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Contract Manufacturer Expedites Projects with Surface Pro and Rugged Case


Timberline Manufacturing based in Marion, Iowa, a suburb of Cedar Rapids, is a contract assembler of wire harnesses, control panels, radios and other electronic assemblies for agriculture, food and beverage, off-road equipment, government and other industries. Their 45,000 square foot facility utilizes a team of over 100 dedicated employees to fulfill all orders small and large. 

Timberline Manufacturing offers one source for control panel assembly, PLC control panels, harnessing, wiring and electronic assemblies with engineering services to ensure innovative design and quality products. Customers of theirs can improve control panel assembly and save time through integration and exact match assembly of panels. 

Customer Challenge 

For inventory operations and work-in-progress tracking, Timberline was rather outdated for a high-tech company. Their process involved writing down part numbers, quantities and status updates with pen and paper and then transferring that data to a desktop PC at a later time. As you could imagine, this was not ideal. 

Not only was that process of data collection time consuming but it was error prone on a consistent basis. And for a company whose business model centers around fast and accurate delivery of projects, this was unacceptable. 

Timberline realized they needed to streamline the data collection process in hopes of reducing errors and increasing productivity throughout their entire operation. This initiated their search for a reliable and powerful mobile computing tool. 

MobileDemand Solution 

After Timberline compared various tablets, both rugged and non-rugged, they determined a Surface Pro with protective carrying case would be the ideal solution to replace pen and paper for their inventory operations. MobileDemand, an authorized reseller of Microsoft Surface tablets and manufacturer of rugged Surface cases, was chosen as the preferred vendor. 

Timberline chose the MobileDemand rugged case to protect the Surface Pro for several reasons. First, the port covers seal out dust and debris which is common throughout the assembly plant. Next, the multiple carrying options accompanying the case means users are less likely to drop and damage the device. And lastly, the all-around sturdiness of the rugged case protects the Surface, preventing unnecessary IT costs associated with fixing or replacing the tablet. 


As a result, Timberline has seen increased productivity from their production team as well as a decrease in inventory inaccuracies. Performing inventory tasks with a rugged Surface tablet in hand means the user only has to enter data once and will be notified immediately if there are any typos in the part number. 

In addition, the protective carrying case has prevented damage to the device on numerous occasions. From minor bumps to hard 4-foot drops to concrete, the rugged case has withstood the test of a manufacturing facility. 

Timberline has plans to deploy more Surface tablets with rugged cases in other areas of their operation including quality assurance and prototype building.