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Herman Losely & Son is a quality wholesale nursery stock grower with a one-thousand acre nursery located in Northeast Ohio. The company provides trees and shrubs to landscapers, garden centers and re-wholesale yards from Southern Maine to Missouri, shipping 400,000 plants every year.
Herman Losely & Son employs a total of 130 employees, with six dedicated to tracking and inventory.
For years, Herman Losely & Son employed a manual, paper system for tracking inventory and shipments. Under this system, a hand-written pallet tag would be attached to each pallet of plants while it was still in the nursery. When the items were brought to the shipping yard, an employee would rip off the pallet tags and manually record the information. Often, items would get lost and trucks would leave the shipping yard with incomplete orders because the plant's locations were not listed in the system, resulting in lost sales.
Several years ago, Herman Losely & Son attempted to improve their system by replacing the paper pallet tags with vinyl barcode tags. Under this system, an employee would rip off the tag at the shipping yard and then scan the tag with a handheld wand. Although this was an improvement, the plant's location in the shipping yard was still not listed. This left the person in charge of scanning tags unable to track down the correct plants to keep up with the orders.
Herman Losely & Son decided it needed a system of handheld computers that could:
- Communicate with a central server and assign assembly locations
- Withstand rugged, outdoor conditions
- Integrate with its inventory system
- Be easily used by a variety of employees
After considering a wide range of devices, Herman Losely & Son selected the Psion 7535 for its ultra-rugged design, and the Company tapped Vista IT Systems, a leader in auto ID, network services, VoIP and security, to help it with the implementation and software.
"We're shipping nine months out of the year, but we do the majority of our business from March to Mother's Day,” said Karl Losely, president of Herman Losely & Son. "We couldn't afford to invest in a device that would die on us. We needed a reliable handheld that could withstand snow, rain, mud and general abuse. The Psion 7535 gave us the ruggedness and reliability that we were looking for."
After Herman Losely & Son selected the 7535, Vista IT Systems wrote the software programs for the devices and helped train Herman Losely & Son's employees.
Today, approximately eight 7535's are in use at Herman Losely & Son. When items arrive at the shipping yard, the tags are scanned with a Psion 7535 and assigned an order assembly location. Then when the order is loaded on a truck, the tags are scanned again with the 7535 and the inventory system is updated. Before leaving the truck driver verifies the quantity on board and receives a delivery receipt. This system has improved accuracy and accelerated the shipping process because yard workers are now aware of each item's location.
"Since implementing this solution from Psion and Vista, we've experienced an incredible return on investment", said Losely. "Our accuracy has improved dramatically, which has led to greater customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, our shipping process is more streamlined. All of these elements have improved our bottom line and helped us grow our business."
Herman Losely & Son is hoping to use the Psion 7535 in new ways. Often customers visit the nursery to tag the plants they want. Today, salesmen record the location manually, but Herman Losely & Son is hoping to add a GPS function to its 7535's so that its sales force can record the location on a handheld.