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Motorola VAR/ISV Collaborate on Mobile Asset Management

By  Julie Ritzer Ross, Contributing Editor, VSR — June 02, 2009

As a top-tier U.S. federal government contractor, EG&G Knowledge and Information Systems knows a thing or two about how access to accurate, real-time information is essential in achieving effective asset management and operating efficiencies. "It makes a world of difference in getting jobs done," says Jeff Wilt, division manager, EG&G.

A division of San Francisco, Calif.-based URS Corp., EG&G serves every branch of the Department of Defense, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, NASA and other federal agencies. In addition to weapons systems development assistance, EG&G handles the repair and maintenance of vehicles, aircraft and other military equipment to extend its service life.

EG&G's contract with the federal government covers several NASA facilities, including the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Until recently, field service personnel used paper-based methods for obtaining and recording data while performing preventive maintenance and repair tasks. Work orders were also generated manually, and technicians often experienced challenges in obtaining information about various maintenance and repair procedures from remote locations.

"Carrying around clipboards, re-keying data, waiting for work orders and the like not only put a damper on our efficiency; it created too high a margin for human error," Wilt states.

EG&G turned to ISV @hand, with which it had previously partnered with on deployments at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. @hand designed an end-to-end solution comprising its Mobile Asset Management software running on 200 MC9090 rugged hand-held RFID readers from Motorola. Hardware fulfillment was handled by SC Logic, an Annapolis, Md.-based Ingram Micro VAR partner that continues to benefit from leveraging the distributor's exhaustive product inventory and manufacturer relationships to supply end users with the products they need, when they need them, according to Philip Kitiver, government account manager.

Prior to implementation, @hand custom-tailored the Mobile Asset Management application to align with EG&G's business rules. For example, the work assignment module was reconfigured from craft-based to crew-based mode. "EG&G operations use work crews extensively, and the ability for us to map our solution to their process should accelerate user adoption and support the attainment of business goals," explains Jason Lanier, @hand's vice president of products.

The ISV also performed back-end integration, which entailed installing a mobile application server to act as a "transaction hub" for data being transmitted from the field to an existing IBM Maximo back-end asset management system. Additionally, Lanier says, @hand provided hands-on, "over-the-shoulder" training of EG&G personnel, as well as several days of "over-the-shoulder guidance" during the initial post-implementation period.

EG&G is currently preparing to go live with the solution and aims to do so by July 1. However, a recent pilot test involving 25 of the MC9090s has already convinced Wilt of the benefits it will afford on the front and back ends alike. "On the front end, having information readily available to them via the hand-held devices will be able to save technicians a lot of time," he states. "For example, they can pull up equipment data on an MC9090 by scanning the barcode on that equipment."
 
On the back end, the data validation afforded by @Hand's Mobile Asset Management software, coupled with access to more accurate, up-to-the-minute information, will permit EG&G to achieve enhanced asset management. Whereas in the past we could never be certain we had the right information on which to base decisions, we will now be able to make more informed 'calls'" about job scheduling, equipment maintenance and repairs," Wilt concludes. "The solution will be a major advantage for us all around."

ScoreCard
End User:
EG&G Knowledge and Information Systems

Solution Provider (Hardware):

SC Logic

Solution Provider (Software):
@Hand

Vendor:
Motorola

Distributor:
Ingram Micro

Solution:
Mobile access to accurate, real-time information.

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