PD Ports, which operates 12 ports across the UK, and mobility solutions provider OpalTec International have addressed issues with WiFi connectivity at the port group’s Groveport complex near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.
After OpalTec visited the Groveport site, the two companies identified that the frequent losses of connection workers were experiencing were having a negative impact on productivity.
Like many modern logistics operations, work at Groveport is reliant on the Internet of Things (IoT). The connection between mobile devices and other systems such as the facility’s warehouse management system (WMS) is vital, and dropped sessions can disrupt workflows and lead to work being lost.
In some instances, input from an administrator was required to rectify workflows affected by a loss of connection that resulted in data being lost.
Rob McGregor, PD Ports’ Service Desk IT Manager, explained: “Accessing WiFi in some of our external locations is extremely difficult due to insufficient power and ducting, so we are heavily reliant on mobile data coverage. We use numerous mobile data providers but their networks can cause us connectivity issues.”
“We were experiencing connectivity challenges with the combination of the two products [already in use at the site] and the way in which our devices handed over from WiFi to mobile data networks and back again.”
Technology had previously been deployed in Groveport in an attempt to solve these connectivity issues, but dropped sessions remained an issue. As a result, the decision was made to invest in StayLinked’s SmartTE terminal emulation (TE) software.
James Mellor, Business Development Manager at OpalTec, said: “We quickly realised that the connectivity issues between the deployed handheld devices and PD Ports’ WMS, along with the limitations of the handheld devices, could be solved by StayLinked’s SmartTE and a trial was arranged.”
The software works by connecting workers to a WMS via StayLinked’s host resident server. This means that if a device is disconnected from the WiFi, the sessions will not be lost as they reside on the StayLinked server rather than the mobile device itself.
Upon reconnecting, a member of staff is able to pick up where they left off, without the need for administrator intervention.
Mellor continued: “SmartTE’s true session persistence has eliminated data loss and lost productivity due to dropped sessions for PD Ports by elegantly handling its mobile devices roaming and connectivity between different networks.”
Full installation of the software was immediately carried out upon the conclusion of PD Ports’ trial with StayLinked.
With the reliance on technology in modern warehouses and logistics facilities, the importance of a sound WiFi connection should not be underestimated.
A 2023 study by OpenGear revealed that 91% of Chief Information Officers globally reported network outages at least once per quarter. The research also found that for every minute of downtime, 24% of organisations in the US lose between US$2,500 and $5,000.
For more on this topic, keep an eye out for the feature on mobile technologies in the November issue of Logistics Manager Magazine.
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