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OATSystems Tags RFID Sweet Spots, WIP and Retail

RFID software framework provider OATSystems today announced its Asset Tracking and Work-in-Process Solution which is designed to handle two of the most popular RFID applications, work in process (WIP) tracking and supply chain visibility.
Sep 17, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

September 17, 2007—RFID software framework provider OATSystems today announced its Asset Tracking and Work-in-Process Solution which is designed to handle two of the most popular RFID applications, work in process (WIP) tracking and retail supply chain visibility.

The WIP capabilities of the solution are targeted at industrial, aerospace, and automotive manufacturers. It's a demographic that has demonstrated increasing adoption of RFID to wring efficiency out of existing manufacturing processes through enhanced visibility and real-time locationing of valuable assets. Research firm Aberdeen found in a recent survey that 38 percent of enterprises using RFID are doing so to improve WIP (see Aberdeen on Managing Work-in-Process with RFID). See RFID Keeps WIP Well-Oiled for Oilfield Products Maker and Semiconductor Maker Cuts Production Time with RTLS for recent examples of WIP deployments.

PC and printer maker HP has already deployed OAT's new solution in a printer manufacturing facility in Brazil. Printers are tracked within the facility from the assembly line through intermediate stages right up until they are shipped. HP reports a 17 percent reduction of printer inventory as a result of the deployment, which handles nine RFID-enabled assembly lines that yield over three million products annually.

The retail component of the new OAT solution enables such familiar benefits as improved supply chain efficiency and reduced shrinkage and shipping errors. UK retailer Tesco has been using the solution to ensure error-free deliveries of shipments arriving at retail stores from its distribution centers. The system issues an alert when a tagged container arrives in error at a store. "It has enabled us to see where and when delivery errors occur and better understand how this impacts stores and therefore customers," Tesco's director of UK IT Chris Brocklesby was quoted.

OAT indicates that its new solution manages the gamut of RFID data processing, from the moment items are tagged to capturing the resulting data as tagged items pass read points to automating business processes to aggregate data analysis. It can accept data input from both passive and active RFID, as well as sensors.

The company also touts the expertise of its team as a competitive differentiator for the solution. OAT has 200 deployments under its belt, experience that is baked in to the new solution through the incorporation of RFID best practices and proven use cases.

OAT has struck agreements with a number of integrators and solution providers to resell the solution, which is available immediately. Among the channel partners are Avery Dennison, Domino ISG, IBM, Miles Technologies, Rush Tracking Systems, and Tyco Electronics.

The new OAT solution is a testament to the ongoing evolution of the software that manages RFID deployments. Whereas a couple years ago, RFID software -- or "middleware" -- was primarily used to interface readers with an enterprise's existing systems, the offerings have gotten both more sophisticated and more targeted by addressing very particular applications and use cases. Expect this evolution to continue, as enterprises' focus moves up the RFID stack, away from the nuts-and-bolts hardware and toward the applications that actually drive value.

Read the announcement from OATSystems
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