator waiting time, reducing defects, and eliminating over-production.

    With complete visibility of the relationships and interdependence between items, processes and people, and transactions taking place, enterprises can move closer to the goal of true manufacturing visibility.

    Real-time process visibility leads to enhanced business intelligence that results in more informed decision-making and more efficient manufacturing performance.

    To be continue …..

  • The Factory of the Future – part 3

    MAKING DATA VISIBLE: KEY DRIVERS FOR CHANGE

    Advances in production technology and innovative thinking are driving better visibility of objects, actions and events affecting the manufacturing supply chain. By incorporating these advances into your enterprise, you can see where inefficiencies are happening, and where a change of approach will move you towards operational excellence.

    Strategic big data

    Enterprises are looking at the advent of big data as a vast mine to gain deeper, more actionable insight into their operations and processes, and do more with less. The richness of big data is more than just the volume of data, but also the velocity and value of the data.

    New technologies have the potential to gather and assimilate unprecedented levels of production data. This helps you to identify connections within information and make intelligent use of it.

    The Internet of Things

    The number of devices associated with business operations continues to increase. With the focus on better and more actionable business analytics, solutions that capitalize on the Internet of Things are rapidly gaining momentum, especially when they are Cloud-ready and accessible across the enterprise and beyond.

    Actionable analytics

    In real-time, you now have the ability to assess information not just to pinpoint trends, but also to act on them and improve performance as a consequence.

    Internet of Things-enabled devices provide ‘right now’ visibility into supply chains, distribution centers, land and seaports. They also drive very tight process-driven tasks where instantaneous feedback and control are essential.

    Businesses can use this data to optimize processes, reduce shrinkage, and provide better security and safety throughout the workplace. Deep visibility into mission critical operations provides the measurable metrics enabling the enterprise to make better informed decisions and inspire innovation.

    Integrated ecosystems

    Where, historically, a diverse, disparate mix of fixed and mobile systems and devices have operated in silos, bringing together corporate and personal technology into a manageable whole creates efficiencies and delivers new value.

    Connectivity and consistent visibility across operations, supply chains, and business partners streamlines processes and operations, driving better customer service and loyalty. Tighter processes mean faster inventory turns, reducing the need for on-hand inventory. Eliminating waste and improving asset tracking can boost product quality while reducing operating and capital expenditure.

    The virtual plant floor

    The virtual plant floor is an integration of all sites and systems supported by complete, connected supply chain visibility. This focuses on how an issue at one site can affect production at another, and how to overcome these problems.

    To be continue…….

  • The Factory of the Future – part 4

    AIDC SOLUTIONS AND HOW THEY DRIVE BETTER PROCESSES

    AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) solutions and advances in technology enable manufacturers to see what’s happening with all their operational events – assets, transactions and people – in real-time. When this visibility is aligned to single network connectivity, it creates an integrated production environment with data excellence at its heart.

    Not only can you see where everything is, and what it’s doing, but you can also see everything relative to everything else. Business decisions are made in full awareness, leading to greater efficiencies and more ability to fulfill customer needs precisely while meeting your own business goals.

    These technologies include:-

    • Barcodes
    • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
    • Global Positioning System (GPS)
    • Environmental sensors
    • Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS)

    To be continue….

  • The Factory of the Future – part 5

    Barcodes

    Used mainly as a means of tracking stock in retail stores, barcodes have been used in increasingly diverse settings for a wider range of functions. In manufacturing, barcode applications have spread throughout the enterprise to include warehousing, customer service functions, time, attendance, and package delivery, as well as the assembly line operation itself, helping to improve data management and accessibility, and reduce costs.

    The benefits of barcodes

    Improved data accuracy Improved data accuracy is the single most common motivation for putting a barcode system in place. Companies with integrated barcoding systems that enable users to scan barcodes rather than type numbers commonly achieve 99% data accuracy.

    For companies in which data errors are a mere nuisance, the difference between 85% and 99% may not seem that extreme. But for manufacturing enterprises looking to optimize efficiency, the goal is 100% accuracy. Barcoding is one of the most cost-effective tools that these organizations have to ensure data credibility and reduce the impact of human error.

    Efficiency benefits

    Besides providing near-perfect accuracy, barcoding also enables users to work faster, without sacrificing accuracy. When factoring in the time it takes to correct simple data entry errors, it is easy to see the improved efficiency that comes with barcoding.

    In addition, by providing computer systems the capability to ‘see’ exactly what is happening, barcodes enable instant conversion from physical actions into digital transactions. This conversion of former manual tasks to electronic processes occurs in real-time, increasing efficiency and allowing management to make decisions based on current data and personnel to be employed in other, more productive areas.

    Consistency

    Barcoding, particularly in fast-paced industrial environments, enables consistent and predictable operations for enhanced product quality by combining data management functions and preventing bottlenecks at data entry stations. AutoID systems usually operate at a defined pace, either self-determined by the printer’s maximum speed or triggered by the action of another device.

    For instance, in an assembly line, operations that were previously slowed by congestion at the point of data entry can now progress smoothly through a system of automated print-and-apply labelling machines or inkjet direct product printing and fixed scanners. In addition, employing standardized barcode symbologies and compliance labeling ensures that barcode information is captured and relayed in a way that is universally understood and accepted.

    Improved inventory and asset management

    In manufacturing, the barcode contains internal information such as production line number, date of completion, materials used, serial numbers and miscellaneous quality control information. By scanning the label in the shipping department, the company can identify the exact inventory, in real-time, as well as the precise date and time that any product leaves the warehouse.

    To be continue….

  • The Factory of the Future – part 6

    RFID

    Manufacturing operations are increasingly adopting RFID tags. These carry an RFID transponder, commonly called a ‘smart label’ to complement the barcode and text on the labels. Unlike barcodes, RFID technology requires no line-of-sight between the object and the reader.
    This solution enables the identification and recording of entire pallet loads in less time than it takes to scan a barcode shipping label.

    Besides improving accuracy, RFID and barcode data collection is faster than manual collection, which improves labor productivity. Replacing paper forms with much smaller barcode labels and embedded RFID tags produces media savings that frequently reach six figures annually, even for companies with moderate levels of production tracking and shipping activity.

    As customers demand build-to-order and just-in time deliveries from their suppliers – replacing the traditional build-to-stock model – traceability and data collection at the item level is critical. A relatively small investment in an RFID tracking system will ensure scheduling and materials applications will deliver benefits, leveraging the investment in those more expensive planning applications.

    Simplifying materials management and streamlining production line applications

    In terms of stock management, after an item’s inventory routing instructions are encoded and labelled at the receiving dock, on arrival at the warehouse, users can use a mobile device to scan the RFID to record its arrival. The host materials control or warehouse management system (WMS) then directs the worker to the appropriate putaway location based on the item’s size, shelf-life, and predicted consumption schedule.

    Most businesses apply RFID and barcode shipping labels when finished goods leave their facility. The most efficient producers have learned that pushing their identification and tracking systems as far back into the production process as possible provides tremendous labor and material savings.

    RFID and barcode systems provide a high return-on investment by reducing data entry and processing time, improving quality, and boosting the real-time performance of enterprise software applications. Information today is a valued component of all manufacturing, distribution, and retail operations, thus presenting a form of currency in many business relationships. Companies that can document the product life cycle and tracing history to the item level – while meeting industry and other regulatory mandates – can win substantial new business and build strong customer loyalty.

    To be continue….

  • The Factory of the Future – part 7

    RTLS

    Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS) deliver precise visibility of critical assets – supply chain, manufacturing, and human, in real-time. For enterprises with geographically dispersed sites, this means having end-to-end visibility and traceability of all containers, pallets, and packages.

    For manufacturers, it enables intelligent management and flow of all critical assets, whether in the facility or in the yard.

    RTLS solutions can incorporate a mix of barcode, RFID, GPS and sensory technologies that mark, track and show the status of assets in real-time. Where passive technologies such as barcodes simply locate an item, the active RFID element of these solutions delivers both live location and actual status.

    Simplify asset management

    Controlling hundreds or thousands of assets throughout large indoor and outdoor production environments is a daunting challenge. RTLS allows operations to find assets in seconds, as opposed to taking hours using a manual process. Beyond the ability to locate a sub-assembly or final product on demand, operations can use the tracking data to optimize processes, workflow cycle time, and dwell time.

    RTLS enables users to view the precise location of assets and eliminate time-consuming manual searches and audits. Location data integrates into existing enterprise resource planning systems, allowing enterprises to realize more value from their IT infrastructure. Also, real-time enterprise visibility minimises the need for equipment relocation. Instead of moving equipment to central locations, assets can be stored closer to the point of use, which increases speed of production.

    Improve enterprise resource planning

    Users can add RTLS and workflow rules based on their unique needs and collect metrics for analyzing processes, and identify areas that miss key performance objectives. Timely knowledge of asset movements helps speed up tasks and transactions, enabling accurate forecasting and improving asset value while reducing the order-to-cash cycle.

    Whether tracking containers through a supply chain, optimizing manufacturing processes, or providing wide-area asset traceability, RTLS communicates the physical location of assets by zone, yard slot, and/ or intelligent interactive graphical mapping along with historical visibility into the asset’s location, with accuracy of within a few feet.

    The optimal RTLS platform integrates hardware and software with existing BI and ERP solutions to help enterprises align their strategies cross-functionally. When coupled with passive RFID and barcode systems, RTLS enables you to track, locate, and manage critical assets across the value chain.

    To be continue…..

  • The Factory of the Future – part 8

    Environmental sensors ( IOT Gateway & Tag)

    IOT Gateway & Tags

    The tag is the environmental sensor which will collect data eg. temperature, humidity, shock, til , Fall, Pressure, Ambient light and Proximity data . Then the data will transmit to IOT gateway and send it to cloud for big data analytic. The management will based on big data analytic to find insight information for further action on correction and improvement.

    HOW AND WHERE TO USE AIDC

    Warehousing
    Use 2D barcodes, intelligent automation and RFID incorporating RTLS, GPS and sensoring to track and trace items as they move through the supply chain, and monitor the movements of employees and other assets. Enable full visibility into warehouse operations to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

    Inbound and outbound logistics
    Use a combination of technologies as above to move freight in and out of crowded shipping and receiving areas quickly and accurately.

    Asset management
    Warehouses and manufacturing plants incorporate a mix of fixed and moving assets, and to operate efficiently, it’s vital to know where everything is. AIDC solutions increase visibility, productivity and profitability by delivering real-time asset location and status.

    Work-in-progress
    Assembly lines move fast, and every piece – potentially thousands in complex operations – needs to be tracked. Real-time tracking and tracing of all parts moving to and from the assembly line enables streamlined production without delays, unnecessary downtime or excess labor costs.

    Breakdown and putaway
    Accurate barcode printing and tagging of all goods before putaway is essential for authentic lean production. Item-level 2D barcodes and RFID provide quantities of specific items, batch and serial numbers and other relevant information.

    To be continue…..

  • The Factory of the Future – part 9

    WHY SUPREMESOFT ?

    Supremesoft ’s extensive portfolio of Auto-ID technologies, including 2D barcodes, intelligent automation and RFID incorporating RTLS, GPS and environmental sensoring ( IOT gateway & Tags) , turn the physical into the digital to give assets and operational events a virtual voice.

    Layering these technologies across the enterprise gives you complete visibility of these assets. You can see their real-time location and condition, and monitor the timing and accuracy of the events occurring at every stage of the manufacturing process. This Visible Value Chain enables you to identify opportunities for leaner manufacturing and create new value with existing assets.

    The End.

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL part 1

    VISION STUDY MOBILE TECHNOLOGY ELEVATES PATIENT CARE, EMPOWERS CLINICIANS AND ENHANCES WORKFLOWS

    HEALTHCARE IN 2022

    Clinical mobility is transforming care at healthcare facilities around the world and is having a profound impact on nurses, doctors, IT executives and patients. Suupremesoft commissioned three global research studies to better understand the role of technology in acute care hospitals.

    The studies focused on nurse managers, IT decision makers and recently hospitalised patients. The Future of Healthcare 2022 Hospital Vision Study summarises the results of this analysis. Supremesoft ’s Healthcare Vision Study

    Respondents identified compelling shifts in acute care hospitals and their impact on quality, cost and outcomes.

    GROWING USE OF MOBILE DEVICES
    Bedside Nurses
    2017 – 65%
    2022 – 97%

    Doctors
    2017 – 51%
    2022 – 97%

    Pharmacists
    2017 – 42%
    2022 – 96%

    DELIVERING MEANINGFUL IMPROVEMENTS

    CURRENT IMPACT OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGY:
    55% Of hospitals cite reduced cost of patient care
    72% Of hospitals highlight improved quality of patient care
    61% Of nurses report reduced medication administration errors
    96% Of nurses plan to access predictive analytics on mobile devices by 2022

    EMERGENCE OF TECH-SAVVY PATIENTS

    77% Of patients felt positive about clinicians using mobile devices in their care
    57% Currently use wearables to track health metrics
    95% Willing to share health metrics collected from wearables with clinicians

    TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

    1. Remote patient monitoring
    2. Telehealth
    3. Artificial Intelligence

    83% Expanding use of Real-Time Locationing Service (RTLS) for dynamic staff workflows

    To be continue……

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 2

    WHAT IS CLINICAL MOBILITY?

    FACTORS DRIVING INVESTMENT IN CLINICAL MOBILITY
    1 IMPROVE PATIENT OUTCOMES
    2 INCREASE STAFF WORKFLOW EFFICIENCY
    3 REDUCE THE COST OF PATIENT CARE
    4 COMPLY WITH NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS
    5 OPTIMIZE PAYER REIMBURSEMENT ( INSURANCE CLAIMABLE POLICY )

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    The global healthcare industry is facing a seemingly insurmountable number of challenges – from aging populations and staff shortages to rising costs – that are placing enormous pressure on institutions, doctors, workers, patients and communities.

    As a result, there is a higher demand for services and support that are not sustainable with existing resources and methods. Hospitals are increasingly turning to technology and automation to reduce the strain on an already fragile system.

    CLINICAL MOBILITY IS THE ANSWER
    The good news is that there is a solution that can help ease the stress on the system, improve patient care, create workflow efficiencies and better utilize limited resources. Thanks to the adoption of clinical mobility, hospitals around the world are eliminating manual, error-prone procedures and replacing them with digital solutions that increase the accuracy of patient identification, streamline processes, improve the quality of patient care and enhance overall visibility.
    By digitally capturing information, data can be transmitted in real time to clinical staff, reducing – even eliminating – errors and delivering critical time savings

    Expanding Use of Mobile Devices
    Hospitals are already realising gains in productivity by outfitting key personnel with mobile devices. The study showed that by 2022, 97% of nurses will use mobile devices at the bedside which will help instill greater patient confidence.
    The study also revealed an increase in the number of medical disciplines embracing clinical mobility solutions including emergency room nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians.
    In fact, by 2020, usage of mobile devices is expected to grow up to 40% for all hospital workers. Rich applications, remote patient monitoring and artificial intelligence will enliven the daily work experience and empower clinicians with greater insights and information to treat patients.

    Enriching Staff Communications
    According to The Joint Commission, 70% of medical errors are attributable to communication breakdowns.
    By integrating clinical mobility throughout their organisations, hospitals will improve staff communication, make real-time access to medical records possible and ensure faster availability of lab results, to name just a few. Mobile devices enable nurses to spend more time at the patient’s bedside.
    Over 65% of nurse managers and IT executives cite improved communication and collaboration as the primary benefit of clinical mobility in patient care.

    Elevating Patient Care
    According to the study, 72% of respondents cite improved quality of patient care as a direct result of clinical mobility.
    In addition, 61% of hospitals surveyed reported a reduction in medication administration errors, and 52% cited decreased specimen collection labelling errors, positively affecting patient care.

    Rising Personalization of Healthcare
    The digital hospital of the future will not just be more efficient, but it will also deliver better care, be more affordable and engage patients more deeply in their treatment and recovery.
    Most respondents expect analytics technology to improve the quality of healthcare globally.
    In addition, tech-savvy patients are finding comfort in technology and are, in fact, bringing their data with them to the hospital. Ninety-five percent of patients surveyed are willing to share electronic health metrics.

    To be continue……

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 3

    AN EVOLVING HEALTHCARE ECOSYSTEM

    At the heart of creating a successful clinical mobility programme is understanding the users who employ the devices in their day-to-day work environments as well as those they serve. These individuals include nurses, doctors, pharmacists, lab technicians, radiologists, patients and more.
    While nurses are actively engaged at the patient’s bedside and use technology daily, it is the IT team that must implement and maintain the system while ensuring compliance with security and patient privacy requirements.

    Patients must grow accustomed to technology’s evolving role in their care. For some, this will be extraordinarily difficult. For more technologically astute patients, clinical mobility will not be a leap but quite possibly a demand.

    NURSES: TRADITIONAL HEALTHCARE HEROES
    Nurses are the lifeline of the hospital. Nursing staff at 62% of hospitals surveyed currently access patient electronic health records on their mobile devices, followed by 57% who use mobile devices to access diagnostic lab results. By 2022, hospital staff anticipate using mobile devices and predictive analytics to improve diagnosis and personalise care.

    IT PROFESSIONALS: THE GREAT FACILITATORS
    As clinical mobility finds a home in acute care hospital settings, the IT department’s role will become even more complicated as they work to block security intrusions and ensure systems and devices work seamlessly. Currently, 36% of hospitals are using mobile devices and that number is expected to double by 2022, dramatically increasing the number of devices IT will need to manage.

    PATIENTS: EMERGING HEALTHCARE HEROES
    Patients are embracing technology in healthcare. In particular, young, techsavvy individuals are better informed and already using wearables to track their health data. The study reveals that patients are becoming better prepared for their hospital stay with 48% making a list of questions and 46% checking online sources. Of those responding in this manner, 68% were under 40 years of age.

    NURSES IN 2022

    DATA ACCESSED ON MOBILE DEVICES
    Medical and medicine database references 92%
    Electronic Health Records (EHRs) 91%
    Lab diagnostic results 88%
    Picture archiving and communication system, medical imaging 76%
    Predictive analytics 69%

    ALERTS/ALARMS ACCESSED ON MOBILE DEVICES
    Patient monitoring equipment
    2017 – 68%
    2022 – 98%

    Electronic Health Record notifications
    2017 – 52%
    2022 – 98%

    Biomedical devices
    2017 – 39%
    2022 – 98%

    Remote patient monitoring and health tracking information
    2017 – 33%
    2022 – 97%

    To be continue…..

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 4

    ADVANCING CARE AND INCREASING EFFICIENCY

    The benefits of clinical mobility in patient care are clear. The average nurse walks four to five miles per 12-hour shift. Mobile devices help nurses improve efficiency by increasing time at the bedside.

    According to the study, by 2022 nurses across all disciplines – bedside, emergency room, operating room and intensive care – as well as doctors, pharmacists, and lab technicians will increasingly use mobile technology.

    In many cases, it is becoming an indispensable tool. Use cases include verifying the right medication is administered to the right patient; monitoring a patient’s vital signs while moving around the hospital, confirming a lab order before drawing a specimen; accessing health records and test results, and even locating supplies or tracking inventory.

    While access to this information advances the quality of care, it also presents additional security concerns related to patient privacy. That is why securing data and devices is more important than ever. IT departments at 42% of hospitals surveyed are looking to implement data encryption and remote device wiping on mobile devices within the next year.

    HI-TECH DEMANDS

    Clinicians are facing increasing pressure to be more technology savvy. From smart infusion pumps to handheld computers, technology must be easy and intuitive to use and adaptable for the highly-specialised requirements found in hospitals.
    Devices must support operation with gloved hands, scan correctly the first time and every time and vibrate alert so as not to wake sleeping patients. In addition, new technology must be able to withstand repeated cleaning and disinfection to eliminate the potential spread of bacteria.

    MOBILE DEVICE USAGE IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE DRAMATICALLY

    Bedside Nurse
    2017 – 65%
    2022 – 97%

    Emergency Room Nurse
    2017 – 53%
    2022 – 94%

    Intensive Care Nurse
    2017 – 38%
    2022 – 93%

    Operating room / Cath Lab Nurse
    2017 – 36%
    2022 – 91%

    Doctor
    2017 – 51%
    2022 – 98%

    PHARMACIST, PHARMACY TECHNICIAN
    2017 – 42%
    2022 – 96%

    Lab Technician
    2017- 52%
    2022- 96%

    Patient Transport
    2017 – 52%
    2022 – 96%

    CLINICAL MOBILITY ELEVATES QUALITY OF PATIENT CARE

    Reduction of :-
    Medication administration errors 61%
    Specimen collection labelling errors 52%
    Patient care issues related to communication breakdowns 46%
    Preventable medical errors 46%
    ( Report by Nurse Managers )

    To be continue……

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 5

    INTENSIFYING USE OF MOBILE COMMUNICATION APPLICATIONS BY 2022

    SECURE TEXT MESSAGING – 99%
    VOICE COMMUNICATION – 98%
    PICTURE TAKING OF WOUNDS/ SKIN CONDITIONS – 97%
    TELEHEALTH – 96%
    VOICE RECOGNITION/ DICTATION – 94%

    IMPROVING STAFF COMMUNICATION IS ESSENTIAL

    Throughout the healing process, patients may require care from a broad range of medical practitioners, from nurses, doctors and specialists to technicians, therapists, pharmacists, and more.
    Communication between the disciplines is critical, but remains a pervasive problem. In fact, more than a quarter of hospital readmissions could be avoided with better communication among healthcare teams and between providers and patients

    COMMUNICATION AREAS NEEDING IMPROVEMENT
    1. Nurse-to-doctor communication
    2. Nurse-to-nurse communication
    3. Nurse call and patient monitoring alerts to mobile devices
    4. Clinical decision support (real-time information)

    The study found that a lack of real-time patient health information at the bedside is the biggest barrier to achieving optimal patient care in hospitals globally.

    Nurses armed with the most up-to-date information about patients can spend more time at the patient’s bedside, better prioritise alarms and optimise workflows with improved communication among colleagues.

    According to the study, 67% of nurse managers credit clinical mobility with improving staff communication and collaboration as well as the quality of patient care.

    Globally, 64% of IT executives identify nurse to doctor communications as a top area needing improvement. Additionally, 60% conceded communication through the health system network to doctors needs improvement in hospitals.

    This data suggests that when implementing clinical mobility, IT leaders need to invest in the proper infrastructure, such as nurse call systems, VoIP and wireless local area networks (WLANs) for seamless communication.

    CLINICAL MOBILITY ENHANCES COMMUNICATION

    Improved staff communication and collaboration 67%
    Increased patient care focus and attentiveness (less non-critical interruptions) 50%
    Increased medical workflow accuracy and precision 44%
    Improved information availability and point-of care decision making 42%

    To be continue…..

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 6

    CLINICAL MOBILITY IS VITAL BUT MUST OVERCOME IMPLEMENTATION OBSTACLES
    NURSE MANAGERS AND IT EXECUTIVES RANK BARRIERS

    NURSE MANAGERS
    1. Lack of budget to maintain, service and update devices
    2. Patient privacy concerns
    3. Lack of adequate IT health information systems
    4. Data security concerns
    5. Lack of up-front IT investment

    IT EXECUTIVES
    1. Data security concerns
    2. Lack of up-front IT investment
    3. Lack of adequate IT health information systems
    4. Hesitancy of clinicians/nurses to change workflows
    5. Inadequate communication infrastructure and WLAN capacity

    MODERNISING THE HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE

    More and more, systems inside and outside the hospital are becoming connected and transforming the healthcare delivery system, creating high-efficiency workflows that minimise errors and reduce costs.

    What does it take to reap these benefits and who is ultimately responsible for making the changes? Worldwide, healthcare facilities are starting to implement parts of these systems and are effectively leveraging best practices from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and GS1, the global business standards organisation, throughout this transition.
    There is still a long way to go and IT departments will likely take on most of these tasks as their positions transition from supporting role to leading decision maker.

    HEALTHCARE IT LEADS THE TRANSFORMATION

    The role of the IT department is clearly evolving. Currently, hospitals’ clinical mobility policies are primarily created by hospital administration, followed by IT management. In the future, respondents expect that dynamic to shift with IT executives taking a stronger leadership position in developing the actual policy rather than just in implementing the solution.

    In some ways, the use of technology in the hospital setting is something that can bring IT and nurse managers together.
    For example, both nurse managers and IT executives see patient privacy concerns as well as a lack of adequate IT and health information systems as obstacles to attaining organisational approval to implement clinical mobility.
    As part of the increased level of collaboration in clinical mobility implementation, IT is involving key players from all departments and might be surprised to find an ally in the nursing staff.

    Mobile devices, whether supplied by the hospital or those brought in by workers, require policies to ensure compatibility, security and proper uses. Today, only 65% of hospitals have a mobile device policy, with 53% defining specific data requirement and implementing authentication/authorisation.
    By 2020, 42% of hospitals will add asset management/maintenance, mobile device management (MDM), data encryption and remote device wiping.

    IMPLEMENTATION OF MOBILE DEVICE POLICIES WILL INCREASE BY 2022

    HAVE A MOBILE DEVICE POLICY 2017 – 65%

    PLAN TO HAVE A MOBILE DEVICE POLICy 2022 – 98%

    To be continue….

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 7

    77% of patients felt positive about their clinician using a mobile device in their care

    THE CONSUMERIZATION OF HEALTHCARE

    Society’s adoption of technology is driving the digitisation of hospital services. As a result, patients are taking greater advantage of services like telehealth to help limit the number of hospital visits. Technology is freeing up hospital staff to provide the proper level of care required in a more efficient manner.

    The presence of technology and the skill of the clinician employing it in their treatment goes a long way in instilling patient confidence. In the study, 70% of patients saw their nurse or hospital staff using a mobile device and 77% felt positive about the experience.

    EMPOWERING DATA DRIVEN DIAGNOSIS

    As hospitals contemplate clinical mobility, it is imperative that they consider the needs and habits of today’s smartphone tethered, ever-connected patients.
    Hospitals that don’t adopt clinical mobility will likely have a difficult time attracting and treating patients who are beginning to expect technology to be a central part of their care.

    This emerging generation of healthcare consumers have come to understand that if they give away their information the rewards are plentiful including time savings and even better care. Of surveyed patients, 57% use wearables to track health metrics, and 95% of those who use wearables are willing to share information with hospital clinicians.

    PATIENTS ARE BECOMING ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN THEIR HEALTHCARE

    57% USE WEARABLES TO TRACK HEALTH METRICS

    37% BROUGHT HEALTH MONITORING DEVICE DATA TO THE HOSPITAL IN PREPARATION FOR A STAY

    97% WILLING TO SHARE ELECTRONIC HEALTH METRICS WITH HOSPITAL CLINICIANS

    To be continue…..

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 8

    REALISING THE POWER OF DATA

    Ninety percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years. Medical institutions are no exception, generating data from an ever-growing number of devices, sensors and emerging technologies. Maximising the usefulness of these complex data streams requires an integrated systems approach that extends accessibility to a vast expanse of healthcare workers.

    98% By 2022, IT executives expect predictive analytics and early detection notification for life threatening conditions will be sent to clinicians’ mobile devices.

    IT has the arduous task of ensuring that all data collection systems are compatible with each other. While this is a thorny process, there is no denying how useful that data can be in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

    PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS IS THE FUTURE

    These new sources of data are providing a new opportunity for doctors and nurses to provide unprecedented levels of care. Vital patient information, from prescriptions and lab results to individual lifestyle data, can drastically improve the quality of healthcare.
    IT executives ranked artificial intelligence as one of the top technology trends most likely to impact the daily work experience.
    Access to this type of data at the moment it is needed, can help health professionals better analyse a situation, more accurately predict outcomes and take action.

    STREAMLINING WORKFLOWS AND LIMITING OVERFLOWS

    Predictive analytics – while in its infancy – is proving very powerful in streamlining hospital workflows and holds great promise in reducing patient readmissions.

    The key is aggregating the appropriate data and being willing to make changes based on the information that data provides.
    Hospitals are already on board with predictive analytics, and we will likely see this trend grow in the future.

    According to the study, nurse managers report that 50% of hospitals have had a clinical mobility and predictive data analytics policy in place for at least three years or more, while 42% have only had one for less than one year.

    CLINICAL MOBILITY INVESTMENTS BY 2022
    2% Decreasing
    22% Remain the same
    76% Increasing
    Reported by IT Executives

    TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

    1. REMOTE PATIENT MONITORING
    2. TELEHEALTH
    3. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
    4. EHR INTEROPERABILITY IMPROVEMENTS
    5. CLOUD TECHNOLOGY

    https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=WRL12345USEN

    To be continue…….

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 9

    97% of hospitals expect dynamic workflow notifications to be sent to mobile devices by 2022

    STREAMLINING HOSPITAL OPERATIONS

    Hospitals are large, complex facilities that include miles and miles of similar looking hallways, offices, treatment areas and patient rooms. Keeping track of assets, staff and patients is a daunting challenge.
    Industry estimates suggest that these operational challenges contribute to delayed procedure start times, decreased clinician productivity, and lost medical equipment, specimens and supplies.

    In an effort to curtail these losses and increase visibility, hospitals are adopting Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) and mobile computing to automatically track the real-time geographic location of everything from equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals to patients and staff.

    APPLICATIONS ARE MANY AND DIVERSE

    New RTLS applications are rapidly evolving:
    a.THROUGHPUT

    Tracking patients – from admission to discharge. For a 275-bed hospital, reducing the average length of stay by four hours is the equivalent of increasing physical capacity by 10 beds.

    b. PATIENT SECURITY
    Monitoring labels on a baby’s wristband or a geriatric person’s hospital gown help ensure that only properly discharged patients have exit access.

    c. ASSETS
    Tracking assets such as infusion pumps, heart monitors and wheelchairs so that they are ready and available when they are needed most.

    d. STAFF LOCATING
    Identifying the physical location of a team member when they are needed strengthens patient care delivery coordination and improves staff collaboration.

    EXPANDING ROLLOUT OF RTLS

    PATIENT TRACKING
    2017 – 58%
    2022 – 96%

    SPECIMENS
    2017 – 47%
    2022 – 98%

    MEDICAL DEVICES
    2017 – 44%
    2022 – 98%

    EQUIPMENT
    2017 – 41%
    2022 – 96%

    STAFF OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY
    2017 – 40%
    2022 – 97%

    REPORTED BY IT Executives

    To be continue…..

  • THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE: FUTURE HOSPITAL – part 10

    ABOUT THE STUDY

    ALL RESPONDENTS BY GEOGRAPHY
    UNITED STATES – 27%
    BRAZIL – 20%
    UNITED KINGDOM – 16%
    CHINA – 19%
    MIDDLE EAST (SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT, QATAR, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES) – 18%

    ROLE
    NURSE MANAGERS 35%
    IT EXECUTIVES 32%
    PATIENTS 33%

    HOSPITAL SIZE
    100–199 BEDS 25%
    200–299 BEDS 31%
    300–399 BEDS 20%
    400–499 BEDS 10%
    500+ BEDS 14%

    PATIENT BY AGE
    21–30 32%
    31–40 36%
    41–50 14%
    51–60 7%
    60+ 11%

    NUMBER OF MOBILE DEVICES
    51 – 100 MOBILE DEVICES 33%
    100+ MOBILE DEVICES 67%
    100+ MOBILE DEVICES 67%

    EMBRACING THE CLINICAL MOBILITY EVOLUTION

    While it is clear that more and more hospitals are embracing clinical mobility, we are still at the beginning of this transformative aspect of healthcare.

    Hospitals have started to lay the groundwork for implementing clinical mobility by equipping bedside nurses with mobile devices and connecting data from equipment, supplies, and health information systems.

    Now is the time for widespread adoption in hospitals since not only nurses and IT decision makers see the benefits, but the new generation of patients that welcome and expect technology to be part of their healthcare treatment.

    ABOUT SUPREMESOFT TECHNOLOGIES

    Supremesoft healthcare technology solutions connect medical providers to patient records, caregivers to colleagues and patients to practitioners for better care.

    We offer a full suite of technologies designed specifically for the unique needs of the healthcare industry – including wristband and label printers, scanners, mobile computers and software that provides visibility and creates efficiencies throughout the care environment.

    Supremesoft is a leader in patient identity, mobility and real-time locating and tracking.

    The End

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