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Forklift-mounted tablets increase productivity

ruggedized tablet for forklift
turret truck in warehouse with tablet mount
forklift in warehouse inventory management
warehousing lift trucks with tablets
fork truck mounted rugged tablet moving pallet
forklift paper clamp with mounted tablets

For warehouses and manufacturing facilities throughout the world, it’s absolutely vital that they are as efficient as possible when it comes to the movement and distribution of their goods. For Minnesota-based Japs-Olson, it’s no different.

Japs-Olson is a privately held company who has been producing bulk direct mail and commercial print items for over 100 years. With over 700 employees and more than 30 forklifts involved in their daily operations, they saw room for improvement in terms of their forklift-mounted computers not performing throughout their entire facility. Specifically, intermittent WiFi connectivity and poor performance were slowing them down.

The Customer Challenge

“We needed to better move material throughout the plant. We wanted to minimize forklifts that were driving around with empty forks and maximize their ability to move material throughout the plant where it was needed. This entire process is a really intricate set of processes that need to happen one right after the other and that involves very timely movement of material,” said Chris Peddicord, Director of Enterprise Technology and Compliance at Japs-Olson.

“The connectivity issues with placing inventory in different areas, it was creating lot of inaccuracies in terms of where everything is,” said Nick Lethert, Warehouse Manager, addressing their WiFi problems of their previous tablet solution.

When Japs-Olson set out to replace their existing forklift-mounted devices with something more reliable, they had a few requirements that the new technology must meet -- Faster processing speed, improved WiFi connectivity and an ability to function during extreme vibration.

The MobileDemand Solution

That’s when they discovered and selected the xTablet T1600 from MobileDemand. A powerful, 11.6-inch rugged Windows tablet capable of running their existing enterprise software while providing sufficient WiFi connection throughout the 525,000 square foot warehouse.

Whenever material is needed, the forklift operator receives a notification on the tablet of the exact location of the desired materials. Once the operator locates it, an external barcode scanner is used to remove that product from inventory and signify to supervisors that the task is in-progress. The task on the tablet is closed once the product reaches its final destination, whether it’s one of the industrial printers or an outbound truck. A similar process is followed for inbound shipments.

The Results

“The solution saves us both time and money. Specifically, time in terms of the individual clicks that an operator makes in the application. The performance improvements and the amount of time we save in each of those clicks. In addition, the overall performance of the application has improved so the individual transactions respond faster, complete faster, which allows us to move more material throughout the day and that finally hits our bottom line as additional productivity,” said Peddicord.

Since implementation of the new forklift-mounted tablets, Japs-Olson has seen an increase in efficiency due to the custom external WiFi antenna providing greater coverage and reliability for the forklift operators. That results in less data lost, greater productivity from the forklift operators, and less involvement of IT support. The tablets are now used for all movement of material, whether it’s shipping and receiving or internal movements throughout the warehouse.

Overall, Japs-Olson has been greatly impressed by MobileDemand and their rugged Windows xTablets.

“It was really the sense we got right out of the gate, first impressions. MobileDemand came on site and they were clearly experts not only in their own solution but in the competitive landscape. They gave us a sense that they’d clearly done this before and they were healthy as a company. And it gave us a lot of comfort in moving forward knowing they were there to support us and had a high quality tablet solution,” said Peddicord.

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