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RFID Brings Visibility to Water and Snow Sports Company

The manufacturer has achieved an increase in productivity and a reduction in shipping errors for its surfboards and snowboards, by tracking each item via an RFID system from EPC Solutions Taiwan as it moves through each process.
By Claire Swedberg

Additionally, some products require different workstation equipment settings, based on the purpose for which they are built. For instance, a paddleboard may require cutting for a specific size. When the system identifies the product, it links that ID to the type of product, and that information is then displayed for workstation employees so they can adjust the equipment settings to match the requirements for that particular product.

Finished products are stacked on carts as they are prepared for shipment to a customer. The carts are also equipped with an RFID tag so that the cart can be uniquely identified. In that way, the cart's ID number can be married to the tag ID of each product loaded onto it. The company must then identify which goods are on that cart as it is loaded into a delivery vehicle. "After the packing process, they use a cart to pile up the goods," Chen says, "and then the cart passes through an isolation area to scan the goods' tag and cart's tag."

EPC Solutions custom-built the isolation area to ensure that every tag stacked on the cart would be read, and that no stray reads would be captured from other products within the warehouse. The collected data is forwarded to the software to indicate what is packed in a specific order. The software compares the data against the customer's order and displays an alert if it finds that any errors have been made.

In the event that an error is detected, employees use an Atid AT-880 handheld reader to interrogate the tag ID of each product, in order to locate the one that is incorrect or to pinpoint any missing products that have not been detected with the load. The same handheld reader is used for quality assurance, and to locate specific products within the warehouse.

Since the system was taken live, Chen reports, it has prevented both production and shipping errors, while also helping the company to identify bottlenecks and work slowdowns—and, as a result, to address problems and retrain workers when necessary, in order to speed up production. The RFID reader at the warehouse updates inventory levels as materials arrive and as the boards are taken to the assembly floor. What's more, alerts can be sent to management to warn them of a replenishment requirement, thereby ensuring that materials are never out of stock and that assembly is thus never delayed.

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