Disruptions in supply chains and the labor markets caused by the pandemic have forced a reevaluation of how critical autonomous systems are to the future sustainability of manufacturing systems and supply chains. It is reasonable to expect that companies previously looking into new technology to drive automation and autonomous or robotic controls will redouble that effort to impact short-term results and long-term strategic goals.
In a survey we conducted in September 2020, 40% of our customers were interested in learning more about RFID tagging and how that can be implemented in their manufacturing facilities to automate receiving, internal material tracking, and replenishment. This level of interest is up significantly over two years prior, which signals a realization that companies must be more aggressive in driving this new technology into their businesses, especially in an unpredictable market.
After our own success, we’re not surprised by this resurgence of interest in implementing an RFID tagging program. Our Kloeckner Metals Tulsa branch saw:
• Material locating times decreased from 45 min to 7 min
• Overtime reduced by 11%
• Facility capacity increase by 3 additional truck shipments per day
• The investment paid off in 4 months rather than the projected 16
Implementing a manufacturing RFID program contributed to massive savings on time and resources and, after helping our customers set up RFID programs that would in combination allow us to track materials from our metal supplier and fabrication services facilities to their warehouses, we’ve come up with short list of considerations to help manufacturers get started with their own RFID programs.
DETERMINE WHAT PROBLEM YOU’RE TRYING TO SOLVE
For us, and for many manufacturers, the main objective was simply to save time locating metal in our facilities. We had stacks of metal throughout the warehouse and it was difficult and time-consuming to find certain items. On a larger scale, many manufacturers have no standard operating procedure across the organization to locate metal. We wanted a technology that would define and streamline operations, all the way from inventory checks to data analysis on orders, with the end goal of improving overall business efficiency.