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Where Can We Buy an Off-the-Shelf Kanban System?
We would like to develop an automated kanban solution for our industrial customers. Do you know, in the worldwide market, of any company that has developed an integrated RFID solution (hardware and software) that we could resell?
—Didier (Nimes, France)
I am unaware of any off-the-shelf kanban system that you could resell to customers. We have written about a number of kanban applications, but these usually involve some custom work.
Thermo King, an international manufacturer of temperature-control systems, has implemented active RFID technology for what it calls an "e-Kanban" parts-replenishment system at its factory in Galway, Ireland. When available parts at assembly stations drop to pre-set levels, workers simply push a call button integrated into an active RFID tag. The tag's signal is received by the facility's wireless local-area network (LAN), and the transmission indicates the part number that requires replenishment, as well as its location. The system then software orders a batch to be delivered to the appropriate workstation. This solution uses AeroScout's active RFID-based real-time location system. The technology works well, but is not designed only for, or specifically for, an automated kanban system (see Irish Factory Using Active RFID for 'e-Kanban').
Hansgrohe, a manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen fittings in Germany, has applied RFID inlays to its bar-coded kanban cards, which are used to track production status and materials used. Cards are interrogated in batches by an RFID reader, thereby eliminating the need for workers to manually scan each card's bar code. This has reduced the amount of labor involved, the company reports. noFilis provided software and integration services for the solution—but, again, this is not an RFID kanban system (see Manufacturer Blends Kanban with RFID to Get Quick ROI).
I could connect you to companies that offer software, others that supply readers and others that provide tags, and you could develop your own off-the-shelf solution for customers. But to my knowledge, such a system does not currently exist.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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