Winckel is a company with a unique core business area: the design and creation of information management systems supported by RFID technology – and the consultation necessary to accomplish it. In an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Winckel CEO Jörg Bald explains how customers in industry and logistics benefit digitally from optimised business models and automation projects – and how these digital benefits translate into economic benefits.
Jörg Bald, CEO at Winckel, in an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global
Three pillars: consultancy, conception, technology
In 2017, the demerger of Waldemar Winckel GmbH created the solutions architect Winckel and the hardware provider identytag. In 2018, Winckel is positioning itself as an information and process management service provider. “The separation of the two companies puts a clear emphasis on the core competencies of Winckel,” CEO Jörg Bald explains. “In our view, Winckel’s business model and position in the RFID market is absolutely unique. Our consultancy services include strategic management. Technology means digital management. And our RFID centre of excellence is manufacturer agnostic.”
RFID is the basis of new business models
The company’s philosophy is based on a simple realisation, according to Jörg Bald: “RFID makes objects identifiable. With RFID, data that was not available before can be generated – and new data almost always leads to new business models. This is why we ask ourselves: What are the possible applications? What can be built with RFID technology? Which new business and communication models does it unlock?”
For Winckel, the focus is not on hardware but rather on data: “Identification creates new services, whether GPS for cars or RFID for products. New business models can be built on this data: what, when, where?”
AMIA platform processes event data
Jörg Bald explains this data-centric corporate philosophy using the example of the Winckel AMIA information platform: “Customers shopping online log in to the trading platform and are digitally identified. This allows the dealer to recommend or discount products to specific customers. With AMIA, Winckel has created something similar for the industry.
Objects need an identity to log in. Afterwards, smart data enables precise reactions to events: data transfer, visualisations and reports, commands to the machine control and much more besides. AMIA does not need middleware, but it is able to read out middleware data. The platform is neutral and can receive data from all sources.”
“Winckel offers a consulting pyramid. At the bottom, the automation forms the basis. Then comes the organisational level. Strategy is on top. The optimisation of individual processes, such as with an RFID reader in inbound goods, creates data. This data affects overarching processes as well – if it is used. Winckel enables companies to leverage this data.”
Push principle affects all layers
The AMIA platform is made possible by a proprietary scripting method that allows the opening of data sources and the running of analysis algorithms at high speed. The data model built on top keeps all the core data cached and available. Jörg Bald: “The system is able to react in almost real time. All events are processed according to the push principle. They automatically push information upwards, to the next organisational layer. This principle affects the entire company – from automation technology to the core business model.”
Consulting pyramid: automation, organisation, strategy
For Winckel, the consulting business grows organically from its data model. Jörg Bald outlines the different levels: “Winckel offers a consulting pyramid. At the bottom, the automation forms the basis. Then comes the organisational level. Strategy is on top. The optimisation of individual processes, such as with an RFID reader in inbound goods, creates data. This data affects overarching processes as well – if it is used. Winckel enables companies to leverage this data.”
Offering both bottom-up and top-down projects
Winckel therefore proceeds from the ‘bottom-up’ as well as from the ‘top-down’. How do these approaches differ? Jörg Bald: “If a customer is searching for a specific RFID application, Winckel can realise this project ‘bottom-up’ – and demonstrate additional benefits for the overall business strategy through its amortisation model. For ‘top-down’ projects, in comparison, we define goals for a fast ROI together with the customer. These goals determine the points where identification hardware will be deployed.
The business model and process are designed first, then RFID is deployed to realise them.” Winckel has already implemented this strategy together with hundreds of customers in industry, logistics and services. It is the result of many years of experience in consulting, automation and data management alike.
RFID centre of excellence: quality assurance and troubleshooting
The Winckel RFID centre of excellence builds on this experience. “Winckel views itself as an information and management service provider between the different software environments – ERP systems, middleware systems, cloud services and so on,” Jörg Bald explains. Winckel therefore entered into a collaborative partnership with Microsoft, which it sees as sharing its data and solution strategy.
Winckel leverages software expertise stemming from its experience as an RFID pioneer: “RFID generates completely new data that was not previously available. There was no software for the intelligent processing of this data. As an RFID pioneer, we therefore had to master different software environments early on.”
Hardware agnostic, but with strong partnerships
As a solutions architect and in its RFID centre of excellence, Winckel is hardware agnostic. The centre of excellence tests, qualifies and certifies RFID products from different providers. Jörg Bald: “Automation providers are not Winckel competitors; they are Winckel partners. This is why it is important to us to be able to work with all existing hardware and standards.” In addition, the company provides services such as upgrades, optimisations, and troubleshooting for existing RFID installations.
If a company already works with labels and readers supplied by a certain manufacturer, Winkel can offer its services for this existing hardware. This is a competency that open another business model, according to Jörg Bald: “If a digitisation project does not work as intended or automation projects have to be updated, there is an alternative to contracting a strategy consultancy: Winckel.”