Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Are thin client conversions the solution to Win XP Fork Truck computer woes?

Earlier this year we commented on the issue for large Enterprises who need to end the use of Windows XP PCs on their network, but who have Truck Mounted computers with lots of life left in them only able to run XP.

One possible solution has come to us from DLoG in Germany, the use of an Industrial Thin Client, that can replace the original Win XP OS with a super thin client firmware that allows the computer to access remote VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) like VMWare, Citrix or Microsoft RDP.

This may seem pretty ordinary these days, with Thin and Zero client devices being used across many corporations.  But its the ability to re-purpose existing rugged computers, some less than three years old and in perfect working order, with many years of service left in them and make them look and feel like the latest Win 7 or even Win 8 computers, that is so interesting.

DLoG GmbH working with iGEL Technologies, a specialist supplier of Zero and Thin Client devices, have created a firmware image for the DLoG MTC 6/10, that installs one of the best industrial Thin Clients available.  The original project was not even to re-use older hardware, but was to create new super rugged Truck computers for the Automotive industry that was quick and easy to deploy and has no OS to support in the factory.

So instead of having to replace expensive truck computers with the latest hardware and latest operating system, before their time, Enterprise customer can now host any operating system they choose that runs on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

The benefits of using IGEL on a DLoG MTC 6 computer include:
  • Easy set-up within minutes for quick roll-outs - just "plug in and go"
  • No support issues for Windows security updates
  • Robust construction for use in industrial and production environments
  • Huge reduction in maintenance support costs due to straightforward, centralised remote administration
  • Extremely environmentally friendly: CO2 emissions and electricity consumption up to 77% lower than with regular PCs
  • No moving parts for greater reliability, longer service life and fewer failures, ensuring a reliable 27/4 operation
If you want to see if your DLoG XP truck computer can use this upgrade, call the Barcode-IT team 01200 441977.  Or check out our website here : DLoG Thin Client

Written by David Parkinson - partner at Dash Computer Products, who specialises in barcode driven WMS, hand held and fork truck mounted computers and data capture solutions.
contact David on 01200 441977 or email here:  Sales@Dash Computer

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

ERP or WMS which is more important?

So, you're thinking of changing your ERP system? Wow, that's a big step, however it could radically improve your business and streamline your operation.

But what about the propeller of your business, the warehouse? Driven by the engine room of your ERP, the warehouse is the part of your business that actually delivers product to your customers, and if that part in not working properly its game over!

A well engineered and properly implemented ERP is a thing of beauty. However, all too often finance people within the business lavish all their attention (and budget) on guaranteeing that management information and financial reporting are paramount, and ignore operational capabilities.

But if the warehouse can't fulfil the "Right Here! Right Now!" demands from your customers, then the shiny new ERP will fail to improve the business in the way in which it was designed.

Today, modern warehouses are totally different and have moved far beyond the paper based and manual systems that were used by some businesses even only 10 years ago.
The heart of the modern WMS is a rugged, WiFi enabled, barcode driven data terminal directly connected to the WMS, giving information and instructions to the worker, while ensuring that transactions are fast and accurate.

Warehouse management today is about flow and control, balancing the need to allow the flow of goods in and out of the warehouse, with the need to ensure that proper control is exercised over the put away, picking and despatch processes.

Too much or unnecessary control can slow important processes which can lead to dramatic knock on effects to later WMS transactions. 

For example, when goods are being received from a supplier, a modern warehouse management system (WMS) will already be aware that goods are due and will be able to recognise that some products need to be quality control checked, while other items can be immediately put away.

The QC process is important but it need not hinder work-flow. A modern WMS can recognise that the item needs QC, but still put it away in the correct location, according to its need (could be chilled or need a special location) then it's marked as "awaiting QC" and NOT added to available stock, therefore it cannot be picked or moved. Finally the QC request is added to the list of "waiting for QC" items list and the QC worker is directed to the correct location using a modern industrial terminal or pad, that uses barcodes to enforce accuracy.  The worker checks the items, or takes samples for analysis and if the QC test is passed, releases the items electronically to available stock.  The product is already in location so there is nothing else to do. Time saved and productivity improved.

The old method was to place goods received into a QC or quality control area, where inspectors could (eventually) do the QC test and mark the goods are available for put away. This requires more time and another put away task before the goods are taken to their final stock location.

Many ERP systems have built in "stock management" but for slick and sophisticated
management of the warehouse, you just can't beat a dedicated WMS that gives the warehouse and logistics teams the very latest thinking in warehouse management and the right mobile tools to keep the products and orders flowing to your customers.

So, the real answer to the question "ERP or WMS, which is more important?" is that each is equally as important as the other, but the two MUST work in harmony to achieve the business benefits that each has promised.

If you would like to discover more about the latest ideas for "smart" warehouse management or see how giving your worker mobile access to your business systems could be of benefit, come and talk to the experts here at Barcode-IT.

Written by David Parkinson - partner at Dash Computer Products, who specialises in barcode driven WMS, hand held and fork truck mounted computers and data capture solutions.
contact David on 01200 441977 or email here:  Sales@Dash Computer

Monday, 6 October 2014

Rhino Hide - Replaceable Screen Protection for Truck Computers

DLoG mobile computers are tough, very tough. Able to withstand the rigours of life bolted to an unsprung fork truck, DLoG computers just keep on working.

But accidents do happen and a number of customers have reported that the surface of screens are being damaged by some workers using sharp and inappropriate tools, pens etc instead of a finger or correct stylus.  Plus when workers use heavy duty gloves, embedded with grit, metal filing or other abrasive dust, the surface of the screen can become dulled or opaque, where the worker constantly uses the same area of the screen.

To combat this damage Barcode-IT will now offer a sacrificial screen protector called Rhino Hide, for all DLoG computers.

Rhino Hide is a super strong totally clear overlay that works in exactly the same way as the protected screen beneath, allowing the user to view, touch and interact with the screen as before. Except now Rhino Hide is protecting the screen and absorbing any cuts, nicks and scratches accidentally impacting the screen.

However the real beauty of Rhino Hide is that when damaged, it can easily be removed and replaced with a new Hide, keeping the DLoG in service instead of being returned to the workshop for (sometimes expensive) screen repair.  Rhino Hide can be replaced in situ, quickly and easily by an on-site technical support person or fork truck engineer in just ten minutes.

Rhino Hide can be fitted from new or added to existing DLoG computers.  Call today to order yours and start benefiting from reduced down time.  Also available for Psion, Motorola, LXE, Intermec and Honeywell Truck Computers.

Written by Nigel Holloway - a senior sales consultant at Dash Computer Products, who specialises in barcode labelling systems, hand held and fork truck mounted computers and data capture solutions.
contact Nigel on 01200 441977 or email here:  Nigel@Dash Computer