At SMS we pride ourselves on listening to our customers and finding solutions that will fit their needs. Most of the time, our customers are looking to count people or customers entering their building or retail stores, and we make sure that the people counter solution we provide will address their expectations. Sometimes though, we get a request that forces us to think outside the box…and we like it. When Kaufman Trailers came to us, they brought us a specific challenge.
In their business, they regularly receive large shipments of tires. As with any reception, it is important to count these to ensure that the quantity ordered is what is received. Tires being bulky and heavy, they were used to having someone standing with a manual clicker that counted while others were unloading the tires in the truck. That resulted in a high cost for what is a simple validation. They challenged us with finding an inexpensive solution that would ensure they could count tires automatically. While it may not be our area of expertise, we were extremely happy to help. After discussion and evaluation of their process, we came to the conclusion that a simple wireless beam sensor, would do the trick just fine. Their low pricing would ensure Kaufman Trailers would get a fast return on investment. We followed-up with them after they got their equipment and had tested it, and they were completely satisfied with the solution.
Here is what Daniel Eddinger, General Manager, had to say about his experience:
About every other month we receive a container load of tires which has to be unloaded & counted by hand. Our process for counting in the past has relied on a person with a manual clicker watching the tires as they come off the truck & clicking away. With the whole process taking about 2 hours & with up to 8 people unloading the tires at a time, it can be difficult for one person to get an accurate count. Sometimes, we actually have two different people counting & then we just compare their totals at the end. Rarely do the two totals ever match, proving this is not an effective method. The reason that it is so important to count the tires is that the tire supplier bills us for the amount of tires printed on their packing list. If we do not have some type of counting system in place, it is impossible to know that we have actually received what we are paying for. Realizing that our current method was flawed, I started looking for a “Break-Beam” laser counting system. Many of the systems that I found online were very complicated, bulky, expensive and required much programming, setup & continued maintenance. I ran across SMS Store Traffic via a Google search & the wireless counters caught my attention. I spoke with Ian Waters on the phone about our unique situation and with his help; I was able to determine that the wireless counters could be a very viable solution to our problem. After receiving the wireless counters, I made two simple “brackets” out of some scrap wood & mounted the counters on them. I knew that they would have to be mounted at floor level so as to only catch the bottom of the tires for accurate counting (Mounting them too high would have resulted in double counts).
After I had them mounted I set them up & tested them by rolling some tires through. I rolled a total of 8 tires through 4 different times & every time (after resetting the counter) I had “8”on the display, so IT WORKED! The true test would be not 8 tires but 800+ tires & that test came when our first tire container arrived. We set the counters up behind two pallets of wheels to protect them from getting knocked over. I lined them up & tested them by having someone walk through & everything worked great. We started unloading the tires & rolling them through this “alley” that we had created. When it was all said & done & all the tires had been unloaded, the counter displayed a number & that number turned out to be 4 less than what the supplier had listed on their packing slip. So on the first run, our new laser counting system had already paid for itself by catching the discrepancy. If we continue to catch discrepancies on all of our tire containers, the laser system will absolutely pay for itself & then some PLUS we have eliminated one or even two extra people from having to manually count saving labor cost. All in all the wireless counters are a great solution to our very unique situation. We are very satisfied with the results!
So the next time you come across a special application related to counting people…or anything else, give us a call, and we will do our best to find a solution for your specific needs.