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Global Rental Company Achieves Near-100 Percent Inventory Accuracy

An RFID solution from CoreRFID has given Lowe Rental visibility into 10,000 of its refrigeration and catering assets as the rental company expands its UHF technology use around the world.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 10, 2018

Inventory accuracy in the rental industry, especially for a global company offering high-value products, is as important as it is complex. Global company Lowe Rental has increased its efficiency and accuracy as it tracks more than 10,000 refrigeration assets into and out of its U.K. facility, located in Marchington, and at a growing number of its other locations around the world.

Since the system was launched, the company reports that it has achieved nearly 100 percent accuracy of inventory at the facilities where the technology is being used, and has reduced the amount of time required for inventory checks from a week to a matter of hours. During the past two years, the firm has expanded the system to help manage operations in Scotland, Germany, Northern Ireland and, most recently, in Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the next few months, the solution is slated to be taken live in Atlanta and Las Vegas. The technology was provided by U.K.-based RFID solutions company CoreRFID.

Lowe Rental's Ian Lowry
Lowe Rental is an international supplier of refrigeration and catering equipment for exhibitions, events and retail markets. Services also include cold rooms and temporary kitchen rental. Its supplies are used around the globe, including at events such as the British horse races at Royal Ascot and the Singapore Grand Prix. Its products are used in the world's largest food and beverage exhibitions, as well as at some of the biggest retail stores worldwide. The business, headquartered in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, maintains offices across Europe and in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Atlanta, Ga.

"In the rental business, it's absolutely imperative that your stocks are accurate," says Ian Lowry, Lowe Rental's operations director. Traditionally, Lowry explains, the company managed its inventory by manually inputting the ID numbers printed on items that were received and shipped to customers, either in their own vehicles or by third-party carriers.

"This was very labor-intensive when you consider that we can have up to 10,000 assets" at the company's headquarters at any given time, Lowry explains. If an expected item was not in a received shipment, staff members had to search manually for that product's serial number within the facility. The process was time-consuming and error-prone, as serial numbers were sometimes missed or inaccurately recorded.

To resolve this issue, Lowe Rental designed software to manage inventory that could feed data directly to its Customer Relationship Management system, provided by Flowlens. It then began seeking technology that could accurately and automatically capture data for that system. "We needed to speed up the process," Lowry states.

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