Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

A Guide to RFID WIP Solutions for Discrete Manufacturers

Tracking work in process with radio frequency identification gives you real-time visibility into your processes and operations, which, in turn, saves time, improves quality and reduces costs. Here's what you need to know to choose a system that's right for your company.
By Jennifer Zaino
Jun 08, 2009—When you're making items composed of many parts, such as airplanes, automobiles, high-tech and consumer electronic devices, machinery, or medical equipment, it's essential—but difficult—to keep track of work in process (WIP). As many components and subsystems are assembled into individual products, discrete manufacturers need to ensure that the right parts make their way from warehouses to bins to assembly lines when they're needed.

It's also critical that the correct parts are diverted at the right time to the proper locations for painting, subassembly or other work before they can be brought together and incorporated into the final product. That's especially important if the manufacture of parts or subassemblies is outsourced to a supply-chain partner. Any delays or errors in these processes can cause a manufacturer to stop production to sort things out.

Many discrete manufacturers track WIP manually, using paper-based logs or entering data into computers or handheld devices—all methods that are prone to error, thanks to human fallibility. Even manufacturers that have automated the process using bar-code scanners find that workers often forget to scan some parts or circumvent the system for other reasons. Typically, managers aren't alerted to errors soon enough, so they cause problems down the line.

Manufacturers that have been using radio frequency identification to automatically track WIP in real time say that improved visibility can decrease mistakes and inefficiencies in operations, as well as lower costs and reduce inventory. Hewlett-Packard Brazil (HP Brazil), for instance, deployed an RFID WIP system in 2006 to analyze the processes used to manufacture and distribute printers. The company has been able to decrease downtime on its manufacturing lines, reduce its printer inventory in the supply chain and move closer to perfect order fulfillment.

Many workers at discrete manufacturing plants are highly skilled, and tracking WIP with RFID can help ensure they aren't being paid to search the floor for needed parts or sit idly when production is down. If there were a problem or delay, RFID WIP would alert managers in real time so they could, for example, run an extra shift or start up another line to get an order out on time—and, perhaps, avoid penalties for failing to meet a customer deadline. RFID WIP also can improve quality control by tracking each step to make sure it was carried out correctly.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,711 words and 4 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations