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US Naval Air Force Reserve Optimizes Resources and Labor with Mobile Computers

Posted August 5, 2010

Intermec ScannerThe U.S. Commander Naval Air Forces Reserve (CNAFR) maintains and repairs military aircraft such as the E-2C Hawkeye, an early warning radar aircraft; AH-1 Cobra, a strike helicopter; and EA-6B Prowler, an aircraft that jams electronic signals. Other aircraft include the FA-18 Hornet strike fighter and C-130 Hercules transport plane. During times of war, CNAFR sends troops to battle, reducing manpower on the base. This means fewer Sailors are available to repair aircraft.

Each piece of equipment within the aircraft must be in working order to assure the safety of the aircrew and optimize the chances for success in combat. So at the beginning of the War on Terror, CNAFR wanted a way to optimize the manpower on base while expediting the repair process so aircraft could return to combat as soon as possible. To do so, CNAFR teamed up with Intermec Technologies and partner Diamond Data System to help develop its Base Level Inventory Tracking System (BLITS).

Manual Processes Delay and Dislocate
Several Naval Air Force Reserve bases have warehouses that store equipment and parts for the repair of military aircraft. So when a repair part is not available at one base, logistics personnel must input a requisition for stock from another.

“Before BLITS, the sailors had to call the other base and track down the repair part,” said Lieutenant Commander Chris Stevens of CNAFR. “Parts were often tracked using spreadsheets, so users in one base weren’t able to read the spreadsheet in another without having to call someone to look it up. Ultimately, it took a lot of work, wasting unnecessary time and labor.”

Before BLITS was deployed, CNAFR used a bar-coded form to track orders. Sailors would also have to use this form when requesting parts to repair aircraft. Whenever a part was delivered to the base, a driver took the part into the warehouse and had the form signed by a recipient. Once the driver returned to the warehouse with the form, the data was manually entered into a database used for tracking parts between bases. Using this system, it wasn’t uncommon for items to be misplaced.

“With the long strings of numbers associated with aviation components, typos were made when inputting data,” said Stevens. “This could wreak havoc on our system because it showed that the wrong part was ordered or delivered. Another problem was misplacing parts throughout the supply chain. This resulted in increased labor and expenses because of the time it took to determine the origin of the mistake or the location of the part. ”

BLITS Tracking Features Deliver
In order to reduce the opportunities for error and optimize labor, CNAFR turned to Intermec to install BLITS. A key component of BLITS is Intermec’s CK31G mobile computers, which are used for tracking repair parts. Using the new system, when a driver delivers a part, it must be scanned by someone’s Common Access Card (CAC) for it to be received. When the CAC card is scanned, the system identifies who received the item and the date and time. This information is stored on the CK31G mobile computer until it is docked and uploaded to a central server.

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Filed under: Case Studies

Operation: Improve Asset Management

Posted May 25, 2010

U.S. Army improves Asset ManagementFrom weapons to desks and chairs, the U.S. Army relies on the Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE) system to track Army assets and automate property accountability processes across the supply chain while providing for greater visibility of these assets. PBUSE, the U.S. Army’s Web-based property accountability and tracking system, is part of the Global Combat Support System for both garrison and tactical units. Intermec solutions are at the core of helping PBUSE minimize their inventory tracking costs.

The Intermec solution consists of the CK61 rugged mobile computer and the PM4i Thermal Printer. This solution covers close to 13,000 military locations and manages tens of millions of inventory items for the Army at any given time. By minimizing the footprint cost on and off the battlefield, the Intermec solution has improved inventory asset management by 80 percent, saving the U.S. Army over half a million dollars in permanently lost or misplaced inventory and additional costs to individual soldiers.

At a critical time in the U.S. Army’s history with two major wars taking place, the Army has no room for error when it comes to keeping track of equipment on the battlefield, as well as, in the warehouse. However it has become increasingly difficult to track inventory, particularly as it relates to deployed units. Due to a paper-based, data entry, receipt system, PBUSE has been hampered by inefficient asset tracking processes used to confirm inventory.

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Stanley Steemer Streamlines Field Service Operations with Rugged Handheld Computers

Posted May 13, 2010

Intermec 761 Handheld computersStanley Steemer performs on-site carpet cleaning and floor-care services nationwide. Thousands of technicians are in the field daily fulfilling orders, selling, routing to various job sites, and recording and reporting completed transactions back to a central office. The task of managing all of these transactions and company assets can be daunting.

For decades, Stanley Steemer relied on a paper-based process for order taking and fulfillment, payment processing and dispatch. The process was time consuming and at times inaccurate.

In the mid-1990s, Stanley Steemer International, Inc. began researching hardware and working with prototype applications to move the company’s system from a paper solution to an electronic process. Stanley Steemer first trialed consumer-grade handheld computers and implemented a prototype system in 2002. This system proved ineffective because of the device’s lower durability in comparison to a ruggedized commercial-grade solution. Stanley Steemer also quickly learned that this type of system lacked many of the capabilities inherent in a commercial grade device.

“We learned quickly that this type of equipment wasn’t going to work because of durability and capability limitations,” said Dale Bevins, IT Director, Stanley Steemer International, Inc. “We determined that deploying a commercial grade handheld computer to meet the challenging demands placed on the equipment was our only option.”

In 2005, Stanley Steemer turned to Intermec for the company’s ruggedized Intermec 761 handheld computers and PW40 mobile printers. Stanley Steemer now uses more than 900 Intermec handheld computers, printers and accessories at over 60 different branches, satellites and franchises across the U.S. and estimates a complete branch/satellite rollout by January 2007. To help monitor assets, Stanley Steemer has also deployed WebTech GPS boxes mounted inside Stanley Steemer service vehicles.

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Entertainment Wholesaler Super D Saves $1 Million in Annual Warehouse Costs

Posted May 13, 2010

Intermec 2425 RF ComputerFor media wholesaler Super D, the “unplugged” movement in the music industry has reaped million-dollar rewards. The company has a 45,000-square-foot warehouse full of music, sitting in bins and ready to move. Among rows of compact discs, cassette odd vinyl albums are the industry’s elite: compilations that have connected so powerfully with the public that they have sold a million units or more. Now the company is ready to reap yet another “unplugged” million-dollar reward – with a wireless mobile system from Intermec.

Three years ago, Super D Chairman and Chief Technology Officer David Hurwitz began casting about for a way to make his company stronger, more resilient. “We’ve lost a bunch of competitors in the last couple years,” he said, “primarily because with shrinking margins in a shrinking market, if you don’t have your systems in place to get every last nickel and dime you can, you’re dead. We’ve been investing in the technology side so much that it’s paid off.”

The new wireless system included handheld computers from Intermec Technologies Corp., integrated Great Plains software and Microsoft SQL servers.

That move transformed Super D’s warehouse operations, enhancing not only its speed and accuracy, but slashing overall warehouse costs, letting Super D keep more money from every sale. How much more? Three years ago Super D’s warehouse costs were running at 4 percent. Today that cost is down to 1.8 percent. Using current sales figures, warehouse cost savings for fiscal year 2003 total more than $1 million. “As sales continue to grow, that number’s just going to keep getting better,” Hurwitz said.

Twenty-five Intermec 2425® radio-frequency (RF) keypad handheld computers comprise the new system’s front end. They replaced the old method, which Hurwitz described as using “our hands and a clipboard” to pick from and stock the 150,000 bins at the Irvine, Calif., company.

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Filed under: Case Studies

Intermec Printers Give RH Foster a Fresh Approach to Food Labeling

Posted April 13, 2010

Benefits Summary

RH Foster saved approximately:

  • 10 seconds per food item
  • 2.5 labor hours a week,
    equating to 130 hours saved

Convenience store chain eliminates the need for computers, reducing costs and improving worker productivity

Not all the sandwiches RH Foster makes and sells at its chain of Exxon-Mobile convenience stores in Maine are triple-deckers, but labeling them for sale was always a laborious three-step process. Once sandwiches were made and wrapped, the store clerk would apply a preprinted label that identified the sandwiches and its ingredients. The clerk would then grab a labeling gun to set and produce the price label. Finally, the clerk would take a separate labeling gun and set the date to make a "use by" freshness label. That’s three separate steps, and the final product wasn’t even bar coded, resulting in an extra manual step to ring up the sandwiches at the point of sale.

The process also created support requirements at headquarters, where the sandwiches and other food product labels were printed. The foodservice manager would personally print all the labels and either ship or deliver them to retail locations, and was responsible for ensuring each store had enough of the dozens of different product labels that were used. Stores would sometimes run out of preprinted labels and would have to create handwritten ones until a new supply arrived, or end up throwing away labels when ingredients changed or sandwiches were discontinued.

RH Foster wanted to find a smarter way to label its Freshies®- brand products, which are made fresh in each of the company’s 12 retail locations each day. What it found was a smart labeling process that takes advantage of intelligence embedded in an in-store label printer to take time, steps, guesswork and errors out of preparing product labels. RH Foster credits the system for saving at least 130 labor hours per store, per year.

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Intermec Mobile Computers Help Caritas Improve Healthcare and Cuts Costs

Posted February 10, 2010

Intermec healthcare

Caritas Home Care has found the formula for improving healthcare quality and cutting costs. By porting its legacy mobile medical software to new handheld computers with enhanced communication and data collection capabilities, the Boston-area home healthcare agency saved its care providers an average of more than a half hour per day, lowered its operating expenses, and positioned itself to deliver more services and improved care.

Caritas Home Care has 150 mobile clinicians who provide a variety of medical and social services in the patient’s home, including nursing, post-hospitalization follow ups, physical therapy, counseling, geriatric services, respiratory therapy and more. The agency was one of the first to use mobile medical software to record the care given and take notes during patient visits. As an early adopter, Caritas Home Care learned several hard lessons about the most efficient ways to use mobile computers in healthcare settings, and about the best devices for the job. When the time came for Caritas to refresh its mobile computers, it sought to leverage its investment in legacy software and improve its operations by taking advantage of technology advances that occurred since it first deployed consumer-style PDAs a few years earlier.

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Get to know the Intermec PB21, PB31 & PB51 Rugged Mobile Receipt Printers

Posted October 22, 2009

As the fastest choice for rugged mobile receipt printing, the Intermec PB21, PB31 and PB51 deliver a clear productivity advantage for workers on-the-go. Built to easily withstand the bumps, drops and spills of fast-paced mobile usage, they provide performance you can depend on, day after day.

Intermec SD61 Multiport Wireless Base Station is a Plug-and-Play Solution for Bluetooth Scanners

Posted October 6, 2009

Intermec SD61Intermec today announced the launch of the SD61, a multiport wireless base station that provides a secure connection (ISCP protocol) between multiple Intermec industrial scanners – including the SF51 and SR61B, and the host device. The SD61 allows up to seven Intermec Bluetooth-equipped scanners to operate in the same work area, connected wirelessly to the same mobile cart solution, PC or Intermec printer. By reducing the number of hosts, the SD61 delivers a quick ROI and a less cluttered work environment.

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Filed under: Product News
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Intermec Rugged Mobile Printers Video

Posted September 28, 2009

This video demonstrates Intermec rugged mobile printers getting crushed, frozen, baked, dropped, drenched and continue working when it’s all over.

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Top 5 Tips for Choosing Mobile Computers

Posted September 17, 2009

Intermec CN50

Sorting through the smart phones, PDAs and ruggedized computers available for business use is no easy task. Dozens of manufacturers offer hundreds of devices in thousands of configurations, but only one may be best suited for your particular environment and workforce. Rather than trying to stay on top of all the products that are being introduced and discontinued, the technologies and features being added, plus available peripherals and software, enterprises can quickly cut down to a few viable options by following five basic tips:

  1. Consider the environment and the user
  2. Stick to industry standards & certifications
  3. Simplify support
  4. Require flexibility
  5. Pay attention to power

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Filed under: White Paper
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