Welcome to operating a business in the 21st century, where paper has gone the way of the stone tablet. Out are notepads and clipboards; in are technological solutions such as GUI, SAP, rugged hand-helds, 902 versus 802.11, touch-screen, and complete mobility.
Psion Teklogix, a global provider of mobile computing solutions and devices enables manufacturers – as well as transportation providers and mobile workers – to take advantage of an array of electronic efficiencies. The company’s wireless solutions enable total mobility, freeing workers from wired systems and providing access to mission critical information and enterprise IT systems and applications whenever and wherever these are needed.
Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Psion Teklogix specializes in wireless solutions for warehousing, distribution, transportation and logistics and mobile computing. The company’s customized systems are installed in more than 15,000 sites around the world. Such an extensive customer base has its roots in several factors; among these is the fact that Psion Teklogix offers one of the industry’s widest ranges of connectivity options, including seamless integration with SAP™ R/3®, and a choice of radio technologies providing real-time, near-time and batch capabilities.
Enabling Psion Teklogix, a $350 million company (Canadian dollars) to spread its reach globally are 43 direct sales and support offices and 95 independent distributors throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, South and Latin America.
The company’s European operations are based in Oxford, England. In addition are several wholly owned subsidiaries with localized management in numerous markets including Psion Teklogix Corp. in the United States (Erlanger, Kentucky). Psion Teklogix SA in France, Psion Teklogix n.v. in Belgium, Psion Teklogix South Africa, Psion Teklogix Italia SrI, Psion Teklogix do Brazil, Psion Teklogix AB in Sweden and Psion Teklogix SA de CV in Mexico whose local knowledge and authority greatly strengthen the company’s ability to service customers in those regions. “What’s unique about our company,” comments Regional Vice President Don Adams, “is that we’ve always enabled the user to select the best technology. Customers have purchased from us through the years because we deliver what we say we’re going to deliver.”
A short history long on innovation
A new company, Psion Teklogix has learned the expertise and innovation that comes with being a century in business. It was formed in September 2000, a result of the strategic merger between the Psion Enterprise division of Psion PLC and Teklogix Inc. (companies that had been in business for more than a decade). The new organization brought together the strengths of Teklogix, a world leader in real-time mobile data solutions, and Psion Enterprise, a European innovator of mobile devices for industrial, commercial and professional markets. In fact, the U.K. market leader was the originator of the netpad,® considered a breakthrough product for its half-VGA (viewable area screen) which gave a larger viewing area. Its primary use was in the mobile worker arena, but it was (and still is) well suited for the warehouse environment.
As the largest operating division of Psion PLC, Psion Teklogix plays a key role in its parent company’s strategy to create new ways for people and organizations to access mobile data and mobile Internet. This relationship, combined with alliances with world technology leaders, assures customers of single-source access to integrated wireless solutions that span the enterprise.
Many markets, easy solutions
In the warehouse and distribution arena, companies increasingly want more capabilities in the hands of workers. As operations take on increased distribution roles, and e-commerce fulfillment requirements grow, the push is on for smaller, faster, more frequent deliveries. Whereas before, information was retrieved through a warehouse management system, companies now are employing ERP systems and empowering workers with the ability to look beyond the warehouse to retrieve information.
Bandwidths such as 902 and 802.11 provide the warehouse environment with options that not only offer wide coverage but quick access to information. (Psion Teklogix is the only company to offer a choice — or a combination 802.11b 2.4 GHz, 902 MHz spread spectrum, optimized narrowband and wide area technology such as Mobitex and GSM). The company supports the full range of operating systems, including Symbian OS, Win CE, DOS and proprietary systems.
Wireless warehouse solutions from Psion Teklogix put real-time work order and inventory information at the operator’s fingertips to meet the new delivery demands while paring down operating costs. New in this market from Psion Teklogix is a line of truck mounts, the 8500 series, replacing the DOS-driven, alphanumeric terminals. These new units have GUI (graphical user interface) with a split screen to provide more information than before (Psion Teklogix’s mix of products traditionally have been equipped with split-screen capabilities but for limited applications). “In the past no one was capturing information in the warehouse,” Adams explains. “Now a number of companies are doing it; they don’t rely on paper anymore – everything is done electronically. They’ve started to transfer that ability out to the mobile worker.”
This new line complements the company’s existing offering of rugged equipment for harsh environments, including refrigerated cold-storage facilities. Psion Teklogix’s speaker-independent, speech-based wireless systems offer productivity and accuracy gains of up to 20 percent, ideal for picking applications and its back-of-the-hand terminals can improve productivity and accuracy. All systems can be seamlessly integrated with WMS and ERP systems including SAP R/3.
Two product lines offered by Psion Teklogix – netpad® and Workabout® – are equipped with capabilities for transportation and delivery operations as well as distribution. These products allow customers to route smarter, and receive and communicate changes by the minute, monitor perishable goods to reduce spoilage and maximize revenues for route delivery and sales, and provide real-time proof of delivery, signature capture and GPS mapping for high levels of customer service and efficiency. Both provide either batch or real-time capabilities, enabling batch data to be stored for retrieval at a later time.
“We have been doing business with trucking companies for years,” says Adams, an industry that traditionally had used the company’s devices on site. Now the trend is to gather information in transit, a use for which the netpad in particular, he notes, is well suited. Such electronic abilities improve operational efficiency, increase productivity and drive greater value to the bottom line. In the field services area, Psion Teklogix’s Mobile Solutions help provide real-time data access capability to mobile workers that in turn provide improved customer service and accurate, reliable and actionable data for the enterprise.
The company’s mobile computing devices are lightweight and ergonomic and able to manage field service applications in a wide range of demanding environments.
Enabling SAP installations
As a global provider of wireless and Web-enabled mobile data transaction systems and services, Psion Teklogix has the distinction of being established by The Integration Services Group (ISG) as an industry leader in wireless data collection for customers with the mySAP.com e-business platform. Since 1997, ISG’s exclusive focus on SAP® business applications has resulted in developing “best of breed” solutions to deliver the full functionality of SAP™ R/3® and mySAP.com to mobile workers throughout the enterprise. Psion Teklogix has RF-enabled more than 180 SAP installations world wide, including many Fortune 500 companies with multi-divisional, multi-national system rollouts. As a SAP Complementary Software Partner, Psion Teklogix has proven its ability to seamlessly integrate with mySAP.com business applications.
The company’s TekRF® forms the basis of wireless integration systems that extend complete barcode-ready, data collection functionality to mobile workers of the SAP Logistics Execution System (SAP LES™), mySAP SCM™ and mySAP CRM™ solutions. Deploying TekRF interface software and a wide array of mobile computing devices allows seamless connectivity of wireless LAN, WAN, and printing technologies to dramatically increase SAP information access. TekRF systems also incorporate browser technologies that allow SAP transactions to work with Web-enabled appliances. There’s also TEKConsole, developed as a complement to SAP Console™. The first and only high-performance RF communications engine, TEKConsole significantly improves mobile computing efficiency, reduces bandwidth requirements and makes use of a sophisticated set of network administration features.
Old growth, new growth
While the company continues to find areas of growth, it has enjoyed an expanding international business while its U.S. sales have evened out. Overseas growth, Adams explains, is due in part to the company’s relatively new arrival into several markets.
In these new areas, as well as in established markets, Psion Teklogix has become a fixture through its leading edge IT solutions. Offering equipment that has “extremely low cost of ownership” Psion Teklogix can boast systems that are now 13 years in the field, Adams notes. “Once people start to use our systems they realize the great value they’re getting for their dollar,” he adds. “We are a major player in this ruggedized information area and what we do we do very well.”