Archive for the ‘Dickson’ Category

[Webinar Announcement] DicksonOne: New Alarm Escalation

Posted on: March 9th, 2017 by Matt M 2 Comments

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It’s here! One of the most requested DicksonOne features has been alarm escalation. It’s been on our road map for a while (interested in learning more about our road map? Learn more at our meetup) and we’re releasing it this week.

What is Alarm Escalation?

We think of alarm escalation as the system’s ability to notify a user if an alarm condition still exists after various time thresholds.

Previously you could only escalate an alarm based on the condition getting worse and not by the same condition lasting longer.

This isn’t limited to just a single user either; you can have multiple users receive notifications or even different groups of users receive notifications at the various intervals.

What is Alarm Escalation good for?

Receiving different types of notifications the longer a condition exists

As the condition continues to exists you may want to be notified in different ways. For example, at first you just want an email, but if it continues for a bit longer you want to get a text message, but if it still hasn’t cleared after even longer, you want the system to call your cell phone.

Notifying different individuals the longer a condition exists

You can use this functionality to alert different people at different times. You can be alerted after 10 minutes, but your manager and facility/maintenance staff can be notified after 20 minutes.

Continuing to receive notifications the longer a condition exists

Some people want to be continuously notified that the condition still hasn’t cleared and this allows for that (within reason).

How does it work?

In the past, you were able to set an alarm delay at the device level and any/all alarms respected that. Now, you can add delays at the notification level.

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You can read more about how to set up an escalating alarm here. Or, sign up for our webinar covering alarm escalation!

Webinar!?!?! That’s right, sign up for our Alarm Escalation Webinar today!

If you’d like to see a live demo, learn best practices, and ask questions about this new functionality, this is your chance! We’ve done this in the past with great success and look forward to another great session.

Details:

Date: Wednesday, March 29

Time: 12pm CST

Where: Sign Up Here

 

 

 

 

3 Tips For Attending A Pharmaceutical Trade Show

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Dickson No Comments

Pharma Trade Show Tips


Pharmaceutical trade shows are a worthwhile experience, but they can seem like a waste of time if not done right. If you’ve attended shows like Interphex or PharmaExpo in the last few years, you may understand this dichotomy. Eyes slowly glaze over on the third or fourth day of a trade show, and the mundane booths become almost invisible to your line of sight. If you have to be there, but also have important work to do, trade shows can not only seem like a waste of time, but like they are making you worse at your job.

What gives?

No offense, but you might not be attending the trade show correctly. Follow these three tips and you will get the most out of your trade show experience.

1. Make a schedule!

Exhibitors often refer to attendee schedules as dance cards. They want to be on yours. Prepare before the show, and plan out trips to companies that you want to visit and talk with, fellow attendees you want to network with, and new booths you are interested in seeing. Also, reserve an hour for lunch, that’s important too.

2. Attend a lecture.

Trade shows and conferences are different entities, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little crossover in the content that they provide. When at a trade show, the main feature is the exhibit floor, while at a conference, the main feature is lectures. However, most trade shows will hire/ask a few experts in different fields within an industry to give a lecture on their topic of choice. Go! In the pharma industry, speakers are usually research scientists or heads of large companies. You may be able to learn something!

3. Ask about trade show deals.

Deals! Discounts! Free stuff! It’s all available at trade show booths, and you need to get in on that action. Companies will offer special deals to returning customers and new customers if you visit their booth, hand over a phone number, an email address, or even buy a product from them at the show! Be sure to ask the sales people at the companies you plan on visiting if they are offering any trade show discounts, if they are releasing any new products early, or if they have any deals that will only be offered in their booth.


 

How To Find The Best Company To Monitor Your Products

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Dickson No Comments

How To Find The Best Data Logger For You


 

Choosing a company to partner with you in order to help monitor your environment can be tedious and taxing. With multiple choices for every industry, and dozens of variables to consider (before even getting to the variables that you will monitor), the choices seem endless. So how do you narrow it down? We’ve built the following homework assignment that when completed, will get you through the process.

1. Take An Internal Assessment

Who are you?

The first question you need to answer is a reflective one: who are you? Answers to this question will be wide-ranging, and there isn’t a wrong answer, besides an unfilled blank. Maybe you are a beef jerky producer from Montana, or a nurse from Staten Island. Whatever the case, knowing who you are and what your application is will inform the rest of the answers in this section of the assignment, and your monitoring plan as a whole.

Why do you want to monitor your environment?

What’s your reason? Example answers may include, but are not limited to: My auditor said I had to, I am losing money from a dysfunctional cold chain, or I want to test a control group against a test group with a variable of the test being temperature. Again, for this question, no wrong answer. Just answer to the best of your ability.

Where will you be monitoring?

Are you monitoring inside a semi-truck? Inside two semi-trucks? Three? Or are you inside a warehouse, where you will need hundreds of data loggers? Answering this question and the next will allow you to move into Part 2 with enough information to start answering what kind of data logger, or data logging company, you want/need. Remember: location, location, location.

How much money do you have?

A little forward, sure. But, really, how much? If you are submitting a budget for the next year, maybe you hold off answering this question until you have created a product definition and tested out the market, but if you already have you budget set, take a look at it. Is it enough? Is it too much? If you are a large company, the cost of monitoring a variety of locations can bleed into the millions of dollars. If you just want to gage the temperature of your beef that is dry-aging in your mini-fridge, you probably don’t need too much cash.

2. Create A Product Definition

What variables do you need?

Step two! You made it! First question: what in the world is so important that you want to monitor it? Is it temperature? Temperature and humidity? Temperature, humidity and dew point? Mean Kinetic Temperature? What?! It’s time to create your product definition, and the easiest way is to eliminate products that don’t actually take and store the data that’s important to you.

What features do you need?

Data loggers seem to have an endless array of features, from the simple (display, battery backup, probe) to the robust (radio frequency, graphing capabilities, mobile apps). You need to start by making a list of essential things a data logger has to have in order for you to even consider it. Things like alarms, long battery-life, or display, may all fit onto that list.

What kind of connectivity do you need?

If you just want to buy one data logger for pretty cheap, you probably don’t need any. If you are like most of our readers however, this question is the big question. Monitoring the temperatures of larger facilities, where 5, 10, 100 monitoring points are being measured every day means automation is a must. Connectivity (your data logger sending its data to a server automatically, without you having to download it) is a consideration that will take a bit of research on your part. Want a little help to get you started? Okay, fine. There are many ways to transfer data, but here are the main ones: Ethernet, WiFi, Radio Frequency, and Cellular. Each one has its pros and cons.

Will there be any services involved?

These generally include: installation, calibration, validation, training, and ongoing support. This is dependent on what your auditor says you need, if you have one of those guys/gals.

When do you want them by?

For bigger companies: if you are sending out a RFP, understand that lead times will vary company to company. Factor that into your schedule! For smaller companies, this comes down to shipping and recalibration. Data logger manufacturers can generally get 1-5 loggers to you within a day or so. Bigger orders? Might take a few more days.

3. Find A Product

Will you buy through a sales person, or online?

It’s just a preference. Talking to a physical sales person can be rewarding, in that you may get a discount, or learn about services you didn’t know you needed but probably do. Buying online? Well, that’s fast and easy.

Do you need to send out a RFP?

If you are new to the temperature monitoring world, and aren’t sure what’s out there as far as products, but you know what you want, submit an RFP! That will allow companies to put all their ducks in a row, and cater to your needs. RFPs are tedious, so make sure you know what you are looking for before you set out to make one.

How many bids will you take?

Whether you are buying one, two, or 1,000 temperature monitors, you will need to put a cap on when your research is complete. You may have a past relationship with a company, it’s going great, and you will stop the bidding process at one. Other times, 10 companies may be involved, whether you are just shopping for a simple data logger online, or submitting an RFP for a national corporation.

How did it go? We hope well. Feel free to contact us if you have trouble filling out any of the questions.


Should Your Data Logger Have A Display?

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by Dickson 2 Comments

Should Your Data Logger Have A Display?


Below two parties provide evidence on why you should, or should not get a temperature, or temperature and humidity data logger with a display . . . a verdict follows.

The Case For The Display:

The case for using a data logger with a display begins at the source, the actual data logger. When you place a data logger in an environment, don’t you want to know what temperature it is reading? Why wouldn’t you? Purchasing a data logger that has a display is an investment in your application and employees. Displays allow your employees to read data at the source, and displays provide a visual ”alert” when things go wrong in your facility. Having that peace of mind, is worth it every time.

The Case Against The Display:

Our colleagues presenting The Case For The Display would have you believe that the display is essential, not costly, and at the very least, only a benefit to your facility. We would agree with them on one point: that having a display is nice. But, it does not come without costs. Displays cost more money, and they use more battery. Also, data loggers with displays are typically larger than those without. Finally, what is a data logger really used for? Logging data. Viewing data at the source is what a thermometer is for. Downloading, viewing, and analyzing the temperature data of your facility is what is truly important.

Finally, with WiFi monitoring on the upswing, displays will become obsolete.

The Verdict: A Hung Jury

The jury could not come to a conclusion, because the decision is unique to each company! Think about the two cases presented above, and make the decision based on what your facility needs!


 

 

From The Dickson Catalog: Chart Recorder Addiction, How To Kick The Habit

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Dickson No Comments

From the Dickson Insights Editor-in-Chief


In talking with our customers, we find that one of the biggest challenges in their day-to-day operations is the manual process of changing out charts on chart recorders. It’s an annoyance, it’s a hassle, and they would rather not have to deal with paper charts on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. However, they are still using them! Organizations can become addicted to chart recorders, even if it isn’t in their employee’s best interest, or in the best interest to their bottom lines.

Companies get addicted to using chart recorders for a number of reasons, namely:

  • They are stuck in processes that are not easily changed. 
  • They are leery of the costs associated with switching away from chart recorders. 
  • Their purchasing department is distant from the end-user, and doesn’t realize the hassle of changing charts. 

Being addicted to chart recorders is a real thing, and a real bad thing. Check out the chart on Page 14 of this catalog for a dollars and cents argument against chart recorders. You’ll find a brief estimate of a company’s current cost of having chart recorders on a yearly basis. It’s astounding! Because of the consumables that come with chart recorders (pens, paper) and the personnel hours associated with changing and logging charts, chart recorders are expensive! And an unnecessary expense at that.

Kick the habit, switch to a data logger.

-Michael, Dickson Insights Editor-in-Chief