Logistics providers have an excellent business case for using RFID to track material handling equipment. TrackStar provides increased utilization and lower costs.
There is comprehensive data available that RFID provides better and faster visibility and accountability throughout the supply chain. RFID technology is akin to the virtual supervisor, monitoring and recording details about product movement, and alerting shipping personnel of any errors. RFID tags are now placed on pallets in the stretch wrap machine. In the outbound loading area, each fork lift is equipped with an RFID reader and computer screen which advises the operator whether pallets from a particular order are included on the accompanying bill of lading. This level of automation reduces errors and accelerates response times to changes in product demand.
Logistics providers have an excellent business case for using RFID to track containers and chassis. ARS provides better container tracking information to allow carriers to optimize fleet sizes, increase utilization and lower costs. The savings accrue when you know exactly what assets you have and where they are precisely located each hour. Armed with that information you can whittle away at the number of containers and chassis you need to accommodate customer demand. The determination of optimal equipment fleet size is a twist on the standard inventory control problem of determining the economic order quantity – the order quantity that minimizes total inventory cost. In logistics, we solve the problem for total fleet size. The objective is similar to determine the point at which the total cost of operating the fleet plus the cost of stock outs (lost business and equipment repositioning costs) is minimized.
To optimize this aspect of logistics fleet efficiency, we need 4 types of information:
ARS can implement an infrastructure that will add significant value by delivering data for the first 2 categories. Our TrackStar solution increases substantially the accuracy of current location data. If you know for sure that you have equipment of a particular form factor, and capacity in the yard, you can confidently take bookings and maximize the revenue flow to make deliveries against bills of lading. If additional RFID surveillance is extended to customer facilities, you can better forecast near term availability of equipment, even though it has not yet returned and placed in service.
ARS helps distribution centers and warehouse operations perform at the same high quality standards that production lines operate at.
The standard for manufacturing excellence is Six Sigma, a business practices methodology developed by Motorola. Six Sigma excellence requires meeting customer expectations 99.99966% of the time. Under this standard, the manufacturer cannot fail to meet its customer’s expectations more than four times out of a million opportunities. By comparison, the quality standards in order fulfillment in warehouse operations seem embarrassingly modest.
The Warehouse Education and Research Council’s (WERC) survey of distribution organizations found that respondents only shipped perfect orders (complete, on time, damage free, with correct documentation and pricing) 85.7% of the time. This equates to 143,000 orders out of 1 million fail to meet the specifications set up by the customer.
In the eyes of a Six Sigma practitioner, this is a process that is out of control. How can manufacturing achieve almost zero failures while DC and warehouse operations struggle? The answer is simple: in repetitive tasks like order place and pick, human directed activities hinder, not aid, performance. ARS’ TrackStar technology can help DC and warehouse operations make the quantum leaps necessary to better match manufacturing. ARS integrates technologies such as RFID, RTLS, voice recognition, warehouse management software and mobile devices that automatically recognize and correct deviations from the customer order with little or no human oversight.