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RFID Zones Enable Automated Tracking Solution for Warehouse
Asset Recovery Specialists is monitoring the movements of hundreds of pieces of equipment in its San Diego warehouse with an RFID system that detects the zone in which tagged items were last detected, thereby increasing productivity by 30 percent.
Aug 12, 2019—
Reverse logistics provider Asset Recovery Specialists (ARS) has saved 30 labor hours each week, while also boosting its order-production rate by 30 percent, thanks to an RFID system that tracks its inventory of pre-owned equipment. Having confirmed that the technology provides effective inventory data based on zones throughout its facility, the company next plans to track when each item is loaded onto a vehicle for customer deliveries. The solution is provided by A2B Tracking Solutions.
ARS buys, sells and trades pre-owned office products, such as copiers and printers that it receives from banks following leases to companies furnishing offices. The company typically keeps the equipment onsite for approximately 90 days at its four centers in San Diego, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Swedesboro, N.J.; and Seattle, Wash. At any given time, its largest facility in San Diego could have custody of 2,000 assets, says Randy Dillon, ARS's president, with 100 to 150 items flowing through each day. Tracking them manually has been a time-consuming and error-prone process.
When customers place orders, employees try to find each item quickly so it can be delivered to or picked up by those customers. To identify each item, ARS printed a visible inventory number on each label, but that required a visual check by personnel. If an item wasn't where workers expected it to be, it could take up to several hours to locate that object.
To improve the efficiency of storing, locating and accessing equipment, Dillon says, "We explored RFID about five years ago, but at that time, it was so expensive it wasn't realistic." In early 2018, the company began working with A2B Tracking on an RFID solution that was designed to be affordable while providing the zone-based location of each item, based on where its tag was last read within the 28,000-square-foot facility. It deployed the system in March 2019.
The company kept an aisle clear for vehicles to move products, then divided the storage areas into eight zones, with one fixed reader at the entrance to each zone on the lower floor, and another on the mezzanine level. Readers were also installed at the dock doors where good are received and tagged. As a piece of equipment is brought into the facility, it passes the reader mounted at the entrance to the zone in which it is being delivered, and that tag-read data is captured in the software and stored as the last known location for that item.
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