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Tristar | Oil & Gas

Case Studies | Oil & Gas

Improving system efficiency, profitability and transparency to customers ​

Client:

Block Gemini - Tristar Logo

Tristar Group

Challenges:

  • Lack of real-time data on inventories, deliveries and overall assets.
  • Information management was mostly paper based. 
  • Little to no insights on forecasting demand.
  • Maintaining accurate KPIs were a difficult task.

Approach:

  • A warehousing and logistics management system. 
  • Enable data validation, monitor data ownership, and maintain audit trails.
  • Track KPIs and generate reports of various events.
  • Enable ‘Proof of Purchase’ and ‘Proof of Order’.

Results:

  • 80% improvement in operational efficiency.
  • Reduced paper-based processes significantly.
  • Improved data security via Blockchain.
  • Real-time oversight on warehousing and transportation processes.

Our Client's Challenge

Third-party logistic provider, Tristar Group, found it difficult to operate effectively without real-time data on inventories, deliveries, and overall assets. Information management was mostly paper-based making inventory management and auditing a tedious and time-consuming task. With little to no insights on forecasting demand, operation planning was inefficient and created unpredictable bottlenecks in procurement, warehouse management, distribution, and deliveries. This made maintaining accurate KPIs a difficult task. They required a solution that would integrate with their existing system as an application layer, interconnect with various stakeholders, and improve overall data integrity.

Our Solution Approach

Block Gemini worked with Tristar to develop a warehousing and logistics management system that received and utilized real-time data from IoT devices and stored it on Blockchain. Our goal was to provide greater transparency, a customer-friendly environment, and technical assistance, leading to a better logistic experience. Our technical team wanted to develop a system that enabled data validation, monitored data ownership, created audit trails, tracked KPIs, and managed user access privileges while generating reports of various events. Furthermore, we wanted to allow users (new/existing) to manage their orders based on Proof of Purchase & Proof of Order and assisted in securely taking data-driven decisions.

The End Results

Tristar now runs a single decision-support and web/tablet/mobile platform. They can monitor, track and secure purchase/sales orders, view inventories, plan and track deliveries, and view reports in a consolidated and seamless manner through a dashboard application that gives a holistic view of operations. Furthermore, by integrating blockchain, Tristar can provide customers with full real-time oversight on deliveries and the transportation process. It also allows them to provide a single point of access for all documents/records to their customers while improving the management of trusted data with little or no use of paper. Overall, we have digitally transformed a number of business transactions to allow for quicker audits.

Increased

Increased operational efficiency by 80%.

Reduced

Reduced paper-based processes significantly.

Improved

Improved data security via Blockchain.

Streamlined

Streamlined real-time oversight over warehousing and transportation processes.

Improved

Increased operational efficiency by 80%.

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How Implementing Connectivity & Automation through IoT Devices Improves Vending Machine Management

Solution Showcase

How Implementing Connectivity & Automation through IoT Devices Improves Vending Machine Management

Challenges & Business Pains

Whether your machine is currently out of stock or requires maintenance, there are common challenges that ultimately hinder the process of smooth services that are expected to be provided. Such business pains can result in costing the company more time and money than ideally needed.

For example, It isn’t always clear when a vending machine is out of stock, especially when it’s of a particular item that is popular. Constant checkups require manpower, resources and more to maintain a desirable supply that can provide customers with their favorite items. Similarly, the same can be said for maintenance and repairs. Without certain systems in place, it is difficult to know the exact time machines fail or predict when maintenance is needed. Planning for maintenance can also be time and resource consuming to companies looking to optimize their supply chain in an effective manner. Even with various tools and software systems in place, without some kind of consolidated platform to interconnect everything, management in general can be scattered and difficult to execute efficiently.

These challenges prevent companies from increasing revenue and savings on expenses. Furthermore, there are countless of machines to be accounted for, and the level of effort only increases. As a result, the demand for frequent checkups increases and requires the allocation of more resources.

Connectivity & Automation: The solution to common challenges in vending machines

Many companies aim to improve overall operations and the performances of their vending machines. The question is, how? Although there are no quick fix solutions that can address inefficiencies, there are two primary factors that vending companies should consider focusing on; connectivity and automation.

Luckily, companies can leverage IoT (Internet of Things), a wireless device that uses sensors to pick up information and communicate with other devices. These devices  connect to the internet and transmit a specific set or wide range of data. By accessing the vending machine’s hardware, software, user interface, payment system, and more, data can be remotely transmitted so that companies can receive real time data on multiple components that are in direct relation to a particular machine’s operational processes. It’s important to note that IoT devices will have to be accommodated by cloud-based services to truly function as intended.

So, in what ways can IoT devices help with regards to driving efficiencies? Below, we have listed 5 ways that IoT can help alleviate the management challenges most companies face.

1. Real-time Inventory Check

With IoT devices transmitting data into a consolidated dashboard, managers can monitor inventory levels across various machines to ensure that they are well-stocked with popular products. By doing so, a central dashboard can be configured to send notifications and alerts when a particular machine (or multiple machines) is low on supply.

2. Automated Restocking Issuance

Because inventory levels can be monitored through IoT devices and transmit data to software applications, automotive features can be programmed to allow for the triggering of restocking issuance. This can enable Supply Vending Clerks to receive updates on pending inventory restocks through a mobile application with additional details on the requirements. Furthermore, APIs of your current  inventory management tool can be utilized so that resources can be allocated properly without issuing restocks of items that are currently unavailable.

3. Track temperatures & Conditions

One of the most frequently discussed topics regarding IoT use cases, is its ability to monitor environments or conditions. This can be extremely useful for vending machines that provide items at maintained temperatures, for example. Embedding an IoT device can allow companies to monitor certain conditions in real-time and receive notifications/alerts of prompt changes. The same can be applied to the mechanics of the machine itself. Failing parts can trigger notifications to alert vending companies, which would ultimately prompt a quicker response time. Data can also be collected over time for predictive analysis through AI so that technicians be alerted when maintenance is required without random check ups.

4. Gather Customer Related Data

Integrating an IoT device into payment systems can help vending machine companies to gather insights on customer-related spending habits. Companies can gain real-time consumer data on an item’s performance, test new products with instant feedback, and discover product life cycles using predictive analytics. Through this data, companies can further improve the customer’s experience by increasing response time to market demand.

Although we have only covered a few value points regarding IoT devices, there are also other technologies that can be used to increase management and productivity, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. If you would like to learn more about how our end-to-end Vending Machine Management system works, feel free to read more about our solution.

If you would like to learn more about how our Vending Machine Management system can help benefit your retail business, or would simply like to understand how this solution works, feel free to visit the Vending Machine Management page or contact us to start a dialogue!

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Using AI for a smart customer service experience

Solution Showcase

Using AI for a Smarter customer service experience

Customer Services Challenges & Business Pains

Customer service can be a crucial component to any business looking to assist customers and maintain great relations. This requires hiring personnel with great communication skills, an understanding of key information, and is efficient in problem solving. However, when taking a closer look at customer services within the retail facility space, such as malls or outlets, representatives typically provide limited information on all stores, consume resources, and are not required for the majority of the time they are present. This can become especially problematic when faced with both an increased rate of foot traffic or a lack of it.

How Artificial Intelligence can improve customer service within retail facilities

Although there are a number of solutions that use AI to aid the process of customer service, such as AI chatbots, biometric detection, and intent prediction for example, most of these solutions do not tackle the current business pains that are often encountered in face to face interactions within the retail space. Fortunately, this does not mean that artificial intelligence should be disavowed as a solution for consideration.

By leveraging stationary Kiosks with tablets and an AI-based customer service application, customers can simply type or use voice controlled commands to fetch information about a particular vendor. Once data is gathered and inputted into the system by the customer, AI can be used over time to track consumer interests to better understand customer needs, provide smart suggestions, predictive queries, voice to text commands, and much more to improve search results. The result is an autonomous, quick and smarter customer service system that provides more efficient outputs than human resources.

Furthermore, this system can integrate with retail inventory databases to list product categories for accurate custom search results so that the right products or services are provided to the right customer. This could enable customers to reserve a restaurant table in advance or check whether a new product is in stock without having to physically enquire themselves.

How can retail facilities benefit from implementing AI customer service?

Other than increased customer satisfaction, an AI Customer Service Kiosk system can present a number of attractive business related benefits for retail facilities looking to reduce expenses, increase conversions and much more.

Reduce and optimize human resources

By using customer service kiosks, retail facilities can significantly reduce human resources, and optimize their working time. This can be facilitated by leveraging and linking natural language processing to facility and vendor databases so that the customer service process can be automated and autonomous

Provide real-time solution customer queries

Over time, as customers input search queries into the system, AI algorithms can better help understand user queries and provide relevant information or additional assistance in real time. This will lead to a smarter and autonomous system.

Increase sales and spread vendor diversification

By fully integrating into existing inventory databases and leveraging algorithms that understand the connection between search queries and products/services, retail facilities can help increase vendor awareness by exposing users to a wider variety of stores based on their product searches and behavior.

As we move into a more automated, autonomous and technological world, retailers will be faced with more solutions that leverage AI to greatly benefit both business and customer related interests.

If you would like to learn more about how our Smart AI Customer Service solution can help benefit your retail business, or would simply like to understand how this solution can be leveraged in different industries, feel free to visit the Smart AI Customer Service page or Contact Us to start a dialogue!

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Digitally improving customer loyalty and experience

Solution Showcase

Digitally Improving Customer Loyalty and Experience

Challenges & Business Pains

According to a survey conducted by Codebroker, 54% of American consumers think it is frustrating when loyalty programs cannot be accessed from a smartphone. This can often result in expired loyalty points, coupons and missed opportunities due to consumers not being aware of these offerings in time. Furthermore, research conducted by 3Cinteractive has found 53% of consumers are unsure of how many points they have collected from favorite loyalty programs. This can become especially problematic when companies require a major shift in attention towards customer loyalty but are not aware of the pitfalls of providing these offerings.

Although there are many ways retailers can capitalize on providing loyalty programs or easily distribute accessible promotional offerings, many business owners are simply not engaging customers effectively and/or use outdated paper-based methods that are resource intensive.

Why digitizing loyalty programs and promotional offerings is the way to go

Whether you’re a retail facility owner looking for a way to attract more visitors, or you operate a retail store and require a robust system that further engages customer loyalty, digitizing your offerings is by far the most effective way to encourage customers to willingly return through incentivized offerings. Below we have identified and listed reasons why our digitized loyalty program can garner these results effectively.

1. Remove limitations of sticking with only one offering

Whether you want to offer digital coupons, promotions or loyalty points that customers can redeem, using a digitized loyalty program can allow you to create any kind of offering that’s available on the market. This allows retailers to test what works best for engaging your customers in a feasible manner without the limitation of investing into one type of offering.

2. Push notifications for better customer engagement

Oftentimes, customers can quickly forget they have offerings waiting to be used or are unaware of new offerings that can be redeemed. By using push notification, a digital loyalty program can notify customers when offers are soon to be expired, or when there’s a new hot promotion waiting for them.

3. Seamless offer configurations & management

Offerings require planning, execution and deployment. These are all things that require constant careful effort from retailers who are looking to further engage their customers’ loyalty. However, with a digitized loyalty program, a set of parameters, settings and templates are preconfigured for you to create your offering within a matter of minutes. This can help reduce the amount of time needed to deploy your offering while reaching your customer in seconds.

4. Depleting resource needed to sustain physical methods

As technology evolves, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce material based processes and converge them into digital applications. By digitizing your loyalty programs, you can reduce resources needed to sustain these outdated methods and while contributing towards a more environmentally friendly practice. The days of paper coupons and plastic loyalty cards over!

By digitizing your existing or next loyalty program, your business can connect with customers in much more engaging ways that build long term loyalty with convenience in mind. Retailers should also keep in mind that digitization can also help reduce costs, simplify program management, and experiment without the burden of wasted resources or failed strategies.

If you would like to learn more about how our Customer Loyalty Program Application can help benefit your retail business, or would simply like to understand how this solution can be leveraged in different industries, feel free to visit the Customer Loyalty Program Application page or contact us to start a dialogue!

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The key to effective facility management: Connectivity & Data Processing

Solution Showcase

Consolidation is the key to seamless facility management

Challenges & Business Pains

Managing facilities presents a number of underlying issues that make supervision efforts more time consuming and uncoordinated than needed. From keeping the store area clean, safe, maintained and attractive, your responsibility is to assist retail establishments in enhancing its brand in the face of customers. The logistics of such a duty can entail managing maintenance requests, handling leasing contracts, managing payments, and a number of other tasks that require the undivided attention of it’s supervisor. Although there are a number of reliable tools that make the process of managing retail vendors and technicians easier, these tools are often unconsolidated and require parallel management to achieve their desired results. 

Furthermore, It is difficult and time consuming to track and manage these logistics when most systems and tools are often not consolidated on one platform. Retail facility owners need to consider that there lies an unrecognized benefit in interconnecting their systems. If done correctly, this can enable supervisors with the ability to streamline processes that allow for greater stakeholder connectivity and deeper data analytics. Overall, this will simplify facility management management while improving the way operations are handled.

How retail facilities can improve management processes

It’s no industry secret that improving management processes can both increase productivity and reduce expenses. However, each industry and each company will require different approaches in order to optimize management operations efficiently. So, what can retail facility owners do in this specific case? As mentioned earlier, by focusing on strengthening stakeholder connectivity and collecting deeper data analytics, facility managers can optimize management processes by capitalizing on useful tools to solve their primary concerns and inefficiencies.

Below we will go over two identified pillars; stakeholder connectivity and data analytics. By focusing on these two pillars, we will elaborate on the features and tools that would be ideally required to improve facility management as a whole.

Strengthening stakeholder connectivity

By strengthening stakeholder connectivity, as well as stakeholder engagement, facility managers can have a better connection with each participant in a multi-faceted manner. This kind of approach should allow each stakeholder to utilize an application, whether it be mobile or web, in order to communicate, manage and request specific information or requirements.

For vendors, this can entail something as simple as requesting maintenance, making payments or managing leasing contracts that are due for renewal. This would allow for a direct and seamless communication line that could better facilitate the needed services that happen between vendors and facility managers. Take maintenance requests, for example. Through such a platform, managers can receive notifications of requests with detailed descriptions and multimedia elements (photos, videos) sent by vendors to help managers prioritize and manage responses. Furthermore, these requests can be assigned and sent to technicians so that they can be better prepared and equipped with the appropriate tools or equipment.

Collecting deeper data analytics

Data is critical for understanding where facilities management processes and procedures stand. There are a number of reasons why facilities would want to collect in depth data. Many of these reasons directly attribute to confirming known inefficiencies, discovering new ones, or proving a hypothesis wrong/correct.

However, in order for this to be possible, facility owners would need to adopt or integrate a management system that collects transmitted data in a multifaceted way through various technology points. Such a system should allow for auto-generated reports, automated KPIs, and overall measurements of management tasks to help strategize forward-thinking decision making.
So, what could a potential use case look like? Take “work order response time” for example. 

By rigging technicians with a mobile application that is connected to a management system, records can be collected when technicians open their assigned task, mark start and complete times, document results, and receive feedback from vendors on quality of work. By time-stamping and collecting these data points, the system can automatically build a KPI report in an automated and transparent fashion for greater convenience. Although this is just one example, the same can be done for cost per repair, leasing contracts, payments, and much more.

If you would like to learn more about how our Facility Management platform can help benefit your business, or would simply like to understand how this solution can be leveraged in different verticals or scenarios, feel free to visit the Facility Management page or contact us to start a dialogue!

Discovery & Insights

Platform & Technology Discovery

Block Gemini - Surveillancecamart 1
Block Gemini - Facilityart 1
Block Gemini - AI Koisk Photo

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By making connectivity and data processing the center piece of your management effort, productivity can increase while reducing downtime.  

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How Artificial Intelligence can completely change and improve customer service experience within the landscape of the retail industry. 

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