Endries International, of Brillion, Wis., has more than 500 customers worldwide, stretching far beyond its birthplace in northeast Wisconsin to Europe, Mexico and Canada.

Each customer may have hundreds, even thousands, of bins holding nuts, bolts, pneumatic and pipe fittings, wires, electrical components, clamps, and many other parts. Endries manages more than a half million unique items, ensuring an optimum inventory level for each customer.

Recently, Endries introduced Pulse, an automated, foolproof mechanism that instantly informs the company when a bin is empty. While Endries processes the order to replenish the empty bin, the customer obtains the same part from a second bin.

Until recently, Endries only received the “empty” notice after its service representative checked every bin at a customer’s facility, which might happen only once or twice a week. Now, with a new, high-tech solution crafted in cooperation with UW–Madison engineers, workers on the manufacturing floor simply drop the empty bin into a chute for electronic identification. Read the full story here.