The one-stop shop advantage

Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Philip Jarrett, commercial director of Dakota Integrated Solutions, about the company’s focus on a one-stop shop data capture solutions service for customers in a variety of sectors, together with the company’s new focus on Voice-directed solutions provision.

First established in 2002, Dakota Integrated Solutions is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Over the past two decades, the company has established itself as a highly successful supplier of real-time data capture, RFID, printing, mobility solutions and RF networks to a wide range of customers within the manufacturing, healthcare, building supplies and supply chain sectors among others. Its fit-for-purpose solutions are designed to improve efficiency, accuracy and reliability within a variety of mission-critical processes. Based in the North West of England, Dakota’s customer base covers the whole of the UK and Europe. It is also in the process of extending its reach into the US and other territories.

Within the healthcare sector, Dakota serves an impressive 170 out of 213 trusts across the UK and Ireland. Within this market segment, Dakota is Zebra Technologies’ biggest solutions provider, supplying a wide range of items including wristbands, labels, handheld scanners, printers, print media and mobile computers.

Dakota also serves most sectors within manufacturing, including engineering, automotive and pharmaceutical. Indeed, within these segments Dakota serves major blue-chip names such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Nissan within automotive, Walgreens Boots Alliance within healthcare, building materials supplier Marshalls, Babyliss within the haircare products market, leading kitchen brand Wren, Linde the forklift truck manufacturer and Univar Solutions the chemical and ingredients company.

Knowledge base

Reflecting on one of Dakota’s many key market strengths within its target market segments, Phil Jarrett, the company’s recently appointed commercial director, cites the extensive experience and knowhow of its staff. “The knowledge base Dakota has internally is extremely high,” he says. “Some companies or solutions providers tend to overlook things such as media and labels because it can be quite a complex sale proposition. However, we make sure we cover everything from consumables, labels, ribbons and media through to printers, scanners and RF networks. Our specialists have the experience to supply and maintain the full remit of solutions provision and support from start to finish. We are very much a one-stop shop.”

Honeywell Voice provides advanced data collection, automated documentation and analytics capabilities.

Full service and support

Dakota works closely with its customers to optimise the solutions within their operations; looking at what the user currently has within its technology portfolio and considering how other solutions could further enhance the level of optimisation that is achievable. “In many cases, it’s not necessary to adopt a rip and replace methodology – our solutions can often be incorporated within our customers’ existing suite of solutions in order to further enhance their day-to-day business and operational practices,” says Jarrett. “Through this type of carefully considered integration regime, we can help customers to ensure everything works in harmony through a pragmatic best-fit type of approach.”

Voice-directed solutions push

Jarrett explains that while Dakota is focused on continuing to grow its business based on a strong focus around customer service and the provision of products that are the very best fit for individual users, it is now also actively looking at other new markets, particularly regarding Voice-directed solutions. Since Jarrett joined Dakota, he has been leveraging his almost 10 years’ expertise within the Voice-directed solutions space to offer the benefits of this type of technology to existing Dakota customers and prospective users in terms of picking and replenishment operations within the warehouse or DC environment, and also in terms of maintenance & inspection (M&I) practices. Indeed, Jarrett is one of a very select group of professionals within the data capture solutions industry who is fully qualified to serve customers within the Honeywell Voice M&I space.

“I truly believe that Voice within the M&I arena is the future from the perspective of substantially improving time and cost savings as well as increasing accuracy levels when maintaining, inspecting and repairing machinery – whether it’s an aircraft engine or a complete delivery truck,” says Jarrett. “Voice M&I can ensure the operator adheres to the most optimum sequence of inspection. This is what we call an optimal walk sequence. There may be 80 steps within the truck inspection process and our Voice system can be configured to ensure each step is done in a the quickest and most efficient sequence.” Jarrett adds that as well as providing a fully configured Voice solution Dakota can also provide the full RF network to the customer in order for the Voice system to work efficiently through uninterrupted shifts. He adds that, although once configured, the Voice systems are locked in to provide the optimum instruction roadmap for users, the systems also benefit from built-in analytics, which allows the software to learn from patterns of use and to help to continually improve efficiency and accuracy levels.

Patient wristbands from Zebra are the foundation for a safer, more efficient process for delivering care.

Rail Alliance membership

2021 has also seen Dakota become a member of the Rail Alliance, a leading representative of the UK rail supply chain community. “Our membership of the Rail Alliance means Dakota is now better positioned to provide its services and solutions from leading vendors such as Zebra and Honeywell to this all-important sector,” says Jarrett.

New website

Dakota recently launched a new corporate website (www.dakotais.co.uk), which provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s products, solutions and services offered to existing and prospective customers. Jarrett explains that the main rationale behind the new website was to provide a more cohesive online representation of Dakota as a corporate whole as opposed to showing the company in a more disparate fashion with the various divisions represented by different sites. “We think the new website design is much more user-friendly, crisp and modern, and it clearly shows the solutions and services we can offer to customers in all our separate target sectors but in a more unified, easily navigable way,” he says. “Then, if companies wish to know more about what we can provide, the site provides an easy and quick way of contacting us.” So, with all these recent developments in play, Dakota is planning for a very exciting future for the company.

Voice maintenance & inspection (M&I) can ensure the operator adheres to the most optimum sequence of inspection.

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