Australian Explosives Manufacturer Deploys Zebra Touch Computers for Improved Traceability

An Australian-based multinational corporation, with its head office in Melbourne and locations worldwide. It is one of the largest providers of commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas, and construction markets, a supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling.

Challenge

As part of its worldwide cloud-based SAP implementation, the explosive manufacturer wanted to deploy a best-in-class, updated track & trace and inventory management solution at its production sites worldwide, so real-time, accurate information from these sites could be available across the business. The internal team designed an in-house track & trace application, comprising three modules and developed on a Neptune Software platform, but it still needed a reliable, robust device with best-in- class scanning capabilities to run the application.

Zebra Technologies had had a successful, established working relationship with the explosive manufacturer in Melbourne for some time, having previously supplied standard touch computers and printers to the business. However, in view of the potentially explosive and flammable materials the manufacturer handles at its production sites, the local Zebra team was aware of the need for intrinsically safe devices and consequently introduced the explosive manufacturer to BARTEC’s commercial office in Australia. The explosive manufacturer was originally considering deploying just a small percentage of intrinsically safe devices. However, after a series of assessments and tests, it decided to exclusively deploy TC75Xex-NI devices across the production sites, so any potential risk was completely eliminated.

Solution

BARTEC and Zebra Technologies collaborated to provide the explosive manufacturer with a turnkey solution. Zebra customised SOTI® MobiControl to the explosive manufacturer’s needs and, using Zebra StageNow, BARTEC then preconfigured each of the TC75Xex-NI devices in its production facility in Germany, loading SOTI MobiControl and the relevant modules (UAT, D1R and PROD) of their Track & Trace application for each site; on an ongoing basis, SOTI MobiControl is used to remotely manage, troubleshoot and update the devices.

Over 450 devices have already been deployed to teams at production sites in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Jersey, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA and Zambia and are being used by teams to run regular inventories and to trace materials and products along the manufacturing supply chain. The solution is fully integrated into manufacturer’s SAP back-office ERP systems, so information captured by the high-performance scanners and processed in the Track & Trace system is immediately available company-wide. In this way the business has the maximum information available on every single product it distributes and also has an accurate, real-time overview of its inventories, so it can manage any shortfalls or surplus stocks efficiently.

Moreover, the partnership with BARTEC Australia and Zebra means the explosive manufacturer has one centralised managed services agreement covering all its devices and, should a TC75Xex-NI need to be repaired or assessed, it is first sent to Zebra, who resolve any software issues. If it is a hardware issue, BARTEC in Australia gets a notification and provides an RMA number and shipping information for the customer to send the device to the repair centre in Germany to be assessed, repaired and replaced, if necessary, before being returned to the relevant manufacturer site. BARTEC Australia tracks the device at all stages of its journey. Emelson Pagoso comments: “The timely manner of repairs, not that we’ve had many to be honest, and the excellent ongoing support from both Zebra and BARTEC are key to the long-term success of this project.”

Result

The solution is enabling the explosive manufacturer’s supply chain division to effectively track inbound and outbound goods across the entire supply chain process, from raw material to end product. Traceability and inventory accuracy have both significantly improved, with real-time, accurate information now being available in the explosive manufacturer’s centralised SAP systems. This greater visibility, in turn, is enabling them to make improved, informed business decisions and consequently save time and cost across the business. End users have particularly praised the ease of use of both the touch computers and the application; and the very strong collaboration and partnership between Zebra Technologies and BARTEC Group has also played a key role in the success of this project. Indeed, the deployment is ongoing and part of the explosive manufacturer’s drive to progressively move to one single central SAP and Track & Trace application, and the hope is to roll out the solution to further sites, once COVID-19 restrictions allow.

Article Credit: https://www.zebra.com/content/dam/zebra_new_ia/en-us/solutions-verticals/vertical-solutions/manufacturing/success-story/manufacturing-success-story-orica-en-gb.pdf