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German Label Manufacturer Boosts Shipments

Herma is using RFID tags and readers to track the locations of adhesive labels within its warehouse, based on the whereabouts of forklifts that pick up and deposit the pallets loaded with those labels.
By Claire Swedberg
A forklift's tags transmit at varying intervals. If the tags do not move for a preset length of time, such as two minutes, they will become dormant and cease beaconing. When the forklift moves again, they begin to transmit once more, and if the forklift is located in an area dedicated for picking up and putting down pallets, the beacon rate is higher than when the vehicle is in a non-critical area in which pallets are not stored.

Ubisense's Holger Hartweg
The system provides two benefits, Baude says. "We are able to send more pallets out with the same number of workers," he states, since less time needs to be spent checking ID numbers and comparing them against the numbers of a paper order. In the past, he notes, drivers had to travel through a warehouse searching for a pallet, rather than being directed to its specific location, and once the pallet was located, its identity then had to be verified manually (via a handheld bar-code scanner, or by visually checking numbers) rather than automatically, as is the case with the new system.

This increased efficiency is critical, Baude says, because of the company's goal of shipping about 800 pallets daily in the coming years. Herma expects that the RFID system will make this increase in volume achievable. Consequently, he says, the company plans to acquire three additional forklifts, and to install the Ubisense system on each vehicle.

"I'm very happy with the results," Baude says, regarding the system's performance. "We also have much more satisfied customers," he adds, thanks to a decrease in shipping errors.

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