Most of my 50+ years of business experience has been in manufacturing, with a substanial portion of that experience involved bar code and data collection technology in a variety of industries, including hard goods manufacturing and distribution, meat / poultry and food processing industry, as well as other production related industries. Prior to my experience in "data collection", I was involved in programming and designing systems for mainframes and minicomputers for 23 years. The weakness of those early systems was the bottle-neck that occurred when getting the information from the production operation into the computer. So in the middle 80s, I began to focus on the "bar code" technology, and how it could be utilized in collecting data in manufacturing and production processes, and the optimal means of getting that information into the hands of management and administration. Since then, I have worked with companies of all sizes, from the small ma/pa shops, to some of the largest corporations in America.
In the early days, data collection applications were often referred to as "bar code systems". This conforms to the logical history of computers when IBM Corporation had such a dominance over the computer industry that companys often referred to their company computer as "our IBM", when what they really may have had was a Univac or a Honeywell or an RCA or one of many other computers that existed in the 60s and 70s.
The primary justification for a data collection systems was, and still is, to increase productivity and to gain operating efficiencies,as well as to realize a financial benefit in reduction of labor and the increased accuracy of the data that is being collected. Not so obvious may be obtaining more detail information, as well as reducing labor to gather production data. In so doing, companies (then and now) came to the realization that incorporating these "new" technologies, often meant changing some of the current procedures that are involved in adapting to the new process. Thus I have gained considerable experience in plant operations in a wide range of company types.
A lot of the adaptation today relates to "Traceability" and "Lot Tracking", particularly for the meat and food industry, and incorporating information that is often required for governmental requirements. This has meant the integration and involvement of departments that were heretofore seemingly unrelated. Departments such as Maintenance and Quality Control, among others, were necessary to involve in the data collection process. In other words, it has become vital to involve every aspect of a company's operation. In hard goods manufacturing, the benefit may be primarily from the elimination and/or the reduction of handling data. Of course the process is much more complex than simply eliminating or reducing (something).
Besides the obvious use of bar code and wireless technology, I have integrated a wide range of other equipment and products, including but not limited to: scales of all types and sizes, thermometers and gauges, counters and relays, and more. One of our very earliest customers was a turkey processing plant in Nebraska that required the design of environmental enclosures to protect the electronic equipment that we were installing in the plant. A company, Titan Products, (now being manufactured by Bear Tech Industries) was spawned to serve this need that prevailed in numerous other such plants. It was also necessary to integrate switches and relays to be able to count items, as well as to activate small indicator lights at the scale to give the operator a visual indication of scale status.
I retired from my company and the business in 2009 and moved to Red Oak IA - small town 45 miles southeast of Council Bluffs IA/Omaha NE, where I had grown up and where several members of my family still reside. Retirement was boring, so in 2012 I joined Riopel Industries, a Canadian company that manufactures and installs meat processing plant equipment, and spent a short time with CFR, also a Canadian company. I covered (primarily) a 9 state area of Midwest/Upper Midwest, and was actively involved in sales (scouting) until spring 2018. Following that period, I have spent some time working as a consultant with a former business friend, Glen Meskimen, president of GHM & Associates, Independence Iowa.