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Brazilian Manufacturer Boosts Productivity

Technicolor Brazil Media and Entertainment deployed an RFID system to track key raw materials, providing visibility into their movements throughout its facilities, while also improving inventory-management processes.
By Bob Violino
Oct 24, 2011—Like many businesses worldwide, Technicolor Brasil Midia e Entretenimento (Technicolor Brazil Media and Entertainment) knew that it needed to improve its manufacturing processes if it were to remain competitive while grappling with the after-effects of the global economic downturn. The company, which launched its operations in Manaus, Brazil, in May 1999, manufactures, markets and distributes electronic products, such as asymmetric digital subscriber-line modems, set-top boxes, gateways and embedded multimedia terminal adapters (a combination of cable modems and telephone adapters). The firm's customers include pay-TV operators, broadband-service providers and telecommunications carriers.

But unlike many other businesses, Technicolor Brasil had the support of its parent company to embrace change and adopt new technologies, such as radio frequency identification. Technicolor Brasil is an affiliate of Technicolor, a Paris-based firm that creates, manages and delivers entertainment content to consumers worldwide, providing imaging and sound technologies, as well as visual effects, animation and post-production services, to motion picture, television and other media clients. One of Technicolor's stated corporate goals is to be a global innovator, and to invest in technologies that will help it meet and exceed its customers' expectations.

"With RFID technology, we guarantee the reliability [of information] during the movement of the materials, and the inventory is always updated because the process is automatic."—Marcelo Batista, Technicolor Brasil

To that end, in 2009, Technicolor Brasil set out to improve efficiencies in managing the raw materials used in its finished products. The manual process previously used to track incoming materials from the company's warehouse to the production area was time-consuming and error-prone, often from incorrect data being keyed into business systems, says Marcelo Batista, Technicolor Brasil's engineering and project manager. The company decided to focus on tracking semiconductors—a key component in all of its products.

In early 2011, Technicolor Brasil deployed an RFID system to improve inventory management, and to provide visibility into the components' movements throughout its facilities. The system enables Technicolor Brasil's managers to track the locations of semiconductors, and to base its orders on the real-time use of these components.
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