From Warehouse to Workstation – Locating Assets with RFID SolutionsBrett Wilkerson
When you’re dealing with a lot of assets, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. Items can easily be misplaced and that means wasting a lot of time spent trying to find them. This can prove to be very costly to any company, no matter how big or small they might be.
From getting charged fees by the customer or delivery service to wasting labor hours on hunting down errant inventory, these unwanted financial burdens can be avoided if you have the right RFID solution in place.
From million-square-foot warehouses to small manufacturing facilities, MSM Solutions can give you automated visibility into your inventory and operational processes. You’ll gain actionable business intelligence that will empower you to improve:
- Inventory control.
- Increased sales.
- Customer satisfaction.
- Reduced labor costs.
- Operational efficiency.
How Does RFID Help Locate Inventory in a Warehouse?
In most larger warehouses, you have well-defined shipping lanes that are approximately 1-12 feet wide and can hold 10-12 pallets each. In an ideal situation, when a shipment arrives, these new pallets are placed together and their location is documented so they can be easily located when it’s time to retrieve them. In reality, when warehouses get busy, unloading the trucks become priority so pallets are dropped wherever an empty space can be found.
This causes a lot of confusion later when delivery services show up to pick up inventory. As the staff search frantically for the missing pallets, the warehouse is hit with chargebacks from the customer for not providing the inventory on time, as well as the delivery service for delaying their operations. Plus, the warehouse wastes manhours searching for the misplaced inventory, which also puts them behind schedule for their other customers.
RFID offers you two levels of asset tracking in a warehouse environment – zone tracking and the Geiger counter feature.
RFID Zone Tracking in a Warehouse
RFID can easily track asset to a general location within your warehouse through zone tracking. Every asset that enters your facility is assigned an RFID tag with a unique identification number.
As the asset moves throughout the warehouse, it passes RFID scanners that are strategically placed throughout the warehouse. The scanners actively read every RFID tag that passes into their zones, logging the tag number, location and date/time. This gives you a general map of every asset in your warehouse.
How to Use the RFID Geiger Counter Feature to Find Assets in a Warehouse
To locate specific assets within a few inches in a large warehouse, you can use a function on our hand-held RFID scanners called the Geiger Counter feature. Beginning with the general location provided by the zone tracking, you increase the sensitivity of your scanner to read the RFID tags within a 20-foot area.
When the scanner detects the unique identification number of the specific tag you’re looking for, it will beep. From there, you simply dial down the sensitivity of the scanner to 5 feet and continue your search, repeatedly lowering the sensitivity every time you get a new beep.
For more information, learn how we helped Rand Logistics control their inventory in their 525,000-square-foot fulfillment center.
RFID Can Help You Track Smaller Assets, Too
While RFID is an ideal solution to help you manage assets in a large space, it’s also the perfect tool to help you track assets through workflow processes in more controlled environments.
In medical laboratories and manufacturing facilities, technicians deal with large numbers of small assets where accurate identification and tracking is critical. Medical lab reports and implant manufacturing have to be exact and precise as each person is unique.
With hundreds of assets stored in a small, confined space, finding a specific item can be like finding a needle in a haystack. However, with the Geiger Counter feature, you can narrow down your search area from covering hundreds of assets to just a handful.
Also, to help track each unique asset as it flows through the workflow process established by the facility, RFID scanners can be placed at each station documenting time, location and work completed. This provides a snapshot view of where the asset is in the workflow process so it can be easily identified and located if necessary. It can also alert the technician if an asset has fallen behind schedule or failed to make it to the next stage in the workflow process.
If you want to learn more about how RFID solutions can help you locate your important assets, no matter the size of the facility or the size of the asset, give us a call and let us create an RFID solution that’s right for you.