We live in a time of smart everything, any one of us uses a number of smart devices daily. Chances are you own a smart phone or smart TV; maybe you have a smart watch, meter or even a smart home. Smart has become a ubiquitous word in the modern age, so it should come as no surprise that lockers have now received the ‘smart’ treatment. Having provided a field service distribution network based on locker tech for over 20 years, we consider ourselves experts on the matter. As technology has adapted, so have we and so have our lockers; now truly smart and app-based for a fully connected field service supply chain.
What makes something smart? Simply put, it’s the making of a device or object interactive with other connected devices or objects; enabling them to talk back to us and/or each other. Making otherwise inanimate things smart! For example, a house is just bricks and mortar but add an interactive camera, heating control from your phone, a home hub and so on, and then your house becomes ‘smart’. Now let’s consider what makes a big grey locker smart. Give it the right tech to interact with other systems via the cloud, enhanced Bluetooth rollingcode encryption, battery maintenance censors and mobile phone apps to obtain detailed transactions and it too becomes ‘smart’!
Here are a few areas that we believe give a Smart Locker its credentials…
Access control is key!
By their very nature all lockers need some sort of system to secure the goods inside. Often this will be a physical key or keypad. We too have used these methods to provide access to lockers. However, both key and keypads come with security and audit trail issues, as well as lacking closed-loop visibility of part movements. How many times have you or someone you know lost the keys to the house or car, even if it’s for a frantic half an hour while you search? Well, imagine managing a large volume of keys to an entire network or trusting your engineers – full-time or contracted – with their own set. And, what if they call in sick and access needs to be granted elsewhere?
Also, if an engineer is dismissed obtaining the key can prove difficult and slow down productivity. Furthermore, key entry lacks the true ability to run audit trails. In the same vain, pin codes for keypad entry systems carry very similar pain points. They are difficult to manage access control across your network, revoking access can be challenging and they lack audit trails as well as various security measures. Doing away with keys and pin codes, our cutting edge Smart Lockers favour secure Bluetooth access via an app; equipped with enhanced Bluetooth rolling-code encryption to ensure robust locker security.
Our ThinventoryTM operating platform controls which engineers can access what doors; by using the app an engineer is given access to the right door. What’s more, when the part is delivered the engineer receives a message that it’s ready for collection, saving time and money. All this data is stored in the cloud, so customers know exactly what has been accessed and when.
Obtain end-to-end visibility
Never over order stock again due to a lack of visibility. Smart Lockers offer the ability to scan items in and out using a mobile app that updates the operating platform in real-time, giving you full access to what’s going on in your supply chain. In ByBox’s case the opening of the locker and the scanning of parts in and out is tied together, so it’s harder for mistakes to be made. With returns also made back into the locker, your engineer can select its condition – good, bad, repair, warranty – enabling you to speed up your returns process and better manage inventory. If stock isn’t returned, you can easily track where it is.
Smartly power up
A Smart Locker can’t be smart if it’s down and batteries play a fundamental part in keeping all this smart tech working! Using sensors to constantly monitor the performance of a battery and highlight any blips, means that the main ‘potential’ point of failure doesn’t become one as alerts are sent back to the operating system. So, while you may own a smart watch or smart TV, you can now own a smart field service locker network that gives you better functionality, process improvements and usable data.
Want to see our Smart Lockers in action? Email [email protected] and we’ll arrange a demo.