Sep 26, 2019BAE Systems, an international defense, aerospace and security company, has deployed three RFID-enabled projects at its Electronic Warfare Integrated Manufacturing Center (EW-IMC), in order to automate point-of-use material inventory replenishment, asset and tool management, and work-in-process (WIP) tracking. The company will speak at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! Europe conference and exhibition, which will take place on Nov. 13, with RFID Professional Institute certification training to be offered on Nov. 12.
The solution includes RFID tags for tracking more than 200,000 assets, 30,000 parts and approximately 6,500 work orders at its plants. During the session at LIVE! Europe, Deidre Schmidt, BAE Systems' operations excellence leader, will explain how these projects increased production capacity and capability in the firm's supply chain and at its factories, thereby ensuring the success of current and future production programs for its customers.
"BAE Systems, the 2019 winner of the RFID Journal Award for Best Manufacturing Implementation, has employed many of the best practices that RFID Journal advocates for any RFID deployment," says Mark Roberti, RFID Journal's founder and editor, "so this is an excellent presentation to learn from, whether you are in the aerospace sector or another industry."
Customers had been requesting that BAE accelerate its throughput so it could build more products for them faster, which was creating operational challenges. The firm considered erecting a new facility and hiring additional workers to accommodate its customers, but it smartly decided to instead undertake an initiative to enhance the efficiencies of its existing resources. Specifically, the company sought to reduce activities that didn't add much value, enabling it to do more with the teams already in place. "To achieve operational excellence," Schmidt explains, "we needed to achieve tracking of our work-in-process, parts and tools."
A second application involved tracking WIP. The company began monitoring paperwork within its factory, which is used to record the manufacturing processes for individual products. Paperwork can often become separated from an item during production, so this helped to enhance efficiency.
The third use case was automated replenishment. BAE wanted to give the manufacturing teams some factory space in which to store parts. "We did that by… shrinking the footprint of our master stores, eliminating the picking of parts and putting them into kits," Schmidt states. "We moved the parts directly in front of the machines, to the point of use, and we implemented auto-replenishment for all of those parts directly from our suppliers' distribution centers. When an order is received, the parts no longer go into our stock room—they go directly to the point of use and can be consumed."
These applications are relevant to many different manufacturing operations. To register for RFID Journal LIVE! Europe or to learn more about the event, please visit rfidjournaleurope.com.