DCSA replaces handheld barcode scanners

24th September 2004 By: Deborah Spicer

Auto manufacturer DaimlerChrysler South Africa (DCSA) has migrated its base of 89 Intermec handheld barcode scanners to Symbol devices through supplier RangeGate. The migration to new technology sees the South African business maintaining the company’s international stan-dards. “We were able to trade-in our old devices for the new ones, resulting in competitive pricing, while maintaining our international standards for efficiency,” says Jonathan Holmes, systems analyst, IT division at DCSA. DaimlerChrysler, which this year celebrates 50 years in South Africa, originally deployed the automated warehouse-management system in 2001. The total system consisted of RangeGate’s Inter-Gate, an integration suite connecting the handheld scanners and SAP’s R/3 ERP software. The result then was stock accuracy of 98%, better stock tracking and more efficient administration, sales management and customer service.

Today DCSA manufactures approximately 50 000 vehicles a year, of which about 75% are for export, and has 3 200 employees. It has steadily increased turnover from R5,3-billion in 1998 to R20,4-billion in 2002. The Symbol 9050 units which replace the older Intermec scanners are ruggedised mobile computers with 400 MHz Intel processors and as much as 64 MB of Ram, running the Windows CE operating system. They can withstand 2 000 1,8-m drops onto concrete and 4 000 one-metre tumbles. A range of other features make them technically superior to the older Intermec models they replace at DaimlerChrysler, such as the larger, full-colour screens, which allow for more and better applications and ultimately greater flexibility at the business coalface. DCSA has a five-year support contract in place with RangeGate and Symbol Technologies Africa, which sees 10 of the 9 050 devices stored onsite at RangeGate to permit rapid replacement of damaged units. The company also keeps 10 units at its site in East London for the same reason. “Deploying the new devices was quickly achieved, and easy enough for DaimlerChrysler to perform itself,” says Anne Stone at RangeGate in Port Elizabeth. “The project kicked off in March this year and was completed by April.”