What is Trakkit?
Trakkit is a revolutionary automated inventory management system purpose-built for mining, oil and gas, construction and other heavy industries. Think of it as a massive, tough-as-nails industrial vending machine that sits securely inside an even tougher shipping container unit. It’s packed to perfection with your product and industrial supplies inside steel bins and trays of varying sizes – not an inch of room is wasted.
How does it work?
Think of Trakkit as a giant industrial vending machine stocked with all your goodies. Just punch in your user ID, your password and the product you want and it’s delivered straight to Trakkit’s front portal. Your transaction data is recorded and sent live to the cloud, instantly available to all business stakeholders.
Meet the Trakkit inventors
Trakkit is 100% Australian-owned. Australian-invented. Australian-made. Cheers to that.
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8 years in the making. Why we created Trakkit
By solving our own inventory management headaches in our business, we've built a world-first intelligent solution for yours.
I started thinking about how better to manage inventory around 8 years ago.
We were running consignment stock in several locations and having the usual consignment stock problems.
- Managing the discrepancies, did the product get used, was it sent, was it received, theft etc.
- What to reorder, having to physically go to the site to do a count then going back out to pack that order away. When the site is over an hour each way, labour costs were too high to do this effectively.
I measured the time and effort required vs the profit we were making, and I couldn’t make the numbers work. We decided to pull entirely out of those locations and not do consignment anymore.
After going through the consignment headache, we recognised that there was still a requirement for onsite inventory, but there had to be a way to manage it and put some controls around it.
This need planted the seed for Trakkit.
The initial concept was for a kind of system built inside pallet racking with a series of gates and switches. It didn’t work on about 1000 levels. Big, expensive, slow to launch, prone to theft.
I shelved the idea for a couple of years. However, it was still in the back of my mind.
I talked to Pete (big bro) a couple of years later; he had just installed a robot inside his stock feed business. It was filling and stacking 20kg bags of feed. The efficiency gains were terrific. It transformed his business and was so easy to maintain and use.
I kicked around the idea of an automated way of handling inventory remotely with him. We needed a way to put some checks and balances around the stock movement in a remote location and get that data back to stakeholders instantly.
The brief was for a reliable, innovative, easily usable machine that could be deployed onsite in less than half a day.
Together we came up with some initial concepts and ideas on how we thought it might work. Some were crap; some were out there; eventually, we came up with 2 or 3 ideas that we thought were worth pursuing.
We settled on an industrial-sized vending machine and went out to see if we could source one and see if it could adapt to our needs. There were plenty of small vending machines that were adapted for PPE and small parts, lockers that were used for tooling etc. But nothing that could get the payload and volume of inventory required to hold what we needed to satisfy our customer’s needs and make it a viable solution.
We decided we would make our own and started down the rabbit hole of development.
We started to think about ways we could deploy a big vending machine quickly, safely and reliably. The obvious choice was a shipping container, readily available, tough, easily lifted and deployed. We went to the automation and robotic industries and pitched our ideas, and settled on a concept that loosely resembles today’s machines.
In 2018, we needed to commit to developing our idea.
If we were going to do it then it was now now or never.
We decided on now.
We found a couple of guys in rural Vic who were keen to kick it off with us – passionate and talented individuals that knew their stuff.
We put together many ideas and drawings scribbled on a few bits of paper around a kitchen table and came up with a concept we thought might work.
We started cutting steel to make the first machine .
We found out the hard way all prototypes take about three times longer and are three times more expensive than you first think.
Once we started putting that machine together, we needed a way of controlling it.
Of course, we hired a 17-year-old high school kid to do it. He started building out an interface so that we could drive the machine in testing.
In the interests of getting something to market fast so we could get user feedback, we decided it was good enough to deploy with the first machine.
Our UI is a lot different now. All data is securely stored in the cloud, data is better, UI is easier to use and has a tonne of features.
Everything we do today constantly moves towards improvement for the end user.
Tears of relief. Beers of the normal kind.
Our first Trakkit was deployed to Triple Torque Services in Emerald.
A proud day.
We met our target of deployment and picking orders inside half a day.
Looking at that machine now, we have come a long way in terms of speed and reliability. Some parts of that machine are embarrassing, but if you are not embarrassed by your first effort, you are too slow. That machine is still going and has done over 1000 orders. It’s still a work in progress; we learnt so much and are still learning from that machine.
All our machines now are an improvement on the last.
The user interface will constantly be redesigned and improved with the future in mind. We are always in development to enhance the user experience. Constant advances in technology with customer feedback make Trakkit machines more a part of the way businesses are doing business.
Accountability, availability and usability are the three keys to managing inventory remotely, and they are the three things we constantly work on to improve.
We have some big ideas for Trakkit; the future is getting us very excited.
Stay tuned for version 2.0, which we now have in the pipe. It will be easier than ever to handle inventory.