In this episode of the Get Linked Podcast, host Carson Garner sits down with Link Labs' Vice President of Sales, Michael Jenkins, to discuss how your manufacturing or logistics company can add operational value through the use of combined technologies. Get Linked with Michael Jenkins to learn more!
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Carson: Welcome back, everyone to our Link Labs podcast, Get Linked. I’m your host, Carson Garner, and I’m super excited for you guys to listen to our very special episode that we have planned today. My guest is Michael Jenkins, who is the vice president of Sales and Business Development here at Link Labs. Today, Michael and I will be continuing the conversation that I had a couple of weeks ago with Mark Bloechl around complex technological innovations and how these innovations can be used commercially and the different use cases that Link Labs can assist companies with. Thanks for joining me today Michael and welcome to the Get Linked podcast.
Michael: Well, thanks for having me, Carson. It’s great to be here today.
Carson: Yeah, yeah. Before we dive into our conversation, can you share with our listeners just a little bit about yourself and your experience with connective technology?
Michael: You bet. So I’ve been here at Link Labs for three years and during that time, I’ve been helping clients solve problems and improve their processes with the use of our tracking technology during that time. But you know, I was familiar with this long before joining Link Labs. So prior to joining Link Labs, was a Sales Vice President at AT&T running their hospitality and enterprise retail customers for the Mid Atlantic and Southeast region. And while I was there, you know, we did a lot of work in IoT the IoT world. And in fact, during my time there, we partnered with Link Labs to build a staff safety solution for Marriott. That solution is now known to be the best in class in the industry. And obviously, we’re still partnered with AT&T and selling that to all of the hospitality groups.
Carson: So what intrigued you about Link Labs specifically?
Michael: I was very intrigued by the technology that they offered and the technology that they were developing at the time. So when I joined, you know, they were just getting into the development of the XLE platform and I believe that’s part of what Mark talked about last week. And that’s what intrigued me the most. I felt like that was clearly going to be something that changed the way people looked at tracking and the ability to do it at a much lower cost.
Carson: Well, I’m biased, but I would say you made the right decision coming to Link Labs, you do everything here for us. So, so in our previous episode, you just talked about it with Mark Bloechl, we talked a lot about the combination of BLE, XLE, and now UWB to create a unique solution that provides accuracy at a an extremely affordable cost. Today, I want to move away from, you know, the more technical of how the technology works to talk more about why the technology is necessary. My first question to you is how is the combination of these technologies beneficial to the companies that use it?
Michael: Well, first, let me start by saying, you know, I mentioned the reason it really came over was XLE and this is an evolution of that now from actually to combine UWB with it and I couldn’t be more excited about that technology and the evolution that we’re doing here. So super excited about that. To answer your question, it gives them options. So clients now can have the accuracy they need for each situation at the most affordable price. You know, our technology will allow them to purchase the very precise UWB tags to do work in process or other applications that need that level of accuracy while in purchasing the lower cost XLE tags for tracking things like tools or other specialty items, such forklifts, even on the production floor. But this will drastically improve the ROI for any application or set of applications that a client is looking at. So super excited about that.
Carson: Yeah, so what would be some of the negative consequences so to speak of not having an asset directing solution like ours?
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, especially with what we’re doing in combining the UWB and XLE, it’s really going to allow customers to get the precision they need for work in process and which will allow them to gain efficiencies on their production floors. So, you know, not doing it is going to impact their production level and their ability to be competitive in the market.
Carson: And that’s extremely important in such a fast paced type of world like we have today. What are some reasons that a company would want to, you know, invest in a solution like ours?
Michael: Well, exactly what I was saying around improving efficiencies. So, you know, everybody today is looking at how can I do more with the same space in the same set of people? Well, you need a simple platform like this to be able to do that. We’re helping another client do exactly that which is increase their production by, you know, anywhere from 25 to 50% based on the same environment.
Carson: Wow. And could you share with our listeners, you know, a few different use cases, you know, specifically in manufacturing and logistics, you know, you talk about the WIP tracking but maybe more in the logistic space that companies that the technology enhances.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. As I was just mentioning, we’re working with a large manufacturing company and our technology does allow them to improve that output on the production line by understanding where the bottlenecks are real-time so they can solve problems faster and keep things moving. We actually customize that platform for them to help them get more information so they could solve the issues even faster. So the customization allows them to not only hold the worker accountable on the production floor, but now they can engage leadership real-time and hold the leadership that’s responsible for that bottleneck, hold them responsible in getting that solved quickly.
One of the more interesting of the manufacturing use cases that we’re working with today is a large food manufacturing company. They actually plan to use our solution to track waste coming off the lines real-time, which when I first heard about that, I’m like, how is that going to have an ROI on it? Because it’s a waste, you know, how would get ROI? But what it turns out is that by knowing exactly which line it’s coming off of and you know, the time that it came off of that line, it allows them to potentially use waste on one line for input on a different line. So, but if they don’t understand exactly which line that came off of or the timing of it, then it truly becomes waste. So for them, it’s actually when you think about it’s a huge our line.
Carson: So and you mentioned a little bit about, you know, how it affects the workers specifically, I know that you and Jennifer had a webinar recently about, you know, manufacturing and how we can help manufacturing companies. How would you say that asset tracking with Link Labs can help workers in a manufacturing line?
Michael: Sure. In this particular line, it really by giving the workers real-time data on how they’re doing against their metrics, allows them to control kind of their destiny. You know, it’s one thing to have a worker and you know, at the end of a month or end of a quarter, their leadership give some feedback on, well, here’s where you didn’t do well. Well, now they give them that real time feedback all day long. So there’s big screens that are showing them, hey, how am I doing against my metric for this time slot and whether they’re on schedule, ahead of schedule, behind, now they know real-time and they can impact that by making changes. So it really helps with the workers and their attitude at, towards leadership and towards their own, the work that they’re doing.
Carson: Yeah. And I really like how you phrase that. I’m gonna take that back to marketing, how it says, you know, asset tracking with Link Labs can help workers choose their own destiny. I think that’s really cool. So, and you mentioned customization a little bit customization is a reason a company would choose a solution like ours. I want to break down that a little bit more. In what ways would a ccompany customize our solution>
Michael: Sure. You know, when we do an implementation, whether it’s in a manufacturing facility as we did with this one or warehouse environment, you know, we’re essentially installing an IoT network for the back hall, the data to carry all the data from the tags as well as you know, to update real-time to beacons that are used in the system. Well, what that means is we can use that network for other things such as delivering information from sensors that they might want to have installed in key areas such as temperature or humidity or any other, really any other BLE sensor they can add in and we can coll collect that data, we can send it to them and let them, you know, utilize it. However, they won’t whether it’s for, you know, post processing of data later or hey, real-time adjustments that they need to make two production lines or to the environment. You know, this puts control the situation in the hands of the worker and allows them to, you know, notify leadership as well. So, you know, we put a box for one client where the worker can now notify them when something’s happening or something didn’t go, right. So it’s a real-time accountability that drives more production and efficiency is on the line.
Carson: Yeah, and controlling that data is so important, especially in, you know, the cold chain monitoring aspect because we talked about that a lot last episode and how important it is to have accurate data so that you can protect, you know, your sensitive assets and that are in transit or even just in the warehouse. So I’m gonna go back to, you know, more of the technology of it. How would you say that using XLE in one area and UWB in another area would be more beneficial than just choosing one or the other?
Michael: Yeah. Well, first let me start in, Mark, probably cover this, that the great part about our platform is we’re utilizing the same infrastructure to do both. So this means that you can, you know, have XLE in one area, you to be be in the other or you can mix and match them in the same area. So you can just have some things that are using UWB and right next to it, you have tools that are using XLE. So yeah, and that really gives the customer a lot of flexibility around picking a tag that best suits the application or the device that they’re trying to trap because you think about it, the UWB tags are going to be a little bit bigger. So if you’ve got a small hand tool, you’re not gonna put that tag on there, you’re gonna want something much smaller, which would mean okay, I probably need to lean more towards an XLE tag for that. So, you know, and by doing that in the, you know, some of the UWBs are going to be at a higher cost, which means, you know, to get the best ROI and the highest ROI you can, it’s going to mean tailoring the tag and the cost of the tag to what is being used for and the data that you need from it.
Carson: And why would you say someone would want to invest in the UWB tag?
Michael: Well, if they need a higher level of precision. So, if they’re trying to track stuff in and out of a very precise work zone, then they’re gonna want to use you to be, be for that. If they just want to know, hey, where’s a tool or you know, a forklift? You don’t need an exact location, you just kind of want to know generally where it is, then you could use XLE. Because, you know, XLE is gonna give you that accuracy more, you know, 1-2 m whereas the UWB is going to be down to 30 cm of accuracy.
Carson: And I think we’re talking a lot about the indoors side of it. Since these technologies can be combined, you know, how can this be done similar to outdoor tracking as well?
Micahel: So, and that’s the great part about of our solution is that everything works seamlessly together. So, you know, we’ve got the two products, you know, AirFinder OnSite, which is the indoor product and we’ve got AirFinder Everywhere, which is our outdoor product. So, you know, not only can indoor tags work seamlessly with the outdoor, but it’s vice versa as well. And so having that flexibility allows our customers to now track stuff inside a warehouse, but then keep up with it when it leaves. So, and I’ll give you an example of that. We have a client who’s tracking meters and they, you know, track, you know, several thousand of them in a variety of, I think it’s across three or four different warehouses. So, but the great part is at any given time, they know exactly how many they have in the warehouse and know whether they need to order more or not. But now because we’re then tracking them when they go on the trucks and leave that, they know, hey, this one just left the warehouse, it went on a truck with this installer and it disappeared at this address, meaning, hey, that meter got installed at this address at this time of day; I need to start building for it. Now, they no longer have to wait for the installer to actually do all that paperwork. Now, they can understand. Hey, this happened today, we need to start building. So here’s the paperwork that goes with that. In this case, it’s really driving revenue faster and more revenue potentially lost revenue.
Carson: Lost prevention, theft prevention. Talk a little bit about the theft prevention. Talk about how we can prevent, you know, assets from being stolen in a, in a trend transit or in the production line.
Michael: So, you know, we can actually track stuff when it’s in transit and know when it disappears. But if you put one of our outdoor tags on something and it disappears off of a truck, you can now begin tracking it real-time. So, you know, okay, this person took it and I see them on the move if you’ve got like client that we were working with around high valued camera equipment. So, you know, you want to tag that and you’ve got a bunch of it on site. If somebody walked away with it and that camera is tagged, we could then begin tracking it. And the great part about our product is we’ve got a lot of flexibility around. How often are we updating so that you don’t use the battery. So now, hey, if it leaves this area, we’re gonna start tracking it more often. So we’ll start reporting against it faster.
Carson: It’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable what Link Labs can do for companies and how important it can be for, you know, just improving the process efficiency of a company. So since the solution, this UWB solution that we’re talking about is so new to Link Labs, is there anything that you wish to mention that you haven’t brought up today about the solution that could be beneficial for our listeners to hear about?
Michael: Sure. I think, you know, I’ve mentioned everything. One thing I do want to go back on is ROI. We talked about return on investment several times throughout the podcast and I just wanted to add the following to that is, you know, it’s as we work with our customers here, it sells, it’s very important to us to ensure that our clients are getting a good return on investment. We have models that we can help a customer with. We have pre done models that we can just plug in numbers and help them understand what’s that return. Because the last thing we want to do is sell the client a solution that doesn’t drive return. We want our customers to be repeat and you know, for it to deliver the value they thought it was going to. So that’s one thing that’s really important to us here. The other thing I would mention is around battery life. You know, we didn’t talk about that and I think that’s really important here. So two things I would add is our XLE technology, if you compare that to regular BLE, the battery life is gonna be double same situation, exact same tag. Exact same battery capacity will get double the life with that XLE based on how we implement it. Now, take how we’re implementing UWB, UWB takes a lot more power. But the way we’re doing it is our tags are gonna have UWB and XLE which means that we’ll use UWB to give the customer the precision that they need. But when we talk back to the cloud, talk over the network, we’re gonna use XLE which is at a fraction of the power. So our UWB tags are gonna get a lot more battery life than our competitors will based on that set up.
Carson: My last question to you is what do you see for the future of Link labs? I know UWB is kind of the start to the future. But what do you see, you know, for the immediate future and for the long term future for Link Labs?
Michael: Well, great question. And I think, you know, you’ll continue to see the kind of innovation we’ve been doing that’s gonna continue. So, and what we’ve done with UWB in this short time, that’s just gonna evolve over time. So you’re gonna continue to see that kind of single platform with lots of options on how you implement technology inside it to get the best ROI for our clients. The other is, you know, it’s gonna be you know, going, you’re going to see us go global. So that’s gonna be another thing. So taking all these great products globally, you know, we already do that with our outdoor tags. But now looking at what we’re doing with XLE and UWB, you know, I think most of all, you know, as a company, you know, we just want to continue our journey, being able to bring down the cost to track anything in the world while improving the accuracy that we get with that location.
Carson: It’s exciting and everyone that I talk on the podcast is just as exciting as the next person. And I think that’s so special to have such a company that is on the same page and on the same, you know, wants the same thing for our customers wants to see them happy and like you said, a good return on their investment. So thank you so much for joining me today. If you could tell us, tell our listeners just how they could get connected with you if they have any questions or concerns.
Carson: Well, thank you for joining me.
Michael: Thank you.
If you want to hear more about this transformative technology, join us next episode to learn about the specific ways that technology can benefit companies. Thank you so much for listening to our episode this week.Link Labs is a leading innovator in all things Internet of things. Link Labs offers an asset tracking solution that uses technology to improve companies efficiencies. If you want to learn more about Link Labs and asset tracking and all the many benefits that we can provide to your company, visit our website at link-labs.com and be sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms at Instagram, Twitter,Linkedin, subscribe to our YouTube channel and of course, subscribe to this podcast for more episodes to come in the future. We look forward to seeing you next time and as always, thank you so much for listening in.