TRACK | RFID Asset Tracking in Real-Time Using Portal TrackMatt Slutz
Where’s my stuff?
This is one of the most common question in the warehouse industry. To trace what comes in, what goes out and how many do I need is the constant in the manufacturing world. That is why tracing is key and the fastest and the more reliable the process is the better.
What is Asset Tracking?
Asset Tracking or Traceability is the ability to trace (or track) the movements and processes through which a particular product has traveled. It is the ability to track an asset and all the progressions that the asset goes through, from the acquisition of raw materials through production to consumption. In other words, traceability allows us to have knowledge and control at all times of when and where a product was manufactured, what phases or places it has traveled in the distribution process, and finally by whom and where it is purchased, utilized, or consumed.
How does RFID Asset Tracking Systems Work?
The RFID identification systems of products, merchandise, packages, etc., allows the manufacturer to give a unique ‘registration’ to each item, box, or pallet to initiate its traceability, establishing a system that allows us to recognize each piece individually and thus build their traceability along the chain. With the help of RFID asset management systems, tracking assets is a matter of linking an item to a location.
A fully integrated asset tracking solution tracks and monitors assets in real- time. The system is powered by three key components: the RFID Tags, the RFID Readers and an Asset Tracking Software.
These three components work together to track assets globally or locally, and should be customized to meet the needs of any business environment. An Asset Tracking System lets you know exactly where your assets are in real-time through the following process:
RFID tags are physically placed on the item or assets.
The RFID readers are installed in strategic points so that they can “read” the signals emitted by the RFID tags.
The RFID tags assigned to your assets are imported into an asset tracking software. Through an interface to track and locate specific assets on the site from a laptop, remotely in your web browser or even while on the move using your mobile device.
What are the benefits of RFID over Barcode?
Barcoding has been the system of choice in the industry for many years but is not always effective.
- Barcode relies on a human interaction to scan an item, while RFID tags allow automatic readings of items in motion without the need for physical touch or even eye contact.
- RFID can record simultaneous readings on an assembly or shipping line at distances up to 10 meters.
- RFID technology provides manufacturers with high-quality, reliable, product track-and-trace functionality throughout their supply chains.
- RFID platforms automate the product identification process during shipping, receiving, packing, and storage operations.
- Inventory counts are performed smoothly with fixed and mobile readers for greater visibility, efficiency, and safety.
- RFID systems can now not only follow the product throughout the supply chain but also learn about its interaction with the customer or consumer.
Today RFID technology offers strategic advantages to the manufacturing industry, since it can be used in the tracking of inventories more efficiently while providing visibility of real-time inventory traffic. Manufacturers need this real-time visibility for things like work in process (WIP), raw materials tracking, supply chain processes, inbound and outbound shipments, returnable racking, metrics and analytics, and process traceability.
What to look for in RFID Asset tracking systems?
RFID assest Tracking systems are increasingly gaining more popularity in the manufacturing industry. The technology has many benefits in the manufacturing industry including:
- Tracking of items, containers, and pallets from production to supplier and final destination in real time
- Returnable and reusable rack tracking, (Supplier sends parts to the manufacturer in returnable, reusable crates. These crates are tracked in real time to ensure they are returned from manufacturer to supplier)
- Record keeping of the journey products
- Detection of errors and problems
- Notifications and alerts in real time if articles leave the warehouse without authorization
- Control of the location of products within the warehouse
- Visibility of work in process and traceability of production workflow in real time
- Validation and verification that right parts and right counts are being used in the manufacturing process and right products are being shipped, and
- Quality control tracking
The path that the product follows, from production to retail, provides valuable information in times of Big Data. As a result of this new available information and with the help of business intelligence or data mining applications, manufacturers can now handle alternative and variable solutions for just-in-time and just-in-sequence production processes. With RFID, today the manufacturer can obtain and utilize deeper knowledge of production control, process optimization, and quality control.