Using infrared scanners in the warehouse
The visit made by senior management opened up an opportunity to take stock of the management system, which has been transforming several processes thanks to the use of mobile technology. On the agenda was a real-time demonstration showcasing the effectiveness of the project, a pioneer in the Oil & Gas industry.
An ordinary working day at the Fortín de Piedra warehouse turned into a special event. On the occasion of a meeting to review the implementation of the Warehouse Management System (WMS), Guillermo Murphy, Vice President of Supply Chain, and Silvina Abad, Vice President of IT, visited the warehouse to see for themselves how the system is working.
The centerpiece of this system that has been in place since 2021 to record materials reception, dispatch and stock levels, was the recent incorporation of the mobile radio frequency device used by warehouse operators. Using the Infor Warehouse Mobility System (WMS), the mobile is equipped with an infrared code reader that scans labels and transmits the data about each piece of material sent by the suppliers.
“We carried out a practical experiment to show how the system works, using an example of reception and dispatch, and the benefits of using these mobile devices were pretty clear, and will definitely result in better user service,” said Federico Cazador, Warehouse Manager in Neuquén, to Tecpetrol Hoy. "It’s a step up from the previous situation, which at first was difficult to appreciate, but when we started using the device on a widespread basis, we saw concrete results in terms of time savings and increased productivity," he explained. This improvement in processes comes at exactly the right time to accompany the increase in production demanded by the current context.
"We noticed a definitive and highly positive change in the perception of the system by its users, in terms of what this cutting-edge technology tool is giving them," commented Patricio Álvarez Castillo, IT Business Solutions Manager, who described the project as ‘transformative‘. "We were the first Oil & Gas company to implement the Infor WMS for warehouse management, and now it’s also being implemented by other operators."
Sergio Descalzo, Logistics & Warehouse Regional Director, and Fernanda Marano, IT Business Solution Senior Manager, also took part in the visit, proof of management’s commitment to improvement and follow-up. "We are undergoing a process of maturation to stabilize the system, holding meetings with warehouse leaders and prioritizing the issues they flag. When you work as a team, you know that the success of the project is guaranteed," contributed Néstor Almeira, IT Business Solution Specialist, who was also at the warehouse in Fortin de Piedra.
A crucial scanner that makes all the difference
In a reveal moment, Raúl Bilbao, who operates the reception area, was explaining the procedure, when a set of spare parts arrived the warehouse, a major delivery in terms of volume for Tecpetrol. "We were able to show our visitors how we carry out the process; we simply checked what the system showed us and right there, we were able to change locations without having to physically go to the computer. Before we would check the delivery note and then we would have to go to the aisle and specific shelf to see if there was any room to store the new arrival," he explained. “We were able to print off the labels for each of the four boxes of parts received.” In turn, Franco Gutiérrez showed how a shipment is dispatched, under the attentive gaze of all the visitors.
“The idea was to see how we were operating both in the reception and dispatch areas, using the mobile device that had been implemented in stages,” contributed Pablo Ferreyra, Supply Chain Lab Technician. "The trend for going digital has two huge advantages: when you scan the barcode, you not only reduce the amount of paperwork handled, but also, the online process enables you to see the delivery note without having to phone anyone."
That day, managers and operators came together to find out how to simplify the labelling process which the suppliers use to identify shipments. "They just need to come down to the operational area, which we call the battlefront, which will help them understand our needs: when you can see things for yourself in real life, it allows you to make adjustments," added Ferreyra.
“Now we have to tighten up our processes, by talking to suppliers so that shipments arrive in good condition, meeting quality standards; and also in the systems area, by continuing to listen to users and emphasizing the use of the mobile device,” added Néstor Almeira, who anticipated a future of digital transformation. “We already have an app and a technological base that enable us to incorporate advanced automation tools, the Internet of Things, including rugged scanners for harsh environments and climates; and we intend to continue to move in this direction to effectively adapt to and manage change.”
"The meeting enabled us to confirm the need to continue making improvements so that we can manage 100% of our workflows with this system and make it work even more efficiently," concluded Federico Cazador about the development, one of the top five systems in the world, implemented first in Neuquén and now in use throughout Tecpetrol’s fields.