In this competitive business world, industrial companies are increasingly facing a challenge of staying ahead by improving their operational efficiency and reducing losses. As the industrial sector is fast shifting toward latest generation Industry 4.0, business automation, complete visibility, IoT connectivity, and real-time intelligence of the business processes have become the need of the hour.

In the manufacturing set up, several challenges need to be addressed in order to increase efficiency and profitability. Proper asset management, work-in-progress tracking, quality improvement, workforce management, and time reduction are essential to achieve high profitability. A lot of problems arise due to manual operation of production processes, paper-based material flow management, and error-prone manual handling of material flow. Almost 90% to 95% of the material flow is tracked and controlled using paper-based processes, and on-demand manufacturing requires workers on the floor to sequence the exact combination of material specific to each build requirement. Manufacturers also need to keep in mind the workplace safety and reduce death or injury of personnel, and damage to the property.

Emerging trends, such as on-demand manufacturing, are transforming the manufacturing landscape and demanding efficient management of material flows in sequence and on time from one station to another. In this context, floor managers are finding it difficult to track and trace every container or box coming in from different stations—starting from warehouses and supermarkets, to picking centers and sub-assembly lines, and finally to assembly lines. In such a scenario, it is extremely essential for the industrial companies to adopt a system that offers M2M communication, total visibility, precise location of personnel and various moving and stationary assets, and real-time actionable intelligence for the business stakeholders.

Latest Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Rear-Time Location System (RTLS) solutions enable manufacturing companies to track and trace assets and tools, get precise locations of assets and personnel, allow process tracking, improve quality, environment monitoring, workforce management, and ensure workforce safety. The manufacturing process is more streamlined with digitized e-Kanban, poka-yoke, optimization of finished products estimates, facilitation of custom production, and reduction of errors by eliminating manual assemblies.

Advanced internet of things (IoT) based RFID and RTLS solutions can track forklifts and other vehicles in the manufacturing floor, warehouses, and yards. The forklift tracking system with proximity alert is able to improve workplace safety, avoid collision between people and forklifts, and optimize the forklift routes and capacity. Such a system is able to generate substantial savings for the manufacturers by reducing the investment on purchasing forklifts and vehicles, and avoiding property damage and personnel death or injury by preventing accidents due to collision.

New age RFID tags and readers can perform precise asset identification in industrial settings. Readers can be easily deployed and support multiple frequencies such high frequency (HF), low frequency (LF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF) at the same time, thereby making them fit for use in industrial environments with tags supporting different frequencies and simplifying user experience. Such advanced hardware products can empower customers with the ability to precisely identify a particular tag on the manufacturing line, thereby enabling flexible production applications in the verticals of automotive as well as assembly & packaging and cost efficiently. Advanced cutting-edge software platforms that combine RFID and RTLS with IoT, and analytics can automate workflows and effortlessly by integrating with the manufacturers’ existing software frameworks on the factory floor. It collects data that enable it to perform functions such as tracking if an assembly line runs short of goods. It can then instruct the optimal employee to find the part that needs replenished at the right time, communicate with the WMS, and bring the required part to the factory floor.

Manufacturing 4.0 demands manufacturers to have complete control over their businesses and remove the bottlenecks of the day-to-day operations. The manufacturers who are unable to keep pace with this change are sure to fall behind. Thus it is highly important for manufacturers to attain total visibility of their business, improve asset and personnel management, improve the work-in-progress, reduce lead time, allow a real-time communication between all the assets and people involved in the business, and last but not the least, perform real-time analysis of the data collected to improve their business processes. RFID and RTLS solutions are the apt technology to achieve this automation goal.

About Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

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