One of the industries TrackAbout has found success with is called Packaged Gas. Companies in this particular industry make all types of gases, such as oxygen, helium and acetylene for industry, medicine, manufacturing and research. Gas is placed in cylinders, which are then tracked using TrackAbout. Most Packaged Gas companies charge rent on the containers for as long as they’re with the end customers.
Occasionally a gas distributor finds itself with a customer that just refuses to pay its rental bill. TrackAbout’s customer General Welding Supply Corporation (GWSCO) of Long Island, NY recently shared the following story.
TrackAbout is committed to helping our customers achieve their goals. No matter what industry they serve, all of our customers have common objectives of saving money, increasing revenue and improving productivity. A few of them took a break from TrackApalooza, our annual user conference, to describe how their companies have benefited from our asset tracking software. Hear what they had to say in the video below. Read about other customers on the Stories section of our website.
This article was written by Helen Carmichael of gasworld and originally appeared in the December 2014 issue. It is reprinted with permission.
Cylinder tracking is an essential tool for managing a company’s prized assets. Now by deploying cloud data storage and mobile devices, Lockhouse has created another level of asset management for end-users. Helen Carmichael reports.
Recent years have seen an inexorable move towards electronic and bar code tagging and tracking of cylinders among many distribution companies. Although these strategies have saved a lot of time and paperwork, they have also revealed a few problems along the way. Companies have reported trying a number of bar coding strategies before finding the right one, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging is expensive, may have reliability issues, and also may not be totally future-proof as technology moves forward.
According to Tim Fusco, CEO of asset tracking software company TrackAbout, “for customers who are using RFID, it is expensive, and they are locked into a single track. Barcodes or QR codes are more flexible.”
QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) originating in the Japanese automotive industry, and now cropping up increasingly on our products – which we can scan for more information using our mobile phones. By its choice of QR codes attached on a coated label, Lockhouse intends to use the devices already in everyone’s pockets to find and recover lost assets, says Lockhouse Head of Marketing and Strategy, Cassie Glessner. “Lockhouse is an internet web application,” she told gasworld. “The user scans the code on an asset with their mobile device, and brings up a specific page on that asset. Simultaneously, the location from the GPS on the user’s phone or other handheld device is paired with that asset.”
Lockhouse, then, provides a registry for gas cylinders and other assets that connects different data systems to create a more efficient information exchange between the industry and its users.
This story originally appeared in gasworld.
New Mexico-based Argyle Welding Supply is reaping the rewards of partnering with TrackAbout, after the asset management solutions provider helped the company to overcome a number of data challenges.
Headquartered in Albuquerque, Argyle Welding Supply is a family-owned wholesale distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding equipment and supplies, with branches in Las Cruces (New Mexico) and El Paso (Texas).
Despite its success in the market, the company had still been faced with challenges; a lack of reliable data to provide accurate billing, resolve customer disputes and account for cylinders had a negative financial impact.
“We now have the evidence to back-up our claims in customer disputes. We can provide our customers with specific detail as to the exact cylinder, order number and delivery date and time.”
“We never want customers to take their business elsewhere so we found ourselves caving in because we didn’t have the indisputable back-up we needed,” said Jim Wright, President of Argyle Welding Supply (right). “It affected our business financially as we were often writing off lost cylinders and rental revenue, not to mention the time spent arguing these disputes.”
The company turned to TrackAbout, which offered proven success in overcoming everyday obstacles that hinder the collection of detailed and correct information, leveraging technology to eliminate the inefficiencies of traditional paper-based systems. Data is collected at key stages via mobile handheld computers, smartphones or tablets, providing timely, accurate information that is free of manual keying errors.
“What really amazed me was the ability to capture cylinder history,” said Wright. “We now have the evidence to back-up our claims in customer disputes. We can provide our customers with specific detail as to the exact cylinder, order number and delivery date and time. We can even tell them when the cylinder was scanned on and off the truck. This adds legitimacy to our claims and it has reduced dramatically the financial issues we’d experienced.”
Armed with accurate asset balances, Argyle was able to start billing for the cylinders that weren’t accounted for. “We increased our rental income by about 6-8%,” he said. “Overall, TrackAbout enables us to do a better job,” said Wright. “We will never forget to bill for a 2,000 lb. bulk tank again.”
Westbury, NY-based General Welding Supply is a wholesale distributor of industrial, medical, specialty, and cryogenic gases as well as a full line of welding supplies. Family owned and operated since 1923, employees share a commitment to providing customers throughout the Long Island-Greater New York Metro area with quality goods and services at the best value. They also recognize a vested interest in the wellbeing and safety of their local communities.
Prior to implementing an asset tracking software solution, the company experienced issues familiar to packaged gas distributors such as lost cylinders, rental disputes, billing mistakes, and manual errors. In addition to being a challenge to their operation, these issues also were a potential threat to customer relationships.
Many years ago, I traveled endlessly with my son’s youth soccer team from one tournament to another. It was a 90-degree hot and sweltering summer afternoon. The players (and fans) were exhausted from earlier games in the tournament and visibly anxious because to win this game would put an end to everyone’s frustration and doubts about whether this team was really good enough to play at this level. Today’s game was worth all the effort because for the first time we might just win and take home the trophy, a trophy the boys had watched carried away by others so many times before. I witnessed something at the end of that particularly long season of frustrating losses that changed me forever.