Corporate impact of real time inventory tracking

shared between Boston Marathon runners and designer clothes from United Colors of Benetton, one will find that all of them are being tracked using a technology which has lasted for ten years known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). It revolutionized supply chain management dramatically for corporation for the next three years. Due to the fact that retail chains which are large in size like Wal-Mart being in need of main suppliers to back up technology of RFID by January 2005, most of the corporations are going to take the coming 12 to 18 months still on trial of figuring out the way systems can be implemented that gives them opportunity to apply the technology in order to track their products starting with manufacturing to main distributors.

Technology of RFID has several uses not just simple tracking of people, animals as well as merchandise. Tags from RFID are made up of radio transmitter and smart memory. Receivers of RFID acquire such information and recognize the item as derived from the stored information within memory on the tag. Contrary to bar codes there is a needs for the reader to be in a position of seeing a particular sets of bar within the item. RFID readers are capable of collecting information from a given distance as per the transmitter’s frequency. An RFID transmitter of low frequency needs the reader to be positioned at 1 foot. Transmitters of high frequency give out signal that readers are capable of getting at 3 feet of the item. Ultrahigh frequency (UHF) posses a range of 10-20 feet. Main retailers like Target and Wal-Mart are among the pilot designed are trying to find out if UHF RFID technology is capable of replacing the bar code systems which are existing, P.A. Laplante (1997).

Every early RFID adopters have applied proprietary implementations of their own. However for the prosperity of the technology, it becomes essential for the companies to come to a solution of RFID standard implementation. Auto-ID Center which is of customers and vendors’ consortium willing to spur adoption of RFID, is implementing at a standard known as Electronic Product Code (EPC), that makes easier for the adoption and support for application of supply chain.

A section of its members are going on with their dedication to the technology, such as committing of 500-million for the purchase of tag by Gillette for its pilots who are upcoming as well as market rollouts, there was also placing of an order of 1.5-million tags by United Colors of Benetton for use in tracking item in its retail stores. The technology of EPC has been designed for the purpose of bar code replacement as a unique item identifier and is capable of carrying a lot of information concerning the item as compared to a bar code.

Future benefit and application

When considering any occasion within an organization where there is requirement to use bar code in order to track received or sent items, one will find that RFID tags will have importance as compared to standard bar codes. Only cost of RFID implementation can be justified by labor reduction as well as simplification of automated tracking systems. However price remains the main barrier to RFID adoption. Due to the recent 50 cent price per tag, the tracking cost of whatever thing, apart from high ticket, low volume items becomes prohibitive. However the three main manufactures of RFID, all have focused on providing RFID tags for almost 5 cent by mid-2004. From such price, manufactures are going to start slapping RFID tags on all pallet as well as case that comes out of their warehouses. This will make retailers plus distributers to take advantage of RFID to come up with supply chain application and new innovative inventory.

There is a retailer who is already going on with experimenting with inventory control by applying RFID tags. When RFID readers are placed on store shelves, the retailer is capable of realizing low stock item, recognize potential theft of the products and be capable of analyzing traffic and purchase pattern. As time goes readers of RFID at the checkout lanes will give opportunity to customer or store personnel to be able to move the products close to the reader and have an exact invoice by not necessarily scanning every items alone.

Barriers to the adoption

Such new system will have to be developed in such a manner that it can take care of large amount of new data point that are able to be collected, stored as well as analyzed in terms of RFID tagged item flow via a system. For the coming two years, there will be need of designing new inventory management systems and warehouse to enjoy the real time nature of RFID tag information. This will make the management to design, adopt as well as implement policies that are going to guard the privacy of whoever purchase or consume their products. When RFID tag information are matched to one’s identification mechanisms such as frequent buyer card and charge card, all maximizes companies marketing opportunities and establish a potential privacy policy nightmare. Nevertheless a business is suppose to consider to do its own RFID pilot so that it can be prepared at the time of adopting tidal wave hits, Tim Landgrave (2003),.

Valuable and expensive materials inventory is present within most of the electronics industries like automotive, aerospace, telecommunication, defense, medical and consumer goods. Within most of the environments of high-mix manufacturing, most manufactures tend to loose track of their s hop-floor inventory, many a times when tedious procedures have been ignored by the employees. Cogiscan Inventory Tracking applies real-time information to track the physical location as well as quantities of every inventory on the SMT lines or full production floor, Henry Jordan (1998).

It provides users with instance access to quantities of materials that are remaining; exact location of materials; Moisture-Sensitive Devices for remaining floor time and other components of time-sensitive; time that is reduced in order to locate and count materials by doing away with manual searches and processes of cycle counting that are expensive; inventory cost reduction; reduces change-over time and raise factory utilization and doing away with unnecessary movement of employees, tools and materials, P.A. Laplante (1997).

Every software applications exist with technology of RFID that are automated fully as well as technology of bar code which is semi-automatic. The electronic typically represent 70-90 of the total cost of a Printed Circuit Board Assembly which is finished. MRP system and traditional ERP only keep track of whatever material that has been stored currently within the warehouse as well as whatever was released to production in terms of Work-In-Process (WIP). There might be a wasting of an excessive amount of resource and time in order to find a particular reel of components at the floor of the shop. Cogiscan inventory tracking application always keeps track of precise location as well as every material status. This provide users with instant access to exact location of the materials, floor time that has remain for Moisture- Sensitive and quantities of materials that is remaining.

Some of the benefits of devices and other time-sensitive materials is that; they are capable of reducing inventory cost; they do away with unnecessary movements of tools, materials and people, they lowers time to locate and count materials and accelerates and simplifies changeover of the products. It does all of these by identifying materials by use of RFID tag and/or bar codes labels, scanning them within the system as they move from a given location to the next. In any case operators requires a particular materials or tools, they just carry out a search within the system and this will make the system to give out the exact location as well as status of materials that are available at the floor of the shop. To the remaining quantity information can now be manually entered through machine communication.

Software application

There can be integration of inventory tracking with the rest of Cogiscan software applications such as, Traceability: it traces every material that is involved in building a particular product. Line set-up Control: it ensures automatic validation of every material. MSD Control: it offers real-time tracking as well as status of every device that are sensitive to moisture. Every software application tends to be compatible with RFID technology that has been automated fully and/or technology of bar code that has been semi-automated, Douglass Locke, (1992).

Cogiscan platform makes possible for a real-time tracking, traceability and control of every material on and off the line of assembly. Such entails components, work-in-progress, consumables, tooling as well as the rest of the items that are critical to the process of assembly. There are several significance benefits that are being offered by the modular concept of the Cogiscan platform such as quick and simple to implement, easy to use; scalable, flexible and cost- effective; separate availability of hardware and software; semi-automatic configuration by use of bar code; fully automatic configuration by use of RFID and open architecture for integration of seamless with MRP, MES as well as ERP, S.T. Allworth and R.N. Zobel (1990).

Conclusion

Leading equipment manufactures tend to work hand in hand with Cogiscan in order to embed RFID Control technology into their feeders as well as machines. There is commitment by Cogiscan in the attempt to establish a global standard for tracking materials having RFID within electronics manufacturing industry.

Work Cited

Douglass Locke, (1992),” Software architecture for hard real-time applications” Real-Time System.

Henry Jordan (1998),”Inventory Management in the JIT Age, “Production and Inventory Management Journal.

P.A. Laplante (1997),” Real-Time System Design and Analysis” An Engineer’s Handbook.

P.A. Laplante (1997),” JIT Points the Way to Gain in Quality, Cost, Real-Time,” APICS.

S.T. Allworth and R.N. Zobel (1990),” Introduction to Real-Time,” Software Design.

Tim Landgrave (2003),” The corporate impact of real time inventory tracking,” Tech Republic.

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