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RFID Platform Tracks HP Brazil's Manufacturing, Distribution

The company's cloud-based platform, Exceler8 - Innovating Industry 4.0, provides visibility into status of the desktop, laptop and tablet PCs it produces—yielding a range of benefits.
By Edson Perin

More recently, with the maturation of SmartWaste activities, a Brazilian organization called Sinctronics set up an RFID-enabled recycling facility just a few hundred meters away from an HP printer manufacturing plant operated by Flextronics (see Brazilian Recycling Plant Uses RFID to Facilitate Reverse Logistics). This plant also conducts research regarding recycled materials and meets Brazil's environmental regulations, such as those resulting from the its National Policy on Solid Waste.

According to Kami Saidi, HP's head of LATAM manufacturing and supply chain operations, investments in technology are an intrinsic part of the company's strategy. "Some projects developed in Brazil have been extended worldwide," Saidi says. "RFID technology currently used in Brazil is in studies to be expanded in the international context for management of HP's production and logistics processes."

Luiz Fernando Guerra, FIT's general director
What prompted Hewlett-Packard to use GS1's standards was the need to control processes from end to end; streamline, automate and manage operations; and optimize operating costs. Thus, HP sought to improve the quality of information; support faster access to that data; provide integration between sales, manufacturing and logistics; and enhance control over all processes.

The Exceler8 project, launched in November 2014, had its first results published last September. At the end of this year, HP expects to expand its use of the platform by using the technology to integrate its manufacturing facilities with its distribution center. Ensuring that data always remains up to date, HP Brazil explains, will enable the company to reach a qualitative breakthrough in customer-management processes and sales management, with efficiency gains that translate into annual savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as a significant increase in overall customer satisfaction.

GS1's standards, HP says, facilitate collaboration between trading partners, information sharing (order quantities, availability or specific characteristics), agility and item identification. HP and FIT are both members of GS1 Brazil, and were already routinely utilizing GS1's standards, but other reasons for using those standards included reducing organizational complexity, lowering implementation costs, improving integration and maintenance, and facilitating decision-making regarding the acquisition of hardware, software and equipment. Luiz Fernando Guerra, FIT's general director, notes that GS1 RFID technology is used in150 countries, including Brazil.

"RFID tags have a very important role in the 4.0 manufacturing processes, due to the various advantages they offer when compared with other sensor technologies," Guerra states. "The main ones are high reliability, mature technology and high ability to protect against fraud. They also offer opportunities for fast readings accurately, meters away, in order to enable the implementation of advanced automation systems in production lines. "

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