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Rental Company Raises Efficiency, Accuracy With RFID

The UHF RFID system from Aucxis enables Dutch furniture rental company Alvero to manage 200,000 pieces of furniture as each is loaded for customers, and again when they return.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 28, 2018

Alvero Kantoormeubelverhuur B.V. has a complex product offering: thousands of different types of furniture, which are sent around Germany and the Netherlands, and are then returned at varying times for servicing and another rental. After more than a decade of exploring RFID-based solutions to bring visibility to this process, the company has adopted a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID system to track its rental furniture as it is received, and again as it is delivered to customers. According to the company, the solution not only makes the loading of rental equipment destined for customers more efficient, but also prevents errors.

The solution was provided by Belgian company Aucxis. It includes Aucxis's R-Connect middleware to capture and interpret tag read information, as well as UHF RFID readers from Impinj readers and antennas supplied by Kathrein. The data captured by R-Connect is forwarded to Alvero's existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Since installing the system more than a year ago, the company reports that it has already achieved a return on its investment based on speedier loading and unloading processes, as well as fewer errors in shipping.

As equipment is loaded for customers and later returned, each tagged item passes through a reader portal and its status is updated.
Alvero manages hundreds of thousands of pieces of furniture for offices and other workspaces from its facility in Oosterhout, the Netherlands, according to Saskia Bos, the company's automation director. The firm has been in business since 1990. Products include tables, desks, chairs, wastebaskets and screens that separate work spaces. The furniture, which is used for meetings, for events or in temporary offices, ranges from very basic pieces to designer furnishings.

The company transports its rented furniture to customers in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany, often delivering an order within 24 hours after an order is placed. According to Bos, there are many orders—approximately 2,600 are fulfilled daily, on average.

The management of rental equipment can be a monumental task, the company reports. Not only is there a high volume of orders, but the terms vary widely—from a single day to three or four years. Alvero wanted to use the technology to better understand when rental furniture shipped out to a specific customer, as well as when it returned. With that data, they can not only prompt appropriate billing, but also understand when equipment has not been returned—and, if it has, the system can trigger inspection, cleaning and repair services to make the furniture ready for the next customer. The single greatest challenge, Bos says, "is keeping the stock up to date."

USER COMMENTS

Allen Xu 2018-03-28 09:55:40 AM
it's very excellent!The potential of the RFID when meets the traditional problems,would have a magical chemical reaction!

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