Universal Logistics for Quality Control.G-MEN micro data recorders track temperature, humidity and 3 axes of acceleration.SRIC Corp
Measuring just 75.5(H)x60.5(W)x33(D)mm, these compact units are similar in size to a pack of cigarettes
Points to be noted
- The trademarked name “G-MEN” was carefully selected for high recognizability
- Maintain acute foresight and flexibility to prioritize product design and usability
Most Japanese residents over 40 years old will recognize G-MEN as the name of a hit detective drama TV series, “G-MEN ‘75. “Yes, the G-MEN product line was inspired by this iconic show. This name was selected for easy recognizability, and registered as an official trademark.
In G-MEN ‘75 the heroes chased the bad guys. The G-MEN product line monitors cargo. Let’s learn more about the new G-MEN.
In 2003, SRIC Corporation began sales of G-MEN, a data recorder to monitor logistics environments. Sales were slow at first, but a 2007 incident involving a tampered shipment of frozen gyoza (potstickers) led people to doubt quality in logistics, and unit sales steadily increased. Currently, these data recorders are primarily used for tracking the cargo environment for shipments of high precision equipment. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) agrees that there is an increasing need for such capabilities among logistics companies.
What exactly can G-MEN units do?
G-MEN units contain sensors for temperature, humidity, and 3 axes of acceleration (X, Y, Z) in a box the size of a pack of cigarettes. Just two Size 3 batteries (US: Size AA) are sufficient to continuously record vibration and shock data for up to 1.5 months. Recorded data is easily transferred to computer via USB port, and easy to display as a graph. Data analysis is simple using the standard bundled G-TRACE.net software or other spreadsheet software.
The conditions of logistics environments can be digitized and recorded. G-MEN units are the heroes behind transformations in the world of logisitics. Vibration recorders were available before G-MEN sales began, but these old recording systems used completely analog methods of measurement like springs and thermal paper. The prices were also shockingly high - around JPY 200,000 (USD 2000), yet each unit only measured movement along 1 axis. Compared to these old analog recorders, innovative G-MEN units are low cost at JPY 42,000 (USD 420) and high performance, covering 3 axes, temperature and humidity.
SRIC took nearly 3 years to perfect its G-MEN units - the highest priorities were product design and usability. The design is compact and stylish to attract a larger user base. The compact size is made possible by the use of USB port technology, which was still new when sales first began. SRIC had the foresight to recognize the future spread of USB, and made a decision follow this trend.
To ensure usability, SRIC recruited young women programmers from the video game industry. The software team’s goal was to create intuitive software that was easy to use without reading an instruction manual. SRIC’s foresight and flexibility in manufacturing is summarized in the G-MEN product line. Since then, over 20,000 G-MEN units have been shipped to serve as quality control for every kind of logistics operation.
Currently, the product lineup has 3 types of recorder for different speeds of acceleration. Sales will start soon for 2 more units: one low-cost, and one premium. As quality control in logistics improves, low-cost units will be in increasingly high demand in the market. The premium model will include GPS capability, allowing users to pinpoint the location where cargo defects occurred.
The rise of IT in society has made it possible to send previously invisible data directly to our offices. Yet, basic cargo safety will continue to grow in emphasis in the logistics systems that transport physical cargo from one place to another. Heroes like G-MEN units will be ready to meet the challenge.
Interview Date: September 25, 2018
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