Inventory Tracking with RFID Case Study – Safety Equip Mfg

TransitionWorks assists manufacturer with tracking life saving equipment for the aviation industry.

Aviation Safety Equipment Manufacturer

The TransitionWorks RFID tracking solution enables an aviation safety equipment manufacturer to rise above their competition and be the first to provide the industry with the ability to track inventory and to obtain accurate, real-time information about their products.
The company produces innovative and relevant products and provides outstanding customer service to their customers which include many of the world’s top airlines and aircraft manufacturers. They also have a worldwide network of authorized distributors and service facilities to provide continuous support throughout the life cycle of their products.

Business Issues

The company identified an opportunity within the aviation industry to utilize Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to assist in the automation of compliance and inventory management tasks. As an example, assuring FAA compliance typically requires a physical check under or between each seat in an aircraft to verify the existence of required life vests. Through the use of RFID-enabled life vest tags and a hand-held scanning device, an airline can quickly and easily verify on-board life vest inventory streamlining the compliance audit process and improving audit accuracy. Audit data can then be forwarded to the organization’s inventory management systems where issues such as inventory losses and upcoming service requirements can be identified and addressed.

TransitionWorks Solution

TransitionWorks Software processes commission and print the RFID tags that incorporate customer specific information and general product data received from the corporate ERP system. The RFID tags are encoded and printed, on demand, during the manufacturing process and are then placed inside the life vest to provide a tamper-proof label application. RFID-encoded data includes:

  • Unique Serial Number (SGTIN-96)
  • Manufacturer Part Number
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Date of Fabric Manufacture
  • Re-Inspection Date

The Director of Operations and Engineering states, “Each life vest is equipped with an RFID chip that stores the birth record and other critical information about the product.

TransitionWorks Software processes are utilized at the company’s RFID-enabled inspection station where inspection data (inspector, date/time, and vest status) is captured and also at their RFID-enabled carton packing station to insure that correct products and quantities are placed into customer cartons. Required package labels, carton labels and packing slips are printed and light/buzzer stacks are employed to identify defective, damaged or missing RFID tags and to indicate carton packing errors. In the near future, the company plans to extend their RFID capabilities to their shipping department. Shipping cartons will be scanned at the shipping dock, with an RFID-enabled dock door portal, allowing the company to track the serialized life vests shipped for each customer order. The company also plans to implement RFID-enabled processes in the manufacture of their life raft product line.

Business Benefits

The TransitionWorks RFID-enabled inventory tracking solution has allowed the company to rise above their competition and be the first to provide the aviation industry with enhanced inventory tracking capabilities, streamlined compliance audit procedures, an anti-theft mechanism and the means to electronically identify and locate safety equipment requiring re-inspection and/or replacement. Internally, the company has eliminated error prone manual data entry and labeling procedures and increased the overall level of automation in manufacturing, packaging and labeling processes. RFID-enabled processes have also provided the means for real-time error detection and correction prior to shipment to the customer.

“Through the use of TransitionWorks’ software and a handheld scanner or fixed reader, this critical information becomes immediately available to our customers. The savings in time and money as well as improvement in accuracy and safety compliance is significant. TransitionWorks helped us design a solution that fit our needs perfectly,” states the Director of Operations and Engineering.

Lessons Learned

Test, test, test, and then test again to make sure you have the right tag for the job and understand the capabilities of the readers used.

About TransitionWorks Software

TransitionWorks Software is dedicated to helping our customers improve efficiencies and simplify business processes. Since product inception in 1997, our TransitionWorks Software organization has accomplished this goal by iteratively developing, delivering and supporting a set of solutions that help manufacturing/distribution companies simplify and automate key supply chain processes using automated data collection technology such as barcode, RFID and voice. With proven, successful implementations world-wide, TransitionWorks’ premier solutions for Inventory and Asset management is the system of choice for many leading companies in the world.

TransitionWorks Software Solutions:

Inventory Visibility Express
Asset Visibility
Sales Visibility
Custom Process Solutions
Integration Capabilities – BPCS, SAP, Oracle, JDE, Legacy, etc.

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