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IT Service Provider Gains Visibility Into Warehouse Logistics

Essintial Enterprise Solutions uses RFID to track all parts, improving inventory management and customer service.
By Bob Violino
Jan 25, 2015

Essintial Enterprise Solutions, based in Mechanicsburg, Penn., is a privately owned, national provider of enterprise infrastructure services and support solutions for distributed technologies—from maintaining data servers to bank ATMs. Essintial, for example, supports SITA's service operations division in North America and Northrop Grumman's information systems. It is critical that the company's 750-employee field workers arrive at appointments on time and prepared, whether for an emergency or routine maintenance.

The company created a Managed WorkForce solution to provide visibility into its nationwide network of full-time, part-time and contracted field technicians, each with varying skills and areas of expertise. This enables Essintial to ensure that the technician best suited for a particular job is dispatched.

A commissioning station and smart table located in Receiving
But it's also important that field technicians have the parts they need, when and where they need them. To that end, Essintial deployed a radio frequency identification solution in late 2013 to improve inventory control throughout its logistics processes.

The company has a central stocking warehouse, in Lewisberry, Pa., where it performs staging, imaging and some repair work. Previously, parts were tracked manually via the company's enterprise resource planning system. Several warehouse workers were responsible for updating inventory location as parts moved through the various stages of the warehouse and depot repair.

"The manual process led to inaccuracies," says Anita Weissman, a project executive at Essintial. The primary goal of using RFID "was to increase the accuracy and visibility to our parts in the warehouse, both for cycle counts and day-to-day knowledge of where parts were in the warehouse—throughout the lifecycle of the repair," she says. "Additionally, with the automation [provided by the technology], we wanted to lower our labor costs and improve efficiency by lowering the manual touches needed to track the inventory."

Currently, Essintial uses RFID to track all parts within the warehouse. "This includes good parts from our vendors, consigned inventory from our customers, as well as defective parts and repaired parts," Weissman says.

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