Item Connectivity Improves Cable Manufacturer’s Order Fulfillment Productivity

November 4, 2014 Lea DeJarlais

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Keystone Cable, a manufacturer of insulated cables located in Singapore, fulfills orders for its telecommunication and electric cables from its fulfillment center, where thousands of different types of cables are warehoused. The cable is stored on large wood or metal reels that can weigh up to five tons each. To fulfill a customer’s order, a Keystone Cable employee must visually search for a specific reel, confirm the serial number of the cable, move the reel with a forklift to a cutting area and then return the reel to storage once the order has been filled. Because the reels do not have set locations, workers place reels back into any empty slot available.

With such a large warehouse space (over 100,000 sq. ft.) and no set inventory locations, finding the correct cable for an order would generally take a worker 45 minutes. Because of this, Keystone Cable decided to implement an RFID-based solution to speed up the picking process. The solution places Xerafy Data Trak II tags powered by Impinj Monza 4 tag chips on the shelving units and on the reels. The tags are encased in a tough polymer casing that protects them from the elements since some reels are stored outdoors. The RFID tags enable item connectivity, helping workers better track the products and their locations. When cable arrives at the facility, workers simply use handheld readers to link the cable’s serial number to a specific shelf location. When an order is placed, the employee can use the serial number to find the location of the cable and simply drive right to it. Once the cable is cut, the reel is returned back to its specific location rather than being placed on an empty shelf space.

This system has reduced the process of reel retrieval from 45 minutes to five minutes, helping to boost productivity throughout the facility.

Source: RFID Journal

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