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CyberCore Technologies is a Maryland-based information technology company and a leading provider of Value Added Services (VAS), Professional Services (PS), and Managed Services (MS) for government and commercial customers. CyberCore assists their customers in planning and executing technology strategies that result in winning solutions in Secure Supply Chain Management and a full spectrum of IT managed services, including IT asset procurement, problem resolution and Tier-3 support for its customers in aerospace and defense and domestic security agencies, as well as value-added services such as system configuration and software loading.
SnapshotIndustry: Information Technology
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At Cybercore Technologies, employees buy, build, integrate and deliver tens of thousands of IT hardware items for its clients every year. This makes the ability to collect data quickly and accurately essential to daily operations. “Our customers purchase IT hardware from us and it ships to our facility for value added-service or integration work,” explains Jason Mulholland, CyberCore’s Director of IT. “We ship and receive hundreds—sometimes thousands—of items on any given day.”
We were literally doing about 30-percent of our work twice.
—Frank Goodwin, Logistics Manager | CyberCore
But the company’s legacy solution did not support newer enterprise mobility or wireless data collection capabilities, creating bottlenecks in their materials management processes. Shipping, receiving and inventory management processes were particularly problematic. Logistics Manager Frank Goodwin explained that since they were unable to use wireless hardware, receiving was confined to a small area, near a desktop computer running Deltek Costpoint connected by USB cable to a barcode scanner. This made shipping and receiving a pallet of items a two-man job.
“One person would hold the scan gun and scan the barcodes on each box while another person sat at a computer and hit the tab button after every scan in order to get to the next field,” explained Goodwin. The process was time-consuming, inefficient and prone to human error.
In addition, data communication errors were a common occurrence with their legacy solution, significantly hindering receiving’s ability to function efficiently and effectively. “We provide the customer with between 600,000 and 1,000,000 pieces of information each month,” recalled Goodwin. “If we lost connection in the middle of receiving a purchase order, all of the work done between saves just vanished. It would throw an error, and we would have to do it all over again. We were literally doing about 30-percent of our work twice.”
These issues not only affected CyberCore’s ability to manage inventory efficiently, but also prevented the company from gaining real-time visibility into their inventory as it flowed through the warehouse and integration facilities. Ultimately, these inefficiencies impacted CyberCore’s ability to deliver first-class customer satisfaction.
“We are very materials driven,” said Mulholland. “Our legacy solution for barcode scanning capabilities did not meet our needs.”
CyberCore needed a new solution to help them enhance operational agility in the warehouse. This solution would have to automate data collection processes, support mobile devices, such as barcode scanners with wireless connectivity, function out-of-the-box and integrate with Deltek Costpoint.
That led Mulholland to select RFgen Mobile Foundations for Deltek Costpoint to streamline shipping, receiving and inventory transactions.
RFgen is basically the only mobile data capture solution that has any out-of-the-box compatibility with Costpoint.
—Jason Mulholland, Director of IT | CyberCore
“We looked at smaller solutions that came as a companion product with scan guns,” explained Mulholland. “But RFgen came highly recommended and it’s part of the Deltek partner ecosystem. RFgen is basically the only mobile data capture solution that has any out-of-the-box compatibility with Costpoint.”
RFgen is a suite of pre-written, pre-validated data collection solutions and the only Deltek-recommended mobile solution for providing real-time, bi-directional information exchange between Costpoint and barcode scanners, handheld devices, RFID devices, PLCs, and scale-type devices for government contractors.
CyberCore also gained real-time inventory visibility as employees performed daily functions, such as shipping, receiving, cycle counts and inventory location transfers. By seamlessly integrating RFgen with their current label and barcoding software, BarTender, employees could now generate and print labels or barcodes on-demand.
RFgen helped CyberCore realize numerous efficiencies while also solving real-world challenges in materials management and supply chain logistics control. RFgen also enabled the company to augment their secure supply chain solution with automation and future capabilities, such as RFID.
Some of the benefits from these efficiencies include:
Implementing RFgen freed CyberCore workers in Receiving from being tethered to a fixed location. Now they used mobile barcode scanners to capture inventory data instead of shifting inventory around for processing. Eliminating this bottleneck effectively increased employee productivity by 450 percent, enabling fewer employees to process the same number of items in a significantly shorter time.
“Before RFgen, we’d shuttle everything into that area in small groups, then scan them, and shuttle them back out to make room to bring in new stuff,” said Mulholland. “Seven guys would scan around 1,000 serial numbers a day. Now, three guys can scan about 4,500 each day!”
Goodwin went on to add: “Another advantage of RFgen is that it’s the only solution that could tie multiple barcode scanners into a single purchase order at the same time. Instead of one person working on a purchase order, with RFgen, we can have as many as we need. For a single piece of material, they usually scan four pieces of information. So even if you receive 1,000 items, you are looking at 4,000 pieces of information. One technician scanning versus four makes a big difference.”
RFgen automation enabled CyberCore to achieve 99.999-percent data collection accuracy, virtually eliminating the potential for human error in receiving and inventory management. Clean, accurate data also means devoting less employee time and organizational overhead to correcting mistakes while also making it easier for CyberCore to create reports required by their customers.
Both Goodwin and Mulholland agree the most important benefits of RFgen are efficiency and accuracy. “If I was to send over the wrong piece of information, it could end up costing us a lot of money for a single asset tag being wrong and shut down different projects. With RFgen, nothing has been recorded or shipped wrong. Nothing has been rejected by our customers,” Goodwin explained.
Performing inventory counts also became faster, easier and more accurate. Before RFgen, the CyberCore team printed out inventory reports from Costpoint and then manually counted product. Physical counts were so time-intensive that they could only be conducted twice per year. Now, employees scan everything they find in each location. “I receive the exact count,” said Goodwin. “There is no altering of numbers from the crew; only I can alter numbers. It’s faster because they don’t worry about how many items ‘should’ be there.”
Extremely high data accuracy gives CyberCore confidence that its inventory levels are actual numbers, mitigating unnecessary risk due to imperfect data capture processes. It also ensures product is properly stocked and tracked for customer inquiries, compliance and third-party audits.
Scanning purchase orders in receiving used to be a frustrating process that frequently resulted in lost data. With RFgen, scanned information is held in the barcode scanner. This capability is critical since some of CyberCore customers require specific information to be captured about every item received. “Even if a connection fails, you can just hit resend,” said Goodwin. “You don’t have to do all the work again.”
RFgen ultimately produced benefits in the warehouse that positively impacted other aspects of the business. “RFgen also improves productivity and that drives efficiency downstream,” agreed Mulholland. “Frank’s team collects the data more efficiently, and it moves more quickly to our accounting folks. We cannot send our clients any invoices until everything is received, so RFgen makes a huge difference in how quickly CyberCore can invoice our customers, improving our cash flow. The information ultimately flows down to our program managers who then report back to their customers faster and more accurately.”
Not only was RFgen able to solve present-day challenges for CyberCore that impacted the entire enterprise, its scalability provided a way for the solution to grow with the organization, both inside the four walls and out in the field.