Airport Logistics Barcoding

Sometimes projects come along that fit more into the software development world than traditional data analytics, but we’re always happy to take those on too.

A major east coast airport was having trouble tracking materials coming in and out of its logistics department storehouses, and also needed to allow staff to search for the current location of materials before issuing them to work orders.

After productive and efficient discussions about the likely use cases, we put together a plan for a first phase prototype:

  • A third-party service that provides a straight-forward template for mobile apps with barcode scanning support. This made it easy for staff to use – the interface was just like their own personal smartphones, just with a built-in scanner.
  • A Flask API to receive scan data, both the material ID, along with additional information entered into a form (such as date, vendor IDs, employee IDs, and comments), store that data in Cityworks, and return a response code to the scanner.
  • An off-the-shelf Android barcode scanner – just like a standard Android phone, but more ergonomically friendly for scanning.

Development went smoothly, as did integration with other airport systems and IT requirements. Most of the work was completed within two months, with some additional time to tie up loose ends and work out transitioning from a development environment to production.

With training complete and a real-world launch coming by the end of the year, we’re looking forward to seeing how the system works for real-world users, and expect it to drastically improve the airport’s ability to budget accurately and understand how materials get used.

The next phases are likely going to be:

  • Adding inventory auditing support to the mobile app and API, so that quantities on hand can be easily updated.
  • Developing analytics dashboards for managers to visualize material stocks, usage rates, and inventory in real-time.

Interested in something like this? Send us a quick message about the idea: