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RFID Provides Sweet Solution for Chocolate Factory

Nutriart has deployed an active RFID system to automate the collection of data regarding employees' presence onsite for payroll purposes, while the tagging of assets is under way to ensure that tools and equipment can be located in real time.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 22, 2020

Chocolate factory Nutriart has deployed radio frequency identification technology to track the locations and work statuses of employees in order to make its payroll process automated and error-free. Since being deployed a year ago, the company reports, the system has proven to reduce labor time that employees previously spent tracking time onsite and reviewing paperwork and video footage to resolve payroll questions.

The company is now expanding the RFID system, provided by GuardRFID, to include the management of assets on its factory floor, as well as in warehouses and offices. The solution includes 433 MHz RFID readers, 125 KHz exciters, active RFID tags and management software hosted on a separate in-house server.

Nutriart's Alexis Jalbert on the company's chocolate production line
The Canadian confectionery company makes chocolate candy, chocolate coatings, and specialized caramel and fruit fillings. The company operates what it calls a state-of-the-art facility with a focus on advanced technology. One more traditional process the firm had been using was the management of employee timecards and payroll. Nutriart had previously relied on a proximity card for each of its 150 workers, which granted them entrance to the site and provided data about which doors were opened, and by whom, for payroll purposes. That data was not always accurate, however, says Alexis Jalbert, Nutriart's 4.0 engineering project manager.

The company wanted to find a system that would help it manage who was onsite at any given time, as well as ensure that payroll based on that information was accurate. "We have so many people coming in and out, with so many different schedules," Jalbert explains, many of whom kept flexible schedules and employed various transportation options. "One may arrive before his shift because of the bus schedule," he adds, and it could be difficult to differentiate before-shift time from paid work time.

Additionally, the access system did not always detect who entered the building, since several employees could enter when one scanned his or her card. "We wanted to monitor more closely the ins and outs of employees, non-intrusively" Jalbert says, "not getting in the way of production or making people feel they were observed all the time." GuardRFID's technology offered a good compromise, he adds, by allowing the company to know where workers are without the checking on them individually.

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