Meanwhile, to help speed processing of "haz" and "non-haz" materials alike, NACA has installed wireless LANs at its five company-affiliated distribution centers, which operate under the brand name "Vanguard Logistics." Conterm and Vanguard are each part of NACA, an entity that also includes Direct Container Line and Brennan International Transport. But Conterm makes use of third-party, non-Vanguard distribution centers, too, Scott said.Right now, the warehouse Wi-Fi implementation goes hand-in-hand with bar code scanning, performed via MC 9060 Long-Range Color PDAs from Symbol Technologies Inc. A study finds companies can improve delivery times and save money by making the right changes to their transportation technologies and business processes. Read more here. In the deployment, the company is automating logistics and inventory management processes that were once performed entirely manually. As a result, turnaround times have improved drastically, according to Scott. "In the past, we had to manually write up dock receiptsand then get them over to our receiving office, where they were keyed in before going out to customers," he said. "[But now], the customer can be receiving the receipt while were still literally standing next to the shipment in the warehouse." For the future, Conterm is contemplating adding wireless LAN connectivity at non-Vanguard third-party warehouses where the company rents space. RFID is another possibility, according to Scott. "I believe well be open to RFID. But first, we want to learn more about where Wi-Fi is going to get us," he told eWEEK.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.
The wireless LAN approach was first adopted about a year ago at a Vanguard site in Chicago. Since then, the 802.11 technology from Cisco Systems Inc. has also gone up at Vanguard warehouses in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Miami.