Finding answers: Unique customer solutions
September 1, 2021
By Blue Print Editorial Team
By Blue Print Editorial Team
Gerardo, right, helped find a way to provide the data a company needed even though the warehouse was in a remote tropical forest.
"They were impressed with our solution as we solved one of their biggest problems..."
- Gerardo Barrales, Business Development Manager
Gerardo Barrales had a fun problem. Or at least what he considered a fun problem. He was in a warehouse, in a tropical forest in Mexico.
How do you collect real-time product usage data without an internet connection.
“We implemented vending machines and provided satellite internet to get the machines up and running,” Barrales said. “They were impressed with our solution as we solved one of their biggest problems of not having their MRO products available in a timely manner in three locations in the jungle of Veracruz, Mexico.”
This solution came after a Mexican oil extraction company had an analysis done regarding the total cost of ownership (TCO). Because the company works in remote and isolated locations in the tropical forest, the nearest place to get their supplies is a couple of hours away. Sometimes, after spending the time driving, they would find out the supplier didn’t have the needed items in stock.
Why not call ahead? There is no phone or internet in the forest. This was why the TCO analysis was done. Oil extraction happens year round, and they needed to find a way to keep running 24/7. “I feel honored to be able to work with one of the largest companies in Mexico,” said Barrales. “We provided a solution that, for most companies, might be just saving a few minutes of travel time to the warehouse, but for these employees, it meant up to half a day saved in travel time!”
"This solution helped not only meet our customer's needs, but it helped strengthen our supply chain partnership."
- Keith Nichols, Solutions Sales Specialist
For Keith, finding a solution was a big deal. He wanted to help a company that was having their employees handwrite all work orders. Each time they were making hydraulic hoses they had to write down how many fittings and what length of hose was used. There had to be a better way.
The employer wanted three things: to control how much was spent on the assembly of hydraulic hoses, to be able to bill specific jobs, and to track the amount of hose that was used.
Nichols found an answer. It came in the form of a single-door vending machine with bins to hold the hose end fittings. Also, reels of hydraulic hose sit next to the machine.
Now, when a worker wants to assemble a hose, the machine prompts for a work order and then asks what length of hose is being used. This allows Fastenal to capture the data for the whole process. Finally, the daily software report allows the customer to bill their jobs accordingly.