Winners of the Total Solution Provider Awards for automatic identification and data collection illustrate the channel's ingenuity at solving customer problems.
If you're seeking VARs and integrators designing innovative technology solutions, look no further than Business Solutions' readers. Since our start in 1986, the magazine's articles have told the stories of the channel through readers' eyes. From feature stories to installation reviews, leading channel partners tell of their struggles as well as their successes. Nowhere are achievements more evident than in the applicants for Business Solutions' Total Solution Provider (TSP) Awards. Throughout the year, the magazine solicits readers to submit their most innovative implementations of technologies like enterprise content management (ECM), point of sale, and automatic identification and data collection (AIDC).
Winners of the TSP Awards for AIDC were recently honored at an AIM Industry Awards Reception that kicked off the Frontline Solutions Expo, which was held November 13-15 in Chicago. A quick look at the three winners illustrates the channel's ingenuity at solving customer problems. Take Itopa Technologies, Inc., for example. Winner of the TSP Award for Innovative Field Service Installation, Itopa designed a solution for Enbridge Home Services, a consumer heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) field service, repair, and maintenance company. Enbridge has a fleet of over 250 trucks that perform field service on HVAC systems. The problem was that Enbridge's parts replenishment system for its trucks was paper-based. This caused errors in reporting, delays in parts replenishment, and often return service calls.
Itopa had previously designed a radio frequency (RF)-based warehouse management system for Enbridge's distribution center. So, the integrator stepped in to design a label system for vehicle stocking parts that integrated Intermec 1551 scanners with onboard vehicle systems. Data from this field service solution was also integrated with the existing warehouse management system. Some notable benefits Enbridge realized from this installation include:
- 99% of all missing parts are replenished on vehicles daily
- 87% of service calls are now completed on the first visit
- 10% increase in the number of service calls achieved per day.
Applying Wireless To Retail
Stratix Corporation was also recognized with a TSP Award for Innovative Wireless Installation for its solution for The Home Depot. The home improvement retailer needed a more effective way to update shelf signs for product description and pricing. Previously, new signs were made at a centralized location, which forced stores to wait out the lengthy process of requesting, producing, and receiving the signs. Traditional portable printers could not fulfill all of The Home Depot's requirements. So, Stratix designed mobile cart-based print stations. This solution included a TEC B-452 printer, which was reengineered by Stratix to use an external Marine Gel cell battery power source, a Telxon (now Symbol) touch screen, Symbol wedge scanner, and an Edwards Manufacturing cart. There are currently eight mobile cart systems at every Home Depot store. This solution allows the retailer to print new signs on the spot and eliminates all of the steps required by the previous method.
Solving Supply Chain Problems
Lastly, ADC Technologies Group won the TSP Award for Innovative Supply Chain Installation. This integrator designed a solution for Bradshaw International, a leading distributor of kitchen utensils for Kmart, Wal-Mart, and Target. Bradshaw receives many international shipments of large containers, which it needs to process and put away in a short amount of time to avoid financial penalties. ADC Technologies Group installed its EasyTrac warehouse management system and Symbol's Spectrum 24 RF system. This solution grew with Bradshaw when the distributor expanded from a single 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse to four warehouses with over 500,000 sq. ft. ADC Technologies Group migrated the distributor from a single RF LAN to a wide area network that connects all the warehouses and transmits all of the information into one database. Some of the benefits that Bradshaw has realized from this installation include:
- no financial penalties from suppliers
- reduction in the time it takes to do inventory from weeks to days
- ability to do cycle counting rather than wall to wall inventory.
Business Solutions is presently seeking VAR/integrator applicants for its next TSP Awards program for ECM (enterprise content management), specially named Channel Connection Awards for the AIIM Show event.