Case Study Warehouse & Distribution

Senitron has deployed its Hands-Free RFID inventory / asset tracking solution to warehouse environments, providing live visibility and location data specific to the aisle, shelf, and shelf level locations.

Warehouse & Distribution | Hands-Free RFID Inventory & Asset Tracking Solutions- Case Study2019-04-24T19:21:52+00:00

Warehouses face a specific challenge when managing assets and products. In short, keeping track of these items can be difficult in these large spaces where perhaps hundreds of people are employed.

In an effort to deal with this specific problem, most warehouses and distribution centers have developed organizational systems, software, and various schemes to somehow keep a handle on where items are located and where they have been placed.

The Challenge

No amount of organizational systems and software programs can fix the “human element”, however. That human element can be responsible for moving items from one shelf to another or for moving items to another part of the facility.

Employees might inadvertently – or intentionally – move items to the wrong locations. Or they might input the wrong information into their location tracking software. Even if information is entered correctly, someone else might end up moving items to another location.

When items are lost (however it happens), warehouse management has to send crews to locate items in huge warehouses, some that contain multiple levels. Each area – full of shelves high and low – has to be thoroughly checked.

The Senitron Hands-Free RFID Solution

Senitron’s Hands-Free RFID Solution simplifies inventory and asset management and creates a real-time record of where items are. By doing this, companies can have their staff doing the jobs they are trained to do, which isn’t necessarily heading into a warehouse on a scavenger hunt for lost items.

Here’s how the Senitron Hands-Free RFID Solution works in a warehouse environment:

  • The Senitron team retrofits and installs hands-free Senitron RFID sensors in each shelf throughout the warehouse.
  • The sensors send real-time location information and the quantities of each asset to the Senitron location tracking/inventory software.
  • Thanks to this system, personnel never again have to look for an item; all the user has to do is enter a part number or description and the Senitron system instantly displays the location of the item or items

This system is capable of keeping track of not just pallets and boxes, but the contents inside the boxes as well. Even if items are accidentally or purposefully separated from their group, the Senitron Solution locates and displays the location of all items.

The Senitron Solution is superior in its capabilities because it increases productivity, eliminates human error and saves on labor man hours; workers no longer have to input location data. It prevents the need to search for lost items or do inventory.

Contact us today so we can get to work on a solution for you!

Suggested Implementation of RFID Technology
& Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution

There are many versions of architecting an RFID solution for organizations and the following described methods are one many possible methods.

 

Step 1 – RFID Labeling Products / Assets / Boxes / Cases / Pallets Etc.

The first step to start utilizing RFID technology, and all of its inherited benefits, and automations is to start applying RFID labels to your products, assets, boxes, cases, pallets etc. Note, organizations are not required to RFID label all the mentioned asset types, for example an organization is not required to RFID label individual items, instead they may choose to RFID labels cases only. ETC.
In this document we are going describe a scenario of a manufacturer that produces product which may contact liquids, metals, carbon-fiber etc. (materials which hinder RFID signal penetration). Thus to architect a solution that will be compatible RFID technology, Senitron recommends RFID labeling boxes (aka cases) of products, and their pallets.

Side Note: Manufactures may choose to RFID label individual items as well, in order to enable RFID item-level visibility, which will benefit RFID enabled retailers.

 A. Labeling Boxes / Cases

Personnel will assemble cases of products. Example Widget A, will be 10 items per case.  Once they have accumulated the cases of products (example 100 cases) they can print case RFID labels (example 100 RFID labels)

RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 1

Notes:
1. With RFID technology each box, asset, etc, always has a unique self-generated, unique serial number.
2. RFID labels can be printed out of Senitron’s Print Screen, ERP, WHM, etc
3. At this stage the RFID labels are not recorded yet.

B. Labeling Pallets

Personnel will bring the RFID tagged boxes/cases, and load them on pallets, and print pallet labels. This processes links each box to a specific pallet # (aka HU#)

RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 2 RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 3Human data input errors can be eliminated by using RFID Technology. As personnel are making pallets, a stationary RFID reader will read each box as it is put on the pallet. A tablet next to each pallet will show the quantity of cases. Once done, personnel click on a button to print out the RFID HU Label.  The RFID system records the HU #, QTY boxes and all other pertinent data. Each box is then linked to an HU#.

 RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 4Example of an RFID pelleting area: Each pallet is separated by PVC separators to stop RFID reads from other pallets.

 

Step 2 – Start Benefiting from RFID Technology

A. The RFID System Tracks Pallets and their contents

The RFID system auto logs as assets move from one zone to another.

 

For example as a pallet moves from RFID reader 1 to RFID reader 2, the system logs the movement as “Movement    11/9/2018  5:30pm moved from Building A to Building B” It logs the movement of the HU#, along with all of the boxes contained on the pallet. And although RFID wont penetrate to read all the boxes on a pallet, the system knows all the boxes which belong to that pallet HU#, thus all the boxes are logged as being moved as well.

 

Notes:
1. If a box, belonging to that pallet, is separated from its pallet and is picked up by another RFID reader, the system logs that boxes location and time stamp separately.

2. If a pallet is broken down, to sell off one box/case, during the shipment process, that box will be scanned, and the system auto deducts the QTY from that HU number, since it knows Box # 2 of 10 serial # 4564645645 was scanned into a shipment order.

 RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 5

At it’s core RFID technology, software and hardware, will record the RFID assets last reported location and position. This flow of RFID information flows into the Senitron RFID tracking software, SAP, Warehouse Management system, ERP system etc.

 

Stage 3 – RFID Transfer Slips / Shipments / Order Fulfillment

RFID will automate, validate, eliminate human error, and speed-up the creating transfer-slips, shipment documents, and full-filment orders.

RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 6

For example, organizations can quickly create a transfer slips in the Manufacturing Faclity, ship it to the Warehouse / Distribution center, and RFID will automatically log when the transfer-slip items left Manufacturing Faclity and when they reached the Warehouse / Distribution center.

RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 7

Order Fulfillment

As orders are loaded on to a pallet to be shipped out, the order can be validated to be correct. If wrong items are loaded on to the pallet, and or items are missing, the Tablet will not display “Order Ready!” message, instead it will display “Order Not Ready!”

RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 8

RFID Technology Implementation & Work-Flow for Manufacturing and Distribution 9Human data input errors can be eliminated by using RFID Technology. As personnel are making pallets, a stationary RFID reader will read each box as it is put on the pallet. A tablet next to each pallet will show the quantity of cases. Once done, personnel click on a button to print out the RFID HU Label.  The RFID system records the HU #, QTY boxes and all other pertinent data. Each box is then linked to an HU#.

 

 

Alternative Method of Reading & Recording The Contents of a Pallet
and Creating Pallet Label Using an RFID Hand-Held Scanner

 

As personnel are loading up a pallet with boxes and assets, an RFID Hand-Scanner can be used to scan each box, label, and or each asset inside the box.

Once everything on the pallet has been recorded, and finalized, the “PRINT & SAVE Pallet Label” button can be pressed to print out the pallet label.  With this action, and the Pallet label, all of the contents of the pallet are now married to the pallet label.  

 

Finally when the pallet is shipped out, and it is ready by an RFID reader, the pallet, and all of the assets and boxes associated with it, are also marked to shipped in the Senitron system.

Learn more
by reviewing the system features!