Real-time data enables production execution

Manufacturers pursue lean manufacturing and just-in-time methodologies to obtain the benefits of reduced inventory. Some manufacturers, however, build up inventory to handle unforeseen circumstances, or because they do not have an accurate representation of WIP. Such technology can sustain inventory visibility and tracking within the manufacturing. Each event is recognized in real-time, and each event spurs other events to occur. Notification of a pending production run, for example, can prompt a supplier to schedule a replenishment delivery. 

RFID can support users with the real-time data needed in production execution. Consider applications where it is critical to ensure that correct labour, machine, tool, materials and components are available and ready for deployment. The read-write capabilities of RFID can be used to control, modify and reconfigure production steps based on inbound materials and assemblies. For example, in flexible automobile assembly, cars can be assembled according to customer choice. Car parts can be read by operator or robot and follow the right steps, according to the data received. 

Going live with RFID needs systematic approach like understanding of business needs and potential of using RFID system. It is necessary to outline manufacturing goals and data requirements before examining any RFID.

RFID systems should be conceived, designed and implemented using a systematic development process in which end-users and specialists design RFID systems based on an analysis of the organization's business requirements. Few generic guidelines that one can follow:

  • Clear Business objectives.

  • Establish goals to be achieved or problems to be solved.

  • Awareness and technology know-how.

  • Analyze the business case and establish the technology.

  • Identify and implement pilot project and cogitation results and ROI.

  • Roll out.

  • Keep analyzing and improving: Set up an ongoing process to monitor and adjust as changes occur in requirements or technology capabilities.

- Harmeet Sodhi