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Maximising a leading eCommerce retailer’s uptime with a mobile fleet.

Customer Since: 2017
Description: eCommerce Retailer

October 16, 2023

The world’s largest eCommerce retailer operates hundreds of fulfillment centre to ensure efficient order processing and expedited delivery. Their state-of-the-art fulfillment network leverages the latest technology, helping them grow at an unprecedented pace. Their expansive fulfillment centres can employ up to 1,500 associates who pick, pack and ship customer orders.

Like many organisations, they face challenges with asset tracking, management and storage. The handheld devices that support order fulfillment are a sizable investment. Unfortunately, equipment damage is common, accounting for unnecessary loss that can affect productivity and profitability. They sought a solution to protect expensive devices yet still provide associates with quick, self-serve access.

TRG worked with the customer to reduce costs by addressing a key challenge related to mobile asset management.

Mobile Asset Management in a 24/7 Fulfillment Centre

Efficiency in a fulfillment centre depends on sound workflows and reliable technology. This customer leverages BearCom two-way radios to facilitate instant push-to-talk voice and data communications. Unfortunately, they were experiencing a high rate of device breakage, incurring losses of $50,000 per year. An industry-wide labor shortage compounded the problem, leading the company to hire less experienced staff who often mishandle equipment.

The customer sought a solution to keep track of their equipment and turned to TRG for help. We suggested APEX smart lockers as a cost-effective solution to ensure their handheld devices remain accounted for.  

Optimising for Improved Performance

TRG first arranged a proof of concept to ensure the proposed solution would address their challenges. One of the customer’s primary concerns involved the speed at which devices could be distributed at the start of each shift. In a fulfilment centre of this size, every minute counts. Precious time is wasted if associates spend time waiting in line for their devices.

Both TRG and the customer wanted to ensure that multiple people could check-in and check-out at the same time without causing bottlenecks. Over the course of 30 days, the customer ensured the smart lockers addressed this concern while keeping devices secure, organised and ready to work.

Automated Smart Lockers Keep Enterprise Devices Secure and Organised

TRG recommended the APEX Axcess 6100 Series Automated Locker with self-serve access. These sophisticated, space-saving lockers provide real-time visibility, tracking, insights and reporting. Associates can easily scan their badge to check out a device and return it at the end each shift. These lockers bring speed and efficiency, along with more accountability for the company’s enterprise devices.

When equipment is returned, employees can indicate if everything is working properly. If not, the locker will alert the IT department so it can be serviced and returned to the pool. Each device is tracked, and if the device is not returned at the end of the shift, the IT department is notified. This level of accountability helps reduce equipment loss and theft.

Smart lockers can be set-up at strategic points across a warehouse or fulfillment centre based on where people start and end their shifts, which is ideal given the size of these facilities.

A Custom, Subscription-Style Service Contract

Following the proof of concept, it was clear the lockers would solve their challenge and decrease losses, but the customer wanted an alternative to purchasing the lockers outright. The added expense plus the responsibility of maintaining the lockers would have burdened their already overstretched IT staff.

APEX typically offers one-year or three-year contract options, but this customer sought an alternative option based on their unique needs. TRG developed a custom subscription-style service contract that was billed monthly and covered all necessary service and maintenance for the smart lockers. APEX shipped the equipment directly to the customer’s warehouse and configured the lockers onsite upon arrival.

After incurring losses of $50,000 annually, their return on investment was realized within the first year. This retailer invested $20,000 to implement the mobile asset management system, saving them an estimated $30,000 per year.

Cradlepoint Modem Keeps the Primary Network Secure

Once the order was placed TRG initiated several additional steps to ensure the lockers would arrive fully functional. The lockers require an internet connection, but because they aren’t owned by the customer, they did not want the lockers operating on their corporate network due to security concerns. TRG established a separate, dedicated cellular network that ensured the lockers ran seamlessly without additional security risks. This out-of-the-box approach was ideal for the running equipment, providing additional data capacity with more security and control.

Find a Partner with a Comprehensive Breath of Services

By partnering with TRG, the customer solved a mobile asset management challenge that affected both productivity and profitability. Our pilot program ensured that concerns surrounding efficiency and bottlenecks could be overcome. And our ability to help customers with innovative solutions resulted in a customised subscription-based service contract that meets their unique needs. As we look to the future, there are numerous opportunities to deploy this solution in other fulfillment and distribution centres across the world.

Interested in seeing how TRG can help streamline operations and improve efficiencies in your distribution centre? Contact us today!

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