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Ceramics Company Gains Efficiency With RFID

A radio frequency identification system has reduced the amount of time required for Porto Brasil Ceramica to count the items on its pallets, from 40 minutes down to three, within only three months of installation.
By Edson Perin
Feb 14, 2020

Porto Brasil Cerâmica, located in the Brazilian city of Porto Ferreira, maintains a stock of more than 980,000 ceramic items. The company reports that it has reduced the amount of time required for employees to count items on pallets from 40 minutes down to three, just three months after installing a radio frequency identification solution. The system was provided by iTag, and though the gains that the company has achieved with its new processes have not yet been measured, executives have already noticed that the company now has greater control of its inventory.

To gain a complete view of the benefits provided by the technology, Adilson Pussi, Porto Brasil Cerâmica's logistics manager, predicts that it will be necessary for the company to run the system for another month. "The reduction of manpower for purely manual operations will have a big impact on our company's accounts later this month," Pussi says. "We are planning to train the people who stayed on the project to occupy positions in the production area."

Porto Brasil Cerâmica's Ana Carolina Varaldo
Another benefit of the technology has been felt with regard to requests for order rectification, which previously required the delivery of additional products to unhappy customers. When orders reached certain customers, they then complained to Porto Brasil Cerâmica that they never received some of their invoiced products. "In order to maintain a good relationship with customers," Pussi explains, "we had no alternative but to re-send the products they said they had not received." This resulted in a huge financial loss for the ceramics manufacturer, he notes.

Now, with the RFID system in place, orders are checked against invoices when each shipment leaves the warehouse, which means there is no chance of errors such as those reported by some buyers in the past. Thus, Porto Brasil Cerâmica can prove no mistake was made on its end, and that the products were properly shipped and delivered. Once an order arrives at a customer's site, Pussi says, it is not the ceramic company's responsibility to control the products' movements at that location, and the RFID system enables the manufacturer to confirm that the order did, in fact, arrive.

Porto Brasil Cerâmica's Adilson Pussi
"My dream is for our stock to have RFID on all goods," says Ana Carolina Varaldo, Porto Brasil Cerâmica's production manager. She anticipates the benefits of the RFID system will be even greater once all items have their own tags. "Today, we cannot do this because the investment in tags would be very high, but we expect more and more companies to use RFID, which will increase the scale of tag production and consequently reduce tag prices." Varaldo says tests were conducted with the tags on the manufactured items and were successful, but that the costs involved have not yet been compensated for by this operation.

The installation started three months ago and is still undergoing fine-tuning adjustments on the reading devices. ITag's 7×2 RFID tags are placed in boxes containing at least six products. With a view toward achieving benefits, the company adopted GS1's EPC Gen 2 standard. ITag's iPrint middleware, which is responsible for RFID tag production ordering, activates a Zebra Technologies ZT410 printer so it can produce the required tags. The tags are then interrogated by RFID portal readers for the purposes of internal circulation and dispatching.

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