The Necessity of RFID Asset Tracking for Manufacturing

Oct 3, 2020

From 2020 to 2025, the global asset tracking industry will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%. After that, the sector will be worth $36.6 billion. One of the tracking methods that will contribute significantly to this growth is radio frequency identification (RFID).

RFID asset management in the supply chain is continually increasing. Affordable, passive RFID tags make RFID supply chains easily deployable. As a manufacturer, are you unlocking the full potential of RFID asset management?

A capital-intensive process ripe with challenges, manufacturing operations benefit from RFID with improved quality control, asset management, security, and production execution. To draw value from RFID in manufacturing, the goal should be becoming a data-enabled enterprise rather than focusing on tracking.

Here are five ways RFID asset management optimizes manufacturing to save you time and money while reducing problematic occurrences.

1. No Line of Sight Needed to Track Assets

Unlike barcode scanning, line-of-sight scanning is not required with RFID tracking stickers. Instead, it relies on Automatic Identification Data Capture (AIDC) technology. An RFID tag that transmits a radio signal is attached to each asset. The radio signals are picked up by an antenna, which transmit the signal to a reader.

The reader, which decodes the signal, can be placed in a fixed location such as a wall or handheld. Since the radio signal can be received over a distance, assets can be scanned automatically.

This offers the following benefits:

  • No wastage of working hours tracking items
  • Saves you the cost of replacing assets that cannot be tracked

2. Human Error Is Eliminated

Manufacturing is the industry most prone to human error. This is because there are a lot of moving parts within the manufacturing process. A study sponsored by GE Digital and ServiceMax revealed that of all unplanned downtime in manufacturing, 23% are caused by human error.

Since RFID asset management systems are automated, they will identify objects and collect and transmit the data. With little to no human interaction, human errors can be eliminated, thus making RFID asset management more efficient than traditional methods. Once in place, you will be able to collect more data, which will also be more accurate without impacting production or increasing costs.

And instead of tracking assets in the warehouse, your manufacturing teams can focus on other tasks.

3. Track Multiple Assets Simultaneously

The primary benefit of technology and automation in manufacturing is increased productivity and efficiency. This is exactly what RFID asset management offers. Instead of scanning one item at a time, with passive RFID tags, you can read twenty or more tags at a go. This depends on the number of devices in your system.

During inbound and outbound shipments, products can be processed in bulk. Such operational efficiency will eliminate bottlenecks, thus improving the accuracy of scanning.

4. Safety Improvements

Workforce safety is one of the greatest concerns for manufacturers. With whirring machines and the use of dangerous chemicals, employees in manufacturing face many risks. This is why safeguarding employees in manufacturing is now a top priority

In this regard, RFID asset management can assist. It enables digital collection of data and asset tracking, especially in the most dangerous stages of production. As such, there is no need for staff to expose themselves to the harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures to check whether production is proceeding smoothly.

More importantly, the data collected by RFID tracking stickers can warn employees of potential hazards, thus enabling preventive measures to be taken.

5. Improves Traceability

To improve operational efficiency and quality assurance, traceability is crucial in manufacturing. Traceability is the ability to track all the parts and products in the manufacturing process at all times. It begins when raw materials arrive at the factory and concludes with outbound shipments of final products.

One of the key benefits of traceability is the elimination of gaps, and it is easy to identify where problems arose and resolve them. Suppose some products arrive at the end of the production line with defects. Traceability gives you a clear sight of the entire production process allowing you to pinpoint the problem areas.

Such problem areas could be:

  • Defective products handled by the same operator highlighting the need for further training
  • Products not passing through a particular quality check station

With passive RFID tags, you will have end-to-end traceability in manufacturing, enabling you to spot damaged products in production lines and resolve other issues. It also primes you for passing audits as the data availed is reliable.

6. Access to Production Data in Real-Time

During manufacturing, it is crucial to track the levels of inventory to ensure production is not interrupted. The use of manual reports to track inventory is outdated and extremely inefficient. RFID tracking stickers can help resolve such challenges.

As they collect and transmit data digitally, you can access the information in real-time. This allows you to make the necessary arrangements before your inventory runs out.

7. Damage Visibility

In addition to productivity, safety, and data-collection improvements, some passive RFID tags can even inform you if a product or material may be damaged. ShockWatch RFID, for instance, incorporates an impact monitor. At each scan of the RFID tracking sticker, ShockWatch RFID reports its possible damage condition, allowing you to step in before downstream problems arise.

With the inclusion of impact indication, your RFID tracking sticker now becomes not just a window into your operational efficiency, but the care and responsibility of handlers throughout your supply chain. Know if an impact event occurred and where it happened, so you can hold the right party accountable and identify improvements to processes and handoffs.

Leverage RFID Asset Management to Optimize Manufacturing Operations

With RFID supply chain management, the primary benefit is the ability to track goods in transit. However, in manufacturing, RIFD asset management offers a lot more. Beyond eliminating bottlenecks and improving efficiency, it also enables manufacturers to identify opportunities for optimization — and damage reduction, with the right impact indicator-equipped passive RFID tracking sticker.

Get in touch with SpotSee today with the form below to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the applications of RFID in manufacturing.