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Brazilian Coffee Cooperative Uses RFID to Manage Inventory

Coopercam is attaching passive UHF tags to bags of beans, enabling it to track the receipt, storage and shipment of coffee.
By Edson Perin
Jan 08, 2016

The Cooperativa dos Cafeicultores de Campos Gerais e Campo do Meio Ltda (Coopercam)—the Cooperative of Coffee Growers of Campos Gerais and Campo do Meio—is employing radio frequency identification technology to automatically manage its inventory of coffee beans. The cooperative, which is composed coffee growers, as well as producers of milk and other agricultural and livestock products, is located in Campos Gerais (near the southern tip of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais), a city with a high number of small farms and an annual production of 600,000 bags of coffee beans.

According to Hendrix Brasiliense, a partner with BrasilSync, the company that served as the RFID deployment's systems integrator, the technology has enabled Coopercam to increase the agility of its processes, reduce the amount of time it takes employees to perform tasks related to coffee storage, cut costs and easily access information regarding the types of coffee beans available.

An RFID reader installed on the forklift enables the warehouse to automatically record the locations of all its coffee beans.
"Managers follow everything that happens inside the warehouse," Brasiliense says. "Thus, RFID proved to be a viable solution, which improved processes and brought more reliability in performing the tasks."

Forklifts are equipped with RFID readers for identifying each coffee bag and ensuring that it is placed in the correct location. Once the coffee arrives at the warehouse, information about the beans and their storage location is linked to each bag's tag ID number and recorded in the system. "This information is forwarded by Wi-Fi in real time," Brasiliense says, indicating that all of the data is easily accessible via a Web-based platform.

RFID tags are used to map the storage location of each bag of coffee beans. "The tags used for location management generate information on the map of the warehouse," Brasiliense explains. "Each bag has a pouch where we put the tag that will identify the item. Then, when coffee is unloaded and sent to the bag, the whole process has become automatic."

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