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  • Editing Team 16:37 on September 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Major Latin American Horticultural Supplier Adopts RFID 

    Brazil-Veiling-Holambra-RFID-blogCooperativa Veiling Holambra (CVH), a Brazilian cooperative considered one of Latin America’s most important producers of flowers and ornamental plants, has decided to adopt RFID technology to monitor the movements and distribution of its products. The company expects to reduce costs, increase stock-control accuracy, increase efficiency and maximize gains.

    The company is tagging more than one million carts, baskets and vases. “For this, we will use EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags, monitored and controlled by fixed readers and mobile portals for all logistics processes of CVH,” explains Francisco Roberto Pereira, the cooperative’s logistics coordinator, “with emphasis on the processes of MCs(circulating materials)’ expedition to suppliers, receiving materials from suppliers, dispatching MCs for customers and returning customers’ MCs.”

    With this investment in RFID, Pereira says, Veiling Holambra expects to increase process reliability, reduce costs, eliminate the manual entering of inputs and outputs, prevent fraud, facilitate inventory counts of MCs and increase operational efficiency.

     
  • Editing Team 17:16 on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: inventory management,   

    How Can RFID Optimize Inventory Management 

    inventory-management-RFID-blog

    You may have already heard of how RFID helps. Yes, this technology not only allows you to collect much more information while cutting labor costs, but also provides you data which enables you to improve inventory accuracy, replenish stock more efficiently, merchandise more effectively and more.

    Nowadays, most retailers take a complete inventory count of everything within their store once or twice every year, and perform periodic cycle counts. Inventory accuracy is typically around 65%, which means there are items on the floor that a retailer does not know are there, and missing items that the store thinks are there. This can lead to out-of-stocks and lost sales. In addition, when staff are helping customers, they don’t have time to replenish.

    With RFID technology, a retailer can count inventory every week and conduct cycle counts daily, at a relatively low incremental cost. Once the system is installed, it might take a worker only an hour to complete an inventory count of the entire store. This not only brings inventory accuracy up to 95% or better, but also makes sure that items are on the sales floor when people want to buy them.

    Moreover, RFID also improves store management. If the wrong item is replenished, its tag can be read automatically and the worker will be alerted to the problem. And if a product is not replenished within an hour, for example, a manager can be alerted. When deliveries arrive at the back of the store, the tags can be interrogated, enabling the business to identify items currently out-of-stock and replenish them in time.

     
  • Editing Team 10:56 on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Casino Uses RFID to Track Uniform Inventory 

    Four-Winds-Casino-track-uniform-inventory-RFID-blogFour Winds Casinos in Michigan has selected InvoTech’s RFID Multi-Property Uniform Tracking System which increases profitability for clients. With the RFID system in place, the casino can centrally consolidate uniform inventory, tracking and purchases for all properties to reduce labor and purchase costs.

    The casino uses the system to automatically deliver uniforms to employees’ hands. InvoTech centrally tracks uniform use, controls inventories, monitors laundry cycles, and consolidates purchasing for more than 10,000 uniforms. Four Winds also plans to implement the system at its Dowagiac casino.

    InvoTech’s expertise in complete UHF RFID system integration delivers 100% control of linen inventory, 100% protection of non-theft related losses, and 98% protection of linen losses.

    Four Winds launders its own uniforms and utilizes an RFID drop-chute reader to record when staff returns soiled items.

     
  • Editing Team 16:26 on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    GE Plans to Develop RFID-Guided Robots for Surgical Tools Instrument 

    GE-Global-robots-manage-surgical-tools-rfid-blogScientists at GE Global Research are working with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to develop a robotic system to manage the transporting, cleaning and storage of surgical tools at VA hospitals, using RFID to help automate the process.

    The solution is expected to include several forms of robotics designed to move tools through the sterilization process, as well as to and from operating rooms. RFID is expected to be used to ensure that proper tools are in the correct kits at various points throughout the sterilization processes, as well as to create a record of the processes completed on those tools.

    A robotic device on wheels could first pick up a kit filled with soiled tools post-surgery, and later return the kit and tools to the dirty side of the sterile processing center. GE plans to test a variety of scenarios, including a robot using RFID for path planning with a built-in reader and tags deployed around a facility to help guide its movements.

    While the solution is intended to reduce infection rates, many more benefits have been identified, including an improvement in the efficiency of surgery and scheduling, since kit accuracy is higher and instrument-counting time is lower. Moreover, the system could reduce setup and room turnaround times, as well as optimize inventory accuracy.

    All details are still open for consideration. Once the prototype is completed in 2014, it will be demonstrated at a VA hospital for three months, in order to obtain feedback from a variety of VA hospitals and personnel.

     
  • Editing Team 11:17 on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Marks & Spencer Expands RFID Program 

    Marks-and-Spencer-RFID-blogMarks & Spencer, leading UK-based apparel and food retailer, has expanded its 9-year RFID supply partnership with Avery Dennison, to enhance customer experience by ensuring the correct product is available in-store and online. The rollout will take place throughout all departments in 2013 and will be complete by spring of 2014.

    Marks & Spencer and Avery Dennison have worked together for RFID partnership since 2003, to create specific RFID tags. The tags supplied by Avery Dennison can be read when an RFID scanner is up to a meter away, making the inventory tracking process faster and more efficient.

    Traditionally, M&S’ workers have to use a scanner to scan a maximum of 400 to 600 items per hour. Now with the RFID system in place, merchandise can be accurately scanned at up to 15,000 items per hour. M&S can replenish stock from the distribution center more quickly and accurately, such as making more garment sizes available to more customers.

    In the future, M&S plans to expand the use of RFID scanning throughout the supply chain to increase accuracy and speed of distribution.

    “As one of the U.K.’s biggest retailers, M&S is focused on providing exceptional customer experience and RFID enables that experience by ensuring inventory accuracy from the distribution center to the store floor, providing shoppers with consistent and accurate product availability in-store and online.” says Shawn Neville, president of Avery Dennison.

     
  • Editing Team 09:06 on November 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    American Apparel Reduces Inventory Shrinkage with RFID and Analytics 

    American-Apparel-inventory-shrinkage-RFID-blogA 10-store region of American Apparel locations use item-level RFID, advanced video analytics solutions and process improvements to greatly reduce inventory shrinkage and increase productivity number. These tools are parts of the efforts by the retailer to improve conversion rates and labor productivity.

    The stores in this region had strong customer traffic, but also had high shrink numbers. Later the retailer discovered that the problems resulted primarily from employee productivity and inventory issues.

    American Apparel had been an early adopter in the current resurgence of item-level RFID technology. The retailer has been expanding its use of RFID, from 5 stores when it began its deployment 4 years ago, to 150 stores now. As usage has expanded, the retailer’s understanding of the technology’s potential has also grown.

    “Originally the main focus was sales floor replenishment, which is how many retailers are using RFID technology,” says Stacey Shulman, American Apparel CTO. “Then our focus changed to inventory control and accuracy, and we’ve seen staggering improvements in our strengths there, along with improvements in sales. We’ve also seen shrink numbers drop on average by 55%, in some cases by 75%.”

    The combination of customer analytics technology, RFID implementations and improvements in store management and processes created a remarkable turnaround in the 10-store region. “We took a more holistic approach and focused on accountability, and we were also able to measure things that we could hold people accountable for,” says Shulman. “We reduced shrink by 75% in this region, and today it’s one of the best-performing regions in the chain.”

     
  • Editing Team 10:14 on August 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Trimble Adopts RFID to its AllTrak Asset and Tool Management System 

    Trimble-Nomad-rfid-blogTrimble introduced a new version of its Trimble AllTrak Asset and Tool Management System. It includes an RFID scanner for its Trimble Nomad outdoor rugged handheld computer which runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. With RFID capabilities, the AllTrak System allows building construction contractors to more easily track and manage their jobsite assets and tools. In addition, the system increases return on investment by improving asset utilization and monitoring equipment to avoid losses.

    According to the announcement, using the Trimble Nomad with the new RFID scanner, contractors can perform a variety of functions such as asset check-in, check-out, transfers and inventory validation much faster than traditional bar code scanning by interfacing with small passive RFID tags fixed to the assets. With an effective range of 3 to 4 feet, RFID technology does not require line of sight for the tag to be read, making it an ideal technology for reading the tags of multiple assets that are in a pickup, service truck or tool crib. Users can also attach the ThingMagic USB RFID Reader to a desktop or laptop when a portable solution is not required.

    Trimble reports that by utilizing the popular RFID tag protocols “UHF EPC Gen2” or “ISO18000-6C”, the new Trimble AllTrak System is specifically designed for general contractors, as well as concrete, steel, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and site prep subcontractors who use tools with embedded or attached RFID tags that support these protocols. Trimble AllTrak distributors can also provide RFID tags that can be attached to assets.

    “With the acquisition of ThingMagic, we were able to bring their experience in RFID technology to existing platforms within the Trimble Building Construction portfolio of hardware and software solutions,” said Pat Bohle, general manager of Trimble’s Building Construction Division. “We chose the Trimble AllTrak System as the first product in the portfolio due to the logical affinity of delivering increased productivity to the process of tracking the physical whereabouts of tools and jobsite assets.”

    Trimble AllTrak with RFID support is available now through Trimble’s Authorized Distributors of layout solutions for MEP and Structures contractors.

     
  • Editing Team 11:03 on August 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: inventory management,   

    Simplifying Retailers’ Deployments with Truecount’s “RFID in a Briefcase” Solution 

    Truecount-RFID-2GO-briefcase-deployment-rfid-blogNowadays some retailers use RFID technology for inventory-tracking purposes. However, many RFID deployments include the installation of one or more fixed readers, as well as software and integration services. To solve this problem, Truecount comes up with a “RFID in a briefcase” solution which is also known as RFID 2-GO. It is a complete EPC Gen 2 system loaded into a compact carrying case that provides all of the necessary RFID hardware and software (except for tags), enabling small and midsize retailers to begin tracking inventory without installing fixed readers. The company began marketing the system this summer.

    The heavy-duty protective case contains a laptop computer, a Motorola Solutions FX7400 fixed reader with an AN710 antenna, and a Motorola MC3190-Z handheld interrogator and cradle for uploading data from the handheld to the laptop. To operate the system, a user need only plug the computer into a power supply, and the reader into the laptop’s USB port.

    The fixed reader can be used to commission new tags—to create a link between the tags’ unique ID numbers and the products on which they are attached—as well as to receive goods with RFID tags already attached, or to process transactions at the point of sale. The handheld, alternatively, is intended for such uses as cycle counting and item searches performed on the sales floor, or in the stock room.

    The laptop is loaded with Truecount’s RFID 2-GO software, for storing data regarding inventory on hand, performing inventory checks, indicating when items are sold, and viewing alerts when inventory levels have reached a threshold at which products need to be replenished.

    “This is a complete solution,” Livingston states, noting that it can manage hundreds of thousands of tags. The RFID 2-GO system, already being utilized by a handful of retailers, costs approximately $11,000, though Truecount offers the option of paying $375 per month for four years.

     
  • Editing Team 16:59 on August 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Smaller Urban Stores Could Benefit a Lot from RFID 

    urban-stores-retailer-inventory-management-accuracy-rfid-blogNowadays in the United States, there’s a common phenomenon that retailers are moving into cities across the country in order to attract younger buyers. At the same time, formats that worked in the suburbs for smaller stores are being abandoned. This may seem to have nothing to do with RFID, but actually it does. Here is how RFID can help retailers trying to sell in a smaller urban store.

    1. Improved merchandising. At a smaller store, displaying a large number of styles or keeping stock units could be a challenge. Many retailers avoid out-of-stock at large stores by filling shelves with the same item. But with RFID, retailers can offer greater variety, for they don’t need to maintain safety stocks. Accurate inventory visibility lets a store see when an item is out of stock, so that a retailer could have one of each of 5,000 items on display, rather than five of each of 1,000 products.

    2. Improved replenishment. If you have less stock on the floor, it becomes more important to restock shelves regularly. In this case, RFID will benefit you. Not only can RFID inform managers when an item becomes out of stock, but readers deployed between the store floor and back room can determine whether a product was moved out of the back room. For example, software can alert a manager if an item isn’t restocked within 10 minutes.

    3. Improved warehouse-to-store shipping accuracy. If a warehouse picks the wrong items or sends them to the wrong store, a large retailer might still have a lot of safety stock in a large back room, enabling it to prevent out-of-stocks. But at a smaller store, there is little storage space. RFID can not only help prevent out-of stocks, but also ensure that the retailer orders the proper items and that the warehouse picks and ships the correct products.

    4. Improved visibility into other stores’ inventory. In an urban setting, a retailer might operate another location nearby. With an RFID solution in place, store associates could obtain real-time visibility into the inventory of that other store, so that if a customer is looking for an item which happens to be out of stock, they could tell the customer, “Sorry, but we don’t have that item in stock in your size, but I see that our midtown store has seven in stock.”

    Stores moving into urban environments might find that execution is more vital at smaller stores than at larger ones, since large safety stocks can mask poor execution. However, within an urban setting, if you disappoint a customer, there will likely be a competing retailer just around the corner. So, before you try to do business in a big city, you may take RFID into consideration.

     
  • Editing Team 11:19 on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: inventory management,   

    New York Hospital Queens Uses RFID to Help Inventory Management 

    New-York-Hospital-Queens-inventory-management-RFID-blogLocated in the Flushing section of New York City, the acute-care facility New York Hospital Queens is piloting radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to help improve the inventory management of its medical devices and consumables, including stents, catheters and filters used within its interventional radiology unit.

    The RFID solution is provided by LogiTag Systems. When staff members remove implants or other necessary items from a locked cabinet, it will automatically create a digital record of which items have been removed and by whom. What’s more, the system allows the hospital to maintain a record of which items were actually used during a particular procedure, using bar-code scans.

    Founded in 2004 in Netanya, Israel, LogiTag aims at offering RFID solutions for a variety of markets including an active RFID real-time location system for hospitals. Its technology is installed at every medical center in Israel.

    New York Hospital Queens has deployed LogiTag’s Smart Cabinet and StockBox solutions, both incorporating RFID technology compliant with the ISO 15693 standard for 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags. The Smart Cabinet is intended for tracking such high-value and time-sensitive items as implants which are used during surgical procedures. It has a built-in RFID reader designed and manufactured by LogiTag to capture the time when products enter and leave its shelves, as well as provide access to authorized employees. The StockBox is intended for consumables such as surgical supplies that are used only once. An RFID tag is placed within an RFID-enabled box when a predetermined amount of product is consumed, so that it can trigger the recording of that item from the warehouse or stockroom.

    When products destined for the interventional radiology unit are received at the hospital, employees attach a passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tag to each item. They then utilize a bar-code scanner to read the product’s serial number and link that information to the RFID number, as well as the product’s make, model, size and expiration date, all of which are then stored in the LogiTag software, residing on the hospital’s back-end system.

    The Smart Cabinet is a locked receptacle with five shelves, storing up to 350 implantable devices and other medical items. If a particular item is required, the employee must first present an employee badge which has a built-in RFID tag. The Smart Cabinet’s RFID reader captures the tag’s unique identifier and uses the LogiTag software to determine whether that employee is authorized to access that particular cabinet. If access is approved, the software will give instructions to release the lock. At the same time, it’ll automatically store the ID number of the employee.

    Multiple items may often be removed, though they may not all be used. For example, during a procedure, several sizes of an implant would need to be on hand to be used as needed. The unused items would then need to be returned. Traditionally they are recorded by having a staff member manually write down the items’ ID numbers or scan bar codes. Now, with Smart Cabinet, it’ll automatically sends data to the back-end system indicating what has been removed, according to the tag ID numbers no longer being read, and by whom, based on that individual’s ID badge read.

    Once the surgery has concluded, the worker can return the unused items back to the Smart Cabinet by scanning his or her ID badge, so that the system can automatically indicate that those products were unused. Those used items’ packaging is saved and placed in a bin, which is then moved to a bar-code scanner plugged into a PC. Employees then simply need to access the LogiTag software, click on the record of a specific patient who has undergone a procedure, and then scan the packaging’s bar codes to update the system as to what was used.

    At the end of the day, the LogiTag software provides a report that informs management of items that were removed and returned to the cabinet, and by whom, as well as which were supplied to a patient or may be missing, in this way greatly reducing the risk of losing or discarding high-value medical products.

    The Smart Cabinet and StockBox have enabled New York Hospital Queens to reduce excess inventory, though it will take at least six months to determine the extent of that reduction. The system provides the added benefit of being able to automatically detect when an item is nearing its expiration date, so that the hospital can more easily ensure that inventory is not overlooked, thus reducing the likelihood of products expiring prior to use.

     
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