RFID warehouse operations
Where is my stuff?
Every company needs to keep track of its assets. The assets owned by a company generally fall into two categories: fixed and current. Fixed assets refer to assets acquired for long-term use while current assets are those that can be converted into cash within a short amount of time. With today’s technology, asset tracking is typically accomplished using a centralized information system where the addition, movement and removal of assets are tracked.
In addition to tracking location and usage, some assets have associated access control and compliance policies that must be enforced. Examples include assets that contain sensitive information such as laptops and mobile computers, disk drives and storage media, backup tapes, and medical devices. Other examples include equipment that require calendar-based or use-based periodic calibration, tools that are checked-out/check-in for use, and work in process assets that move through discrete states during the production process. The access control and compliance policies are typically implemented by people and paper-based processes.
The challenge when implementing these access control and compliance policies tend to be related to having the procedures and trained workforce in place to reliably update the asset tracking system of record at key touchpoints in the material processing flow.
- The staff updating the assets may not be trained or have access to enter the data into the asset tracking system of record in real time/
- People and paper-based processes tend to be labor intensive, error prone and introduce a time delay between when an asset is updated and when the data is entered.
- The asset movement and update touchpoints man not be located where data can be easily entered – a factory floor production line for example.
- The quantity of assets moving through a production facility may be very large and therefore difficult to manually track
Keeping track of sensitive assets in remote locations (branch offices, remote warehouses, etc.) is even more challenging. As a result, the access control and compliance policies may not always be accurately implemented. There may also be missed opportunities to “error proof” the material processing flows by detecting and correcting errors at the point they occur (e.g. preventing an out of calibration device from being checked out) to further improve safety and compliance.