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Steel Products Maker Sees ROI in Six Months

Viraj Profiles, an Indian manufacturer of stainless steel products, is using EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to improve inventory visibility and shipment accuracy.
By Dave Friedlos
Mar 09, 2010Indian stainless steel manufacturer Viraj Profiles has reduced its stock-taking time from 12 hours to just one hour, and has also improved the visibility of its inventory to 99 percent, following the introduction of radio frequency identification.

Viraj, which manufactures a variety of shaped stainless steel pieces (profiles), ranging from 20 millimeters to 150 millimeters (0.8 inch to 6 inches) in width, wanted to gain visibility regarding which profiles it had in stock, as well as improve the speed and accuracy with which those profiles were retrieved, prevent mistaken shipments and reduce labor costs.


Each bundle is tagged with a UPM Raflatac RFID label with a serial number printed on the surface for visual identification.
The steel profiles are packed in bundles that weigh up to half a ton each. Viraj's managing director, Nitan Chhatwal, says that previously, each bundle was marked with a manually written code and placed in the warehouse in stacks of more than 150, depending on space availability. Employees manually searched for each bundle using a printed list. This created a labor-intensive search and retrieval process, and human error sometimes led to the wrong bundles being shipped to clients, thus resulting in customers refusing to accept the shipments.

According to Chhatwal, with exports to more than 80 countries, from multiple manufacturing facilities and warehouses, Viraj Profiles believed it was vital to improve its operational efficiency.

"The goal of RFID was to determine the precise location of bundles in the warehouse, faster retrieval of bundles, zero mismatch during retrieval, faster movement of inventory and a reduction in labor costs," Chhatwal explains.

Indian-based technology provider Vicinity RFID was chosen to develop the system. The company first conducted a small trial involving approximately 50 UPM Raflatac ShortDipole EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlays and a Psion Teklogix Workabout Pro 7527C G2 handheld computer with an RFID interrogator. Challenges included determining the best point at which to tag the bundles, as well as designing a solution in such a way that it could be easily used by the primary workers, such as loaders who pick and place the bundles in the warehouse, who might not be familiar with the technology.

USER COMMENTS

Reader . 2010-03-10 02:43:28 PM
Expensive RFID Handhelds It seems that RFID handhelds have come a long way in terms of performance but the price has not seemed to change in the last few years. This will slow the adoption rate of using handhelds to read a RFID tag.

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