At 8:01 a.m. on June 26, 1974 in a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio technology took a huge step forward.
On this date the first barcode was scanned for a purchase.
Who was the first to embrace such an exciting advancement in technology?
What was the product? Was it the latest computer or telephone?
No, it was in fact a stick of chewing gum. It was a summer morning in 1974 when the first unique sticker of black and white lines facilitated the purchase of a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit gum, from Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
That was 43 years ago and we now know that QR and RFID technologies provide the ability to store more information and are more robust than the humble bar code. Interestingly, in 2017, the engineering sector has not yet fully adopted this technology.
However, as the baby boomers retire a wealth of knowledge is leaving your industry in the so called “brain drain”. The younger generations have grown up with mobile technology and “Google” information to solve all manner of problems and challenges. So naturally their expectation is that all your information will be available from any device.
We now use QR technology on our mobile phones for train and flight tickets. Not only convenient, unless you get a flat battery, but it also helps save the planet. Thankfully, you are creating a growing demand for adding QR codes and RFID tags to your plant equipment and warehouse stock, as a natural mechanism to unlock your related information.
This means you can find all the data, documents and spare parts information you need for any equipment by scanning a QR code and/or by reading the RFID tag.
You can also facilitate routine maintenance, inspections and other activities using these intelligent tags as the trigger.
This technology significantly increases your productivity and ensures essential information is available from any device at the point of need, which has now been extended to link to our ecommerce solution so users can order replacement spares in the field to speed up repairs and improve equipment uptime.
It is amazing to see users of our mobile solutions getting a buzz out of scanning their first QR code. Then within a few minutes they become frustrated if they have to key in a tag number or a part number as it takes a few seconds longer!
I must admit I do like the speed and error free convenience that comes with QR and RFID technology.
So next time you chew on some gum you may recall that Wrigley’s had the courage to be the first to adopt this new technology. Well done Wrigley’s.
Stephen Pearson is executive chairman of Phusion mobile solutions.