Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are restructuring their policies, procedures and business models to better reflect [removed] practices, and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is playing a major role in this transition. The latest industry report from Frost & Sullivan indicated that RFID solutions have already proven useful to improve company performance across numerous sectors in manufacturing and predicted that the use of this technology will only continue to become more prevalent.
RFID solutions will grow more popular in coming years The Analysis of the Global RFID in Manufacturing Market revealed that revenue in regard to the RFID market topped out at $1.29 billion in 2013. Based on the analysts' forecast, this number could reach $99 billion by 2020. In just six years, the market is expected to nearly quadruple, which is a testament to the effectiveness of RFID solutions to aid in manufacturing operations. The analysts projected that this growth will be due to higher demand for technologies and strategies that focus on efficiency. This is especially useful for OEMs that have multiple locations, as RFID tags can be tracked from different areas and the data can be shored up in one location for better company-wide oversight.
What is RFID technology? RFID systems use radio frequencies to easily transmit information between two sources. RFID Journal explained that the waves transfer data from tags containing microchips and antennas to RFID readers that have their own antennas. These tags can be placed on anything you need to track, from equipment to inventory, and they act much like barcodes to help track certain information. RFID tags outpace barcodes in certain areas, however. They do not need to be visible for the reader to recognize it, so you don't have to climb ladders and sort through boxes to track inventory or shipments. With RFID tags, you can also choose which data is stored within the microchips. For instance, you could track the amount of remaining inventory of certain class C components, or keep a history of scheduled maintenance for machinery used on the factory floor.
How can it aid lean manufacturing efforts? With the ability to easily keep track of inventory and equipment, RFID tags can help improve efficiency on the factory floor in a number of ways. In terms of tracking inventory, RFID tags can make it easier to take stock of what you have available in your warehouse in terms of both accuracy and time. You can quickly call up information regarding your stock, which can help avoid inventory getting too low, and since the information is already digitized, it will be easier to share it with a supplier when establishing a [removed] ( [removed] ) program. You can also use historic RFID data to forecast demand.
If you track equipment or vehicles with RFID technology, you can establish and stick to a maintenance schedule more easily, which can help avoid breakdowns and unnecessary repairs. In turn, you can save money and have a lower risk of production downtime due to inoperable equipment. When you can quickly and easily check to determine the last time a particular delivery truck was serviced, it will be much easier to determine whether it needs a tune-up before it heads out on a 1,000-mile journey. If you're tracking maintenance history on paper, there's a much greater chance the information could be lost or scheduled repairs overlooked, leading to a broken-down truck, a delayed delivery and an unhappy customer.