Wireless applications get business nod of approval

Wireless applications are heading toward mainstream acceptance with business managers increasingly acknowledging it playing a vital part in reducing warehousing costs.

"It's all about lowering management costs," John Martens, managing director of data collection solutions provider Group 42, said last week.

"If companies have an Internet ordering system ,wireless applications in the warehouse are complementary to that electronic supply chain, whereas if they are still using paper packing slips they are mixing a 1970s system with tomorrow's technology," he said.

Wireless applications use radio frequency to transmit data and have the same functionality as traditional cables and can therefore replace cabling altogether.

Mark Dawson, of the warehouse management solutions company Microlystics, said the price for a properly configured real-time radio frequency system starts at around $150,000. That includes the software licence, a four-user licence, RF terminals, implementation, training, project management and the computer.

The technology-aware have recognised the obvious cost savings and are taking advantage.

"The push for change [in tightening management systems] is coming from the CEOs and MDs of companies, Martens said.

"They understand the advantages wireless applications provide in giving a competitive edge, such as the payback being less than 12 months, reduction of stock levels, stock accuracy and customer ordering delivery," Martens said.

The market includes all areas of business which warehouse large quantities of stock such as food.

Both Martens and Dawson believe opportunities for resellers exist in providing a complete solution, with the sales cycle between three and nine months, depending on the size of the customer.

"Everyone who uses these devices needs training because the technology requires a variety of skills such as where to put the antennae and how to use the software," Martens added.

Wireless systems designer and manufacturer Telxon, who runs training course, has had unexpected demand.

According to Telxon managing director John Harriott: "Our three part training courses are part of the accreditation process and include information on radio frequency theory, configuration and implementation of Telxon equipment and post-implementation support."

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