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Innovation & Automation / IoT

Many organizations track their assets using barcodes or even manual monthly or quarterly inventory counts.  However, the past half decade with the cost of passive RFID tags plummeting and the readily assessible use of Global Position Systems (GPS),  today's technology solutions through the use of IoT greatly improves how organizations can take hours of relatively manual processes, and have real time visibility into the exact location and quantity of every item in their inventory or management.

 

To better understand what this really means for organizations, CCO assisted a transportation and logistics organization to modernize their asset and inventory tracking environment to make an efficient inventory and goods management system even better. 

 

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Background:  CCO had been working with this transportation and logistics organization for a couple decades, seeing the organization go through numerous transformations on how they tracked the transportation of goods under their management.  While the organization had recently moved to a barcode tracking system, more recent advancement in passive RFID tags allows the organization to have goods and materials “talk” to the tracking system without ever having someone scan a barcode, or move goods past a barcode reading system.

 

CCO’s Involvement:  With a simple and relatively low cost upgrade to an ERP system that was just updated only a few years ago with the (then latest) ERP technology, CCO helped leapfrog the organization’s ERP system into a complete real time inventory and goods tracking and management system.  Stationary goods (in a cargo container, or sitting on a warehouse shelf) can remain where it is stored, the RFID tags are remotely queried, and inventory is tracked at any time with no moving parts.

 

CCO’s Solution:  Using GPS telemetry, not only do the RFID tags identify the quantity, but GPS adds on the location of every item the organization wants to track.  The Passive RFID tags used in the solution were nothing more than telemetry enabled barcodes, so that during the transition from the barcode system to the RFID system, the organization was able to continue to use the barcode tracking mechanism.  Once ALL goods were RFID tagged and the digital tracking mechanism was enabled, what used to take 18-20 man hours a month was now done in less than 90-minutes, on content that was sitting in warehouses, on cargo ships in the middle of the ocean, on transit bays in port cities, or moving along the highways and railways between cities.

 

The End Result:  Just a decade ago, the location of any product or good would take 1-2 hours of human touch time over a week long period to answer the status of product location and availability.  The modernization of 5-years ago brought that time down to 30-60 minutes of human touch time, and 1-2 day response time on product location and availability.  With the use of the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and leveraging innovation and automation tools, the location, quantity, and availability can be self-service web queried by a customer at any time of the day with immediate and accurate response, improving customer service response time, and decreasing the resulting cost for this information and availability.