05.02.2020 / Blog News

Mobile device rollout: seamless transition to new hardware and software

The Circlon | group relies on a central contact person during a rollout project

When it comes to device deliveries (rollouts), the organisational effort is considerable and therefore a time-critical factor. The processes are highly dynamic and each rollout is different to the next. This is why the Circlon | group has been carrying out rollouts as independent projects since 2013. With this approach, customers always have – among many other advantages – an experienced project manager at their side as a central contact person on whom they can fully rely.

The project manager has everything in hand and takes care of the entire organisation. This includes coordination with customers and suppliers, the drafting of a rollout plan, personnel deployment planning and the calculation of the total expenditure for billing. Due to customer dependencies, many things have to be agreed and coordinated almost meticulously, so that the commissioning of the devices can be carried out smoothly by the set deadline.

Experienced project managers have highly dynamic processes firmly under control

Once the rollout process has been approved and commissioned by the customer, Circlon | group can begin fine-tuning with the suppliers of mobile devices, accessories, SIM cards and software licenses. Depending on the supplier, delivery times can be several weeks. Clarifying product availability and delivery times is therefore an important step. After this coordination and the delivery of all required components, staging takes place. For more information see this blog article.

In contrast to staging, rollout is not so much about technical expertise, but rather about the organisational skills of the project manager, who has to coordinate the quantity structure and delivery dates precisely. Usually the time window is very narrow – there should be hardly any time lost between delivery and commissioning, because on the one hand the goods that are not used generate unnecessary costs, and on the other hand parallel terms of service contracts and redundant software licensing are usually not tolerated.

Plan first, then deliver

A detailed rollout plan is drawn up in close liaison with the customer. The dates and the quantity structure are also defined. This also includes coordination with regard to delivery locations and prioritisation when delivering the specified quantities. There is no standard procedure – individual process steps are defined individually with the customer in iterative steps. The experience of the project manager is particularly important here, as he has to bring all requirements under one roof.

A rollout is often associated with new or changed process workflows in the field. This is why the timing for the deployment of the new devices and the success of the rollout is always also determined by the customer’s resources, for example when commissioning the devices on site. With well thought-out personnel deployment planning, which is based on timing and the desired product availability, the Circlon | group ensures that a qualified team is always available to achieve the set milestones during the rollout.

A risk analysis determines how large the buffer must be in terms of time and hardware in order to achieve efficient delivery or seamless device replacement. Even in this phase, quality assurance takes effect. A detailed process description is followed by detailed documentation. During delivery, the route the products take from the supplier to the customer is closely monitored, recorded in the Circlon | Operate-Portal and the smooth progress of the delivery is verified by spot checks.

The entry of all relevant information into the ITSM platform Circlon | Operate, for example serial numbers, accessories and deployment locations, creates a high degree of transparency in the rollout process and is the basis for detailed reporting to the customer. A typical case study of the rollout process can be found here.

The rollout process usually ends when the mobile devices arrive at the customer. In most cases the customer then takes care of the commissioning themselves. But here too, Circlon | group can offer support through a close-knit network of partners and ensure that the new solution can be quickly implemented in practice.

Reliable processing thanks to years of experience

Based on years of experience, the Circlon | group can reliably manage even extensive rollouts with several thousand devices. For example, the Circlon | group delivered 12,000 devices for DPD and as many as 17,000 devices for Hermes ParcelShop within six months.

Are you interested in new solutions in the digital age with smart IT service management for your mobile devices?

Further information about our services can be found here.

We would be glad to assist you with a personal consultation. Just send us an e-mail.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
03.12.2019 / Blog News

Circlon staging: Unpack and get started right away

The preparation of mobile devices before delivery (‘staging’) has been a core competence of the Circlon | group for many years, a benefit it offers its customers as part of its Managed Services.

The great art of staging is to agree precisely defined services and documented processes with the customer in order to achieve high efficiency in the preparation of mobile devices. After delivery, the devices are ready for immediate use. This saves customers time and money.

The Circlon | group has already delivered more than 400,000 mobile devices in over 300 rollouts. Before delivery, all devices had to be specifically prepared to be ready for immediate use when they arrive at the customer’s. The process step required for this is called staging – on the basis of years of practical experience with often very extensive rollouts, the Circlon | group can stage large numbers of devices individually according to customer requirements and prepare them for shipment in a very short time.

Define processes together with customers

In consultation with the customer, the Circlon | group experts clarify the individual requirements and precisely define the specific staging content (hardware, software, configuration), which is also governed by the services agreed in each case. Circlon’s experts, who are fully conversant with each manufacturer’s equipment (Zebra, Honeywell and others), perform staging for each individual rollout package according to well-documented processes. Harald Fahl, Director Managed Services at Circlon | group, is convinced of the advantages of this approach: “Precise final inspections for each individual mobile device confirm that we achieve consistently high quality in our processes. Once thousands of devices have been rolled out to various locations in the field, it is difficult and often very costly and time-consuming to correct a rollout error.”

Depending on the project, the Circlon | group supplies individual tools from the manufacturer or/and specific ‘proprietary’ software solutions. Whether initial mega rollouts, special deliveries for peak times or reorders of new devices – once the staging processes have been defined, customers always benefit from numerous advantages. Even in the case of devices sent in for repair, once the processes have been put in place, they ensure efficient delivery or provisioning of the pool stock and thus high device availability in the field.

Staging is much more than just installing software

The staging of mobile devices only begins when individual sample devices have been extensively tested in the field and the prototypes and the agreed process have been released. This is when things really start to take shape. The Circlon | group creates a binding staging guide as well as a folder structure for the data and trains the employees who are then in full charge of this staging project. Technicians install the new software versions and apps (standard software and/or custom software) on the mobile device, carry out all necessary configurations, register the future user by entering a password for the special service (login) and check the proper installation and function of the device.

The staging team labels all mobile devices and assembles them exactly as discussed with the customer. As a rule, all accessories are supplied ready fitted, including bumpers, hand loops, holders and protective films. Naturally, unless otherwise agreed, all devices are delivered to the customer with charged batteries. Charging the batteries is relatively time-consuming owing to the system. When preparing 1500 devices per week, it is essential to have an efficient, smooth process in place.

It is also important not to underestimate the effort involved in installing SIM and SD cards, recording SIM card numbers and registering devices in the Circlon | Operate portal by entering serial numbers. Harald Fahl already has an idea on how the process can be optimised here: “The data is currently entered via an import function; in future, the data will come directly from the staging software via an API.”

Thanks to the registration in the IT Service Management System Circlon | Operate , it is possible to subsequently locate and assign a device easily if it is lost in practical use and then an unknown device turns up somewhere. The team also takes care of the registration in the customer system. This ‘inventory’ is closely linked to the licence management of software components and the administration of the software, including future updates and patches.

Intelligent packaging and complete delivery

After a final and successful functional test of the devices, preparations for shipment can begin, because staging also involves putting together packaging units. All the constituent parts of a delivery are packed in an environmentally friendly and safe way for transport. This procedure does not only apply to the packaging of often numerous components (device, accessories, replacement batteries, CDs, manuals, documents, etc.). It extends to printing and applying the shipping labels.

Incidentally, the packaging can be reused. Customers use it to return defective devices to the Circlon | group for repair. The Circlon team then takes care of everything else: repairing devices, resetting them (data deletion according to GDPR), checking, cleaning, updating data in the system, etc. After this repair staging, the devices are returned to the device pool. This closes the loop within the mobile device management cycle – both economically and ecologically.

Are you interested in new solutions in the digital age with smart IT service management for your mobile devices?

Further information about our services can be found here.

We would be glad to assist you with a personal consultation. Just send us an e-mail.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
29.10.2019 / Blog News

Smart IT Service Management enables you to optimise workflows and replace or repair faulty devices as quickly as possible.

Circlon | Operate, the ITSM platform for mobile devices, makes device management smooth and efficient, even when considerable numbers have to be managed.

A total of around 45,000 devices from Zebra and Huawei have been in use at Hermes since last year. With such a large number of devices in use, it is very important that the pool of replacement devices is optimally coordinated and that a transparent replacement and repair process functions flawlessly. The Managed Services of the Circlon | group are geared to this with the Circlon | Operate system. Since 2017, some 15,000 ParcelShops at Hermes have been equipped with Zebra TC56 series touch computers for internal goods logistics in a large-scale campaign as part of the migration to the Android operating system. Shortly thereafter, 11,000 Huawei tablets were added for route planning and a further 18,000 TC75x series Zebra devices for the driver fleet (see “Life cycle management at Hermes“).

Efficient management of cycles via device pool

Hermes now has around 45,000 devices that were registered in the Circlon | Operate system during the rollout. A generation of devices is expected to remain in use for approx. 5 years. This requires good service throughout the entire life cycle for the maintenance and repair of existing devices to ensure that daily operations run smoothly.

If a device fails, for example due to rough handling or battery problems, Hermes receives a replacement device from the Circlon | group pool of devices within a very short time thanks to the Circlon | Operate device management system. The repair process of the defective device is handled largely automatically and the repaired device is quickly returned to the Hermes pool inventory. This efficient cycle is typical of the Circlon | group approach.

Clear processes for repairs

In the event of repairs, tickets are triggered directly by the route supervisor at Hermes in the Circlon | Operate portal. All the devices at their location are clearly displayed via the portal and instructions are provided on how to repair them themselves in order to avoid sending them in as far as possible. If this is not successful, the Hermes route supervisor issues a fault description. For this purpose, the system displays the most common types of fault, which they can assign very easily and supplement with additional notes to the fault description using a free-text field. At the same time, the ITSM system generates a return material authorisation (RMA) number and the delivery note.

While the Hermes route supervisor is busy opening the ticket in this way, a message is already sent to the Circlon | group that an RMA has been triggered for a faulty device. With this message the Circlon | group can immediately notify the manufacturer Zebra about the repair in order to increase the plannability in the Zebra repair centre – needless to say, this information is also transmitted automatically via Circlon | Operate.

The dispatch of a replacement device from the pool inventory is now prepared immediately, i.e. a fully configured device, which is technically identical to the defective device, is shipped to the Hermes depot in an environmentally friendly, protected reusable shipping box with all the necessary documents. The replacement device arrives the very next day. The entire process is logged in detail in the ITSM system. To return the defective device to the Circlon | group, Hermes now uses the reusable shipping box with the delivery note and RMA. This is how easy it is to replace a device today.

Circlon | group takes care of the entire repair process

The experts at the Circlon | group subject the device sent in by Hermes to an incoming inspection, whereby in Circlon | Operate it is checked whether the information on the device fault is actually correct – in individual cases the fault description is corrected and specified in more detail. In order to reduce costs and environmental impact, the device goes to the collection point. If a certain number of devices is exceeded, a consolidated delivery note is generated and the devices are sent by consolidated delivery to the Zebra repair centre, where the preliminary information on the device defect that has already been sent online is available and retrieved. The repair centre is therefore already “forewarned”, it can plan the repair well and carry it out efficiently.

Once it has been repaired by Zebra, the device is sent back to the Circlon | group, equipped with customer-specific software (staging) and returned to the Hermes device pool after cleaning and testing. This process is also mapped in detail in Circlon | Operate and can be viewed at any time by the Hermes route supervisor. In particular, you can always see how many devices are currently in the device pool and in repair, and where the defective devices are presently located and what condition they are in.

Productive working while repair process runs in the background

Process automation offers many advantages, most notably a great time saving through shortened service processes. Roland Lazina, Head of Process Design at Hermes Germany, says: “We can continue to work seamlessly due to the rapid delivery of a replacement device and we do not have to worry about repairing the defective device. We can call up all current information on the RMAs in the system at any time and use it for reporting, for example for evaluations and reports, as well as for future planning and optimisation. Time-consuming telephone calls are usually no longer necessary, nor is the hassle of updating Excel files for individual processes.”

Process automation and end-to-end user guidance when filling out forms in the ITSM system significantly reduces susceptibility to error. The ability to plan the processing of a device replacement or repair process is improved, since an RMA is initiated early on and all subsequent processes are triggered automatically. In addition, the entire process reduces costs and protects the environment by saving packaging material and by reducing the transport volume due to the consolidated deliveries.

The closed-loop system during the repair process, which is completely mapped in Circlon | Operate, is a core competence of the Circlon | group and is optimised not only for Hermes, but also for each customer and, if required, individually adapted to the respective processes.

Are you interested in new solutions in the digital age with smart IT service management for your mobile devices?

Further information about our services can be found here.

We would be glad to assist you with a personal consultation. Just send us an e-mail.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
23.07.2019 / Blog News

Circlon | group implements voice-based picking with Honeywell Vocollect system

‘Pick by voice’ is a current trend in warehouse logistics, even in the deep-freeze sector. But when, where and how can you best benefit from it? The Circlon | group can provide advice here and at the same time has an established solution for implementation ready to hand.

A voice-controlled warehouse – this promises maximum operational flexibility and optimum capacity utilisation. Training times become shorter, error rates and operating costs are reduced, significant productivity increases are possible. In addition, staff turnover will also decrease, as order pickers and mobile workers generally like to work with ergonomic and simple technology. It is therefore not surprising that voice control is becoming increasingly popular in distribution centres.

But it’s not that simple! Value added is preceded by an analysis of the current operating and work processes as well as the evaluation and planning of the introduction of a voice-controlled solution. This is where the Circlon | group comes in: as an authorised Honeywell partner, with the “Vocollect” system, it offers the leading voice solution in its portfolio. As a Vocollect Voice solution provider, Circlon | group is able to integrate the ‘pick by voice’ technology into a wide variety of environments, to implement adaptations according to individual customer requirements and to offer sustainable support for voice applications.

First analyse, then benefit

A Vocollect solution is particularly useful when mobile employees pick orders in distribution centres, for example. But at the beginning of every implementation it is necessary to check existing structures and processes for suitability and realisation (‘value engagement process’). The Circlon | group team gains a detailed insight into the existing specific operational workflows. It is explored to what extent Vocollect can be integrated into the existing infrastructure and whether the combination with existing scanners, pick-to-light processes or automated systems is possible at all.

The discussions with the project managers are about finding out the objectives and priorities and correctly assessing the (positive) effects of Vocollect in the workflow. Factory inspections are carried out to analyse and document the current processes on site and to see how the employees perform their tasks. The Circlon | group team can then provide recommendations and decision-making aids for the implementation of voice technology. Only in this way can the vast potential of voice-controlled picking processes be fully exploited.

Order picking by voice input

With Vocollect, the order picker works with a wired or wireless headset, such as the Vocollect SRX2 Wireless Headset, which greatly enhances working comfort in distribution centres. The orders are sent from the warehouse management system (WMS) via WLAN to the order picker’s mobile computer. The voice output via the headset states the rack from which the goods are to be picked. This makes printed picking lists a thing of the past.

Once the order picker has arrived at the rack, they quote the check digit displayed there so that the system can carry out a check. If the check digit is correct, the order picker receives information on how many units are to be picked from the rack. After picking, they confirm the process by voice entry.

The mobile computer for the headsets is the Vocollect Talkman series A700. The Talkman A710 is purely wireless, the A720 supports both wireless and wired headsets. The Talkman A730 also features an integrated close-range scanner, optimising workflows that occasionally require scanning. The ergonomic device can simply remain attached to the user’s belt when scanning barcode labels on containers or boxes.

Fewer errors, higher picking performance

In the world of logistics, optimisations are measured in seconds, which is why the aim here is to avoid or reduce delays in processes as far as possible. In many cases, speech recognition via headset can save time, improve comfort and ergonomics, and increase productivity.

With Vocollect, employees have their hands and eyes free when picking. This not only improves ergonomics, but also reduces the risk of accidents, as order pickers can focus their attention fully on what is happening around them, for example on moving forklifts, and are no longer looking solely at their screens.

Heiko Krause, Marketing Manager for Vocollect Solutions at Honeywell, confirms these advantages and adds: “Error rates can also fall by 25 to 50 %, depending on the application. Users confirm that error rates of 0.3 to 0 % can be achieved. Vocollect is therefore also suitable for critical applications in medical technology and the pharmaceutical industry, where errors are not tolerable in most cases.”

Everything from a single source – including WLAN expertise

Vocollect has been available on the market for 30 years, making it a very highly developed solution. It is constantly being further developed by Honeywell. SoundSense technology delivers excellent speech recognition and the Advanced Speech Recognition Protocol ensures that no voice data is lost. The system becomes more accurate over time as it adapts to users’ speaking habits, even different dialects, thanks to Adaptive Speech Recognition.

Since Vocollect transmits the data via radio to the ERP/WMS system, a stable WLAN infrastructure is required. The Circlon | group can also help here, as it has acquired a wealth of experience in many WLAN projects over the years.

To ensure the fast and smooth implementation of the Vocollect solution, it is advisable to get a competent and experienced partner on board, as the solution provider plays a particularly important role throughout the entire project – from the preliminary discussion through to sustainable support. The software specialists of the Circlon | group also draw on many years of experience and can therefore provide advice and support for all requirements.

Are you interested in the solution? Simply arrange a personal consultation.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
09.07.2019 / Blog News

Conserving resources and the environment with sustainable concepts

The Circlon | group has a clear idea of how a modern company can make a positive contribution to greater sustainability. This is why clever measures are being taken throughout the Group to benefit the environment and the employees.

One of the core requirements of sustainability management in companies is to look beyond the purely economic aspects and identify potential for sustainable business. As far as theory is concerned, ecological, social and economic demands should be taken into account and brought together. It is always about the sensible use of resources. Now the Circlon | group has made a decisive step forward through many small steps and would like to serve as a role model for other companies with a stringent approach and consistent implementation.

Michael Zitzmann, CEO of the Circlon | group, commenting on this, says: “I see it as part of my duty and responsibility that our company not only leads the way in data security and as a digital enabler, but also in environmental protection and the responsible use of limited resources, so that we preserve an intact world worth living in for our future generations”.

In the warehouse area, for example, the plastic filling material will be replaced in future by an alternative packaging solution. Or an example from administration, where almost only paperless communication takes place. Destruction of files: sustainable and resource-saving in a recycling economy. Building technology: intelligent air conditioning. Vehicle fleet: completely diesel-free, hybrid electric vehicles are increasingly being used to reduce emissions – this has a direct effect on the carbon footprint. And on the subject of waste: the Circlon | group uses drinking water dispensers instead of plastic bottles, there are returnable bottles instead of disposable cups and at the Göttingen site there are already washable cloth towels instead of paper towels that pollute the environment. Further measures are planned.

Stop the flood of plastic

According to Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany), around 10 million tons of plastic waste pollute the world’s oceans every year, of which 500,000 tons come from the EU. The ocean has become one of the most polluted places in the world. In addition – and you would hardly believe it – Germany has been the EU record holder in the production of packaging waste for years (220 kg per capita in 2016). According to Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the amount of plastic packaging waste has increased by about 94% within 20 years.

Today, around two thirds of fruit and vegetables in Germany are needlessly pre-packaged, and plastic bag consumption is still far too high. The high consumption of disposable bags, cups and plastic bottles not only creates enormous amounts of waste, but also wastes resources unnecessarily. What does astronaut Alexander Gerst say about the protection of our earth from his view from above? “We don’t have a planet B. https://youtu.be/eEPzwQdp27Y.

Introduction of water dispensers

In order to stop increasing pollution and conserve resources, everyone has to pull together – and the Circlon | group is also doing its bit. Disposable cups with a demonstrably poor eco-balance are now banned from coffee machines and PET bottles are not used. Instead, several thousand euros have been invested in drinking water dispensers. Thousands of PET bottles and their environmentally harmful sourcing can thus be avoided every year.

What do the employees think? Oliver Bernards, Team Leader Inside Sales at Circlon | group, says: “The employees are totally enthusiastic about the newly introduced drinking water dispensers, because in addition to protecting the environment, Waterlogic’s patented system delivers ultrapure drinking water, absolutely bacteria, virus and germ-free thanks to UV and activated carbon filtration – also cooled and, if desired, sparkling with carbon dioxide. The topic of sustainability is very much supported by our colleagues.”

Breaking new ground in packaging as well

The Circlon | group has a high volume of parcel shipments due to its hardware offering and its servicing and repair work. All devices are recorded as part of Circlon | Managed Services and, depending on the service contract, are supported throughout their entire life cycle.

To ensure that the entire service process is as environmentally friendly as possible, the packaging process was also scrutinised and revised. It goes without saying that Circlon employees ensure that any cardboard boxes sent in are reused as far as possible during the replacement process of the devices. In addition, the Circlon | group has opted for a new unwinding system for packing and filling paper, which will replace the previous filling of the cardboard boxes with plastic filling material (foils, polystyrene, etc.). The innovative system with which the filling paper can now be used optimally is called “Crumpy”. The time when plastic air cushions and foam pads were used is now over; puffed up filling paper is the better solution.

On the subject of paper, most correspondence has been switched to paperless communication – most correspondence with customers (offers, invoices, etc.) is now sent by e-mail; only large tenders are still sent by post. The fact that the flood of paper in correspondence with customers has been cut significantly is demonstrated above all by the greatly reduced postage costs.

Paper reduction and disposal in the recycling economy

documentus Deutschland, a professional service provider, handles the disposal of paper and files for the Circlon | group, which by law must be stored for up to 10 years, and takes care of the complete, DIN-compliant destruction of the documents in compliance with the GDPR – including the return of the secondary raw material to the recycling economy.

With this procedure, the Circlon | group assumes ecological responsibility for the destruction of files. All in all, many practical sustainability measures have been implemented within a short period of time in order to make more careful use of limited resources for better environmental protection.

Do you have any suggestions or your own experience with sustainability? Please let us know at info@circlon.de. We look forward to exchanging ideas with you.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
26.06.2019 / Blog News

Dangerous goods project: System change in fht’s tankers

Circlon | group converts mobile terminals from Windows Mobile to Android at fht

The Circlon | group has developed a Windows Mobile-based solution for the compulsory activity recording in dangerous goods transport for fht (Flüssiggas Handel und Transport). This user-friendly solution optimally satisfied all requirements and is now to be converted to Android in the course of purchasing new hardware. According to fht the Circlon | group is again the best partner for this task.

Mobile computers with handy full-touch displays in every special gas tanker

The Circlon | group can draw on extensive experience from a wide variety of customer projects for the currently planned conversion to Android and can provide optimum support thanks to its extensive practical experience. With the porting of the existing solution to Android, the processes will also be checked and the ergonomics optimised, as full-touch displays are now going to be used in favour of more convenient user-friendliness. With the aid of Angular, the devices are platform-independent in use.

In the past, the Circlon | group has already developed a Track & Trace solution based on its proven modular system. The mobile computers were Zebra (Motorola) devices from the MC75 series with voice, data and GPS services as well as a laser scanner, a 2D imager and a camera for mobile data capturing. A high-resolution 3.5″ VGA colour display allows images, including videos and maps, to be displayed in detail. On the hardware side, the devices form the foundation of this Track & Trace solution.

fht supplies private households, trade, industry and LPG petrol stations with DIN-compliant liquefied gases and offers services for all aspects of liquefied gas containers. The company has over 200 employees, the fleet comprises over 150 special gas tankers at 80 locations throughout Germany. A special, in-house software from fht suggests the best economic and ecological route to the dispatcher and transmits the route to the respective driver. With the new equipment and software solutions from the Circlon | group, this is now even more efficient.

Circlon | Track & Trace for a quick solution 

Based on the mobile computing framework of the Circlon | group, ready-made modules were selected in order to quickly and easily implement an individual software solution for use in the fht tankers. At fht, the software of the mobile computer captures the measurement data of the vehicle, evaluates it and makes the information available to the drivers. It navigates the driver to the required location and provides all necessary documents digitally, which significantly reduces manual receipts. Since every mobile computer can read and display the data from the measuring system, it also notifies the driver when services are due; it gives him an overview of all relevant technical data, such as temperature or filling level, and supports him in documenting transport processes and damage or repairs in full. The range of functions extends from the evaluation of the data to the generation of the invoice.

The Circlon | Track & Trace software can be adapted and extended quickly and cost-effectively based on the framework. The mobile computing framework is regularly updated and expanded by the software experts of the Circlon | group.

Documentation as paperless as possible

The transport of liquefied petroleum gas is regulated by the ADR provisions – a European agreement on the international carriage of dangerous goods by road. A central aspect here is the documentation of the transport process (transport documents, written instructions). The driver must be able to produce the required accompanying documents at all times. In the past, this involved a lot of paperwork. But this is no longer in keeping with the digitisation age.

With the Circlon | group solution, which is directly connected to the fht back-end, the legally required accompanying documents are stored both in the mobile device and in the IT system, so they are always up-to-date and always available. If required, they can also be printed during the trip. With the integrated camera, drivers can record damage immediately. Since all activities are recorded and documented directly with the mobile computer, manual documents are reduced.

Precise overview on the full-touch display

When handling LPG, the driver must observe certain loading conditions, such as the correct temperature and maintaining the pressure. The mobile computer draws his attention to these facts. Various measuring systems are connected to the mobile system for this purpose. The driver thus always has a precise overview of the most important parameters and information directly on the mobile device. This also includes information on which activities have to be carried out at the customer’s site and how much gas has already been delivered.

Willy Ridder, Head of Administration at fht, comments on the concept: “The documentation obligation poses major challenges, especially if it is to be as paperless as possible. As a solution partner for hardware and software, this is where the Circlon | group offers outstanding services. Due to the procurement of new hardware, we would like to port the optimally developed Windows Mobile solution virtually 1: 1 into the Android world in terms of its functions. Some adjustments that have been planned for a while can also be implemented at the same time. In the future, all mobile computers will be able to read data and access peripheral devices via Bluetooth.”

Android project underway

At present, the mobile devices are still integrated into the special gas tankers by cable in order to access data from the measuring section and the CAN bus or to address printers. This results in disadvantages: impractical brackets, cumbersome connection cables, no application flexibility and the like. For this reason, new devices are currently being examined that use Bluetooth to access the data. Each driver receives their own mobile device – this leads to responsible handling of the hardware and reduces downtimes.

At the same time, the adaptation of the software for mobile computers is in full swing. When changing systems for mobile data capture, it will always be necessary to clarify how existing software solutions will continue to be used in addition to selecting new hardware. Can the functions used so far be implemented in the same or similar form in the new software environment? Are complex adjustments necessary when changing systems? Should upgrades be implemented in the course of the migration? In answering these questions, it is also important to know exactly the different types of apps.

Due to its complexity, the fht project is set to run for several months. The new software is to be tested in the field towards the end of 2019. The rollout of mobile devices with Android software is planned for early 2020.

Are you also planning to switch to Android?

The software specialists of the Circlon | group can help you with advice and practical support when switching to Android and developing apps. Learn more in the blog post “Efficient migration to Android-based mobile devices“.

Arrange a personal consultation and contact us.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
06.06.2019 / Blog News


With the introduction of Circlon Day, the Circlon | group provides an ideal platform for a top-class event on the subject of digitisation and intelligent IT management.

KölnSky Cologne – The Circlon Day for customers, business friends and partners took place on 22 May 2019 under the heading “One Day in the Cloud”. An exciting supporting programme with experts from the retail and logistics sectors awaited the guests. 

Following the reception, Michael Zitzmann, CEO of the Circlon | group, announced the speakers and their presentations on the latest trends in digitisation and IoT in the retail, transport and logistics sectors.

In his keynote speech on “Digital Darwinism”, Karl-Heinz Land as a technology pioneer explored controversial questions that we have to deal with both from a corporate and a customer perspective in the age of the “Digital Revolution”: How fast is digital development advancing? What are the requirements for tomorrow’s companies? To what extent do customers influence the digital transformation of entire corporations? And finally the question of all questions: What will our digital future look like and what opportunities can we exploit to influence it?

Marco Lamonaca, Director Products & Innovation of the Circlon | group, led the day and invited the guests on an interesting journey through the varied programme. He was supported by the speakers and cooperation partners Samsung, topsystem, Zebra Technologies and Honeywell. Programme items such as “Digitisation from the device perspective” (by Judith Hoffmann, Sales & Marketing Strategist at Samsung) and “Voice solutions for the digitisation of processes” (by Tim Just, CEO topsystem) through to “IoT & the Internet of Intelligence” (by Thomas Bryan, Senior Account Manager Sales, Zebra Technologies) illustrate the range of content of the event. Karen Bomber (Director Industry Marketing – Retail, Honeywell) from North Carolina visited the Circlon | group as part of her trip to Europe and gave an impressive presentation on “Technology Implantation” from a retail perspective to the 50 invited guests.

Michael Zitzmann sums up the quintessence of the day: “In the follow-up discussions, it became clear that both customers and manufacturers in the retail and logistics industries share one and the same goals and uncertainties. We all want to stay in control of the ever-increasing pace of digitisation and the exponential growth of data. To do this, we need intelligent analysis tools and IT management systems like Circlon | Operate.”

With its portfolio as a digital enabler, towards the end of the day, the Circlon | group drew a line to the introductory keynote. Marco Lamonaca highlighted the possibilities of digital transformation with solutions such as Circlon | Operate, an intelligent IT service management system for mobile devices. With this, the Circlon | group proves that new paths in the mobile age can only be taken by means of optimised controllability and management of data volumes and that the time is ripe for an increased digitisation level and mature business intelligence.

The guests of Circlon Day talked about an inspiring day, which offered many opportunities for exchanging information with its enjoyable supporting programme. Accordingly, the participants will remember “One Day in the Cloud” and the view across the Cologne skyline each with their own vision of the future of digitisation.

More exciting insights on Circlon Day: The complete video can be found here.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
16.04.2019 / Blog News

Tracking radioactive waste with a mobile ID solution from the Circlon | group

Recording and documenting warehousing movements using 2D code detection for the interim storage and disposal of radioactive waste.

Waste from nuclear plants is radioactive and therefore hazardous to humans. So special rules apply to the handling of radioactive waste during reprocessing, interim storage and disposal. These include compliance with documentation requirements, and ensuring workers’ safety. This, in turn, necessitates recording material movements using mobile 2D code scanners, and linking to IT systems so that the data can be utilised – typical activities for the Circlon | group, even though nuclear technology is something of an exotic field. Track-and-trace solutions of this kind, where occupational safety also plays a major role, are used for example by Kerntechnische Entsorgung Karlsruhe (KTE) and Jülicher Entsorgungsgesellschaft für Nuklearanlagen (JEN).

JEN operates an interim storage facility for radioactive waste. It comprises various storage areas, to which different requirements apply under radiation protection legislation. Erik Kisant, head of data management in the main decontamination and disposal department, underlines the importance of track-and-trace in the storage facility and during transportation: “Regulators impose accounting requirements for radioactive waste, and storage processes have to be accurately represented in the IT. Recording storage and transportation movements via 2D codes and handheld scanners increases data security and integrity.”

Storage solution at KTE

Managers at KTE are familiar with this problem, too. KTE is responsible for dismantling all decommissioned nuclear facilities at the Karlsruhe location. The company is also in charge of all tasks relating to the disposal of the radioactive waste. This involves the complete processing of all residual radioactive materials into waste packages for final storage, and their interim storage until they are sent to a final repository in Germany.

In early 2015, the Circlon | group installed a drum tracking solution for KTE (movements into and out of storage, inventory). All drums and their containers were given 2D codes, as were the storage spaces. Now, with mobile code scanning and logical linking of the information, it is always known where each drum is at any given moment. Workers’ safety is a priority, so Honeywell CK3 long-range scanners have been used since that time. With a pistol grip and built-in lighting, it is possible to scan 2D codes even in relatively dark areas from up to eight metres away. This means that workers can keep a sufficiently safe distance from the radioactive drums while capturing the data, and documentation requirements are fulfilled.

Since KTE wanted to transfer the scanned data directly into its database, wireless infrastructure had to be built. The Honeywell CK3 scanners support industry standard 802.11 a/b/g/n. As a result, data can be transmitted flexibly from any location via the WLAN network to the communication server. This solution reduces the health risk to storage facility workers, delivers high-quality data, and ensures compliance with applicable regulations (German Radiation Protection Ordinance, Strahlenschutzverordnung).

Track-and-trace in the JEN storage facility

As part of a modification programme required by regulators, together with the Circlon | group JEN also developed and implemented a system for recording storage and transportation movements using 2D codes and handheld scanners. Here too, waste barrels, containers, barrel racks and storage positions (coordinates) were labelled with 2D codes, which can be read at a sufficiently safe distance using mobile Honeywell CK3 long-range scanners.

The 2D code for waste barrels contains an identification number along with other information that is displayed on the handheld scanners. The waste identification number corresponds to the so-called primary key, which is generated by the waste flow tracking and product control system (Abfallfluss-Verfolgungs- und Produktkontrollsystem, AVK). Erik Kisant explains the significance of the coding: “The identification enables a logical grouping of waste barrels into batches, and the allocation of barrels to containers and barrel racks. In addition, barrels, containers and barrel racks can be assigned to different storage positions. What’s more, relevant waste information can be read from a safe distance. The extra information indicates the hazard to employees coming from the waste package.”

This solution shows that the Circlon | group successfully implements unusual and challenging applications outside of its usual core sectors such as logistics and commerce. During the radioactive waste disposal process, the codes are recorded properly from an occupational safety and employer’s liability point of view, and the tracking of dangerous goods is assured in accordance with strict legal requirements. Moreover, users can now comply with the documentation requirements of the German Radiation Protection Ordinance.

Note: This article is based on a talk given in late March by Erik Kisant at KONTEC 2019 in Dresden, on “Recording warehousing movements with the aid of 2D code scanners and electronic consignment notes”. Detailed information about KONTEC 2019 is available at www.kontec-symposium.de.

Do you have exciting tasks for us, too? We’d be pleased to discuss them with you.
Simply contact us.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
25.02.2019 / Blog News

The countdown has begun: Now master the EU Tobacco Directive by 20 May with the Circlon | group

Circlon | group is implementing the forthcoming Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU (TPD) with a track and trace solution from Honeywell.

Compliance with the EU Tobacco Directive will become mandatory on 20 May 2019. For all companies in the tobacco supply chain that have not yet implemented the requirements of the Directive, this means that they now have to deal intensively with the issue. The Circlon | group is currently holding an informative workshop for all affected companies on 12 March in 2019 Göttingen. Here, the Circlon | group experts will be discussing the requirements of the directive, explaining Honeywell’s solution and showing in detail how and under what conditions it can be implemented in practice.

Further information about the roadshow along with a registration form can be found here.

Track and trace solution becomes mandatory

As of 20 May 2019, the traceability of tobacco products in the supply chain will be required by law. In addition to manufacturers, all distributors, wholesalers and retailers, suppliers, merchandisers (vending machine filling) and external logistics contractors are affected. In accordance with the directive, they must all confirm the receipt of the tobacco products and record the place of delivery. The data will then be transmitted to the European authorities.

The implementation of the EU Tobacco Directive requires traceability systems capable of covering all parts of the supply chain. For this purpose, each tobacco product must have a unique ID. Among other things, this is designed to prevent the sale of counterfeit tobacco products and ensure correct taxation. In addition, track and trace measures provide reliable evidence of when and where products were illegally diverted. Honeywell offers a solution consisting of hardware (hand scanner, label printer, accessories), software (Track & Trace app), cloud platform and device service.

The scanners must support dot codes, since in future all tobacco shipping units will feature this code type. The dot code symbology was standardised as far back as July 2012 – the code is suitable for the fast printing of industrial or consumer goods in order to identify and track individual units. That is why it is mainly used in the pharmaceutical industry and now also in the cigarette industry.

Cloud based solution with Honeywell Movilizer

The scalable Honeywell track and trace software suite runs on the Movilizer cloud platform. This mobility solution enables companies to link processes at every point in the supply chain. It is available as a standalone system (for smaller companies) as well as an integrated ERP and WMS solution (for larger retailers and distributors). Movilizer provides end-to-end transparency and electronic documentation of the location of tobacco products along the entire supply chain. Further information can be found here.

Jörg Kracke, Europe Vice President at Honeywell, comments on the EU directive: “With the Tobacco Products Directive, the EU has created the conditions to effectively prevent the spread of counterfeit tobacco products. Although the deadline for implementation is fast approaching, Honeywell Movilizer’s track and trace solution includes all the hardware, software and services to help companies in the tobacco supply chain meet the TPD requirements on time.”

The Circlon | group is responsible for the implementation of the entire Honeywell solution and provides Managed Services to ensure smooth operation throughout the entire life cycle of the devices. Michael Zitzmann, CEO of the Circlon | group, says. “As a Platinum Partner of Honeywell, we are fully conversant with the subject and can optimally implement the Honeywell package of measures. Our experts are very familiar with the devices used here. The Circlon device staging, which we perform prior to each delivery, ensures immediate operation. We display all relevant device data in the Circlon | Operate Portal and offer users customised services with our Managed Services – fast and uncomplicated”.

Smart handheld scanners with pre-installed app

The Circlon | group recommends the smart Dolphin CT60 mobile scanner from Honeywell. These robust scanners are based on the Android operating system; the track and trace software is pre-installed. This enables device users to scan product labels, access tracking information, and document the movement of goods at every stage. The staging, including the installation of the app and the registration in the Circlon | Operate Portal, is done by the Circlon | group.

During the initial “population” of the Circlon | Operate Portal, the data collected during the staging process from the handhelds and accessories are imported into the portal, from which moment on they can be accessed there anytime – as can all service data. Circlon | group’s needs-based managed services speed up repair processes and help to optimise user processes and reduce follow-up costs. You too can benefit from our expertise from over 300 roll-outs by allowing us to advise you now: get advised today!

For more information on track and trace solutions for compliance with the EU Tobacco Products Directive, see https://hwll.co/TPD.

Find out here about the information events on TPD and register for the next date on 12 March 2019 in Göttingen.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
12.02.2019 / Blog News

Efficient migration to Android-based mobile devices

In the event of a system change and updates, the Circlon | group can exploit potential to save time, effort and costs.

Mobile IT always requires high-performance hardware as well as application-optimised software. At the same time, user behaviour plays a major role when it comes to introducing new solutions. If a version update or an operating system change from Windows CE or Windows Mobile to Android is pending for mobile data capturing, the question always arises as to whether and how the existing apps can continue to be used.

From Windows to Android – a major step

A user accustomed to a particular operating system or user interface is reluctant to abandon their familiar world, which they may have felt comfortable with for years, such as in a Windows environment, or in the application they use on a daily basis. They also would like to find the operating concepts that they use privately, preferably at work, too. Due to the widespread use of Windows, almost anyone can handle it well – people are very reluctant to change their habits. When it comes to smartphones, the use of an Android device is now also widespread.

Operators of mobile computers in sales, retail, warehouses or transport also need to find a software environment in which they can find their way around well, along with tools they are familiar with. If they already know the applications they have to work with on a daily basis, they can immediately work productively with new devices. This reduces the training as well as the costs, whilst increasing productivity and application efficiency.

All these advantages, however, can only be realised if the migration from Windows CE or Windows Mobile to Android and the software migration is thought through and carried out in a structured manner. This is why an experienced partner who is always up to date with the latest technology plays an important role in a system change. The Circlon | group has realised many different customer projects in the past and thanks to its extensive practical experience can offer effective support in all cases.

Porting with pitfalls

If existing applications based on Windows CE or Windows Mobile are migrated, most users prefer a 1:1 implementation of existing solutions. At the same time, the possibilities of the new (Android) device, such as a new operating concept, are to be fully exploited, whether due to larger screens or multi-touch screens, whereby in most cases the keyboard and function keys are then dispensed with.

Changing to (differently) sized touch screens without a separate keyboard presents challenges. Even the warehouse software, which is actually only displayed in a terminal emulation, requires a new suitable terminal emulation and possibly a different operating concept.

Switching to Android means breaking new ground

Switching from Windows CE or Windows Mobile to Android would almost go unnoticed if all applications could be migrated quickly and easily; like in the past with Windows, where an update had hardly any effect on the manner of operation. But it’s not that simple.

If a company is faced with a system or generation change in mobile data capture, it will always be necessary to clarify how existing software solutions will continue to be used in addition to selecting new hardware. Can the functions used so far be implemented in the same or similar form in the new software environment? Are complex adjustments necessary when changing system? Should upgrades be implemented in the course of the migration? In answering these questions, it is also important to know exactly the different types of apps.

Many aspects have to be considered

Switching operating systems is accompanied by massive changes. This is also to do with the great dynamism of the Android development. While Windows CE and Windows Mobile have been slow to develop and have stalled in recent years, Android is constantly evolving. This is a great advantage for the users, because they can benefit from the new functions, but also a major challenge for the IT, which has to be always up to date, especially concerning the security of the systems. A partner like Circlon | group supports users with every version change.

Due to the widespread use of Android, security vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited time and again. Therefore it is not an option to work with an old Android version for a long time. Constant updates are absolutely necessary. The software specialists of the Circlon | group also help with security issues.

There is a solution to every problem – with us as your partner

For a fast and smooth migration from Windows CE or Windows Mobile to Android-based hardware it is advisable to get a competent and experienced partner on board. The solution provider is particularly important in the migration to an operating system such as Android and in the (further) development of apps.

The software specialists of the Circlon | group can draw on a wealth of experience spanning many years and can provide advice and practical support during the transition and with Android app development.

Is your company looking to migrate its mobile IT to Android? Do you need support with updates?

Simply arrange a personal consultation.

Soziale Medien

Coordinator Marketing & PR

  • Cordula Errenst
  • Fon: +49 2203 1888 36
  • E-Mail: cordula.errenst@circlon.de
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