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RFID Helps Psion Teklogix Meet SLAs

The maker of handheld computers and other mobile devices is using EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to help ensure products are repaired and returned to customers as promised.
By Beth Bacheldor
At the company's service and repair facilities, all incoming boxes are first placed on a conveyor equipped with an RFID tunnel. Whenever an RFID tag is detected, the conveyor stops and a light stack positioned nearby lights up, alerting technicians that an RFID-tagged shipment has arrived. The RFID tag data is correlated with back-end information about the customer, and that data is presented on a nearby computer, to which the technician has access. The technician checks the customer data, opens the box and labels the device by means of a color-coded sticker designating either a one-day SLA or a three-day (a one-day repair gets a red label, for instance). Then, Castor says, the worker delivers the device to the repair technician responsible for servicing that type of equipment.

When an item is repaired at the Psion Teklogix facility, whether or not it contains an RFID tag, the technicians update the repair status by scanning the unique bar-coded serial number that all Psion Teklogix devices have. The scan is recorded in a back-end database. Thus, customers can log onto Teknet, pull up a page associated with their specific RMA and check where in the process the device is.

"They can see that it was received, and that it is in the repair queue," Castor explains. When the device is repaired and ready to be returned to the customer, technicians will also update the database with shipping information, including a tracking number that customers can access by logging onto the Web site of the assigned courier. "Customers can track their devices from the point they enter the receiving department, when they hit the repair bench, when the devices go through the repair process, and when they are shipped out," Castor says.

To date, Psion Teklogix estimates, 6,300 mobile computers are tagged with RFID annually at its North America depot. The company's use of RFID has been incorporated into an expansion, announced this week, of a service called I-Serv, for its line of rugged mobile computers. The program is designed to provide customers with a single global contract they can tailor by combining different options of I-Serv customer care, such as the one- and three-day guaranteed services that leverage the RFID tag, as well as live support from a help desk and on-site collection of damaged products requiring repair.

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