Facing unplanned stock reductions, Verizon gained real time visibility into inventory by partnering with Apptricity

Case Study:

Apptricity and Verizon partnered together to drastically reduce overspending due to overstocking and helping to eliminate many of the hours looking for lost inventory

Company Overview

Verizon Communications is one of the largest telecommunication providers in the world, offering television, cellular, and internet services to over 100 million customers. Sitting at number 20 in the most recent Fortune 500 list, Verizon Communications is divided into consumer and business services and continues to be a leader in the advancement of 5G wireless coverage.

Problem Overview

As part of the Consumer division, Verizon manages a vehicle fleet loaded with routers, modems, and cable boxes used for the installation of television and internet service.  Throughout a typical workday, Verizon technicians perform house calls to install equipment for customers. Technicians are incentivized to upsell equipment, and while this is seen as a positive outcome, the unplanned reduction in stock can result in technicians cancelling subsequent appointments because they don’t have what they need to complete their remaining jobs. Real-time visibility into vehicle stock is crucial to ensuring that technicians have what they need to complete their scheduled work orders.

In the retail landscape, Verizon faced similar issues with inventory visibility, namely, understanding how much of a particular item needs to be in stock to meet consumer demand. In both use cases, overstocking was the only way to ensure that stock levels were adequate, but this resulted in massive overspending and a lack of clarity on which items needed to be stocked over others.

Why Apptricity?

Apptricity was chosen to address these problems with a combination of IoT-connected hardware and cloud-hosted Asset and Inventory management solutions. By tagging products with RFID tags and outfitting storehouses, retail locations, and vehicles with I-Connect scanners, Apptricity was able to provide real-time inventory tracking. This solution drastically reduced overspending due to overstocking and helped eliminate many of the hours spent looking for lost inventory.

Tracking the vehicle, and what’s inside

Service vehicles are often considered mobile warehouses, and as many warehouses do, they become easily disorganized if not managed correctly.  Disorganization leads to lost or misplaced inventory with the vehicles, which subsequently leads to over-spending to compensate for missing inventory. Apptricity helped address this problem by introducing the I-Connect Controller, an edge device with connected antennas that scanned previously tagged inventory items through RFID scans. When the vehicle was turned on, the controller would conduct a scan, then report the scan results to the Apptricity web application. This provided real-time inventory counts that not only helped reduce instances of missing inventory, but also cut down on the hours spent doing manual cycle counts. The I-Connect Controller also contains a GPS chip which provides the added benefit of real-time vehicle tracking throughout the day.

Automating inventory visibility inside the retail stores

Mirroring some of the same problems faced in the service vehicle world, Verizon’s retail stores struggled to maintain effective inventory visibility, resulting in discrepancies between what the point-of-sale system reported to be in stock compared to what was immediately available. The same I-Connect solution used within the service vehicles was utilized in the stores, which immediately provided similar results, namely, a drastic reduction in spending and a significant reduction in cycle counting hours spent. The I-Connect controller in this situation was configured to run an RFID scan once every hour, reporting the scans back to the Apptricity server.

Integration with SAP

All data collected from the controllers and tags is sent to Apptricity Asset Management, then immediately exported into Verizon’s SAP system. This integration allowed Verizon to retain the SAP as the system of record, but allowed Apptricity to become the system of intelligence, providing real-time inventory information to better inform purchasing strategies, resource planning, and more. Every 15 minutes, Apptricity sends this information to SAP, keeping the inventory records current and providing the level of insight necessary for running an efficiency inventory management operation.

Providing Insight with Data Analytics

As of 2021, Verizon has partnered with Apptricity to implement Apptricity Analytics, the first iteration of a data analytics platform that provides unique insights into trends and patterns of tag scans. Apptricity set up a separate data warehouse and deployed the latest Asset 8.0 user interface to provide a responsive solution that performs efficiently without impacting the main production environment.

Conclusion

Apptricity’s combination of cloud-hosted software and IoT-connected hardware solved Verizon’s problems by eliminating over-spending, reducing manhours, and providing analytics into trends to optimize procedure. Verizon has continued to outfit additional stores and vehicles with I-Connect hardware, ensuring a long and fruitful partnership with Apptricity for years to come.

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