Intermec raises the bar in bar-coding
Supply-chain automation specialist shares vision at GITEX
Seattle, US-based supply-chain solutions provider Intermec had a busy five days at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, educating delegates about its vision of distribution workflow management and how technology can support business supply processes.
"GITEX is the first event we put on our marketing calendar at the beginning of each year for the Middle East region," Ian Snadden, vice president EMEA, Intermec told ITP.net.
The company provides automated information and data capture (AIDC) and mobile computing systems, which include a range of industrial and mobile barcode printers and optical handheld scanners.
Singled out for exhibition at the Dubai ICT gathering were a number of recently launched models. In the scanner category the new SG20 is described as " an affordable, high-performance handheld scanner available in a range of models suited to the demands of general-purpose countertop scanning".
Also on show were Intermec's new industrial printers, the PM43 and PM43c, both geared towards mid-range warehousing and manufacturing applications.
Handheld units were also demonstrated to visitors. Also recently launched, the PR2 and PR3 hail from the rugged-mobile space and have a range of capabilities for supporting functions such as roving points of sale, secure-payments and direct-delivery services.
"Intermec is one of the global leaders in the auto-ID space and has been around for in excess of 46 years," Snadden explained. "It is the only company in this space that has the breadth of products, solutions and services that span scanning and rugged-mobile computing to deliver the right tools for the job. This isn't white-collar computing, it is blue-collar computing and turns the surface area of the company - the workforce of the company - into the front door of the company."
Intermec also used GITEX to preview its CK3 next-generation range. Due for official launch in February 2013, the CK3X is designed for industrial operations, such as warehouse facilities, where the CK3R, to be launched in parallel with its sister model, is geared towards the retail and healthcare sectors.
"Intermec is all about tracking assets all the way from point of production to point of consumption," said Snadden, "for example, from a farm and a field of grain, to the consumer putting a spoonful of cereal in their mouth."
As products and services go through the supply chain, he explains, the barcode and RFID (radio-frequency identification) is ever-present. Data in paper or chip form is an obvious means of process management. Intermec sees the whole process as laden with opportunities for both shipper and carrier.
"It opens up new revenue streams by allowing companies to turn a transaction into a profit opportunity," Snadden pointed out. He gives the example of a parcel recipient who signs on a screen to accept to delivery, which becomes "electronic, real-time, proof of delivery". The interaction serves a multi-facetted confirmation purpose, providing the shipper with validation of order completion, giving the carrier proof of contractual fulfilment and leaving the customer with a bill of receipt."
But Snadden highlights another aspect of the interaction that allows the carrier to add value at the point of delivery.
"If you were buying a book from Amazon, as you sign on the screen the carrier's mobile printer might print off a voucher that gives you 25% off your next purchase," he suggested. "What's your propensity to rebuy when you [are presented with that voucher], in a world where we are inundated with offers through [various media]?"
Intermec's tenure in the industry has allowed it to establish a strong market presence in the EMEA region.
"More than 55% of our revenue comes from international markets and EMEA is by far the largest of those markets," said Snadden. "We divide the world, in sequence of size, into the Americas, EMEA, APAC and Latin America. Within EMEA we sub-divide into five regions and one of the largest of those, in terms of physical geography, rate of growth and volume of business, is the Middle East, India and Africa region.
The company's partner network allows it to operate in a number of sectors, encompassing warehousing, healthcare and retail. One of the biggest marketplaces in the Middle East for Intermec is DSD (direct store delivery).
The company has a network of value-added resellers throughout the region that have a proven history in the area. But while many of its partners tend to be industry vertical specialists in the auto ID space Intermec has also opened up another area of business.
"We are delighted to see the traditional ICT VARs and resellers increasingly being drawn into business mobility, going beyond the laptop where there is hardly any margin," said Snadden.
"Those companies have gone through the 15-year journey of selling PCs, then moving to desk service and on to managed service. But for those resellers our type of rugged-mobile computing is the last bastion of high-margin, high-solution mobility. Most of them have done the data centre, head office and branch network, but have stopped at the warehouse door, which holds the elements that glue everything together, such as the logistics, the infrastructure and the supply-chain."
As business in general and retail in particular, enjoys a much-needed resurgence in the EMEA region, Intermec is positioned to share that growth. As GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2012 draws to a close, Snadden looks back on five days of frenetic activity, noting a slight drop in footfall, but a surge in the quality of exhibitor.
"GITEX is the stage that everybody looks towards for innovations in this market," he said. "Anybody who is anybody and anybody who wants to become anybody, comes to GITEX."