Source: Creamer Media’s Engineering News at www.engineeringnews.co.za
The development of integrated software modules by software development and remote services provider Infowave enables a more rapid turnaround during weighing in supply chain processes, as well as providing a vital security function.
Infowave business unit manager Stuart Jack says a weighbridge security feature has been developed in response to customer demand for fraud prevention and the increased need to audit and manage weighbridge traffic.
“The precision of accurate weighbridge readings has evolved considerably, with sophisticated software systems providing powerful security features,” Jack says.
According to sales manager Jeff Sutton, the integrated weighbridge software system was developed as an automated data-capturing system and reliable method of securing the delivery and payment process, but has evolved to perform a security function.
“The weighbridge software system was originally developed for the sugar cane industry by Infowave to keep track of sugar cane coming into the sugar mill in order to make payments to growers,” says Sutton.
“On the outbound side, we weigh every vehicle to associate a sales order with an actual shipment of sugar leaving the mill.”
“We manage debtors and creditors for many of our clients, so knowing what is passing over the weighbridge is a critical accounting function.”
“As we began to integrate the technologies, our weighbridge came to have less of an accounting function and became an absolute security module.”
“We have now invested a tremendous amount of effort into the notion of integrat- ing security into the weighbridge environment,” says Sutton.
Stuart Jack maintains the security feature enables the provision of various enquiry and drill-down facilities into load delivery.
“Such a system should provide a secure and audited repository for all data collected and should be supported by encrypted images that can be used in any legal proceeding,” he explains.
The integrated software is designed for viewing over the Internet to achieve a real-time and automated system of data-capturing supply chain management.
“A manager can view activities and transactions at a remote weighbridge from a desktop,” says Sutton.
The integrated system provides automated vehicle scheduling according to specified quotas.
Using preprogrammed algorithms, the integrated systems determine the exact time each supplier is scheduled to make deli- veries.
One of the functions of the weighbridge software system is keeping track of all vehicles loaded with sugar cane coming across the weighbridge.
“In some cases, we use radio frequency identification technology or transponder technology to identify vehicles when passing through our sensors,” explains Sutton.
“The weighbridge software enables automated data capturing rather than having a weighbridge clerk identifying vehicles.
“It also provides a reliable method of securing the delivery process and ensuring accurate payment,” says Sutton.
Stuart Jack says the ability to automatically capture weighbridge readings directly onto a database eliminates human error and any chance of deliberate input of misinformation or fraudulent practices.
“Weighbridges play a critical role in providing efficient supply chain processes,” he says.
“The weighbridge should never be the weak link in the supply chain.”
“A poorly designed weigh-bridge system is a single point of failure that can have disastrous consequences.”