Creatacor’s Logistics Department Goes Mobile

Every show or event we touch here at Creatacor eventually funnels through the Logistics Department. Our Logistics Manager and his crew handle all shipping arrangements, create shipping reports and physically HPLO (Handle, Pack, Load Out) every crate, skid and parcel going to and from our trade shows or events.

After each shipment returns to Creatacor, a full inspection report is generated. This includes inspection of everything… exhibit properties, graphics exhibitor products – everything. Each and every item is inspected and returned to its proper place within our warehouse.

Our goals:

• Streamline the workflow, reduce paper consumption, and create a real-time information flow between Creatacor staff and customers.

• Eliminate all hand written lists and reports that must be entered into the computer. Gather the information is gathered once, as it is entered directly into the computer, eliminating paper and, just as important reducing the opportunity for data entry errors.

• Bring the data to the inventory when managing the exhibit property status and locations. This eliminates more hand written note taking as well as a lot of leg work traveling back and forth from computer desk to crate.

Our solution of course was simple… go mobile…. and the “Creatacor Logistics Mobile Command Center 5000” was born [MCC for short]. The MCC gives the guys a break from running throughout the warehouse with clip boards and spiral bound note books in hand and lets them bring their database with them… out into our 40,000 square foot warehouse next to an outgoing shipment or an incoming inspection. AND it’s connected live to our system. When we say “system”, we are taking about our in-house designed and developed FileMaker based software known as “JobCritical™” which allows us to track all aspects of an exhibit project or trade show program. It does it all; estimating, purchasing, cost tracking, invoicing, scheduling, time management, inventory tracking, reporting and departmental work orders. We’ve tried to get it to make coffee but we’re not there yet. Seriously, JobCritical™ is the backbone of our business and with the addition of these mobile stations, its even more integrated and accessible in real time.

Creatacor Logistics Mobile Command Center 5000:

Creatacor Logistics Mobile Command Center 5000 - mobile computer carts help with shipping and inspection reports and Invenotry Control

Creatacor Logistics Mobile Command Center 5000 - mobile computer carts help with shipping and inspection reports and Invenotry Control

As you can see, these workstations are armed with an Apple MacBook mounted to the mobile cart with an adjustable pivot arm. The guys can now take all the tools they need to the area they will be working in. They can easily set up next to the shipment they are preparing, the inspection they are conducting or the bay they are moving crates into. They are now able to update their reports and inventory live in JobCritical™ – no more hand-written reports to be entered later. And as an added benefit; while the guys are out and about in the Warehouse with their mobile workstation – they can still communicate with the rest of the company. They are in constant contact with all staff members in other parts of the building using “The Feed” – our Instant Message/Twitter hybrid built right into JobCritical™. This messaging system allows employees to immediately communicate about specific aspects of the projects being worked on. These conversations are automatically attached to the project’s records in JobCritical™ for all departments to see and reference whenever they like.

From Logistics Manager R. Dubrey:

“My goal this year is to make our Logistics Department as efficient as possible. These mobile units will allow us to update our essential data every second of the day as our people work… inventories will be instantly updated and reports will be completed without duplicating the data entry processes, thus dramatically reducing the opportunity for errors when data transfer occurs. As we complete these tasks in our system other departments will be notified, triggering other procedures. This is just the start of a series of changes we will be implementing in 2011 to better server our clients and streamline our internal processes.”

From a few of our Logistics Techs:

“With everything we need right next to us at all times it saves us from having to walk from point A to B to C repeatedly throughout the day” – K. Peterson

“Going mobile has accelerated our processes… real information, real fast.” – D. O’Sullivan

“It will allow us to work faster and more efficiently, which ultimately saves our customer’s money” – J. Dillenbeck

As Roland mentioned, that’s not all – this is just phase one of the plan. Stay tuned, you’ll see them here first.

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