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Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by managing mobile devices in the supply chain


Johannesburg, 19 Nov 2020
Read time 4min 00sec

Enterprise mobile technology, such as bar code scanners, mobile computers, headsets, vehicle mount computers and other devices, is used extensively in the supply chain to track the movement of goods from the plant, warehouse or distribution centre to the end-user.

This mobile technology is shared and used frequently by different workers during various shifts in the supply chain. With the advent of COVID-19, these devices pose a risk of spreading infection. The need for a system to manage and track these devices has become imperative, as well as the cleaning of these devices between shifts.

The adoption of Bidvest Mobility’s Asset Control software solution has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the efficient management of mobile devices in the supply chain by tracking devices as they are issued to a specific user, creating a chain of custody that allows managers to track and trace devices in real-time.

Simon Grisdale, Managing Executive at Bidvest Mobility, commented: “Due to the demand from our large retail customers, we have added a cleaning module to this software solution, which ensures the traceability of the cleaning of devices as they are used by different operators and shifts.

“As an added value service to our customers, we have partnered with one of our sister companies in the Bidvest Group, which is using our system to manage a physical cleaning service at one of the leading retail groups that use Honeywell mobile technology, which includes Vocollect voice-directed devices (comprising headsets) and Honeywell bar code scanners for managing inventory in their warehouse.

According to Grisdale, the headsets used for voice-directed work are intimate devices that sit close to the mouth and need to be thoroughly sanitised before being handed over to the next operator. The same applies to handheld bar code scanners and mobile computers. “We have three dedicated Hygiene Specialists per shift at the retail operation's facility, one of whom is a 'Super Hygiene Specialist', responsible for both the cleaning activities as well as managing the team and onsite operation,” he added.

“With this retail customer, Bidvest Mobility is responsible for all chemicals, materials and resources required to perform the onsite cleaning function as per the registered asset list. Each Hygiene Specialist is equipped with a mobile device running Bidvest Mobility’s Asset Control Solution, with training provided on its usage. Before launching the software system, we provided all the bar code labels for the assets to be scanned and registered on the system,” explained Grisdale.

The Access Control Solution has different levels of security and requires an operator to login with individual details, such as username and password, when equipment is issued and returned, which provides a trail of accountability of the mobile asset, as well as the cleaning status.

Grisdale said this cloud-based software solution can accommodate different regions, as well as sites within regions and locations within different sites. “This provides management with a quick real-time overview of key metrics on operational, asset and system health. If, for example, there is a case of COVID-19 or shortage of devices in the warehouse, detailed reporting is available should further investigation be required, and reparations made immediately.”

Controlling assets (booking assets in and out) is the main feature of the solution. Exchanging one asset out for another is also possible and allows an operator to exchange an asset already issued out to an employee with another asset. Assets may be exchanged if they malfunctioned, need to be charged if battery-operated, or for any reason deemed necessary for the exchange,” he added.

Assets that have malfunctioned and that are maintained by Bidvest Mobility may be booked for repairs as well when exchanged. When an asset is booked out for repairs, the system can send out automatic notifications (e-mails) to predefined parties.

Grisdale said mobile technology used in the supply chain is expensive, so it’s important that a company’s mobile assets are well managed, and that management has a real-time overview of the status of these devices, which play a key role in keeping the supply chain fully operational. “With the advent of COVID-19,” he concluded, “our development team worked quickly to add a module that allows these mobile devices to be used safely in the supply chain.”

For more information, visit: https://www.bidvestmobility.co.za/honeywell

Bidvest Mobility

Bidvest Mobility, part of the Bidvest Group, has years of expertise in providing mobile computing and barcoding solutions that harness the power of mobile technologies to meet the most demanding business challenges whilst driving transformation throughout the supply chain.

By combining the best-in-class enterprise mobility components – the right mobility platform, application software, mobile technologies and a range of support services - Bidvest Mobility ensures the seamless planning, development, integration, implementation and management of mobile applications to world-class standards. Their solutions are deployed across the supply chains of leading FMCG, retail, transport & logistics and industrial companies throughout South Africa.

Editorial contacts
P and P Communications Trish Pichulik (083) 378 2903 trish@pandp.co.za
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