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How RFID Can Provide Critical Real-Time Production Information

Real-time information regarding key performance indicators is pivotal for driving processes toward meeting a company's production targets.
By Amila Nandasekera
The real-time information on production KPIs for the selected sewing line was made available to the operators, the team lead, members of the shop floor staff, shop floor executives, production managers and senior management, through an electronic display board mounted at the end of the sewing line, as well as via e-mail alerts. The display board displayed actual real-time line efficiency and defective percentage, as finished garments came out from the production line, while e-mail alerts were sent to production managers and senior management every 30 minutes, regarding actual efficiency versus target efficiency, as well as actual defective percentage versus planned defective percentage.

The operators and the line supervisor for the selected production line could view real-time efficiency and defective percentages on the display board, compared against set targets throughout the shift. This helped the staff know whether or not they were on par with the target efficiency and defective percentages, as well as whether they were lagging behind the target, thus enabling them to immediately rectify the root causes in order to get their performance back on track before it was too late.

A display board was mounted at the beginning of the production line to provide real-time performance metrics to the factory staff.

Moreover, e-mail alerts sent to production managers and senior management triggered operational-level decision-making at the right time, thereby ensuring that the selected production line was driven to not only reach the target, but go beyond it. This access to real-time information—which led to managing by objectives through effective decision making with the correct information at the proper time—increased the production line's average efficiency to 53.18 percent, compared with an average efficiency of 32.26 percent for the previous month (when the staff lacked access to real-time information), while decreasing the average defective percentage to 2.45 percent, compared with 5.26 percent for the month prior.

Pilot findings concluded that real-time information made available through RFID technology immensely contributed to managing by objectives, through correct decision making with the right information at the proper time, as opposed to making decisions with the benefit of hindsight with not-so-reliable, manually summarized information

Amila Nandasekera is a senior RFID implementation consultant at Sabre Technologies, a division of MAS Holdings Ltd., in Sri Lanka.

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