Automating tracking of returnable containers and other high-value assets allows manufacturers to effectively and efficiently track the location of critical parts during each stage of their work process – and to solve numerous supply chain management challenges at the same time.
Today's most innovative manufacturers are turning to RFID technology to accomplish this task. An RFID-enabled material tracking system allows for automatic, cost-effective tracking of assets (pallets, racks, totes, drums and more), providing real-time data on location, check-in/check-out times, shipping history and more.
IFREEQ RFID technology is particularly well-suited to use on returnable containers and other high-value assets. All of our tags – both off-the-shelf and custom-built – are rugged enough for long-term use in nearly any environment, and we specialize in matching the right RFID tag to the right application. Regardless of your specifications, we can help you deploy an RFID asset management system that saves you time, money and hassle.
RFID technology eliminates the myriad issues that come with manual container tracking. Indexing check-in/check-out by hand is error-prone – miss (or misplace) a single asset, and it's likely gone forever – at great expense to the manufacturer. Barcode-based tracking systems are only slightly better; the manual element (and its potential for error) still remains, resulting in lost containers – and wasted time and money.
IFREEQ RFID technology, however, automates the process – in a professionally deployed system, the tags and readers essentially do all the work, providing users with only the information they need, when they need it. This is best accomplished via careful planning and consultation with industry experts to determine – among other factors – proper tag selection, attachment and placement, portal placement and information workflows.
In addition, IFREEQ RFID asset management and tracking systems are typically compatible with legacy databases and asset management applications. There's no need to re-write serial numbers or change identifiers; RFID solutions are more than capable of handling global returnable asset identifiers (GRAIs), serial shipping container codes (SSCCs), or whatever you're currently using.
With a portable RFID reader built into a mobile computer, staff can easily scan one or more asset tags without having to physically see the tags. With traditional barcode labeling, employees would have to point a barcode scanner directly at the tag in order to get an accurate scan. In some applications, that would require crawling under desks, behind racks of servers, or climbing ladders to scan hard-to-reach assets. With RFID, the reader can be several feet away and still get an accurate scan. One employee could easily scan several dozen assets in a room in just a few seconds.
RFID tags with larger on-board memory capacity can even store additional information about the asset. For applications in remote areas where connectivity to a back-end application or database might be challenging, the tag itself can store information about maintenance activities or sensor data that can be read and written to by a field technician using a mobile computer.
Barcode labels can be used for asset tracking, and do provide a more efficient alternative to manually searching for serial numbers — but a RFID asset tracking system can provide multiple advantages over barcoding. These include:
*Reading multiple tags at once, without requiring line-of-sight between the tags and scanner. One employee could inventory an entire room full of equipment in a matter of minutes.
*Critical service information can be stored on the assets themselves, enabling more accurate asset life cycle management.
*RFID tags can be integrated with sensors and GPS technology to provide asset condition data, in addition to location information.
*By integrating the solution with a wireless LAN, assets can be identified and located remotely in seconds.
*Inventory times can be reduced from days down to hours.
*Asset security can be improved by generating real-time alerts and alarms if assets are moved into unauthorized locations or taken out of a building.
*Enhanced productivity because assets can be located almost instantaneously, and most asset management tasks can be made more efficient using RFID.
Tracking large numbers of assets doesn't have to be a logistical nightmare. Automated tracking with RFID will provide a complete view of your asset fleet without the costly and time-consuming efforts involved in manually managing equipment.