Progistix, an SCI company, is a third-party logistics provider for businesses in Canada that require end-to-end product lifecycle management. The company manages a 400,000-square-foot yard in Toronto that serves as a main hub for storing and distributing copper communication cables and other networking assets for communications network providers in Ontario and Quebec. Each cable reel weighs up to six tons, and each type of cable has its own unique characteristics, which make it suitable for a certain type of network usage. The yard contains 116 different types of copper cables, and it can store as many as 3,000 reels.
Progistix had been managing the yard with a paper-based system. But on occasion, reels would be returned to the wrong location or would be reported as missing for various reasons. "There was no [easy] tracking of reel movement," says Yvan Bourbonnais, Progistix's general manager.
"In the event that a reel could not be located, the supervisor would print the reel tag, which contained pertinent information including last know location, reel number, reel size and expected cable type," Bourbonnais says. "This would then be used to conduct a full physical inspection of all reels of that size in the 400,000-square-foot yard until the reel could be located."
Security was also an issue. Copper is highly attractive on the market, Bourbonnais explains, and Progistix had to guard against theft and ensure that removal of copper cables from the yard was authorized. Product shrinkage was a problem for the company, he says.
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