Argentina-based Promedon manufactures and supplies medical implants and prostheses to hospitals around the world. The company is using RFID in their warehouse in Chile to improve accuracy and reduce manual labor in the shipping and receiving processes.
At warehouses, employees pack and ship packages containing varying sizes of devices or prostheses that a hospital has ordered for each surgical patient’s procedure. Before implementing RFID, employees had to manually record package contents and compare it to the hospital’s order. An error in a package could leave a surgeon without necessary equipment during a procedure.
In August 2012, Promedon began using an RFID solution from Impinj partner RFID Chile. As items arrive at the warehouse, Tageos RFID tags are applied to the items’ packaging. For mostly-metal products, Xerafy Metal Skin tags, containing Impinj Monza chips, are used. Staff use an Impinj Indy-based ThingMagic USB RFID reader to associate data about each item with the RFID tag’s unique ID number.
When packing orders, workers use handheld RFID readers to ensure the correct content by reading the equipment’s tags. Software from RFID Chile alerts staff if an order contains any incorrect items or is incomplete. With the new system, packing time has been reduced by 75%.
The technology also helps with returns and billing. After a surgical operation, hospitals return unused equipment to Promedon, who then scans packages noting which items were returned and bills the customer according to usage.
Though Promedon initially chose RFID to reduce errors and increase efficiency, the company is also gaining greater visibility into warehouse inventory and is able to more easily know when to reorder equipment.
SOURCE: RFID Journal.