5 Ways RFID Transforms Inventory Management in Chemical ManufacturingLee Ann Capogrossi
Analysis of the Process
Every aspect of chemical manufacturing is complex. It requires comprehensive systems to ensure all employees are trained and adhere to safety procedures for handling hazardous materials. It requires strict compliance with many federal, state, and local regulations. It requires careful management of challenging manufacturing processes to ensure maximum productivity, quality control, and worker safety. And it requires mastery of a complex supply chain with accurate forecasting and effective communication between suppliers and customers.
But none of those complexities are made any easier by the manual processes that manufacturers have long relied on to keep track of inventory and operations. Manual inventory processes are time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive. They deliver a limited amount of data and encumber operations. And they practically guarantee that inventory investments are sub-optimal.
This explains why today’s leading chemical manufacturers are shelving their manual inventory processes in favor of robust inventory management systems that allow them to optimize productivity, minimize waste, reduce costs, and simplify compliance.
A Technology with Precise Capabilities
Today, many chemical manufacturing operations are adopting radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to streamline and automate their inventory systems. The technology has been around for decades, but recent refinements have made it the go-to solution for automating inventory tracking and gaining real-time visibility into the movement of materials and products. So, let’s briefly examine five ways manufacturers benefit from using RFID-based inventory management.
In place of manual barcode scans and data entry, RFID tags and readers automatically track the inventory of materials as they move through key operations. This automated process results in far fewer errors when compared to manual systems, ensuring that inventory counts are accurate and up to date, allowing for more efficient inventory management.
Chemical manufacturers can deploy RFID technology throughout operations to create real-time visibility into inventory levels. Collecting detailed inventory information in real-time makes it far easier to make informed inventory decisions. With detailed, up-to-date data at your fingertips, potential issues can be identified and resolved before they impact operations.
One of the most significant benefits of using RFID technology in chemical manufacturing is the bottom-line impact. Automating inventory processes produces immediate labor savings — tasks that once took hours are completed in minutes. And the added visibility makes it far easier to optimize inventory to avoid costly shortages and reduce waste.
Few industries are as heavily regulated as chemical manufacturing. Manual inventory systems only increase the burden of compliance. By installing RFID-based inventory controls, manufacturers greatly simplify tracking and tracing inventory of potentially hazardous materials, gaining access to highly detailed and up-to-date inventory data that makes it far easier to meet regulatory requirements.
RFID technology is flexible and easily scaled for virtually any business unit, from small projects to complete manufacturing operations. As demand for real-time inventory data increases and the business grows, the RFID system can easily be expanded to accommodate new requirements. RFID tools and data are also easily integrated into other critical business systems.
As noted, RFID technology has become far more accessible over the past decade. MSM Solutions and Zebra Technologies are right in the middle of the transformation. When you combine our fully customizable PortalTrack software platform with Zebra’s portfolio of RFID printers, tags and infrastructure, you have everything needed to take complete control of your entire operations. Contact us today to learn more.