Physical Inventory for Coca Cola
Coca Cola Enterprises, one of the largest, best known companies in the world, came to us to help them manage their vending machine inventory process.
As you can imagine, Coke has a vast number of vending machines, both new and in various states of reconditioning, which are housed at various remanufacturing facilities throughout the U.S. Prior to joining forces with Bar Code Software, the inventories on this machinery were performed manually – a time-consuming, labor-intensive task, to say the least.
Information on each of their vending machines, i.e., location, state of condition, etc., was already housed in Coke’s mainframe computer system. By working with this existing information, Bar Code Software was able to design an inventory system that worked with their mainframe database, without causing any changes to it. We called the new system “Track It.”
Track it consists of specialized software that pulls the information from Coke’s mainframe database and transfers it to handheld terminals with built-in laser scanners (Intermec’s Antares T2420).
This is how the Track It system works for Coca Cola:
Printed bar code labels are generated and placed on every machine, old and new. The bar code indicates the machine’s special asset number, as assigned by Coke.
When it is time to perform a physical inventory, Track It pulls information on existing inventory from Coke’s mainframe using “queries” and “ODBC” drivers. This process generates a record on each piece of machinery with all pertinent information.
Next, this information is transferred from the PC in its entirety to each handheld scanning terminal using Track It’s specialized software. Multiple terminals are used simultaneously to scan the bar codes on each machine throughout Coke’s remanufacturing facilities.
As each vending machine’s bar code is scanned, the asset number is compared to each number on the list that had been downloaded from Track It. A report listing those assets found and not found is then displayed on the handheld terminal’s display.
The new information is then transferred from all of the portable terminals back to Track It, and the database on the PC is automatically updated. Reconciliation inquiries and reports are now available at the click of a mouse.
Coca Cola Enterprises reports that the new system has cut physical inventory time at their larger remanufacturing facilities from days to mere hours.
Because we were able to develop this system without affecting any of the information or data structures on Coke’s mainframe, we avoided the use of their information services department, saving them even more money and manpower.
This case study illustrates our ability to use our customer’s existing databases and integrate the latest bar code technology to improve performance and save our customers time and money while delivering value.