Würth’s Smart Cabinet solution tracks inventory
real-time through RFID
#RFID solutions | #smart cabinet | #automatic inventory
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Better tracking and control for product consumption
Würth has used product cabinets for small equipment distribution already for several years. The product cabinets are located at clients’ premises. Würth’s representatives take care of keeping the cabinets up-to-date and keeping sufficient equipment in stock. The authorized personnel have access to cabinets 24/7, which ensures the equipment and tools are available without interruption. Clients had no tracking system for who and for which work the products had been used.
To further develop their service concept, Würth considered a solution, which would include automatic inventory of the cabinet content and product consumption. Automatic orders would be possible when integrating cabinets into Asset Management System. The need to develop a cabinet tracking was customer driven, as many clients hoped a solution to minimize product loss. Clients could also use the information received into operations management.
Smart Cabinet with RFID technology
Würth decided to use RFID technology in developing the tracking system for equipment stock. With RFID, tracking individual items, authorized personnel and inventory, would be easy. FENTEC (former Toptunniste) was chosen as a co-operation partner, as FENTEC was already developing and delivering Smart Shelf system to Ferrometal, one of Würth’s subsidiaries. The same RFID technology could be utilized in the Smart Cabinet solution.
FENTEC started the project with a site survey and testing the functionality of the RFID system in the work site container. RFID technology was added to container and tags to products. Based on testing, the proof of concept was finished. The concept was developed further and the Smart Cabinet solution was piloted. A metallic cabinet was chosen for the eventual product.
The new Smart Cabinets with UHF RFID technology, will be located at Würth’s customers. The authorized personnel have keys including UHF technology to open the locked cabinets. An automatic inventory is done after each stock-take. The information is delivered to Würth’s SAP system in real-time. When the cabinet’s content is defined in the SAP, there will be an alert based on product balance and automatic order will be placed. Würth is monitoring Smart Cabinets’ content and delivers new products when needed. Smart Cabinet can also be integrated into client’s Asset Management System.
Better tracking, inventory management and efficiency in product distribution
The Smart Cabinet solution is complementing Würth WüCON concept. In addition to large storages, Würth is now able to deliver clients smaller Smart Cabinets for different worksites and locations, which makes availability of equipment easy i.e. in large manufacturing plants. Automatic order system ensures product availability at all times. WüCON guarantees 100% Würth service to clients.
For clients, real-time inventory tracking increases visibility and enhances operations management. Tracking the product consumption assists in allocating products better: it helps to get information of which project the equipment was used for. It helps in reporting and allocating expenses. In the long run, there will be cost savings due reduced product loss.
Development of Smart Cabinets will continue, taking user experience and client feedback into consideration. The concept can be applied also to other smart stock solutions.
“FENTEC is an agile and innovative partner. The best about co-operation is mutual dialogue and responding to our needs”, says Lind. The intense co-operation continues between Würth and FENTEC.
Würth is a service provider, who takes care of manufacturing, construction and maintenance tools and products. Würth is operating close to clients with almost 200 Centres across the country. Speed, innovativeness and reliability mean savings and ease to clients.
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