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Rail Operator Manages Equipment, Plant Maintenance, and Parts Inventory with an Automated Data Collection Solution
A transportation company is the private operator of an automated rail-based rapid transit system serving a large city and a metropolitan airport. The company warehouses many spare parts to maintain the trains and employs specialized technicians to make repairs and perform preventative maintenance.
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The company uses Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne to track spare parts inventory and maintenance activities. To update the system, they were using a paper-based manual process where information was collected and then data entered into JD Edwards. This not only made inventory management difficult, it was inefficient and error prone. It also impacted productivity since nighttime personnel who needed to issue parts for work orders did not have after-hours access to the JD Edwards system.
Furthermore, the company procured spare parts and other inventory items from suppliers via purchase orders in JD Edwards. A requirement under national safety regulations mandated the collection and tracking of serial numbers on train parts. Compliance with this government mandate required more steps in the company’s manual receiving process.
To address these issues, the company began looking for an automated data collection software solution that could integrate with its JD Edwards system and extend JD Edwards transactions onto wireless RF devices in the shop and store room, thus enabling the company to improve receiving, parts issuance, and inventory management. Using mobile devices with barcode scanning would also make it easier to comply with the government regulation about serialization of spare parts.
RFgen Mobile Foundations for Oracle’s JD Edwards was selected as the best platform to address the challenges. After evaluating three solutions, the company chose RFgen because of its open architecture and flexibility to adapt to the unique needs of their business.
RFgen delivers certified integration with JD Edwards and is highly customizable. For security and tracking purposes, RFgen connects to JD Edwards using a named user configuration, with user accounts authenticated by Microsoft Active Directory.
To comply with the regulation requiring serial numbers on all train parts, the company affixes barcode labels to all inventory items. When inventory is received or consumed, employees scan the attached barcodes and RFgen captures details about the transactions and posts them to JD Edwards in real time.
The company asked RFgen to customize and implement the solutions in just one month. The RFgen team got to work and delivered a solution that matched their exact requirements while staying on time and budget. The entire solution was deployed in just three weeks.
The company uses RFgen with mobile devices (Motorola bar code scanners) to receive JD Edwards purchase orders by line. As each line is received, RFgen posts the receipt to JD Edwards and prints out serialized labels for the items received. If the supplier is not ISO certified, a work order is automatically issued to initiate quality control processes.
RFgen also facilitates the issue of spare parts and inventory items from the store room to work orders. Technicians can issue their own parts to a repair order using RFgen on a mobile device. This is especially helpful for the nighttime technicians since by using RFgen, they no longer need access to JD Edwards to complete their work.
Using RFgen in its operations has enabled this transportation company to:
RFgen helps manage inventory throughout the warehouse and store room. Using mobile devices, workers can easily perform inventory transfers, issue items out of inventory, and make inquiries about item inventory levels, location, and history by serial number.
The company also automated cycle counting with RFgen. In locations where there is no Wi-Fi connectivity, the RFgen cycle count application is used in a disconnected mode with results cached locally on the mobile devices. When finished, the user uploads the cycle count to the RFgen server for processing against JD Edwards.
Based on the success of this project, RFgen is currently being implemented across other divisions of the larger parent company, starting with a division that maintains petroleum industry assets including offshore drilling rigs and pipelines.