As a plastic manufacturing company, Radian’s has a chain of warehouses in charge of receiving raw materials and sending out processed products to major businesses involved in auto parts, aircraft, and appliance manufacturing. These warehouses are currently keeping their inventory information entry such as this has caused numerous counts of inaccuracies, and delays to client orders since items are occasionally lost due to erroneous data input. Instead of lying on paper reports and employees for inventory managements, Radian’s warehouses should evolve into automated information input.
RIFF (Radio-frequency Identification) technology would be highly cost effective to help keep track of inventory location and quantity. This move would require a high amount of RIFF tags, RIFF readers, scanners, tablets, and new software to recognize data received from the readers. The entire estimated cost to implement RIFF to all six locations is $660,000. This new system would focus on keeping inventory information available automatically without the need to record every change of item movement and annuity. Each item or container of items will be tagged with an RIFF label that includes item type (and quantity inside a bin).
Each checkpoint in the warehouse will have a frequency reader installed to detect any tags that come in range. Employees can look up item quantity and location from the system via computers or provided tablets. The system could also send alerts should an item’s quantity reach a low threshold. The items can then be ordered from vendors automatically to replenish the warehouse’s inventory. 4 This form of automation will give Radian’s Manufacturing better accuracy of the inventory and speedier processing with automatic orders.
With RIFF, the item loss will also be reduced since it can no longer be affected by human error. This move represents the company’s vision, one of the mission statements being, “Our R&D is, and will remain, the industry leader in identifying industry trends. ” Even though the elimination of some positions in warehouse operations is possible, significantly reducing inventory discrepancy issues while speeding up the material handling and data entry process is essential because this will eliminate human error in inventory control and speed up the overall warehouse management with automation.
One of Radian’s mission goals quotes, “Our R&D is, and will remain, the industry leader in identifying industry trends,” and from it, the company should adopt to the trending implementation of RIFF technology. This new system is imperative to respond quickly to customer’s changing needs, and to reduce costly downtime of manufacturing. Ordain Manufacturing Ordain Manufacturing is a global plastics manufacturer. They base their research and development out of their corporate headquarters, located in San Jose. The company is in the Business to Business market that deals with several major customers.
The types of customers that Ordain work with are auto parts, aircraft, and appliance manufacturers. They also deal with the Department of Defense and work with beverage companies and bottlers. The company has plants in Albany, Georgia and Pontiac, Michigan. Ordain acquired their Michigan plant in 1992. The plant produces various custom plastic parts. The company later acquired the plant in Georgia, in 1993. The plant’s main function is in the production of plastic beverage containers. They most recently expanded and took over the operations in a facility in Hangout, China, in which they produce plastic fan parts.
Current Warehouse Process Radian’s current process for receiving raw materials in their shipping department consists of manual data entry onto a hard-copy receiving log attached to a clipboard. The process starts with a truck from the supplier providing the raw materials that Ordain accepts in their receiving area. The receiving area supervisor compares the shipping document against the scheduled incoming orders. Once the incoming materials have been validated the receiving area employees unload the truck and move the raw materials into the raw materials area in the factory.
In the end each equines day, the receiving area supervisor hand delivers the log of the raw materials received during the day, along with the shipping documents from the truck driver to the receiving clerk. The inventory clerk enters the data for the receiving of the raw materials into the inventory system. This procedure continues throughout the inventory handling process including delivering raw materials to manufacturing, warehousing finished product and picking items for shipment. Business Requirements Our agency has conducted a thorough study with members of the warehouse staff at Ordain Manufacturing.
The results of the review were very informative. It was obvious that a change in process is warranted. We have identified through survey and interview the following issues and concerns of the stakeholders. In response to the expectations on improvement of warehouse operations, we received unanimous feedback on the need for a more reliable and efficient process for inventory control. There is a demand for better equipment to track inventory automatically. For example, one employee mentioned that it would be helpful to be able to pull orders right at his forklift.
Being able to scan items opposed to manually logged them on a lapboard will save a lot of time and reduce human error as well. There were mixed reviews in response to the pros and cons with experience in using automated inventory tracking system. One negative review we received indicated how they had trouble with Barbados not reading correctly when they tried to scan them. Proposal System Improvements Our proposal for Ordain Manufacturing will optimize the inventory process and move to eliminate human error.
With Radio Frequency Identification (RIFF) large amounts of inventory can be passed through control points and are wirelessly detected without needing a line of sight to the scanner. A similar technology can be found in transit systems, such as toll highways. RIFF tags are placed in areas on toll roads. Cars pass under these tags and are identified and cataloged. This technology is how the toll is collected. The benefits of this technology have even attracted major organizations like Walter and the U. S. Military (Friedman, 2009). We recommend using this methodology throughout the process of material and product handling.
Stakeholders Automating inventory control will benefit management staff and employees that are erectly involved in the inventory control process. These Stakeholders will see a positive impact when this new process is put in place since inventory will be easier to manage, and there will be less room for error in handling inventory and raw materials. RIFF technology can begin to resolve the issues stakeholders raised concerning the current system by automating the inventory tracking process without the need for direct line of sight to the materials it is scanning.
With the goals that employees at Ordain are expecting to achieve, mainly accuracy and time efficiency, we feel that automating the inventory tracking process with RIFF technology will be a major leap forward for this business. Implementing this technology will not only allow Ordain Manufacturing to increase its efficiency in inventory control, but the company will be able to cut out thousands of dollars in expenses and increase their ability to evolve further in inventory management. The Warehouse staff will need to be invested in the changes.
The Business Improvement Plan will be aimed to satisfy as many of the stakeholders’ requests as possible. This process should help with the mixed feelings created by the need for extra training, Job realignment and possible layoffs. Areas of Benefit facility will greatly increase the overall speed, accuracy and timeliness all the while reducing labor costs through redundant effort. A real time feed of data to forklift drivers will allow quick reactions to manufacturing needs for raw materials and removal of the finished product back to the warehouse for storing.
Data exchange between the WHAMS and Shipping and Receiving allows for instant inventory updating, automatic notification of Purchasing of backorder and quantity discrepancies, as ell as documentation of damaged goods from suppliers and returns from customers through handheld devices’ built in camera. 9 Material and Data Movement The new system, while making the warehouse management more accurate and less paper work intensive, does add an extra step that is required to add and remove Riffs to supplies and finished product.
Supplies will be offloaded in Receiving, and RIFF tags added. Then this product is moved to the warehouse until brought to Manufacturing and finished product returned to the warehouse. Finished product can be transferred to Shipping when needed. The RIFF antennas allow the RIFF controller to track the shipments throughout the Warehouse, Manufacturing, Shipping and Receiving facilities. The RIFF controller feeds this information continuously to the Warehouse Management System allowing it to keep track of all supplies.
After shipments arrive logging of arrival, verification of quantity and any damaged goods reports can be performed on warehouse terminals or handheld tablets. The system generates work orders for each of the forklifts and transmits them directly to the vehicle mounted tablets. This information tells the driver what to kick up and where to bring it. Upon completion, the operator can confirm and note any issues right on the tablet in the vehicle. Any urgent pull orders for Manufacturing can be sent directly to the tablets directing workers to repetition to meet these urgent needs.
The Warehouse Management System can communicate directly with existing Purchasing, Accounting, and Sales, allowing these systems to have confirmation of Shipping and Receiving for billing purposes, and to update Sales staff about orders being fulfilled. This data also gives up to date information to Sales about stock availability. Data to be tracked There is some specific information used within the implementation of RIFF tags. Each tag will have an eight digit ID number; the primary form of identification.
The tag stock is received, and the tag is attached, the tag is scanned allowing the database to associate it with the information of the object such as the name, quantity per container, supplier, order number and date of delivery. As the container moves throughout the unified warehouse and manufacturing facility the location is regularly updated until it is finally removed from the system when the product is used in manufacturing. The RIFF tag feeds the system with this constant feedback of information.
This technology effectively eliminates the ability to lose the product. Tagging Process Finished products will also be tagged at the end of the production line. These tags will contain the product name, quantity per container, date of manufacturer and also assembly line ID. The tags will update with their current location throughout its movement from production through the warehouse and eventually to shipping. The system is regularly updated with the location of the product insuring the product is to lost even if shelved incorrectly.
RIFF tags are added and removed from raw materials repeatedly as well as for the finished product. This process allows the tags to be reused and to reduce the cost. Each time a tag is placed on a new product or package it is rescanned to associate it with that product in the system. This information will provide up to the minute accurate reports about amount and location of stock and finished product, estimated time to exhaustion of either supplies or product, and also allow the warehouse management system to direct personnel to needed stock even if it is incorrectly shelved.
This system allows not only warehouse management to better supervise and streamline operations, but also allows executives to get accurate up to date information for strategic planning (Hoffman, 2013). Overview of RIFF An RIFF system has three basic components, the tags, the reader, and the host system. The host system in this case will be the Warehouse Management System. Radio transmissions are sent between the reader and the tags that come within range. Then the reader sends data to the information system depending on the tag that came within frequency range.
Some of the benefits of RIFF includes zero need or line-of-sight and physical contact to transmit data (Sue & Lie, 2011). The goal of RIFF for Radian’s Manufacturing is to keep the location and quantity of items available in the information system without the need for manual scanning. RIFF Reader RIFF readers will send radio waves a certain distance which is dependent on the comes into the reader’s electromagnetic region, the reader will detect it and activate a signal from the reader. The read then decodes the data kept in the incorporated circuit of the RIFF tag which in returns will communicate with the application on the host system.
Most of the RIFF readers can both read and write data so it will be able to transfer data also back to the tag. Therefore, the reader is the most import component of the system. It is responsible for activating the tags and thus for starting the data flow. All RIFF readers have individual functions and features; the main difference would be if they are stationary or mobile. The stationary devices or more intended for incorporation in systems that are already set up and are the most common. Mobile readers are for detecting data on different types of objects and are notable for their compactness.
The antenna is built into the device or attached to it; depending on the model being used. The transfer of data to the host uses wireless standards like WALL or DETECT. Tablets can be set up to include integrated 10 devices including MS, barded scanner, RIFF, smart card reader, fingerprint reader and thermal printer. Tablets can be used to read the RIFF tags off shipments coming and going from the warehouse. RIFF Antenna The RIFF Antenna is made up of a coil with usually one or more windings and it is on a matching network. It will radiate an electromagnetic wave created by the reader ND will receive the RFC signal from the RIFF tag.
It is intended that an electromagnetic field will always be generated or activated by the sensor in a complete RIFF system. Antennas will come in diverse sizes and designs; this is contingent on how the location of the system is combined. The range of read and write range will also come into factor. The common types of antenna are rod or loop ones. To get a bigger range or different orientations for an RIFF tag, one reader can have a number of antennas. Different types of antennas are configured depending on the frequency used. The three types of frequencies used are Low Frequency (125/134. 2 kHz), High Frequency (13. 6 Maze) and Ultra High Frequency (865 to 950 MAZE). RIFF Transponder or Tag The main component of the RIFF system is the RIFF transponder or called the RIFF tag. Many factors of the design of the tag have to do with the modes of functions and stored in the tag in the ELF and HP ranges which can be connected to information in a company’s database. For those two frequencies in the tags there are coil designs can are used with the magnetic field of the antennas. When it comes to the UHF range, he tag what is called an Electronic Product Code (EPIC) storage area, which can be programmed by the customer.
In the antenna design dipoles are used here. Active RIFF transponders broadcast a signal on their own, without receiving energy from the reader antenna. There are two ways that active RIFF systems work. In some cases, the tag enters the area of the reader and the reader sends a signal (using passive RIFF) to wake up the active tag. The active tag then sends out its unique ID number. With RIFF-based real-time location systems, the tags are set to emit a signal very few seconds, minutes or hours, depending on how often you need to update their locations. Readers then pick up that signal, and software calculates each tag’s location.
The RIFF systems work with the reader being at transmitting and receiving unit. It will make an electromagnetic field which is found by the antenna of the RIFF tag. The microchip found in the tag will be activated and will receive the commands for the reader from its antenna and also transmit. Depending on the range of the frequency, there will be a difference made with the RIFF between inductive and electromagnetic couplings. Role in Strategic Plan We will strive to be a solution provider for our customers and not be a part of our customer’s challenges.
The benefits of RIFF technology fits near perfectly into the company strategy. Part of the strategy involves retaining the long-term customer relationships. The automated process of RIFF makes it easier for the warehouse to achieve swiftness and accuracy, which in turn will generate better satisfaction from clients and vendors. From the very Mission statement “Our R&D is, and will remain, the industry leader in identifying industry trends,” (Ordain Manufacturing, 2013) Ordain is willing to make changes to keep up with proven advancements.
RIFF is an advancement that assists industries to becoming more efficient and less wasteful and, therefore, can maintain reasonable prices without affecting existing budgets. Ordain Manufacturing will have an easier time keeping current and future customers for the long run with this innovative IT solution. Security and Business Continuity Plan Data Access Control The implementation of RIFF will give an overall increase to the security of the system’s information. Putting more automation in place means there will be less data impairing from employees or anyone who does not have sufficient security access.
Because of this, however, the importance of the database only increases as all of the imperative that the information systems do not become breached. Data access control is an important part of any system. Users must be able to access certain resources and perform specific tasks. It can compromise the security and stability allowing users unlimited access to system and network resources and functionality. To gain access to the system every user will be assigned a user id and password, this authenticates who the user is and of the host that they are using.
Another element to control proper access will be Tatty, a two factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. Two factor authentication, requires the user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to access an account such as a pin, phone, or fingerprint (Reasonable 2013). If an employee does not have one of these devices, an Tatty dongle will be provided. Login will be through a single access point to prevent anyone accessing the system through a back door.
Authentication will first verify that the user, attempting access to the system, is allowed in the system. Security access controls will be put into place to ensure that only authenticated users can access what they have permissions to do according to their role. Security groups will be set up and user rights assigned to conclude what members of that group have access to within the system. Data Backup The servers in each location will be mirrored to each other to provide redundancy should a catastrophic event ever occur. The information will also be under scheduled backup offside every hour.
Shadow copies of data will also be available, and will be created every four hours. Should an employee accidentally delete a file and need to have it immediately restored, they can simply reference the shadow copies to recover the most recent copy of the file. Purchasing and Maintenance With a system of this complexity, it is important to have a cohesive plan for how to purchase, maintain, expand, and update the system. Although this system contains a good deal of equipment that can be leased, considering Radian’s financial situation and it’s ability to raise capital if needed, we recommend against leasing. Purchasing equipment