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In the late 1980’s, a defense depot in Utah, which had a large warehouse that stored and distributed various materials to fulfill the needs of the U.S. military was facing problems with their in-house application. The software program that was being used, helped them manage all the logistics and distribution processes, but an efficient facility like theirs needed to use the space impeccably. They knew that the right tools to identify the accurate dimensions such as the length, width, and height of all the products stored would help them reach their goals. During the time, no such equipment could do such measurements. In 1987, a company called Quantronix through their product, Cubiscan—a solution that was built by Bradley Singer and some of his associates to measure the dimensions of products—filled that particular requirement. In this interview, Randy Neilson, the president of the company talks about the company’s journey from the government to the private sector, the shift in the market needs, the features of their suite of products and their vision for the organization’s future.
The product that changed the name of the company:
With over 18 years of experience in the company, I am a personal testament to the growth of the company. Our products were so widely used that they were used as generic terms by our customers. Hence we changed the name from Quantronix to Cubiscan.
An odyssey into the private sector:
When we saw the success that our product achieved in government projects, we acknowledged the potential such measuring tools had in the private sector. Many companies that had warehouse and distribution facilities, were running in-house software programmed by in-house IT individuals or programmers sans before third-party warehouse management software (WMS) came into play. The introduction of WMS led to the demand for hardware to measure the dimensional weight data of a variety of items being stored and distributed to warehouses. Over the years, we realized different configurations of the dimensioning equipment we offered were needed, which spawned more product development, and newer ways to cube (dimension) and weigh items. Our products that currently include 12 Cubiscan models are sold across the entire supply chain from warehouses, receiving docks, shipping carriers, distributions, and logistics companies.
Our products that currently include 12 Cubiscan models are sold across the entire supply chain from warehouses, receiving docks, shipping carriers, distributions, and logistics companies
The benefits of accurate dimensioning:
From our early days of measuring typical boxes of standard sizes, we now measure items of any size, from a pair of eyeglasses to large crates and oversized equipment with precise resolution accuracy. All the data generated is captured electronically and stored on a computer, which acts as both a data collection tool and a UI for our equipment. The information is then either used by the user operating our system or is transferred to our customer’s processing system. Our clients can utilize these details to optimize their system and make a specific decision about where each item needs to be placed, increasing their facilities’ space efficiently. Additionally, during the fulfillment process, the accurate cubic information can help shipping companies pick economical packaging materials or boxes decreasing charges.
A hardware company was involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and the reception of imported goods in the same facility. With the burden of assuring high-quality of products and managing customer satisfaction, the task of making sure that they were collecting accurate dimensions on inbound and outbound shipments using a tape measure and pencil was quite strenuous. Cubiscan was brought in to check and verify the weights and dimensions of finished goods and to establish a reliable quality control program. One of our products, Cubiscan 100 that standardizes measurements, eliminates human error and manual data entry in the facility. The solution helped streamline their program and collect accurate data to assist with directed put-away of finished goods into storage locations increasing their savings per quarter substantially.
A paradigm shift in the logistics landscape:
Ground freight carriers are now charging not only on the basis of a product’s weight but also its dimensions and LTL carriers have also started following suit. These changes have created a new opportunity in the market for automated equipment to measure items or parcels rather than manual measurement. We plan on leveraging these evolving market needs and adjusting our future course.
The road ahead:
The logistics environments can be quite varied and challenging; trying to capture accurate dimensional and weight information without disrupting the normal process or flow within operations in a particular company can be tricky. Hence, enterprises are constantly thinking of ways to measure and weigh items to meet their requirements and overcome the challenge of disrupting their processes. We know that the equipment they are looking for should be accurate, configured to be robust, endure an industrial-rugged environment, and can continue to operate without the harsh landscape having an impact on it.
Markets are now changing faster than ever, and we will continue devising new ways to dimension an item. We have an active R&D department that is constantly testing and evaluating a variety of sensors to meet the needs of the marketplace as they emerge.