Innovation

Taking a serene view of tomorrow's world

Technology investments can rapidly become obsolete in today’s ever faster-changing world.

This makes it critical to look into the future and establish flexible solutions. In this way, today’s decisions are not limited by those of yesterday … and those of tomorrow, by those of today. 

Innovation is essential to the performance and continuing existence of a company like Zetes. With rapidly changing technology, no idea remains new for long. Zetes therefore needs to invest constantly to maintain its competitive advantage.

To encourage innovation, Zetes firmly believes in and promotes exchange and collaboration. This approach has led to the standardization of its Goods ID solutions, the development of tools like the MCL™ mobility platform and new products and solutions in People ID. Innovation at Zetes is an evolutionary process rather than one of radical new developments. Our customers' processes are often very complex, having evolved over many years and their proper functioning is of critical importance to their organizations. Zetes uses technology to find ways to improve these processes without fundamentally changing them.

Complete serialization software suite

Recent changes to the existing portfolio present a major step towards gap-free traceability.

Following the logic of its collaborative supply chain approach, Zetes has continued to develop its application solutions so as to ensure effective traceability throughout the various supply chain stages. Here, the major developments of 2015 involve, firstly, the ability to serialize products at higher speeds which respect customers' production requirements and secondly, the potential to manage serialization at different levels. Products are being identified with very high precision during production and also in the warehouse. At each step, data is captured and communicated to a central database. Tight integration of these different levels permits high-precision traceability right along the supply chain: an essential requirement for certain products and regulated markets. These changes in the existing portfolio present a major step towards gap-free traceability.

Applications management in the cloud: efficient mobility management for the supply chain

To support its collaborative supply chain concept, Zetes has integrated the MCL™ platform, a MEAP or Mobile Enterprise Application Platform, developed by the MCL Technologies division. Facilitating the management of all terminal devices at a company, it enables us to offer customers all the inherent advantages of the Cloud, which until now have been difficult to access in a mobile environment.

The "Software as a Service" (SaaS) model

The MCL™ platform's cloud application architecture enables Zetes to market its application solutions using a subscription model (Software as a Service or SaaS), with optimized versions for each customer's particular IT infrastructure. Centralized management also offers significant time savings in the development of solutions.

We try to solve problems today that do not yet exist

What led Zetes to develop the MCL™ platform and integrate it in all its supply chain solutions?

Tiago Conceição - This approach stems from our customers' need to protect their investments. The fact is that the wide variety of operating systems (OS) and their rapid evolution, combined with the ongoing adaptation of equipment to technological improvements and the advent of new technologies introduces a high degree of uncertainty into strategic business decisions. The customer is also forced to make development choices: either to opt for a "native" solution of a particular OS or to take a web approach. Each offers both major advantages and drawbacks. Making the wrong choice introduces a degree of risk that can jeopardize the investment. The MCL™ Mobility Platform allows Zetes to support any type of OS, technology and development environment, and therefore provides a real practical response to all these challenges.

How does the mobile environment evolve?

TC - We keep a constant eye on the challenges facing our customers in the future. We try to solve problems today that do not yet exist. Our children are already consuming and communicating differently from us. Such changes will significantly impact how we do business tomorrow. In retail, for example, we see a growing desire for more direct interaction with the end consumer. Bluetooth Low Energy offers opportunities here. "Wearable" computing, image processing, voice, NFC, BLE, augmented reality, RFID and similar technologies are enabling our customers to address processes in different ways in order to reduce costs and/or increase sales. We observe and try to anticipate those trends by offering a suitable answer, constantly adapting our solutions. By doing so, we get our applications to the next level and thus create added value for our customers.

The Software Factory: a structured approach

Since 2014, the Software Factory has been in charge of developing standardized solutions. This ensures a coordinated and consistent approach to solutions development by:

  • maximizing reuse of code modules;
  • ensuring full compatibility between solutions;
  • ensuring that the same technology and architecture is used group-wide;
  • reducing implementation risk.

The Software Factory builds on the expertise Zetes has harvested project by project in each country.

This networking approach offers many other advantages:

  • accelerated adoption of new trends;
  • rapid sharing of new features and functionalities between different solutions;
  • effective technical support for local deployments;
  • sharing extended beyond codes to include related resources (documentation, translations, etc.).

Collaboration with academia

In the context of the Software Factory and to remain at the forefront of innovation, Zetes has also established a partnership with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The Software Factory's operating centre is located in the university research park, permitting active collaboration with the UAB research departments. On top of this, Zetes

  • sponsors research programs;
  • offers students opportunities to collaborate with the Software Factory;
  • allows students, as part of their academic training, to use professional software like MCL™.