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OCTOBER 2018

The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Special Technology Report: PRINTING & LABELLING Interview: LOCH LOMOND GROUP

Also in this issue:

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Meeting the Black Friday challenge

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Getting to grips with vehicle maintenance

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Omnichannel profitability starts with advanced inventory insight

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The vital role of Auto ID in digital transformation

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CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT October 2018 The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Interview 5

Loch Lomond Group

Editor: Ed Holden

Special Technology Report Contributors: Derek Bryan, Verizon Connect John Caltabiano, Jabil Kamran Farooq, Datalogic Richard Hughes-Rowlands, Zebra Technologies Laurent Lassus, SATO Europe Georgia Leybourne, Manhattan Associates Rob van der Meulen, Gartner. Ken Moir, NiceLabel Lee-Bath Nelson, LEO Lane Darrel Williams, Honeywell

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Publisher: Dean Taylor

20

Printing & Labelling

Voice-directed Picking 16

BEC secures one of its most successful years to date Honeywell: Meeting the Black Friday challenge

Automatic Identification & Data Capture/Mobile Computing Datalogic: The vital role of Auto ID in digital transformation VDC Research: Global market for handheld scanners to reach over $1.48 billion through 2022

Designer: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

Epicor: DocStar mobile app enables anytime, anywhere business collaboration and improves responsiveness

Production: Carolyn Pither

Transportation Management

Circulation: Carole Chiesa

24

The Buhr Group selected a TimoCom interface for use as a digital turbocharger Verizon Connect: Getting to grips with vehicle maintenance

IT Manager: Ian Curtis

Warehouse Management

Accounts: Sarah Schofield

28

Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd PO Box 3575, Barnet, Herts, EN5 9QD UK

31

Manhattan Associates: Omnichannel profitability starts with advanced inventory insight

Printing & Labelling Zebra Technologies: Print DNA: What’s inside your printer matters

Tel: +44(0) 208 440 0372 Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com

SATO Europe: Consumer-centric supply chains – Track and trace for enhanced agility

Printed by: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

1000degC

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. No liability is accepted for any action arising from the contents of this publication; readers are advised to check any manufacturer’s or supplier’s claim for products. The publishers do not endorse opinions expressed in any article by an outside contributor. While every care is taken over photographs and illustrations, which are returned when requested, no liability can be assumed by the publishers for the loss of such materials.

NiceLabel: Making the business case for digitally transforming labelling VDC Research: E-commerce fuelling stationary thermal barcode label printer Demand Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG: Hotter than lava flow – this printing ink can withstand LEO Lane: Locking it in – Reducing the risks of additive manufacturing

Supply Chain Management 42

Jabil: Three ways your supply chain manager can help improve speed-to-market

Manufacturing 44

ISSN:1463-1172

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IT

Birmingham-based Cognition Agency: Marketing could be improved, say manufacturers Infosys: Less than a quarter of global enterprises think and act like digital natives

MANUFACTURING

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Gartner: Build a modern supply chain workforce

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Loch Lomond Group

Interview

Raising a toast to greater IT efficiency Manufacturing & Logistics IT takes a look at Loch Lomond Group’s IT estate and the business and operational benefits these systems bring to the company.

L

och Lomond Group is a company behind some of Scotland’s most highly regarded artisan whisky brands. Founded in 1814, Loch Lomond Whiskies can trace its roots back to the Littlemill distillery, which was established in 1772 and is thought to be one of the oldest in the world. Its current malt and grain distilleries, in Alexandria, Dunbartonshire on the banks of Loch Lomond, were built in the 1960s and are among only a few in the industry to maintain an onsite cooperage. The malt distillery at Alexandria also features a unique combination of traditional swan neck and distinctive straight-necked pot stills, enabling it to produce a diverse range of flavour profiles. The backbone behind the company’s production, warehousing and delivery efficiency is its IT estate, something that has recently been substantially overhauled. The latest system to go live is Indigo Software’s warehouse management system (WMS); including put away, picking and sales order processing within five of Loch Lomond Group’s bonded warehouses. Indigo commenced the project to transform Loch Lomond’s paper-based warehouse processes with real-time warehouse management during May this year.

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Interview

Loch Lomond Group

After experiencing a phase of sustained business growth and investment following the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s acquisition in 2014 by private equity group Exponent, Loch Lomond Group has transformed the scale of its business. The recent partnership with The Open Golf Championship means the distillerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exciting range of single malts will become â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Spirit of The Openâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; raising the profile of this innovative business on the international stage.

WMS is seen by the company as an essential part of its transition to become a leading global whisky producer. Implementing the new WMS was seen as an important move in order to allow the company to automate the management of incoming raw materials and finished goods, as well as improve sales order processing.

Greater brand visibility and volume Product range expansion Over the past few years the product range has quadrupled in size and the company now stocks over 850 different SKUs of product varieties, which are shipped globally. This represents a substantial shift from its commercial position just a few years earlier. Export markets have now grown tenfold and over 250 pallets of finished goods leave the Ayrshire site each day, for onwards distribution to customers. Loch Lomond Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s investment in Indigo

Tony Brewerton, plant director at Loch Lomond Group, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our growth means we have effectively outgrown the original processes that served us so well for many years. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good problem to have because it demonstrates how we have progressed our brand visibility and volume. Implementing Indigo WMS will allow us to make finished goods put away much more efficient and ensure we are achieving a higher proportion of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;on time in fullâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (OTIF) shipped pallets, which is critical for customer satisfaction.â&#x20AC;? Traceability is another important consideration for Loch Lomond, to maintain accurate product records and guard against counterfeited goods. Each bottle produced has a unique lot code identifier denoting the line, date and time of production. Indigo WMS is supporting this process by capturing lot code information at the goods inwards stage and tracing it right through to the end customer. This enables Loch Lomond to verify product authenticity and demonstrate that the duty has been paid. Due to the distribution of Loch Lomond Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s warehousing facilities across multiple warehouses, implementing a wi-fi network to support real-time warehouse management was deemed to be cost prohibitive. Instead, Indigo has specified mobile devices capable of using the GSM cellular network to enable the company to gain all the benefits of mobile working, at a reduced cost. Once implemented Indigo WMS will also be integrated with Loch Lomondâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP solution. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We frequently encounter situations where an

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 "  "!"!" "!  " "!" !"!!""!" !" ""! " "! "!  "!!"""! !""!  " artisan food and drinks manufacturer is migrating from paper based systems and introducing a WMS as their first level of automation. In these cases, adding wi-fi into a legacy site can be very expensive and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not always a necessity as this project demonstrates,â&#x20AC;? said Eric Carter, solutions architect at Indigo Software.

Paperless regime Harford is a paperless management system used by shop floor personnel. The system allows production processes to be executed and managed without the need to use any paper. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It handles everything from data capture, downtime, quality management and AQLs to legal compliance matters,â&#x20AC;? explained David McCallum, production support team leader at Loch Lomond Group. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All the data from Harford is visible on 50â&#x20AC;? TV screens once it is captured using ruggedised Samsung touchscreen tablets, which are located on each production line.â&#x20AC;? McCallum pointed out that another key aspect of the Harford solution is a traffic lights system

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Loch Lomond Group

that allows Loch Lomond Group’s front-line leaders to see real-time information as it’s happening on the line. “If everything is running smoothly a happy face graphic can be seen on the TV screens,” he said. “If there is an issue a sad face can be seen, with information regarding any issue that needs to be resolved. Harford is a very effective system and has definitely proven to be a major benefit for us in terms of improved production efficiency.” The initial implementation of the Harford software at Loch Lomond Group took place during March 2017. The company then went live on 1 June last year on a single line. “This was primarily in order to allow the operators to get used to how the system runs,” said McCallum. Then, by September 2017 the site went live on all three of Loch Lomond Group’s automated lines – which is mainly handling high-volume products – and on both our manual lines – which are primarily used for the company’s lower-volume, higher-value goods.

Production checks The Samsung tablet PCs are specifically designed for use within the shop floor factory

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environment. Operating in conjunction with the Harford system, the tablets are used for various production tasks such as conducting half-hourly or random checks on cases and bottles. The tablet PCs went live at the same time as the Harford system.

Interview

McCallum concluded: “Over the past year or so, we have invested in new IT systems that will reap major business and operational benefits for us over the coming years. With demand for our products expanding at such a huge rate, we are glad we did.” 

Printing and labelling Loch Lomond Group relies on a number of Domino printers for its printing needs, together with Videojet industrial printers that are mainly used for case printing. The company uses a laser coding system, also by Domino, to put lot codes on the bottles. This process is mainly undertaken by operators manually, although Loch Lomond Group plans to automate this process in line with its overall commitment to greater levels of automation going forward. “The lot coding process will eventually be taken over by the Harford system,” said McCallum. “In this way, there won’t be any human interaction and therefore little or no chance of errors occurring. If an error on a lot code occurs, the production line has to stop, and this can affect productivity rates. So, in the future the lot codes will be assigned automatically to the Videojet and Domino printers.”

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Special Technology Report

Printing & Labelling

Making your mark Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of leading spokespeople from the vendor and analyst communities about recent and possible future developments within the world of printing & labelling technology.

T

his special technology report will

In terms of drivers for change, Lassus

investigate a number of key

considers that all of us, as consumers, now

current and ongoing areas of

use connected devices and multiple apps

Laser marking

innovation and development with

on a daily basis. “We switch seamlessly

Kamran Farooq, sales

the printing & labelling

between purchasing goods, tracking our

manager –

marketplace; one of the most critical and

health and controlling our home appliances

manufacturing,

fast-changing technology environments

in minutes, without thinking about it,” he

Datalogic, observes

within the manufacturing, logistics and retail

noted. “And it makes complete sense that

that while many

sectors. Laurent Lassus, general manager

we would expect this high-level device

companies in the

marketing & product management at SATO

functionality and ease of use to extend to

logistics industry

Europe GmBH, opens the debate by making

the workplace.”

continue to deploy

the point that current key talking points

traditional printing and

Laurent Lassus, general manager marketing & product management,

continue to be enhanced connectivity,

Lassus added that, at the same time,

label systems to great

traceability, integration and ease of use for

today’s consumers have a heightened

effect, we are seeing

end users. However, he added that

awareness of their impact on the

an increased uptake of laser marking systems

developments are increasingly influenced by

environment. “The notable societal shift

for marking directly on individual parts and

global trends such as sustainability and

towards waste reduction, whether it is

components. “In many instances, customers

digitalisation. “This has brought about the

related to wasted time or resources, has

have not marked components previously, or if

need for flexible, multi-functional devices

been a key driver in the development of

they have, they’ve marked parts by hand which

that perform all the above ‘and more’,” he

multi-functional, intelligent devices and

has led to inconsistent results,” he said. “For a

said. “Moving forward, it’s important that we

sustainable consumables,” he said. “It’s of

lot of small component parts, printed labels are

not only address functionality requirements

increasing importance to our customers that

just not small enough and even for larger parts,

for our customers but that we add value to

we’re able to integrate environmentally

thermal transfer or inkjet printing methods are

make a significant contribution to their

responsible features into our complete label

not preferred as labels can easily become

organisational needs.”

printing solutions.”

damaged or dirty rendering the content illegible.

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Printing & Labelling

Special Technology Report

“Instead, laser marking systems use a

including automotive where it is becoming

proven technology and

focused laser beam across the surface of a

critically important to be able to accurately

nothing new is in sight

part and can be used to produce text,

track and monitor every component part of a

as thermal print is

barcodes, logos, barcodes, serial numbers

vehicle. Equally, he makes the point that laser

offered at a reasonable

and more at high speeds. Not only that but

marking can be put to good use in food and

cost while being

laser marking methods can be used to add a

beverage manufacturing where there is a

extremely reliable,” he

permanent mark to a range of materials

requirement to mark best before or use by

said. “So, the main

including metals and metal alloys, glass,

dates directly to tins, bottles and more.

talking points are

plastics, composites, even ceramics, fabrics

integration in the

and organic materials such as wood and

existing environment

Kamran Farooq, sales manager manufacturing,

Digital transformation

and how easy that is by

Ken Moir, VP marketing, NiceLabel, observes

the tools offered by the

Farooq added that the marking speed has the

that the topic of digital transformation is

manufacturer. For this, Citizen has improved

potential to reach in excess of 1000

everywhere, but as the last 18 months has

the quality and service for SDKs for multiple

characters per second depending on the

proven, it is more than industry buzz. “At

platforms.”

material. In addition, he explained that

NiceLabel, we have seen a rush of companies

images, barcodes and logos can be imported

looking to modernise labelling systems and

Concerning drivers for change, Schüßler

and are quickly and easily replicated. “Due to

processes in an effort to keep pace with

made the point that B2B customers are B2C

the permanent nature of laser marking, the

customer demands, regulatory requirements

customers at the same time as everybody

technology is ideal for applications where

and shrinking budgets,” he said. “We expect

has a private life. “So, everybody is

companies need to ensure traceability,

the digital transformation trend to continue.

expecting the ease of use or design

provide protection against counterfeiting or

For labelling this means, modernising legacy

language of the technology he is using at

compliance with regulatory standards,” he

systems to improve quality assurance

home in a work environment,” he said.

pointed out.

processes, increase speed and drive

“Therefore, I see these changes driven by

efficiency. Digitally transforming labelling

the B2C soul of every B2C user. For

Regarding drivers for change, Farooq

offers another benefit, one that many

example, Citizen has launched a label printer

believes that in the majority of instances

companies overlook. By digitising the

in pure white which is mainly targeted at

industry regulations or standards are driving

labelling process, companies are able to turn

customers in high-end retail and healthcare.

an increased demand for part or component

both direct and indirect costs into visible

They expect a product which fits within their

traceability that can span the lifetime of a

savings. Going digital also allows companies

environment and doesn’t come along in the

product. “For example, in healthcare, the

to capitalise on otherwise missed

typical black or greyish Auto-ID colours.”

Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) which

opportunities to speed up time-to-market and

comes into force in February 2019 is a big

sell more.”

rubber.”

Richard Hughes-Rowlands, regional product manager for printer software and industrial

driver,” he said. “The directive requires a unique 2D data matrix barcode to be placed

In terms of drivers for change, Moir makes the

print, Zebra Technologies, highlights three

on medicines along with tamper evident

point that, for many companies, the costs

trends that are driving innovation at the

features on the pack to ensure product

associated with legacy labelling processes

moment. The first is the continuing adoption

integrity. Not only that, but the barcodes need

are driving the need for modernisation. “The

of printing as part of mainstream IT within

to be scanned at fixed points along the

longer companies continue with legacy

companies; thereby making the traditional IT

supply chain for verification and

labelling systems, the more the costs add

concerns of device management and

authentication purposes. Manufacturers that

up,” he said. “Consider how often costly IT

security increasingly important to print. The

are not equipped and ready by the deadline

resources are needed for label design and

second trend is usability. “With the growth in

will no longer be able to distribute their

maintenance or what happens when a label

print, the increasing diversity of printer

products and risk losing market share. In

error results in product recalls and fines,

product types and the gig economy, it’s

addition to marking the outer packaging,

quarantine, rework and scrappage. Then

important that printers are easy to use,

some manufacturers might wish to assess the

there is the cost of manual quality control

keeping the need for training to a minimum,”

viability of using technologies including laser

processes and unplanned downtime.

said Hughes-Rowlands. The third trend is the

marking to add serial numbers and 2D data

Together, these costs can reach millions.”

growth in alternative purchasing models, with more and more customers interested in

matrix codes to internal packaging such as Jörk Schüßler marketing director EMEA

exploring the pay-per-print model for their

Citizen Systems Europe, maintains that, in

office copiers in a manufacturing

Farooq considers that traceability is also a hot

printing, the level of real innovation has been

environment.

topic in a number of other industries;

quite low in the last years. “All are offering a

glass or plastic bottles or vials.”

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Increased customer expectations

away from being a display mechanism for

VDC Research

static, dated data. “Gone are the days where

points out that the

In terms of drivers for change, Hughes-

a label was printed two days’ ago when a

market for thermal

Rowlands believes, ultimately, it comes down

pallet was received (and may or not be

paper and labels

to businesses of all types responding to

correct at the current time) to a vessel that

experienced a

increased customer expectations. “I know that

can give updated and changeable information

production hiccup

each year I spend more and more on-line,

based on transactional events and

starting 2017 as

that sometimes my choices come down how

environmental factors,” he said. “New

Chinese authorities

quickly a product can be delivered or how

labelling advances from companies like

temporarily closed

easy it to return something,” he said. “This is

Thinfilm allow real-time temperature data to

Connect Chemicals,

driving the adoption and growth of print in the

be produced accurately and timely based on

the leading

supply chain. Print is part of the innovation

the needs of the current user, not what was

manufacturer of

that lets them deliver on customer

produced in the past based on stale

thermal paper

expectations. We work closely with these end

information.”

solutions, to modify operations in

Jork Schußler, marketing director EMEA,

compliance with environmental regulations

users to deliver this and that drives our R&D.” A related but separate point, according to

and bring it up to standard. Michael Clarke,

Graham Backhouse, general manager, BPIF

Forshay, is the improved linkages to

research associate, VDC Research, details

Labels, reflects that there has always been

traceability. “Food safety and materials

the business impacts and outlook due to the

consistent creative development within the

traceability data is more dynamic and real

leuco dye supply shortage on the printing

pressure sensitive labelling market, and he

time as well,” he said. “Systems now can

market:

believes this will undoubtedly continue way

track and label as product progresses tied to

into the future. “There is a constant stream of

quality systems in addition to transactional

“As Connect Chemicals is the world’s

more efficient, easier to operate iterations of

systems.”

primary supplier of leuco dye, a vital ingredient to producing direct thermal

existing equipment, but I see more and more attention being paid to streamlining the whole

Concerning drivers for change, Forshay

paper, its decision to (indefinitely) close the

manufacturing process using communication

believes the pervasiveness of technology into

production plant in China starting

technology to link manufacturing equipment,

the day-to-day lives of consumers has

September 2017 has caused a short supply

streamline order processing and

significantly impacted the changes in the

in the marketplace. Thermal paper mills

communicate with the customer,” he said.

labelling and printing environments. “An end-

have also slowed overall production, if not

user of a label mostly likely has a smartphone,

stopped them entirely, resulting in a global

Regarding drivers for change, Backhouse

has played a new video game, and/or

shortage. Connect Chemical owns an

considers that, ultimately, the end user

interacted with a kiosk at the grocery store –

estimated 30 to 40% of the global dye

(demand) will always be the main driver.

maybe all within the last day,” he noted. “This

demand for thermal coaters (and

“Successful companies constantly work on

ease of technology understanding and

approximately 70% of demand in Europe

cost, gaining competitive advantage,

adoption has driven advances to end user

and Asia, according to market estimates);

increasing sales and improving margin,” he

labelling and printing requirements.”

therefore, a manufacturing shut down has significant direct implications for end users

said. “As the industry has matured it has

who rely on direct thermal paper. Appvion,

become more difficult to create truly revolutionary ideas, processes or equipment.

Cost containment

the largest direct thermal paper mill in the

However there has been a significant change

Forshay added that a major driver of change

USA that also filed for bankruptcy protection

in how that

in this space is cost containment. “Supply

in Q4 2017, announced another round of

equipment is used

chains thrive on efficiencies, accuracy and

price increases on their economy-grade

and combined to

timely data. Significant cost savings have

POS thermal paper, raising prices by 29%

provide more

been gained by having access to

since July 2017.”

creative, cost-

synchronised and current data real time

effective solutions.”

across the supply chain partners,” he said.

According to VDC, this supply constraint

“Much like block chain is showing us new

has caused several major players in the

Bob Forshay, senior

ways to save transactional costs, labelling is

barcode labelling market to increase

client manager,

now more tightly linked to real time data.

product prices that use leuco dye. Some

Panorama

Top 5% performing firms are enjoying 50%

announced priced increases in the range of

Consulting Solutions,

savings of the traditional cost of managing

10-15% for end users (for POS receipt

makes the point that

supply chains and a key factor in this is

paper and barcode labels) that came into

labels are moving

leveraging technology appropriately.”

effect in February this year.

Ken Moir, VP marketing,

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Clarke continued: “Apart from the leuco dye

time and costs for OEMs compared to

adopter and cost-

supply shortage, various other

conventional product development.

sensitive markets such as China and

macroeconomic factors have affected the

India, among other

pricing and supply of thermal paper.

Frost & Sullivan anticipates that 3D printing

Among the leading factors causing the

technologies will lead to the development of

price increases are a strong US economy,

specialised micro-factories to produce

natural disasters, and a rise in the price of

customised parts as the automotive industry

market to address

raw materials. The cost of freight has

shifts away from mass production towards

the dynamic future

increased due to a strong US economy

mass customisation. Frost & Sullivan forecasts

needs of the

demanding transportation to ship goods

the global 3D printing materials market in

industry and

and Hurricane Harvey further straining the

automotive transportation to generate

prepare for

trucking industry. The strength of the US

revenues of $576.5 million by 2024, with an

economy has also affected profit margins

impressive compound annual growth rate

for paper mills and converters due to

(CAGR) of 17.8% between 2017 and 2024.

Asian countries. • Understand the

Pete Basiliere, VP analyst,

disruptive trends. • “The uncertain material supply scenario, lack of consistency in end-part production, and

increased wages and the devaluation of the US dollar, down 12% in 2017, has caused

Sayan Mukherjee, visionary science senior

higher prices are big challenges facing the

higher costs for imported raw materials. In

research analyst, Frost & Sullivan,

market,” noted Mukherjee. “However,

addition, the cost of raw materials integral

commented: “3D printing materials will play a

rationalisation of material prices is expected

to the creation of thermal paper has

crucial role in reshaping the global automotive

to boost wider adoption of 3D printing

increased, including pulp paper. Adhesive

business model by enabling decentralised

technology among OEMs.”

and polyester film increased as much as

and localised production of parts and

40% due to the damage of the hurricanes.

solutions. This is expected to transform mega factories over the next two decades.”

“Ultimately, while the leuco dye shortage

Complex parts Pete Basiliere, VP analyst, Gartner, comments

stands out as the most significant reason

Global 3D Printing Materials Market in

that organisations are using 3D printing to

for these planned price increases, other

Automotive Transportation, Forecast to 2024

change their business models. “It changes

factors have also come into play including

reveals growth opportunities, drivers, external

many of the calculations that have been made

price increase of raw materials, strain on

challenges, forecasts and trends, and market

around specialty manufacturing. 3DP may

the shipping industry, and other

revenues across segments such as plastic

never be as efficient as a three-story

macroeconomic reasons. Even when

powders, plastic filaments, metal powders,

stamping press at banging out ribbons of

Connect Chemicals is back up and running

and photopolymers. Competitive strategies of

metal into panels, but, in one shot, 3D printers

at its full capabilities, the thermal paper

key players such as Stratasys, EOS, and 3D

can form complex – indeed impossible-to-

market will still face the price pressure of

Systems are also provided.

make – parts that a press could never solve,”

expensive raw materials and the effects of a

Flexibility in design and materials

leverage growth opportunities in global 3D

Gartner’s Predicts research highlights three

printing materials for the automotive

industries – medical devices, aircraft and

transportation sector include:

consumer goods – that are making significant

• Focus research and development on the

strides in implementing advanced

production of novel plastic formulations

manufacturing practices enabled by 3D

design and

(resins, powders, and filaments) suited for

printing. To a significant extent, the

materials will fuel

real-life applications and move away from

experiences of these industries can be

prototyping.

applied to all manufacturing industries.

According to Frost & Sullivan, flexibility in

growth in the automotive 3D

• Concentrate regional additive

printing materials

manufacturing strategies in Europe and

Prediction: By 2021, 75% of new commercial

market. It adds that

North America – where key automotive

and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed

adoption of 3D

technology pioneers are located.

engine, airframe and other components. “The

printing in rapid

Graham Backhouse, general manager,

he said. According to Frost & Sullivan, ways to

strong US economy.”

• Collaborate with machinery manufacturers

aerospace industry was one of the first

prototyping, by far

for product, business model, and marketing

industries to adopt 3DP,” explained Basiliere.

the largest

development as machinery manufacturers

“Plagued by long product design and

application in this

exert control over individual printer material

development timelines, aerospace

industry, is driven

compatibility.

manufacturers in the commercial and military

by reduced lead

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• Strengthen distribution bases in late-

markets were early testbeds of aircraft models

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and components. While prototyping remains

obscure back-office labs more into the

track 3DP and other innovative technologies

the dominant use case for 3DP in all

forefront as part of a strategy to improve

into the company’s business.”

industries, aerospace has aggressively

surgical training and simulations. Over the past few years, a handful of larger

moved to also use 3D printed tools, jigs, Prediction: By 2021, 20% of the world’s top

enterprise engineering organisations, such as

100 consumer goods companies will use 3D

Airbus, BASF and GE have established

printing to create custom products. “Rapid

industrial-scale 3DP internal startups. “The

manufacturing at 20 sites in four countries

product prototyping is the biggest and most

companies are able to speed up the

and more than 50,000 3D-printed parts are

expansive 3DP use case for consumer goods

integration of 3DP into their own

flying on both commercial and defense

companies,” noted Basiliere. “Companies as

manufacturing processes for parts that are

programs.

wide-ranging as Fishman (guitar amplification

either too difficult or too costly to make using

devices) and Unilever (household products)

conventional manufacturing methods,” said

engine design converted 855

are already using 3DP to substantially reduce

Basiliere. “The concept of an internal startup

conventionally manufactured parts into 12

design to production times and to save

for 3DP is rapidly gaining traction and will

3D-printed parts, resulting in 10% more

money. But rapid prototyping is not the only

become very common in the coming years.

horsepower, 20% fuel savings, a shorter

relevant use case.”

An internal startup enables companies to

fixtures and finished goods.” For example: • After 20 years of use, Boeing has additive

• GE Aviation’s new Advanced Turboprop

focus some of their brightest minds on 3DP

development cycle and lower design costs (Source: GE Aviation). • Prediction: By 2021, 25% of surgeons will

Basiliere added that 3DP is also likely to have

innovation, while protecting their existing

a large impact on consumer goods company

revenue streams from disruption.”

practice on 3D-printed models of the

supply chains. “In categories where specific

patient prior to surgery. “Hospitals and

customisation is fundamental to the product

Prediction: By 2021, 40% of manufacturing

specialty laboratories have increased the

delivery, inventories could be reduced, and

enterprises will establish 3D printing centers

level of investment in 3DP hardware,

costs and production could be shifted closer

of excellence (COE). “Many Gartner clients in

software and services that integrate

to the end customer,” he said. “This shift to

the enterprise manufacturing space have

medical imaging, CAD and 3DP workflow

‘local production for local consumption’ would

already implemented 3DP somewhere in their

software,” said Basiliere. Gartner estimates

enable consumer goods companies to rethink

value chain,” said Basiliere. “In most cases,

that nearly 3% of large hospitals and

their business models. For example, a

the engineering functions within either R&D or

medical research institutions have 3DP

company named Raceware creates custom

manufacturing have made the larger internal

capabilities on site (Source: Katherine C.

bike parts using 3DP.”

3DP capital investments while simultaneously improving their ability to leverage external on-

Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital). According to Basiliere, it is unlikely that

demand service capabilities via their networks

Gartner adds that, as 3DP technologies

additive manufacturing or 3DP will ever

of partners.”

improve and the other technologies become

completely supplant mass production in any

more refined, 3DP as a COE will spread from

consumer goods market subsector. “In fact,

Over the past few years, a handful of larger

teaching hospitals and specialty centres into

there are many product categories where we

enterprise engineering organisations have

the broader hospital system. One example is

would expect its use to range from a very low-

established industrial-scale 3DP COEs (for

Boston Children’s Hospital, where they take a

level penetration to no practical use cases of

example, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Rolls

team approach to training and surgical

3DP whatsoever,” he pointed out.

Royce and Siemens). “While doing so, they

planning. Clinicians, industrial engineers,

“Organisations must learn to make the cost-

have integrated 3DP-related workflows into

designers, simulation

benefit trade-offs for where and when 3DP

key business processes,” explained Basiliere.

experts, illustrators

makes sense compared with conventional

“The benefit of a COE is to better refine

and patient care

manufacturing technologies.”

existing 3DP methodologies and operationalise 3DP technologies while

teams are all

Richard HughesRowlands, regional product manager for printer software and industrial print,

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IT

involved. As more

Prediction: By 2021, 20% of enterprises will

creating metrics to focus on improvements to

3DP capabilities

establish internal startups to develop new 3D

design innovation, standardisation on key

come online, Gartner

print-based products and services. “Business

processes, and focus on improvement to

expects surgeons

now moves at lightning speed, and

quality and inspection processes. A 3D print

and medical staff to

technology moves even faster,” said Basiliere.

COE also serves as a training facility or an

increase the demand

“Established companies constantly face

experience centre for supply chain partners,

for 3DP capabilities

competition from startups and emerging

as well as groups within the business.”

to be delivered in

companies. To even the playing field with

‘turnkey’ fashion.

these fast-moving companies, organisations

Gartner points out that midsize enterprise

3DP will move from

must set up an internal start-up to help fast-

manufacturers are beginning to follow suit in

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COE establishment, but with smaller

label printing solutions, operated without the

press, linking of

investments. “These companies tend to

need for a PC, have the ability to significantly

proofing, printing,

outsource 3DP services, as both the capital

boost productivity in the IoT era. In addition,

converting and

costs and specialised labour required are

helping our customers to develop agile

distribution

often too large a barrier to justify the

systems by offering them greater autonomy

processes. “We now

program,” said Basiliere.

through the use of flexible, customisable

live in a world where

solutions and interfaces brings them closer to

employees have

achieving ‘smart systems’ of the future.”

grown up with the

He continued: “The long-term goal of a 3DP

Internet of Things

COE is to become a seamless part of the

Bob Forshay, senior client manager,

design and manufacturing process. When

Moir commented that when it comes to

(IoT) and they

successful, the COE has broad implications

integrating labelling with business systems

naturally look to use

on use of 3DP in the design, manufacturing

such as ERP, WMS, PLM and others, digital

the interconnectivity

and maintenance of products. 3D printing

transformation enables a shift from time-

as a benefit that

enables organisations to shift from designing

consuming, complex coded connections to

should be fully utilised,” he said.

for ideal manufacturing to manufacturing the

direct interfaces with master data sources

ideal design. With the shift will come changes

that ensure accuracy and efficiency. “Modern

to your business model.”

integration allows IT teams to configure

User benefits

integrations and leverage pre-built

What have been the subsequent benefit

connectors to leading business applications

improvements for the user? Lassus pointed

Integration

for rapid deployment,” he said “Once

out that empowering the end-user to make

In terms of the relationship between some

deployed, the benefits of going digital

on-the-spot, on-demand decisions – based

state-of-the-art printing and labelling systems

multiply as capabilities like in-memory

on access to accurate, up-to-date data –

and back-office systems, what do our

processing deliver speeds 100 times faster

reduces wasted time to virtually zero. “Take a

commentators consider to be some of the key

than the legacy approach of transmitting data

large touch screen displaying multilingual

recent changes? Schüßler reiterates his point

between applications and servers. In the end,

training videos for example, or a device that

regarding the offer of easy to integrate SDKs

modern labelling system integration also

caters for the loading of multiple consumable

for all relevant platforms, which today also

reduces downtime and simplifies

formats in a few easy steps; these are

includes iOS.

maintenance.”

attributes that integrate the IoT into the

Hughes-Rowlands explained that as print

According to Forshay, one revolutionary

moves from the warehouse to the edge – the

change is the increasing incidence of data

retailer or the delivery courier – then one size

that originates outside of the ‘system’

According to Moir, one of the major problems

does not fit all. “When you combine that with

(ERP/CRM/WMS, etc.) and ends up being

with using hard-coded label templates or

the geographic scale needed by some

printed via a label or other ‘hard copy’

forms design software is that these legacy

customers it’s important to ensure a common

means. “Data collection is no longer

approaches require a significant investment

architecture across printer types; together

restricted to the four walls of a facility,

in IT resources. “One of the key benefits of a

with printers that work well in combination

instead, information can be obtained via any

digitised labelling system is that it empowers

with mobile computers, scanners and the

number of devices – whether a personal

business users,” he explained. “When

ERP systems that drive them,” he said. “Over

phone, an anchored RFID reader, or a

business users take ownership of labelling, it

the last few years we’ve introduced mobile,

camera attached to a traffic light,” he said.

eliminates the need for costly IT resources

desktop and industrial printers with a

“These different collection mechanisms are

and speeds up the label change request and

common software platform – Print DNA. That

driving consistency and openness with the

approval process.”

makes it much simpler to integrate any Zebra

ERP/CRM/WMS vendors in order to allow

printer with the back office; they all work in

their customers ease of integration and use.”

modern workplace in a manner that’s effortless for the user,” he said.

Schüßler sees the biggest benefit in the fact that the time to market, as well as the time

the same way.” Backhouse reflects that over recent years

needed for the training, is shorter. Also,

Lassus explained that research shows the

industry suppliers have increasingly seen the

according to Schüßler, the acceptance by the

use of (or lack of) connected technology can

benefit of offering a complete solution or

people who use the systems every day is

influence an organisation’s market position.

being part of a complete solution offer,

higher due to the fact that they work with

“Legacy or outdated technology can

resulting in increasing co-operation between

something that they already know. Beside

significantly impede a collaborative workforce

suppliers aimed at streamlining the workflow

that, Schüßler believes decentral device

and individual worker productivity,” he said.

and being able to offer a full end to end

management is a big plus.

“Therefore, Cloud-connected, touch-screen

solution from design concept through post

Hughes-Rowlands explained that Zebra has

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developed Print DNA, its common printer

easier, operations leaner and customers

technologies. This is a very positive

software platform. “It was important that we

happier is a good thing,” he said.

development in the market which we fully support and encourage.”

adopted existing networks standards,” he said. “That makes it easier for developers to

Hughes-Rowlands commented that Zebra

build their applications and not worry about

sees its printers built into many different

Forshay considers that convergence is a

how the data gets to and from each and every

systems. “Some products like the Zebra Print

consequence of technological advancement;

type of printer.”

Engine are designed as OEM components for

thus, it is a positive force for the end user

Print and Apply vendors. But open nature of

and the marketplace. “End users are going to

Hughes-Rowlands added that the growth of

the printers lets our partners build solutions

continue to demand increasing functionality

device mobility and ubiquitous connectivity

for many types of applications for example

from any technological device in the future,”

have also been large influences. “For

ATEX where specialised enclosures are

he said. “Technology that can only perform a

example, all newer Zebra printers now offer

needed or printers with built in image

single task is going to be seen as outdated

Bluetooth,” he explained. “For some mobile

verification capabilities. We are happy that

when compared to other multi-function

printers this will be the only way they

there are many partners building innovative

technologies. For example, the ability to take

communicate, for other printers it may just be

solutions on top of our printers using their

a picture via a smartphone is now

a temporary connection that is used for set-

own specialist knowledge and products.”

commonplace, thus for many purchasing a camera to take pictures is now unthinkable.

up or fault finding.” Hughes-Rowlands also made the point that Bluetooth is a great way

Lassus commented that since SATO’s

From a printing/labelling perspective, a

of connecting other devices such as

business model relates to streamlining

movement towards multiple functions (with

scanners directly to the printer.

operations and empowering workforces, it

printing as one of the basket of functions) for

sees technology convergence as a positive

a device will be seen as commonplace and

Forshay considers that increased openness

trend. “Our latest developments are multi-

necessary at a minimum.”

from an integration standpoint has been a

functional, user friendly and purposefully very

significant improvement for end users, as the

simplistic for the user who is used to

ability to consider additional hardware and

operating consumer-level devices,” he

Remaining concerns

software options is always a positive in terms

remarked. “For example, in the healthcare

Are there any remaining concerns regarding

of total cost of ownership. Another

sector, if we can enable label and patient ID

the use of Printing & Labelling systems? Moir

development he highlights is the

wristband to print from the one device, rather

commented that aside from the liabilities

improvement in ‘out of the box’ integration

than two separate devices, this saves a huge

mentioned earlier, such as label errors and

between the ERP/CRM/WMS, the data

amount of time when collecting in-patient

production shutdowns, a legacy labelling

collection device, and the printing

data. And if the data collected can be

system can also introduce security risk. He

mechanism. “This integration simplicity allows

accessed across multiple locations and

added: “Some previous generation labelling

for either fewer modifications or fewer points

geographies, accuracy (and therefore patient

systems require legacy plugins, such as

of failure due to the lack of necessity of

safety) is increased across entire

Flash for their browser applications that

employing additional integration software,” he

organisations. As technological convergence

create security risks for the business. Flash is

noted.

continues to evolve, we also value the

being deprecated extremely fast and should

collaborations that bring our technology

be completely obsolete in the coming years.”

Backhouse reflects that in label production

together with that of our partners.”

there have been many developments that

Lassus doesn’t see any remaining concerns;

impact in varying degrees on the efficiency,

Moir made the point that we are starting to

simply the positive challenge of developing

cost and employee hours. “End users

see companies make a shift toward

solutions that stay

increasingly benefit from linked systems and

managing all their supply

ahead of the rapid

processes with increased communication

chain/manufacturing printing with one

pace of change in

and visibility at all stages,” he remarked.

solution; whether they are printing labels or

retail, manufacturing

marking items directly with a high-speed

and logistics, food

inkjet device. “We view this as a positive

and healthcare

Convergence

development in the market that will drive new

environments. “It’s

With regard to technology convergence

levels of print productivity,” he said.

increasingly

within the current printing & labelling systems

“NiceLabel is working with our customers to

important that we

and related equipment marketplace, do our

support this convergence of print

routinely offer our

commentators see this as a good or bad

management solutions. It simplifies user

customers the option

thing? Schüßler sees this as a positive area of

operations and is more cost effective than

of a customisable

development. “Everything which makes life

running multiple solutions for different print

application

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programming interface,” he said. “Whilst all

“Track and trace technology, particularly

accurately identify

industries are shaped to some extent by the

RFID, has an important role to play in helping

objects by their size,

same global trends, we can’t expect a ‘one

suppliers and retailers deliver on increasing

shape and visual

application fits all’ approach to work across

consumer demands to locate stock anywhere

features such as

what are unique and very complex

in the chain and to efficiently process both

branding on the

operations.”

instore and online returns and exchanges. As

packaging. “This

a result, we predict that effective data

could be particularly

Schüßler reflected that while a few years

management will be absolutely critical to

game changing in

everybody was investigating if BYOD (‘bring

success and future ‘consumer experience’

logistics and offers

your own device’) could be a solution most

driven innovations.”

to opportunities to further automate

end users understood that this can cause

Sayan Mukherjee, visionary science senior research analyst,

massive security problems. “At the same

With this in mind, Lassus pointed out that

pick, pack and

time, many recognised that an end user

SATO will continue to develop user-friendly

fulfilment

mobile device cannot be compared with a

features and customisable technology for

processes,” he

professional tool in many regards such as

ease of integration and ensure that its devices

remarked.

durability or availability over a project life time

are compatible with environmentally

of several years,” he added.

responsible solutions, such as SATO’s

Forshay foresees the continued development

linerless labels, as demand increases for

of the ability for a printed document or label to

Forshay made the point that data collected

sustainable options. “To date, omni-channel

give ‘real-time’ information in a proactive

externally could be compromised in a

strategies and tech have often worked against

instead of a reactive manner. “Instead of a

number of ways (incorrect formatting, pauses

each other and we see a coming together of

label ‘waiting’ to be accessed by a user, the

in the string of data being collected, etc.) –

the two as we work with our customers to

label will utilise rules and data to determine

making printing using a disciplined process

understand end-user challenges,” he added.

when to inform due to changes in the entity that is labelled,” he said.

difficult. “Printing using such data requires internal system intelligence to rationalise or

Moir commented that NiceLabel expects a

clean any anomalies in order to produce a

Cloud-first approach to be rapidly adopted in

Forshay added that another development is to

clean print or label,” he said.

the supply chain labelling workflows, just as it

continue to allow for a user outside of a

has been in many other industries. “A Cloud

closed system to access data via a label or

Another recent change highlighted by

approach will simplify the digitisation of

printed document. “This will allow

Forshay is the ability to produce the actual

labelling for small businesses who don’t

organisations to market better transparency

label or hard document via a printer that is

always have the IT resource required,” he

between themselves and the end customer

not directly tethered or otherwise

said. “For larger enterprises, a Cloud solution

due to the end user’s ability to access data

electronically connected to the

can make the expansion of a centrally

via labels or printed material,” he explained.

ERP/CRM/WMS system. “While this is offered

managed labelling workflow much easier as

a convenience to customers and/or end

minimal IT involvement is needed.”

Greater expectations

users, this adds an additional layer of complexity to an already intricate process,”

Schüßler considers that we could see more

Hughes-Rowlands explained that, although

he said.

compact solutions that give customers

not new, Zebra sees sustained strong growth

benefits with regard to space at their points of

and adoption of RFID technology, and is

print; especially if they have the need to print

continuing to invest in RFID printers, readers

several different things.

and other innovative products in this space.

The road ahead

“Overall, I think that expectations of the printer

What might be the next innovations/developments to look out for over

Outside of industries where certain marks and

will move from the ‘dumb’ device that prints,

the next year or two within the printing &

serial numbers are required for compliance

to a more capable connected device,” he

labelling space? Lassus considers that, rather

purposes, Farooq believes there is a

added. “You’ll see continued growth in the

than a dramatic rise in new technologies, he

possibility that product printing and labelling

importance of printer management and more

expects to see existing technologies being

may be superseded by different technologies.

concerns and questions asked about printer

better utilised in line with consumer trends

He added that printed barcodes are

security as a device connected to the

allowing them to work ‘smarter’. “Our core

commonly the most reliable way to identify

corporate network. Printers will continue their

data collection systems and labelling

products on the production or distribution line.

move from being an operational cost, to an

solutions will become increasingly important

However emerging and evolving machine

enabler in meeting increased customer

as the changing face of retail drives change

vision technologies, including sophisticated

expectations.” 

across the whole supply chain,” he said.

image recognition software, are able to

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V OICE technology

Company news

BEC secures one of its most successful years to date

B

EC (Systems Integration) Ltd. â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

few companies have achieved this status,

BEC also recently secured a large project

a leading supplier of data

so we can hold our heads high. We have

win with a leading supplier within the food &

capture and voice solutions for

worked very hard to achieve it, and we

beverage sector. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This company initially

the supply chain, logistics and

believe the benefits for us will be

planned to go down the wearable scanning

manufacturing industries â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is

considerable. As well as the general

device route,â&#x20AC;? explained Jarrett. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However,

currently enjoying one of its most

prestige surrounding the recognition, I

after several meetings we explained the

successful years so far within its 24-year

believe it has also removed barriers to entry

added benefits that voice could offer. After

history.

with regard to a number of large projects

signing the contract, we installed Voice with

that we have recently secured and a

the option to scan as well in certain

Platinum Partner status

number of new projects that we will secure

applications. Voice is currently being

One particularly impressive triumph for the

going forward. All this shows we have been

integrated across three of the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

company was its recent securing of

moving in the right direction.â&#x20AC;?

big distribution sites.â&#x20AC;? Geographically, BEC's projects span a wide variety of

Honeywellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vocollect Platinum Total Solution Provider (TSP) Status. Philip

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Darrel Williams, EMEA sales director at

territories across the UK, Europe and the

Jarrett, director of sales & marketing, BEC

Honeywell, added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;BEC continues to

US.

(Systems Integration) Ltd., explained what

impress. Committed to delivering value and

this recognition means for the BEC. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are

great service, the team continue to stay true

Personnel

very proud to see all the effort we have put

to the principles that made a partnership

BEC is also expanding its own internal

into securing this status over the past four

between Honeywell and BEC such a natural

technical and marketing personnel. As part

to five years come to fruition. Only a select

fit. In the years since we started working

of a co-funded project with Honeywell

together, BEC have continually provided

Vocollect, the company recently appointed

our customers with outstanding operational

a new business development manager with

excellence through their adoption and

experience within the maintenance &

integration of Honeywell Vocollect voice

inspection sector. â&#x20AC;&#x153;His background is in

solutions. The Vocollect product line,

fleet management inspection and he has

together with BECâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s logistics and systems

just the right skillsets to develop our

expertise coupled with an unwavering

presence further within the M&I space,â&#x20AC;?

commitment to delivering additional value,

said Jarrett. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He will be liaising with a range

has resulted in delighted and successful

of existing clients within sectors such as

customers and of course market growth.â&#x20AC;?

automotive.â&#x20AC;?

Project update

Jarrett added that BEC is a big supporter of

BEC has also continued to secure or further

apprenticeship schemes and runs its own

develop a number of major contracts in a

scheme whereby it appoints postgraduates

number of key industry sectors. One

as a technical resource as well as

particularly prestigious account that BEC

developing the apprenticesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; skillsets within

has been developing over the past few

the IT sector. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is something that has

years involves the supply of a substantial

worked very well in the past and definitely

amount of Honeywell Vocollectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voice-

something we are keen to develop further

directed hardware and software to a

going forward,â&#x20AC;? he said.

leading luxury product supplier to the retail !  ! ! !!    !! !   ! ! !   !

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industry. The contract was initially worth

Solution development

several hundred thousand US dollars but

Additionally, BEC continues to develop its

will be ongoing with future solution roll-out.

own solutions suite. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are currently

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Company news

V OICE technology

being enhanced. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being largely bespoke, the functionality of our offerings is mainly driven by our customers and their specific requirements,â&#x20AC;? said Jarrett. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If someone wants something a little bit left-field we will develop it and add it to our portfolio. BEC takes pride in the fact that we are able to provide a wide variety of dashboards and reporting tools that can be modified to suit the exact requirements of clients. We currently have around 40 different flavours within our dashboards and reporting tools and we can add to those if something doesn't quite fit the requirements of a particular client.â&#x20AC;? Jarrett concluded: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Having enjoyed one of our most successful years ever we have a real spring in our step and a commitment to further developing and expanding every migrating our solutions to the android

mobile devices,â&#x20AC;? explained Jarrett. The

aspect of our business. Watch this space

platform to accommodate the latest types of

solutionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; functionality is also constantly

for further updates.â&#x20AC;? 

BEC eSmartÂŽ Voice WMS Enabling Complete Door-to-Door Voice Solutions  Increase worker productivity by up to 35%  Reduction in picking errors by up to 50%  ROI typically within 6-12 months  Built with voice technology at its core, not as an add-on  Based on our proven eSmart Warehouse platform  Real-time dashboard reporting & status updates  Seamless integration into any host ERP system   

        

VOICE WMS

Call BEC today and speak to the experts: +44 (0)1254 688 088 or visit www.becsi.co.uk


V OICE technology

Opinion

Meeting the Black Friday challenge Darrel Williams, EMEA sales director, Voice at Honeywell, considers the effect peak demand periods such as Black Friday can have on retailersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and warehouse professionalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; supply chain operations, and how voice-directed picking and replenishment technology can offer the ideal solution.

or retailers and warehouse

discount, it also involves the consequential

balance the need to secure customer

professionals, peak demand

continued challenges to the retail industry.

satisfaction with the need to achieve this as

periods such as Black Friday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the

Items need to be delivered, and in some

profitably as possible. So, it is important to

US consumer promotion concept

cases returned, in huge numbers accurately

put in place the right logistical backbone â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a

that has now been widely adopted

and within a very short timeline.

methodology that can facilitate fast and

F

accurate picking and replenishment.

by many countries across the globe â&#x20AC;&#x201C; provide the ideal opportunity to secure a major

One analogy might be to consider Black

revenue uplift and profitability boost.

Friday as a large wave followed by another

So, what is this great logistical enabler within

Naturally, consumers like to spend more when

(larger) wave, (Christmas), or even an

the warehouse or DC? I believe the clear

prices are at their most attractive, so this has

earthquake and after-shock. That initial

winner is voice-directed technology, which

to be good news for both the customer and

demand surge keeps going. Retailers and

can be used for picking and replenishment,

the retail industry.

warehouse professionals first need to fulfil all

and indeed any other process within the

their Black Friday orders in an efficient fashion

warehouse, including returns. Voice is the

However, this type of major business

but more so now than ever before. We

most agile enabler of a trend-driven variable

opportunity can also bring with it considerable

shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget that this not only includes

market, able to adapt easily to people's

logistical challenges. These challenges can

goods being delivered to the customer, but

demands. For example, if a customer wants a

be elevated further because Black Friday is

also reverse logistics; unwanted goods

more complex delivery comprising a pack

not a single day anymore, not even a week; it

returned from the customer. This means

rather than separate â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;one-offâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; situations.

often maintains sales momentum over a

getting stock quickly, and efficiently back into

considerably longer period. This momentum

the warehouse and back on sale, as well as

Voice also has the benefit of being hands-free

isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just manifested in continued high

refunding customers in a timely manner, so

and eyes free. Workers receive a clear

demand due to longer periods of price

they are ready to catch the next wave, or

satnav-like, just-in-time instruction via the

aftershock. This part of the process is so

headset, so they know exactly where to go in

important, that it may even be the make or

the warehouse and what to pick.

break of retailers this year. Moreover, voice requires very little training,

Customer satisfaction

meaning it can provide a completely

So, in the modern retail environment,

inexperienced worker with the ability to

companies need to perform at a higher level

perform to the same levels as more

of efficiency than ever before. After all, in the

experienced people within a very short

modern retail environment, achieving and

timeline â&#x20AC;&#x201C; often within a couple of hours. This

maintaining customer satisfaction is of

naturally has the ability to open up the job

paramount importance. Indeed, securing

market significantly. And with the growing

customer satisfaction and developing

demand for a more casual workforce â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one

customer loyalty is not just what is going to

that can be complied within a short timeframe

drive a companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success and growth, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

to meet todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retail supply challenges â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this

also what will determine whether the company

can prove to be a Godsend.

continues to be able to thrive as a business In the case of Honeywellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vocollect voice

over the longer term.

offering, the userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s native language does not  ! !  !!   !! !!!  !

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Therefore, a companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing supply chain

impact the use of the solution as it recognises

processes demand careful scrutiny in order to

the spoken words however the user

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pronounces them. It doesn’t matter how strong a particular accent may be, or even whether the user has a cold, voice still operates efficiently, ensuring end-customer satisfaction is assured. Moreover, Honeywell

Every second counts

Vocollect voice has the ability to operate in a wide range of alternative languages, if this is the preferred user option. Because customer satisfaction is sacrosanct, retailers and warehouse professionals need to be able to dispatch goods quickly and accurately in order to honour the stipulated delivery lead time, which in today’s consumer environment can be next-day or even last mile/same day. Voice can take away the headaches of peak demand by making the workforce up to 30 to 40% faster than by relying on scanner technology or paper pick lists. This is all achievable through voice’s ability to provide workers with continuous information when they need it – not all upfront so they have the challenge of remembering large amounts of information. They don't even have to write picking or replenishment data on paper or key it into a handheld device; they simply speak into the voice receiver to confirm they have completed each task following receipt of the instructions via the voice system’s headset.

Analysis There is also a sales analysis component to consider; looking at sales figures related to a range of products during the same or similar peak period in the previous year, or further back. This historical trend information, interrogated within demand forecasting & planning software

Voice-driven workers aren’t just faster: they’re focused on what counts. Building voice into your distribution centre is one of the most effective ways to speed up operations. But your workers aren’t just faster – voice also enables you to rapidly scale your operations and redistribute labour where you need it most, giving you critical workflow agility. Find out what workflows look like when every second counts for more: Honeywell.

functionality, can help warehouses and DCs to plan their MRP for the next big peak period and help to predict this year’s demand more accurately. This allows companies to place the most popular items in optimum positions within the four walls of the warehouse or DC so that the voice users can walk to the location quicker and pick or replenish the goods faster.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE Look closer at www.honeywellaidc.com/ vocollect

Customer satisfaction is everything in the world of retail. If the retailer provides the right level of service in terms of speed and accuracy of delivery – and even be in the position to receive returned goods efficiently and where necessary supply replacement products – then not only is the company in the best position to secure ongoing customer loyalty, but also more likely to witness an elevation in the reputation of its brand in the marketplace through positive social media feedback etc. The great enabler of all these benefits is voice. 

www.logisticsit.com

© 2018 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.

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AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE MOBILE COMPUTING

Opinion

The vital role of Auto ID in digital transformation Kamran Farooq, sales manager – manufacturing, of Datalogic, the global automatic identification technology and process automation solutions provider, discusses the technologies driving digital transformation in manufacturing and logistics.

t sounds like just another tech industry

played a vital role in streamlining processes

buzzword, but Digital Transformation is

and delivering operational efficiencies. This is

increasingly being referred to as the next

still the same today, only now customer

industrial revolution and is becoming top

demands and expectations are changing.

of mind for business leaders across every

Supply chain operators, from production line

I

industry sector. According to IDC, within two

to point of dispatch, must develop new ways

years, 50% of the G2000 will see the majority

to increase speed and offer customisation,

of their business depend on their ability to

while maintaining accuracy, quality and

create digitally enhanced products, services

traceability. Imaging, sensor and machine

and experiences. It won’t stop there either.

vision technologies are critically important to

Organisations of all shapes and sizes,

achieving these goals.

including manufacturing and logistics companies, will need to deploy new tactics and new technologies to compete in the digital economy.

Sensing quality We expect the use of sensor technology to continue to grow in the coming years,

Kamran Farooq: “As the industries continue to evolve to meet customer demands by ensuring the right products are delivered at the right price to the right person, auto ID and machine vision technologies will play a pivotal role.”

If you are worried about how you will adapt

especially in quality assurance applications.

your business to compete against the latest

In Germany, KMS Automation is already

generation of digital native organisations, you

utilising Datalogic sensors to ensure the

are not alone. In fact, research conducted by

accurate production of clutch housing for

Silverton Consulting last year suggests that

automatic transmissions. The chosen sensor

solution that could keep up with the high-

‘digital disruptors’ pose such a high risk, that

generates a LED red light with a Class 1 laser

speed converting equipment, the overall

45% of organisations fear they will be

in order to check whether the component is

throughput was increased 18-fold. Similar

obsolete and 3 to 5 years’ time.

properly seated. Clutch housings have

methods can also be applied to many other

different grooves at different levels. By

applications, for example checking that

What does all of this have to do with auto ID technology?

stacking three or four sensors on top of one

product packaging has the appropriate use

another, the entire height of the housing can

by or sell by dates printed. If there is an error,

be inspected to ensure that each groove is

the system can even be configured to stop

Since the invention of mass production,

located in the correct place.

the conveyor when the affected product is in front of the operator.

automatic identification technology has Imaging technology can also be utilised to reduce errors on the production line. When

Automated pick & pack

tasked by their label-printing customers to

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provide a high-quality inspection process,

The production line is not the only area where

Converting Equipment International (CEI)

machine vision technology is growing in

looked to Datalogic’s IMPACT machine vision

popularity. In logistics operations we are

software to help it identify errors before the

finding that cameras and imagers are

materials leave the production line and

increasingly being deployed to streamline

without the need for additional production

pick, pack and dispatch operations. At

steps. By integrating an automated inspection

present, many of these systems are

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Opinion

AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE MOBILE COMPUTING

configured to capture information contained in

If neither of these methods is suitable, then

surface in this article. As the industries

either a 1D or 2D barcode but could that be

machine vision will likely step into the breach.

continue to evolve to meet customer demands

about to change? By placing cameras or

In the same way faults can be identified on a

by ensuring the right products are delivered

imagers at multiple angles, it is possible to

production line, imaging software can also be

at the right price to the right person, auto ID

capture a barcode without having to worry too

configured and learn to recognise items in the

and machine vision technologies will play a

much about the packageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s orientation.

distribution centre by their unique packaging,

pivotal role and Datalogic is excited to be at

However, there is still a great vulnerability

size, shape or even weight. This technology

the forefront of this exciting revolution. 

caused by printed labels themselves and their

can not only aid with picking but can also

tendency to become damaged or dirty and

automate the calculation

unreadable.

of shipping costs.

To reduce failure rates, it is quite possible printed labels phased out and new methods

At the forefront of a revolution

for marking explored. Laser marking

There is a wealth of

technology for example allows a barcode,

opportunities for image

text strings and even images to be marked

and sensor technologies

directly onto a number of materials including

to streamline operations

pure metals, metal alloys and plastic.

and help manufacturing

Digimarc is another possibility, allowing

and logistics

packaging manufacturers to embed digitally

organisations to address

watermarked, invisible barcodes to the entire

the challenges of digital

print surface area and making it virtually

transformation. We have

impossible for a code to be missed.

only just scratched the

that we will see traditional barcodes and

RHINO II SD9030 DONGLE POWERSCAN P OWERSCAN 9100 SERIES

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www.datalogic.com


AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE MOBILE COMPUTING

Analysis

Global market for handheld scanners to reach over $1.48 billion through 2022 – VDC Research he global market for handheld

T

barcode scanners grew sharply in 2017 and is expected to climb to over US$1.458 billion by 2022, according to the latest report from

VDC Research. Growth in this market will be led by the retail, transportation and logistics, and industrial manufacturing sectors while ecommerce trends directly influence data capture investments. Camera-based imagers will continue to drive overall market growth, making up for sharp declines in laser scanner sales. “The transition to 2D imagers is well underway as end users demand more flexible and complex functionality of their handheld scanners in order to increase their business workflow efficiency,” said Michael Clarke, AutoID and data capture research associate at VDC

grow modestly over the forecast period as

shifted towards unified commerce initiatives

Research.

businesses shift away from laser scanning.

and have found ways to leverage the value of their physical stores and to more seamlessly

As the performance of camera technology continues to improve and widespread

Omnichannel experience

integrate the digital customer experience,” said Clarke.

adoption contributes to lower price points,

VDC’s research shows that as e-commerce

imagers have become the standard for

sales continue to increase, customers are

Businesses are also bolstering their delivery

handheld data capture technology. “On the

demanding an omnichannel experience with

and supply chain networks, which present an

other hand, linear imagers provide end users

the added convenience of in-store pickups

opportunity for heavier data capture

with an upgrade over laser scanners at a

and faster delivery speeds. “While many

investments for applications such as track

more affordable price point than 2D imagers,”

retailers are struggling due to the rise of

and trace, proof of delivery, and inventory

said Clarke. Linear imagers are expected to

ecommerce, those that are thriving have

tracking.

Pricing pressure and market erosion Established vendors are facing increased pricing pressure and market erosion from local vendors. According to VDC, market leaders such as Honeywell and Zebra are making strategic investments towards refreshing and upgrading their product lines to address end users' changing requirements of omnichannel and unified commerce engagements, as well as compete with emerging players such as Fujian Newland, Cognex and Opticon. 

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Product News

AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE MOBILE COMPUTING

DocStar mobile app enables anytime, anywhere business collaboration and improves responsiveness Epicor Software Corporation, the global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, has announced that its free DocStar ECM Mobile App is now available on the App Store and Google Play.

he app complements the DocStar

with powerful functionality to streamline user

introduction of the iPhone in 2007 which

enterprise content management

tasks, such as workflow approval. Time-

marked the mobile revolution, users'

and process automation platform,

stamped audit trails support compliance and

expectations of the web and digital

extending functionality via

corporate governance requirements.

experiences have entirely changed. Since

T

mobility. Workers are empowered

to be more productive and responsive by staying connected to business content, processes and coworkers seamlessly anytime, anywhere.

With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 which marked the mobile revolution, users' expectations of the web and digital experiences have entirely changed. Since then, usability has always been the functionality that no vendor would want to compromise on.”

The DocStar ECM Mobile App delivers secure and quick access to the DocStar ECM

“We are empowering our users to scale,

then, usability has always been the

repository, enabling users to gain timely

modernise, and transform business

functionality that no vendor would want to

workflow approval from their mobile devices.

operations with the cloud and mobility,” said

compromise on. It won’t change in 2018

Users can email files in the same manner as

Tom Franceski, vice president and general

either. In fact, a focus on usability will become

the DocStar ECM desktop version, where

manager of DocStar. “The DocStar ECM

even more important considering 75% of the

document access is granted in a seamless,

Mobile App delivers flexibility with real-time

workforce will be millennials by 2020, and this

secure fashion via a unique URL or password-

mobile access.”

new generation is not known for their high tolerance of cumbersome and lacking

protected, encrypted attachment. In CMS-Connected's recap, The ECM Market:

features, as they are used to working with fast

Simple user experience

What Happened in 2017 & What's Next in

technology solutions.” 

The app features a simple user experience

importance of mobility and usability: “With the

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2018, Venus Tamturk underscores the

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TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Success story

The Buhr Group selected a TimoCom interface for use as a digital turbocharger Manufacturing & Logistics IT looks at how the Buhr Group moved into the fast lane by using TimoCom’s TC Connect interface.

I

t is more important than ever for the transport and logistics industry to simplify work processes and improve their efficiency. Data flow has to increase at crucial points along the line. Interfaces are the answer.

The customer The Buhr Group is a family business that has been operating and expanding since 1989. Today, it has 130 employees, 65 articulated trucks and special equipment used to transport goods from Bergen in Lower Saxony to the entire world. “Our company initially focused on agricultural disposal transports,” says CEO Walter-Christoph Buhr. “Over time, we have continued to specialise, and we now transport paper, wood, beverages, construction materials and oil.”

The challenge Logistics today requires quick decisions made without delay to ensure optimal transport conditions. Which is why the Buhr Group decided it needed to focus on quick and simple contact with its transport partners.

What problems did the Buhr Group face? “Entering and maintaining transport offers in our database took up too much time,” continued Walter-Christoph Buhr. “We ended up having to type in every offer twice. Once into ‘Gehr Dispo SP’, our internal Transport Management System (TMS), and then again into TimoCom. It was annoying, and it took up too much time.”

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Walter-Christoph Buhr: “Thanks to the seamless cooperation with our software developer, Gehr Datentechnik, and TimoCom, setting up and implementing the interface was easy as pie.”

The process required optimisation, it had to be sped up. The company decided to use the TC Connect interface from transport platform provider TimoCom. Gehr Datentechnik, which developed the company’s internal transport management system (TMS), was assigned the task of setting up the interface. The plan was to save time and money by using TC Connect. Optimising return freight to avoid empty runs was the secondary goal. After all, empty runs increase costs.

What IT obstacles did Gehr Datentechnik face? The biggest challenge for the developer was creating a balanced relationship between function and application. In other words: complex systems were ok, but only provided they were easy to operate. The most

comprehensive system in the world is useless if it cannot be used efficiently. And of course, the interface had to be kept as simple and automated as possible. Which is why the Gehr Datentechnik developed a setup assistant to send installation instructions via mail to the TimoCom customer.

The solution What advantages have the dispatchers noticed? What has changed? WalterChristoph Buhr describes the function of the new interface. “These days, our freight assignment employees only need to tick a box. The data is then transferred effortlessly to the TimoCom database. No more duplicate entries, no more wasted time.” Not only that, completed tasks are removed so that they no longer slow things down. For example, once the right transport partner

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Success story

has been located, the freight offer is automatically deleted. This saves even more time and provides space to concentrate on other steps in the process. Another advantage: additional customer requests are simply easier to take care of with this new time saver. The TimoCom interface TC Connect now allows for automatic transfer of the recorded orders (e.g. as a batch transfer). “Thanks to the seamless cooperation with our software developer, Gehr Datentechnik, and TimoCom, setting up and implementing the interface was easy as pie,” says WalterChristoph Buhr, clearly pleased.

The advantages TC Connect has created a noticeable difference in the time it takes to carry out work processes. “We are saving about four hours each week,” says Walter-Christoph

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Buhr. Gehr Datentechnik, the TMS system provider, also profits from the digitalised process. It now has a competitive advantage as compared to TMS systems without a direct link to TimoCom. TC Connect even provides a crucial return freight optimisation feature. The Buhr Group was able to create an established pool of transport partners, which in turn won them a whole host of new customers. And led to significant increases in profit.

A great example for the entire transport industry

daily work flow. And this is one of the most crucial points within the digitalisation process for the transport and logistics industry.” It is easy for other companies to imagine that what worked for the Buhr Group, saving time and speeding up processes, might also work to optimise their work flows. “Industry awareness of digital solutions is rising, which is why more and more customers are asking TimoCom for help,” Küpper adds. Digitalisation is not just some abstract word from academia and the press. It is happening within companies and is already helping to improve working conditions. 

The Buhr Group example provides a clear picture of the advantages of the interface connections (also known as application programming interfaces or APIs) offered by TimoCom. Lars Küpper, Solutions Manager at TimoCom says in summary: “They increase efficiency and speed within the

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TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Getting to grips

Opinion

with vehicle

maintenance By Derek Bryan, vice president EMEA, Verizon Connect.

F

leet managers have an ever-growing list of tasks they have to juggle each day. With high targets to meet and increasing cost pressures, vehicle maintenance can often drop to the bottom of the daily to do list and become a more ad-hoc process. But for fleet managers, the health of a vehicle can have a direct impact on key KPIs, from cutting down fuel wastage to increasing job completion rates. Maintenance costs correlate with mileage rather than the age of the registration plate. Research from the International City/County Management Association highlights that maintenance costs will start to shoot up once a vehicle clocks up more than 20,000 miles. With this in mind, it’s recommended to track each vehicle’s health individually rather than booking in maintenance checks for the fleet as a whole – even if the vehicles have been bought at the same time.

Putting safety on the line The ultimate cost for neglecting vehicle maintenance is driver safety. Bald tyres, wornout brakes, decaying tie rods and failing engines can have devastating consequences – for your drivers as well as other people on the road. The Department of Transport has revealed that nearly 1800 people were killed in collisions last year, up 4% from 2015. Despite the strict safety regulations across Europe, 40% of road deaths are work related. Drivers are required by law to perform a daily safety check of their vehicle, so feeding insights from these checks can be an effective starting point for a maintenance programme.

and will ultimately cost businesses more in the long run if fleet managers fail to stay on top of checks. For example, if vehicles are running ineffectively, fuel wastage and overheads can also steadily rise. Confused.com recently released research showing petrol and diesel prices have risen by 7p per litre in the last year, so making sure vehicles run efficiently is more important than ever before Avoiding simple check-ups can be costly from a compliance perspective. For example, driving with tyres below the legal tread limit of 1.6mm can potentially expose drivers to a £2500 fine. This unwanted added cost can simply be avoided through an effective vehicle maintenance programme.

Falling productivity Taking vehicles out of service is never ideal, but with the Christmas season and Black Friday just around the corner, fleet managers cannot afford unexpected downtime. In that regard, prevention is certainly better than a cure. By staying on top of vehicle maintenance, fleet managers schedule in health-checks at the best time, rather than

running repairs on a faulty vehicle during crucial and busy delivery periods.

Staying on top of vehicle maintenance By using a fleet management system, businesses can stay on top of vehicle health and receive pre-emptive maintenance alerts. These services can track key indicators such as engine-on time and mileage and determine the type of service a vehicle may need. Once a vehicle hits a point where maintenance might need to be checked, an automatic email is issued, or an alert will come up in the reporting suite. Fleet management systems can also use insights gleaned from drivers’ daily vehicle checks to help managers keep on top of potential maintenance issues. By taking extra care of the fleet, vehicles will run more efficiently and have a smaller environmental footprint. It also decreases the likelihood that vehicles will need to be taken of the road for unscheduled repairs – reducing the risk of an LCV malfunctioning out on a job and boosting safety. 

Managing rising costs By running the necessary checks regularly, fleet managers can ultimately increase a vehicle’s lifespan and reduce costs. Ignoring vehicle maintenance has its consequences The ultimate cost for neglecting vehicle maintenance is driver safety.

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Warehouse Management

I

Opinion

Omnichannel profitability starts with advanced inventory insight By Georgia Leybourne, senior director international marketing, Manhattan Associates.

N

ot long ago, retailers had a clear differentiation in sales channels. Inventory located in a store was only consumed through that store. And inventory located at a warehouse was only consumed through the catalogue, phone, or perhaps online site associated with that warehouse. In the past, companies sunk significant funds into extra inventory called ‘safety stock’. But the rise of warehouse management solutions, RFID, mechanical automation, and robotics has raised inventory accuracy to 99% and eliminated the need for safety stock. Stores have traditionally been notoriously poor at inventory accuracy. That’s because there are a lot of moving parts. Potentially hundreds of people have access to the items, and they can be moved (or removed) with little obviation. In the past, the chaos of inventory in stores caused inefficiencies, but the effects on customers were limited. If an item they wanted was there, they picked it up. If it wasn’t, then they went in search of it elsewhere. Since they didn’t expect the item would be there, even if they left empty handed they didn’t feel deceived and their experience wasn’t negative.

Changing retail expectations The retail world has changed significantly in the past five to 10 years. Forbes is reporting that now, 98% of consumers believe purchases, deliveries, and returns should be easily available across multiple channels. According to Aberdeen, companies with omnichannel engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers, compared to just a 33% retention rate for companies without that engagement.

Omnichannel doesn’t always mean profitable Modern retailers know they need to move to an omnichannel operations model to compete for the connected consumer. Enabling the store network as a distribution point for inventory should be an advantage against online competitors that have no physical footprint. However, without investment in technology specifically designed for omnichannel, the workarounds required to deliver on the customer promise actually drag margins down. CNBC and research firm AlixPartners found that when the average apparel retailers provided in-store shopping and delivery, it

was quite profitable. When it sold online and delivered from the warehouse, it also did well. However, when it began utilising its network of stores for pickup and distribution, things changed. Inefficiencies, lack of in-store fulfilment tools, and the inability to source inventory from the most profitable location started to erode margins.

Identifying the challenges So how can we create the same level of accuracy and efficiency with an online order fulfilled at a store as we get with an online order shipped from a distribution centre? The first thing to recognise is that the store is not simply another distribution centre. It is far more complex. Not in automation or mechanics, but in the flow of people, processes, and chaos. When a member of a warehouse fulfilment team is going through the tasks of picking items for shipping, no one

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Warehouse Management

ever taps him or her on the shoulder and asks, “Can you help me with something?” But that happens regularly to store associates who have to fill multiple roles at once.

Global inventory visibility Let’s start with the most basic capability retailers need to enable omnichannel operations – global inventory visibility. Consistent inventory accuracy is a major need as retailers begin to expand the number of ship nodes available in their network. By enabling the store to become a point for pickup or shipping, new factors come into play – some of which are pros and others which are cons.

I

Opinion

he might go to pick it up in a store that has no gift wrapping. Or, he might buy it from a location that can’t deliver in time. The blue sweater is a simple example of how omnichannel enterprises need to be able to create and dynamically deliver the right views to the appropriate channels to ensure positive experiences.

Real-time inventory sourcing optimisation

Over 75% of retail CEOs think the next three years are more critical than the past 50 years. They know omnichannel services are needed to compete. But being able to deliver them profitably is what’s needed to survive. Currently, only Remember our associate 10% of industry leaders “Accurate inventory is who was picking items for the single thing retailers have believe they can make a an online order when an ingot to get right for everything profit while fulfilling store customer asked for omnichannel demand. The assistance? From requests else to work…” reason is technology. – Bill Hardgrave, Auburn Retailers are trying to from in-store shoppers and dealing with customer University Provost. deliver very sophisticated issues. We must consider capabilities with older such factors when using stores to source solutions. Because the software was never inventory for other channels or stores. built with omnichannel in mind, it requires a tremendous amount of effort, baling wire, and scotch tape to compensate. And every appeasement and workaround erodes Constrained inventory availability profitability. The second stage of maturity for an omnichannel retailer is constrained inventory While a view of inventory, corrected for needs availability. It’s said that you can’t sell what and capabilities, can help us fulfil promises to you can’t see. At the same time, with the customer, it does not necessarily help us omnichannel fulfilment, you shouldn’t always determine the most profitable way to do so. sell everything you can see. Let’s look at an example: Suppose we have a customer using With many hundreds of sourcing options our website to shop for a navy blue, crew available for a retailer, there is no way for a neck sweater. Let’s also suppose he needs human to determine which one is the most gift wrapping and to receive the item the profitable for a given item or order. So how do following day. If we show this customer every we decide? Real-time inventory sourcing medium, crew neck sweater in our network, optimisation automatically considers

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thousands of potential options and chooses the one that maximises profits. Consider our earlier example of the blue sweater that needs gift wrapping. We may physically have that item in a store close to the customer, and that store may provide gift wrapping. But what if blue sweaters in that store (or region) are selling at full price, as fast as we can stock them? What if in another region we’re having to mark down blue sweaters because they aren’t selling? Realtime sourcing optimisation can help you make the most profitable decision for that transaction and every other one.

A solution designed for an omnichannel world If you want to deliver on your omnichannel promises profitably, Manhattan Associates is pleased to offer Manhattan Active Omni – the most sophisticated and technologically advanced ordering, optimisation, and engagement platform ever created for the retail industry. Cloud-native, 100% constructed with micro-services, and SaaS delivery, Manhattan Active Omni was designed from the ground up with omnichannel in mind. It includes Enterprise Inventory for global inventory visibility; Available to Commerce for dynamic views of inventory in real-time; Adaptive Network Fulfilment, providing realtime sourcing optimisation; and integrated Store Inventory and Fulfilment tools – all in a single platform. When you want to profitably take your omnichannel promises to the next level, turn to Manhattan. 

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Opinion

Printing & Labelling

Print DNA: #$!(&"!&'  %(%&"$'%(#$$'%!           

T

he Enterprise Edge: Choosing the right printing solution for an Industrial Environment. Rising expectations from customers are fueling an on-demand economy and to survive, organisations need to adopt, adapt, and drive digital innovation. Digitisation of the warehouse or production floor is not a new phenomenon, but it largely remains today at the core of an enterprise, with solutions such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or WMS (Warehouse Management Systems).

Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Print DNA can empower and enable organisations by providing control and visibility of their printers via four main software tools categories: 1. Productivity tools: Reach new levels of productivity with innovations that streamline tasks and workflows, optimise device performance and solve tomorrowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s printing problems today. 2. Management tools: Minimise IT effort and maximise IT control with Print DNA management tools â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an easy way to add and manage any number of printers, from anywhere in the world. Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Print Secure tool is a core component providing the ability to secure connections, block unwanted access and ensure an organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s data and infrastructure are protected.

The trend of digital innovation has now shifted to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Enterprise Edgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;; the touch points of an organisation and where businesses, their people and products, meet the customers they serve. The environment where the work gets done. Often, this is the same place where label printers are used. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why at Zebra Technologies we have created Print DNA, which is a central component in providing organisations with the intelligence they need when every asset and front line worker are visible, connected and optimally utilised. The overall benefit is to help those on the business deliver a performance edge.

3. Visibility tools: Increase the value of Zebra Link-OS networked printers with visibility tools that provide indispensable, real-time insight into printer health, usage and performance, regardless of if there is an existing mobile device management solution in place. This will ultimately help drive uptime and ROI to a new high, and TCO to a new low.

Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Print DNA is powered by Link-OS, Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proprietary and robust printer operating system. Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Print DNA is the application platform that offers a broad series of tools that make life easier for everyone who touches your Zebra Link-OS printers, from workers and managers to IT staff and developers.

4. Development tools: With faster, easier and smarter integration of Zebra printers with an organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s devices and applications, and integrated support for multiple operating systems that includes Android and iOS, Zebra printing solutions are up and running in less time, with less cost.

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Giving your business its performance edge with the right printer Consequently, Print DNA gives organisations the control and visibility needed to drive digital innovation across their fleets of printers. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s from warehouses to production floors to packing lines, printer hardware remains a core part of the enterprise space. In different industrial environments, the requirements can vary. Here are some guidelines for choosing a suitable printer.

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Printing & Labelling

* #%+ +')" $(#'%+#')(*#+

Firstly, start with the software. With the shift of digital innovation to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Enterprise Edgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; printers must be easy to manage remotely, especially with large multi-site fleets. It is not uncommon for industrial printers to function at full performance for five to seven years, so a connected print fleet can help maximise productivity, whilst keeping the IT costs down over time. Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Operational Visibility Service (OVS) which is part of Zebra DNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Visibility Tools, provide detailed insights into the status, health, and use of every printing device on a given network. This enables IT departments to have a birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye view over its printers, and proactively manage and configure them. Secondly, understand exactly where labels are being printed within an organisation. Some industrial environments can be challenging. Businesses often need to print on the manufacturing plant floor or in the warehouse. This inevitably can lead to bumps and knocks on the printing devices. Industrial-class printers are more rugged and built to withstand dirt, humidity, and even certain chemicals, making them perfectly suited to work in these hardy environments. Thirdly, quantify daily print labelling requirements and the type of labels required. Some enterprises handle a high print volume, resulting in virtually non-stop printing every day. Other companies may need to print extremely

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Opinion

small labels â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for example, those used in chip manufacturing. Specific industrial printers can produce high-resolution labels with precise registration at a high frequency and can work for long stretches of time. In some cases, industrial printers are also used to imprint information on specialised labels, so they can be used for long periods of time. The selection of labels that suit various business needs is also paramount. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vital for businesses to understand the importance of using fully tested and certified, quality materials that can contribute to a smooth printing experience.



specimens for clinical use. In a related case study, the Carolina Blueberry Association was looking for a robust traceability system for its 24 growers. In the past, farms had been taping paper labels on palettes or handwriting lot numbers in spiral notebooks â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a time-consuming and formidable task. As harvest was approaching, the Association sought a modern traceability solution â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Zebraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s industrial printers. Easy to configure and use, and delivering high-quality printing and throughput, the printers allowed the farmers to flexibly change labelling based on the size of the product they were packaging. Some ran a single line

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#%#%'(%'#&"!(#( %'(#%$( ($'('"$'%%&!'(!#'( By producing durable industrial labels, printers can help introduce a sense of order into massive, chaotic, industrial business environments. These labels account for all products as they progress through the different stages in a manufacturing facility, up until they arrive at their eventual destination.

while others ran several. As a result, the farms generated a digital record of their operations, helping them track production and shipments. With accurate labelling and records, they were also able to track every batch of their produce, reduce the impact of a recall, and quickly remove the affected products from the supply chain.

A visible journey for blueberries

Previously, this was a relatively taxing and cumbersome task. Today, thanks to cutting-edge technology innovations, companies can make product tracking more manageable. The solution includes a printer that prints barcode or encoded RFID labels; a mobile computer that captures barcode or RFID data and relays it to the backend systems; and a wireless infrastructure that provisions connectivity between the devices and the backend systems. 

As production size increases, many global enterprises are seeking new ways to track and trace their products more accurately and easily. Traceability is not an unfamiliar concept in the food and beverage industry, as many regulatory bodies globally require companies put a robust traceability system in place in the event of a recall â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the businesses need to know which batch of products must be brought back and where they are in the supply chain. In recent years, this practice has also spread to other industries, such as those dealing with foods, chemical products, pharmaceutical drugs, and human

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Print DNA Transforms printers from the inside. Gain business-catalytic capabilities. No other vendor offers you so much to drive performance and empower the front line in so many ways. It starts with embedded intelligence – a unique set of software, applications and utilities – that gives Zebra printers expansive capabilities for exponential results.

Management Tools Effortlessly add and control large volumes of Zebra Link-OS® printers from anywhere. Analyze the status of Link-OS printers in real time.

Visibility Tools Sense and analyze the status of Zebra Link-OS® printers in real time, and add and control large volumes of Link-OS® printers from anywhere.

Productivity Tools Elevate printer performance so man and machine work at their peak.

Development Tools Integrate what’s now with what’s next in technology, just like that. www.zebra.com/PrintDNA

ZIH Corp and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Zebra and the stylised Zebra head are trademarks of ZIH Corp,registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.


Printing & Labelling

Opinion

Consumer-centric supply chains:          Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s digitally-equipped consumer expects their order to reach them in the same day, at the press of a touch screen.â&#x20AC;? says Laurent Lassus, general manager marketing and product management at SATO Europe. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To meet this need for â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;whim-basedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, rather than demand-based commerce, manufacturing and logistics operations must become increasingly agile in their approach by adopting systems and solutions that enable on-demand traceability.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

This can be difficult for operations catering for multi-channel fulfilment but particularly so for those with multiple sites and geographies to deal with. According to a report by Manhattan Associates, over half of UK shoppers (51%) want store assistants to be expert at sharing product knowledge1.

Connecting the dots â&#x20AC;&#x153;Informing and connecting retail assistants with accurate data management systems empowers them to update customers with on-demand information, such as when new stock is on order, when it will arrive and whether it can be shipped straight to their home address,â&#x20AC;? continues Lassus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Advanced data collection systems can connect a complex series of dots across the supply chain, resulting in a very simple

update at the point of sale.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;When data is collected and processed efficiently, it has the power to transform the consumer experience. Supported by the right technology, the innovative use of data can manifest itself in new and exciting ways.â&#x20AC;? Lassus refers to projects such as the use of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Waffle House Indexâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, an informal measure recently used by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency to monitor the severity of Hurricane Florence. If a food chainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s restaurants (which are capable of operating on reduced resources) are unable to open, it indicates to the government that the local situation is very severe2. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a great example of very simple, collaborative data usage creating wider societal benefits. And it raises the question of how effective cross-industry interactions could be at enhancing demand forecasting, multi-channel fulfilment and visibility, when the right systems and solutions are implemented.â&#x20AC;?

Easy cross-sector integration SATO has been at the forefront of auto-ID and label printing solutions for over 70

            

years. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next generation of portable label printers are user-friendly and highly-customisable for easy crosssector integration. Its latest cloudconnected FX3-LX device is equipped with a 7-inch, full colour touch screen and preloaded audio-enabled training videos for a more intuitive experience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For data to be utilised in innovative ways, it must be reliably and accurately captured. To enable this, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very important that we first understand the needs of the user and then develop technology that connects and empowers them in the most user-friendly way possible. A consumer-level, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;smartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tech user experience is a very real requirement for todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workforceâ&#x20AC;? In manufacturing environments, this can be as simple as replacing legacy and outdated methods with automated solutions that are easily integrated with existing WMS. The manual preparation of labels to track and trace goods through factories and warehouses is at best labour intensive and at worst prone to accuracy issues.

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Opinion

Printing & Labelling the opposite end of the supply chain, this same technology is currently in use by Asian consumers at RFID-enabled, staffless stores. Lassus concludes “Up until now, a supply and demand-based approach within the supply chain has allowed technological advancements and end-user requirements to be pretty much mutually exclusive. Due to digitalisation educating and empowering the consumer, one end of the chain is now directly affecting the other.

As simple as it may seem, however, to upgrade paper-based tracking to electronic label printing solutions, SATO does not believe that a ‘one-size-fits-allapproach’ is enough. “Our Application Enabled Printing (AEP) technology enables us to customise the user experience,” continues Lassus.

Avoiding costly errors “To create electronic traceability in a food manufacturing environment, for example,

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we can tailor the application to print 2D barcodes after validating input from the user by comparing it to data stored inside the company’s ERP software. This enables the operator to carry out data accuracy checks that are unique to their company’s systems, preventing costly errors.”

“Modern auto-ID and label printing systems must be completely agile from factory to shop floor to collect and manage data in both reactive and proactive capacities, to cater for consumer-driven commerce and enhance the user experience.”

As an extension of this, for inventory management applications such as putaway and returns, SATO RFID tags are invaluable for processing RFID enabled goods through ‘gateways’ removing the need for manual scanning. Interestingly, at

1. Selling the store. Consumer and retail research 2018: UK, Manhattan Associates 2. How the Waffle House Index will help FEMA determine just how bad Hurricane Florence gets, USA Today

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Printing & Labelling

Opinion

Making the business #!'  %(&&$#($%#"! %&"(#'&" By Ken Moir, VP marketing, NiceLabel.

W

ith the latest wave of digitisation, there are very few areas of our lives and businesses that havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been digitally transformed. We see evidence of digitisation in the prototype smart cities, in our automobiles, and even in our homes. Yet despite the ubiquitousness of digital technology, we still see some companies hesitate when it comes to digitally transforming their labelling.

For those of us who have worked with enterprise-level labelling for the past decade, the decision is a no-brainer. Yet a recent experience with one of our customers drove the point home and made the business case for digitally transforming labelling even clearer for us.

Siemens: leading the way in digitising manufacturing Everyone knows Siemens. Chances are you own or have at one point owned a product manufactured by them. Siemens has fully embraced digitisation and are frequently on the lookout for platforms that can help them digitise manual processes and standardise their way of working.

From fragmentation to centralisation Prior to implementing our label management system, Siemensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; label production environment was fragmented. Each factory had operated as master of its own IT domain, meaning there were a variety of systems, printers and integration methods. To help them achieve their internal goals of standardisation and increased efficiency, Siemens decided to implement a centralised

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platform for label production and printing and roll this out across their factories.

Seamless integration improves label consistency and minimises costs Siemens has connected labelling to its ERP system (SAP) and various Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) at the factory level. Although Siemens factories use different solutions for their MES, universal label templates can be printed from any of the business systems. As a result of these flexible label templates, factories have to maintain fewer template variations, process fewer change requests and enjoy improved label consistency and compliance. The level of integration with Siemensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; other business systems has also enhanced productivity. Whereas under the legacy integration methods labels could take eight seconds to print, that time has been reduced to an average of 300 milliseconds to print each label. Siemens has also been able to reduce the overall complexity of its internal business applications. In the past, the business applications had to support multiple printers, whereas now they can handle business rules and logic. Siemens has also been able to maximise the speed of implementation, while minimising deployment costs.

*)+&'#+)"(&*)"+&*#%('&)%+*''*)

Return on Investment (ROI) in 2-6 months

Empowered business users Labels are designed by business users from scratch using the NiceLabel label designer. The label designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intuitive interface means that business users can create and change labels without IT assistance. They can easily create labels and deploy these label templates across Siemensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; factories.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Siemens has rolled out their own internal version of the NiceLabel label management system. Centralising labelling has reduced their IT infrastructure and support costs. It has given them a global, scalable solution that is easy to implement. And more than that, they have experienced an ROI of 2-6 months at the factories where they have rolled out this global label management solution.

End-to-end operational efficiency The use cases pouring in from their factories are compelling. They can re-use label data and templates already in

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Opinion

existence, saving time and minimising duplication of effort. They can design labels once and print them via a variety of devices, including portable wireless printers. They can connect different applications to their label printing using standard interfaces, again saving the IT department valuable time and resources. And they can print to a wide variety of media, such as labels, foils, textile material and RFID smart labels. All with one, centralised labelling solution. The result is end-to-end operational efficiency.

needs of the various business units and factories is a clear benefit for Siemens and one of the main reasons for digital transformation within the organisation. This is what digital transformation can do for your labelling. If you are interested in

Printing & Labelling more details about the cost savings that Siemens experienced, see the AIM awardwinning case study at NiceLabel website, where you will also find information about how your business can benefit from digitally transforming labelling: www.nicelabel.com 

Scalability makes it all possible Siemens has gone from one site and 20 printers as part of a pilot to twenty-two sites and 1200 printers today with continued rollout. The largest site prints 150,000 labels a week on 200 printers. This scalability means that Siemens can offer different levels of service to different business units within the organisation. Being able to adapt the solution to the

HARDWARE & SOFTWARE

The cost of labeling is greater than you think Turn hidden costs into visible savings

CONSUMABLES

LABOR COSTS

ERRORS

SHIPPING DELAYS

QUALITY ASSURANCE

INVENTORY OVERHEAD

PRODUCT RECALLS

IT DEVELOPMENT

UNPLANNED DOWNTIME

LOST BUSINESS

www.nicelabel.com


Printing & Labelling

Analysis

E-commerce fuelling stationary $'%# #% '(#'(%&"$'%('#"( ( ( '!'#%

T

he global stationary thermal barcode printer market will grow at a CAGR of 5.8% through 2022, according to a recent report from VDC Research. Revenues will be driven by end-user replacement and upgrade cycles, as well as new sales opportunities in manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and retail segments as enterprises expand their distribution operations.

VDC’s report also indicates that new labelling requirements focused on improving traceability, serialisation and overall supply chain visibility are creating new application opportunities for vendors and solution providers. labelling and price marking, and direct store delivery.

Unique opportunities E-commerce and omnichannel initiatives will present unique opportunities for barcode printing investments as the need for labelling capabilities increases for applications such as parcel shipping, shelf

“Demand for label printers has risen considerably with the explosion of digital sales channels, item level fulfilment and parcel delivery,” said Michael Clarke, research associate of AutoID and data

capture at VDC. “Trends such as changes in product packaging and labeling requirements are helping to spur demand for printer hardware and are also driving entirely new feature, functionality, deployment, and support requirements.”

Differentiation Another key trend in this market is the role of IoT and data analytics in label printing, which has become a feature focus for printer vendors aiming to differentiate their product lines. Establishing capabilities such as printer performance analysis tools and multiple device management systems have become integral to vendor success in a fragmented competitive landscape. As end users demand increased functionalities and data usage for actionable insights, stationary thermal printers have evolved into yet another data source. With the integration of IoT functions, Big Data can be utilised to help end users make strategic decisions. 

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Opinion

Printing & Labelling

Hotter than lava flow ($&!(%&"$&" &"(#"(&$!$#"('

A

stream of red lava can run as high as between 600 and 900 degrees. And things can get even hotter in industrial settings â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for example, in a ceramic furnace. Only very few inks for component-marking with CIJ printers can withstand these extreme temperatures. With this in mind, marking and coding specialist Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG from Tuttlingen has introduced a pigment ink to the market, which is claimed to allow a clear typeface even at 1000degC. A thermometer can easily crack the 30 degree mark on occasions. However, this is nothing compared with a furnace where ceramic components for industrial applications harden â&#x20AC;&#x201C; such as spark plugs, insulators and cutting tools. Inside, temperatures of up to 1000degC are reached â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even hotter in fact than a stream of red lava with temperatures of between 600 to 900degC.

The CIJ printer marks products without touching them These high temperatures represent a real challenge for printing inks with which manufacturers mark the components even before firing. "The danger is that the ink burns in the furnace and dissolves into soot,â&#x20AC;? said Christina Leibinger, managing proprietor of Leibinger. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The typeface, such as a model number, would no longer be

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readable, so the component would be rejected. That's exactly why we developed a new ink for our JET3up PI CIJ printer, which ensures a reliably readable typeface with high contrasts even at temperatures of up to 1000degC." Not only ceramics can be printed, but also metal and glass; for example, in the production of light bulbs and halogen lamps. The printing ink is now available and compatible with the Leibinger JET3up PI CIJ printer.

Ink consists of floating, heat-resistant paint particles Heat-resistant ink is a pigmented ink. Black colour particles float in a medium â&#x20AC;&#x201C; unlike a dye ink in which the dye is dissolved in the medium and evaporates immediately at extreme temperatures. The experts succeeded in modifying the pigment ink's particles and medium in such a way that they can withstand heat of up to 1000 degrees Celsius â&#x20AC;&#x201C; unscathed. They also found a way to keep the particles in suspension through chemical stabilisation. This slows down the so-called sedimentation process, in which the pigments settle. Additionally, the JET3up PI CIJ printer incorporates a stirring mechanism that continuously mixes the ink. "The combination of chemical stabilisation and stirring mechanics ensures a reliable and low-maintenance labelling system."

Up to 120 million characters per tank filling The heat-resistant pigment ink is designed for the JET3up PI â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a printer that marks products without contact using the socalled Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) technology. In the printhead, an ink jet, consisting of up to 96,000 electrically charged single drops per second, shoots through a nozzle. When printing, a high-voltage field changes the trajectory of individual drops, so that they end up as pixels on the product surface. The remaining drops fly into a catcher tube and are sucked back into the continuously circulating hydraulic circuit and used there. The printing technology is fast enough to keep up with conveyor belt speeds of up to 10 m/s and is also extremely cost-effective. The CIJ printer can print up to 120 million letters with one single litre of ink. 

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Printing & Labelling

Opinion

Locking it in: '&"($' %&!!( (#&$&'(#"#$%&" The opportunities presented by 3D printing/additive manufacturing are a plenty. That said, how do the big brands seize such opportunities while protecting their intellectual property (IP), maintaining consistency and quality â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and ultimately upholding their brand integrity? Lee-Bath Nelson, co-founder and VP business at LEO Lane, answers questions on these issues. 1. Can you start by giving our readers a quick overview of who LEO Lane is and what your company does? In a line, we enable industrial manufacturers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I'm going to call them brands â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to securely manage additive manufacturing (AM), anywhere any time. That's to say that we empower these companies to scale production in AM by protecting their IP, securing digital assets and enforcing control over the quality and quantity of their parts and products each and every time they are produced. 2. Seems logical. Aren't the brands already ensuring consistency in manufacturing, themselves? To some extent, but the reality is that it's

relatively easy for consistency to be hurt or compromised, even by mistake. One of the benefits of AM is its ability to enable on-demand production via virtual inventories. However, this means dealing with digital assets that must be protected. Sending an STL file instantly creates issues around security of the file itself and IP protection. If your IP isn't protected, then the file can be intercepted and the part vulnerable to change or leakage. This threatens the brand's reputation as well as consistency in quality and could lead to it being produced in an inferior or incompatible way (e.g., cheaper material or inferior 3D printing technology) than it should be in order to perform to expectations.

Ultimately, no company in the world wants to have their reputation ruined or their brand threatened. And that's where we come in. 3. You mentioned that you can also enable brands to control the quantity of parts they produce? That's right. Once you move to digital or virtual inventory, you need to ensure that the digital files/assets can't simply be printed multiple times. Imagine an aerospace company that has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing a crucial final part for an aircraft. What would happen if it was accessed then printed, not only in the wrong material, but also in large numbers. It would be catastrophic. I find it incredible that even with major global brands employing sophisticated processes, if an employee wants to print an extra item, then nobody will ever know. This is even worse if it is an outside supplier's employee. One of the core elements to the LEO Lane offering is our protected allocation (ensuring only a pre-defined number of prints) that is built into the file, which eliminates this issue. 4. Sounds like Brink's for digital manufacturing? I guess that's one way of looking at it. But, it's important to remember that, just like traditional manufacturing, AM is susceptible to production inconsistencies

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Opinion

that can happen unintentionally because of human error. Mistakes happen. The wrong material could inadvertently get loaded onto a 3D printer, or the settings on that printer accidentally mis-set. These are critical issues that large companies worry about, including their top management and they are the issues that LEO Lane solves. Our company offers an automatic and seamless mechanism to avoid this eventuality. At the end of the day, regardless of whether such scenarios arise by accident or not, brands cannot afford to produce defective parts that will ultimately fail. Even if those parts are being produced via an intermediary, it's ultimately the brand itself that is at risk and certainly none of those with whom we're working are willing to take that kind of gamble. 5. Where do you see the LEO Lane value proposition best exemplified? Certainly, within the industrial manufacturing world, if you consider some of the issues around spare parts, then it's easy to see how a virtual inventory model enabled by AM offers many benefits to brands and their customers. In the shift to virtual inventory, there is a stronger need to protect the brand's digital assets and that is where we come in. We're working with one major equipment manufacturer who has almost four million spare parts – clearly way too many to maintain a physical inventory. Here, the ability to quickly 3D print an 'emergency' spare part and get it to the customer so they're back up and running presents an immediate win-win. The manufacturer can solve the customer's problem (and charge a premium price for doing so) and the customer receives a part in a few days, as opposed to a few weeks, resulting in minimal impact on the production throughput. Another example is general spare parts for the automotive sector. Once these can be produced using AM, then clearly the ability for the major brands to produce ondemand from a virtual inventory eliminates

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Printing & Labelling

many of the costs associated with storage and transport costs. Of course, the automotive brands invariably don't want to relinquish control of the file, yet they want to move over to digital manufacturing. Once they use LEO Lane all these risks are eliminated.

data of when, where, and how each item was produced. Our LEO Lane cloud holds no files; it only acts in a supervisory and enforcement capacity. Instead, the enterprise/brand maintains all its files based on its own internal IT policies and procedures.

6. That makes sense, but does this not present a headache for supply chain managers and the procurement process? On the contrary. Our ethos is to ensure minimal disruption. Once a brand has identified which part it wants to additively manufacture and establishes the correct way to produce it (printer type, material, machine settings, etc.), the file is secured with LEO Lane and the rest is automatic and undisturbed.

As I mentioned, the brand's intent is preserved (by specifying material, AM technology, scaling allowed, etc.) and the brand can specify how many items (instances) can be 3D printed from a particular LEO file.

Whether a part is made via AM or injection molding is irrelevant to procurement managers; they just want to be able to order it on their ERP system like any other part. Once they do, the LEO Lane service is called in the background and the protected allocation file is triggered. The only difference is that instead of sending an STL and a PO (Word file/PDF) with instructions included, the brand sends a regular PO and an LSTL file (LEO STL). Crucially, there is NO change from a procurement or policies aspect, which is paramount for adoption. If we were to approach global manufacturers and inform them that this – along with processes from design, manufacturing and sales – would need to change, they wouldn't listen. And rightfully so. 7. OK, that's good news for supply chain managers. Can you tell us how it works? A LEO (which stands for Limited Edition Object) file is a digital asset that, in the way I've explained, protects and preserves a digital product or part design by controlling how it is produced on behalf of the enterprise/brand that owns it. LEO Lane is a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution that also tracks all LEOs providing a dashboard showing real-time

8. Your offering is clearly built to enable AM in production and the next step would be distributed manufacturing. Looking ahead – what do you see as the main challenges to advancing this model? Regarding virtual inventory and on-demand manufacturing, I think most businesses recognise the enormous benefits to be enjoyed from this model. The weak spot in any supply chain is the physical inventory; it has no benefits and is a burden for companies that pay enormous amounts of money to maintain it. Most companies we are talking with realise this. They appreciate the advantages offered by on-demand manufacturing in terms of cost-savings, increased responsiveness and flexibility to customers – without huge investment. It seems a no brainer to adopt these models, but they carry risks that are untenable if they are not eliminated. Right now, many brands are using AM to centrally produce small quantities of parts that are then shipped to where they need to be. They're not scaling additive manufacturing in the true sense, because ultimately, when you do so the existing model becomes untenable. To scale in large quantities with AM raises the issue of IP protection and consistency – which is of course, where we come in. For me, it's basically about letting companies know that they can achieve all these benefits while protecting their manufacturing knowhow and design, and ultimately their brand image and reputation. 

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Supply Chain

Analysis

Build a modern supply chain workforce Supply chain leaders must build organisations ready to cope with the continuous change of a digital world, writes Rob van der Meulen, Gartner.

T

he many digital trends impacting the supply chain mean more complexity and constant change. Digitalisation means more data, more digital connections, higher expectations around customer experience, more collaboration within a supply chain ecosystem, and in all these areas, faster change. Supply chain leaders need teams equipped with new skills to cope with this new, more dynamic landscape. Gartner research vice president Dana E. Stiffler explains what skills are needed and how to build them in your organisation. “Supply chain leaders name talent shortage as the No. 1 external force impacting their supply chain organisation, and employee skills gaps as the No. 2 internal issue. There’s no magic bullet to suddenly create your ideal employee; it’s a case of leading the workforce better to evolve the skills your organisation needs now and in the future.” Gartner has three pillars for building the nextgeneration workforce:

Agile, collaborative leadership When employees are organised into rigid silos led from the top, agility suffers. While each silo may perform its function well, this is not enough for an organisation to succeed in the rapidly shifting sands of digital business. “We recommend that supply chain leaders embrace an ‘enterprise leadership’ approach,” says Stiffler. “This means going beyond individual, top-down relationships to build collaborative networks across the business.” This combination of individual and networked leadership helps break down silos and build agility and cross-functional savvy in teams. It empowers employees to expand their range and builds their confidence to act autonomously when needed. Agility and

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Dana E. Stiffler: “There’s no magic bullet to suddenly create your ideal employee; it’s a case of leading the workforce better to evolve the skills your organisation needs now and in the future.”

autonomy drive the best outcomes for the organisation in a digital world.

metrics and the details of changes.

Innovative talent sourcing and development plans

Continuous workforce transformation In the continuously changing world of digital business, the workforce needs to keep pace. It’s much better to build a workforce that can adapt, rather than a workforce that depends on leadership to dictate changes. The idea of continuous workforce transformation may seem like a recipe for chaos to many people,” says Stiffler. “The key here is to create and deploy broad guidance frameworks – based on the overarching supply chain strategy – that engage with the workforce, prepare employees for continuous change and foster a more agile mindset in teams, but still keep a coherent direction.” Agility and autonomy will come through bringing together employees and stakeholders to co-create the new strategies that affect them. Enable employees to own implementation plans and provide tools to help them define success

No matter how well you lead and prepare your existing workforce for continuous change, you’ll need to hire new talent and skills. “Start by working with HR to get better at talent analytics,” says Stiffler. “You’re flying blind if you can’t audit current competencies and map what you will need in the future to the abilities or potential you have in-house. Prioritise digital dexterity, a combination of analogue and digital skills and traits, over pure technical knowhow.” When you know what is needed and can’t be developed in-house, look outside the organisation. As more organisations pursue digital business strategies, competition will intensify, so make sure your processes are fit for the digital age. This means looking at new sources of talent information, like social matching and data mining. Enable quicker hiring processes to grab in-demand skills from the marketplace before your competitors. 

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Opinion

Supply Chain

Three ways your supply chain manager can help improve speed-to-market By John Caltabiano, VP of global supply chain, Jabil.

G

iven a choice, would you launch your product late, or launch it over budget? Choosing to go to market late might present the greater risk to profitability, according to a report published by McKinsey & Company that claims, on average, going to market six months late but within budget can shave 33% off profits. In contrast, McKinsey found that launching on-time but 50% over budget put only a 3.5% dent in profitability. The correlation between time-to-market and profitability will only become more pronounced as e-commerce, product customisation and on-demand delivery continue to raise the tempo of business competition. Many companies have already embraced this and made a priority of shortening their new product development cycles. Fewer have embraced how critical supply chain management is to this goal. It is not simply a logistical matter of minimising supply disruptions or ensuring high-quality components after the product has launched. In today's digital economy, your supply chain manager can offer unexpected tools and insights to achieve greater product innovation and competitiveness. Here are just three.

Optimise the network for reliability and cost The centralised supply chain model on which most businesses have traditionally relied made sense before the digital economy. By concentrating production in a few locations with affordable labour and access to logistics networks, businesses could launch new products worldwide while keeping risk, complexity and their bill of materials (BOM) costs to a minimum. This traditional model is giving way, however, to more distributed supply chains that draw from manufacturing centres located closer to key end-markets. This approach not only speeds time-to-market, it

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offers greater flexibility to quickly scale production based on localised demand. Traditionalists might argue this distributed model results in higher BOM costs. While true on its surface, this argument ignores the added impact of landed costs that add freight, duty, inventory and shipping time to the calculation. When products were manufactured, inventoried and shipped to retailers by the pallet, landed costs could be more easily managed. But these costs can quickly grow out of control when customers expect home delivery of a product within 24 hours. It's supply chain management's role to navigate the complexity of distributed networks to not only reduce time-to-market but also optimise the supply chain for lowest landed costs.

Design for supply chain

John Caltabiano: “Powered by the emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the DDSC's defining characteristic is that it allows brands to respond directly to consumer demand.”

DfSC is a valuable practice for any new product intended to compete in a digital economy. But it is especially critical when new products must leverage cutting-edge technologies because the number of suppliers able to deliver key components may be limited or geographically remote from the factory. Upstream suppliers of advanced componentry themselves may also need advance time to ensure availability of raw materials and commodities.

New product development was once largely the realm of industrial engineers – focused on form fit, form function and form factor – and product line managers who prepare the sales strategies. Sourcing, production and distribution of the product were comparative afterthoughts to this process. Unfortunately, this often-ignored potential supply chain issues until after a new product was ready to scale to volume production. A key component might have reached obsolescence, for example, or it might raise unexpected quality issues.

The demand-driven supply chain

As speed-to-market has become a competitive priority, businesses are wise to enlist supply chain managers earlier in the new product development process and embrace the socalled Design for Supply Chain (DfSC) concept. This practice can mitigate risks and even create value. For example, by offering early insight into which product components pose lead times issues, DfSC allows a business to proactively expand its supply chain network or help source alternative parts with functional equivalents and higher availability. The end result is greater assurance that every part will be available in steady supply when production begins.

This is changing, however, as brands and their manufacturing partners seek greater flexibility in demand-driven supply chains (DDSC). Powered by the emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the DDSC's defining characteristic is that it allows brands to respond directly to consumer demand. This advanced methodology uses advanced analytics, statistics and historical data to define the levels of inventory required to meet a defined service level rather than to a pre-determined forecast. In addition to improving efficiency, leveraging the DDSC is virtually a prerequisite to compete in the digital economy. 

Forecasting how many products will sell at specific time intervals has never been a simple or entirely precise practice. For example, even if you accurately predict you will sell 1000 units over the coming year, the bulk of that product may move in a single month during the first quarter. Either way, the result is the same: Companies tend to over-plan to compensate for this uncertainty and maintain large buffer inventories.

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Analysis

   improved, say manufacturers Managers of manufacturing companies say there is room for improvement in their marketing activities, according to a recent survey.

ommissioned by Birmingham-

empowered to analyse the

based Cognition Agency, the

effectiveness of their campaigns in

survey showed 74% of

great detail and look at what is

companies using online

working and what isn't so that tactics

advertising, 67% with a social

can be adapted in real-time to ensure

C

media presence, and 65% taking advantage

accurate return on investment."

of online content. Despite this, 52% of companies said they thought marketing could possibly be improved.

Measure for measure The survey also uncovered some

Current marketing strategy is outdated

interesting insights into how businesses measure the success of their

marketing channel for 33% of companies

marketing activity. 66% measure success on

while online content is adopted most in

Nearly one in three, 27%, of manufacturing

return on investment only in part while just

London - 90% of businesses use it in its

companies cited their marketing activities as

26% of companies quantify its success on this

overall marketing strategy.

being outdated, while for 20%, marketing was

metric alone. Meanwhile, 27% of companies in the North

not a priority at all. However, the lack of a dedicated team came out as one of biggest

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one channel that is

West do not use any form of marketing at all.

challenges for 33% of manufacturing

significantly less popular is pay-per-click

Although budget remains a challenge, 60% of

businesses, particularly for small businesses

(PPC) and, to a lesser extent, paid social,

companies with 1-9 employees have seen a

with only 1-9 employees. In addition, 30% of

potentially linked to its expense. Only 22% of

marketing budget increase in the past five

companies predicted artificial intelligence will

all companies surveyed utilise PPC but for

years, as have 86% of those with an average

have the biggest impact on the manufacturing

companies with an average annual marketing

annual marketing budget of ÂŁ300,00 -

industry.

budget of more than ÂŁ1 million, this figure

ÂŁ500,000.

increased to 67%, demonstrating the Dr Peter Hughes, managing director at

confusion in small businesses over how to

Cognition, said: "While companies in the

maximise PPC's return on investment.

Effective marketing channel

manufacturing industry are catching on to

Hughes added: "Print remains an effective

the importance of digital channels, it is clear

And, despite the rise of digital media,

marketing channel in manufacturing - yet the

from the results of our survey that marketing

traditional marketing channels such as print

benefits of PPC and paid social aren't being

is behind the times and in need of manpower

remain extremely popular for most

explored, particularly within smaller

to implement marketing strategy effectively.

manufacturing businesses and is even

businesses where the marketing budget is

Many manufacturing businesses are aware

deemed the most effective marketing method

limited.

that their marketing efforts need a refresh -

for companies with 50-99 employees. But

but for most, this gets pushed to the bottom

Hughes adds, much of this is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;habit drivenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

"However, as artificial intelligence continues to

of the to do list as more pressing matters

More specifically, 88% of companies in

grow rapidly, manufacturing businesses can

take over.

Yorkshire and the Humber use the channel.

use those advances in technology potentially

"Surprisingly, only 9% of businesses think

When filtering through the results by location,

efforts. Businesses should be more willing to

marketing automation will have an impact. We

the survey reflected some geographic-related

invest in bringing their marketing into the 21st

believe it will â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and for the better too. Through

differences. For businesses in the West

century by using the most efficient methods,

automation, manufacturers can be

Midlands, print was rated the most effective

to them, to deliver quality results." 

perceived as a threat to help their marketing

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Analysis

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

 of global enterprises think and act like digital natives nfosys has released global research, The

Visionaries believe that true

New Champions of Digital Disruption:

transformation comes from the

Incumbent Organisations, that reveals

core and without this in the

that under a quarter of organisations

background, digital technologies

surveyed, understand that commitment

will not perform to their potential.

I

to digital is at the heart of true

The study reflects that their

transformation. And, it is these organisations

commitment to modernising from

that are reaping rewards from digital

the core will yield benefits, such

disruption.

as improved productivity and efficiencies.

According to the research, more than half of all respondents surveyed, rank focus on digital skillset as the most important factor in

Agility in championing digital disruption

acquiring digital native firms, to quickly gain the digital skills that 71% of the Visionaries

successful transformation, followed by senior leadership commitment and change

Visionaries watch and explore futuristic trends

believed were lacking in-house. Thereby,

management, implying the need for a

which currently escape the notice of the other

showcasing the increasing trend towards

conducive organisational culture.

two cohorts. They boast of increased clarity

acquisitions and development of a

on opportunities and threats of digital

sustainable ecosystem. Comparatively, the

disruption over Explorer and Watchers, as

proportion of Explorers and Watchers looking

well as an increased ability to execute on

at the acquisition and ecosystem options

them. Visionaries look further into the future.

was negligible.

Visionaries, Watchers and Explorers The research identifies three clusters of

They attach a higher rating to the impact of

respondents based on the business

market drivers such as Emerging

Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Infosys,

objectives behind their digital transformation

Technologies (86% Visionaries vs 63%

said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Navigating the digital disruption

initiatives.

Explorers, 50% Watchers) and Changing

requires companies to drive a holistic

Ecosystems (63% vs 39%, 31%) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; enabling

approach to transformation and foster a

them to be agile and disruptive.

digital culture that brings together leadership

Visionaries (22%) understand the potential of

commitment and a renewed approach to skill

the digital revolution to completely transform their business.

Lack of digital skill set â&#x20AC;&#x201C; greatest barrier

building. Infosys with its long-standing partnerships with global corporations is focused on accelerating their digital

Explorers (50%) commit to digital programs driven by the need to enhance customer

When ranking barriers on the path to

transformation journey from their core

experience.

digitisation, building digital skill sets was

systems while building new capability to

found to be the most prevalent (54%)

drive competitive advantage.â&#x20AC;?

Watchers (28%) see digital transformation

challenge for organisations, highlighting the

through the prism of efficiency.

lack of digital skill set available. Transforming

Overcoming barriers to digital transformation

from a low risk organisation to an organisation

Enterprises are relying on their

that rewards experimentation (43%) and lack

transformation partners to help them scale

of change management (43%) were the

barriers. Preparing workforce for digital

second and third greatest barriers,

transformation and developing strong

While Watchers and Explorers are primarily

showcasing the turbulence and resistance to

capability in managing large organisational

focusing on emerging technologies like

change associated with digital transformation.

change have emerged as top strategies to

True transformation begins from the core

overcome these barriers. This is especially

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and 3D printing for digital transformation initiatives, Visionaries are not only looking at emerging

The importance of establishing an ecosystem

critical to Visionaries who are aiming to transform business culture. 

technologies, but are also focusing strongly on core areas such as mainframe and ERP

Building in-house capabilities was on the list

modernisation.

of 76% of Visionaries, who were keen on

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Smarter Emergency Lighting, Less Disruption and Unnecessary Cost With so much to contend with in the logistics and industry environment, emergency lighting can be an overlooked component. As 24/7 production and delivery becomes increasingly common, finding available slots for maintenance and testing in the facility’s natural downtime cycle becomes more challenging. However, maintaining the emergency lighting system is critical to ensure the safe, efficient and compliant running of any facility. It should be considered an integral part of a facility’s ongoing operations, and managed and reviewed accordingly. Unfortunately this approach is not consistently adopted. Discover how your facility can best avoid this burden hanging over it.

Read our eBook “What’s Hanging Over Your Head” at sylvania-lighting.com/ en-gb/applications/logistics-industry

Manufacturing & LogisticsIT - October 2018  
Manufacturing & LogisticsIT - October 2018