EPC/RFID and SSCC help SMEs with automated goods inspection

PROZEUS, a joint project between GS1 Germany and IW Consult (supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), provides information about e-business standards to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) acquire e-business competence. As part of the PROZEUS project, selected SMEs test e-business solutions based on globally applicable processes and standards. The results are provided to other SMEs to help them achieve their own e-business objectives.

“Thanks to improved data transparency, inventory was reduced by 34% and the company also saw improvements in working capital and liquidity.”

Within the PROZEUS framework, GS1 Germany supported packaging manufacturer richter & heß with their RFID project. Founded in 1990 in Chemnitz, Germany with a turnover of 12 Million Euros in 2009, richter & heß’s 70 employees work in three different plants.

The primary objective of the project was reduction of inventory. The business processes to be optimised included inventory management and the receiving, picking and commissioning of goods.

Relocation to a new facility in January 2009 marked the start of the process overhaul. Detailed objectives included:

  • A 30% inventory reduction by June 30, 2009
  • Reduction of required storage space in the warehouse by end 2009
  • Inventory control at the click of a button
  • Integration of a first supplier by end 2009

The key element of the solution was the GS1 SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code). All goods were to be tagged according to the GS1 EPCglobal standard, with each pallet assigned an SSCC.

From the start of the pilot phase at the beginning of 2009, the solution was implemented successfully and in a very robust manner. Employees were quick to embrace the solution, realizing the benefits of process simplification primarily for outgoing goods.

The project delivered impressive results: Thanks to improved data transparency, inventory was reduced by 34% for the period from January to May 2009. The company also saw improvements in working capital and liquidity, and anticipates annual savings of 150,000 Euros.

Other project benefits include:

  • Process automation
  • Electronic connection of customers to the RFID-enabled warehouse
  • The application of RFID in the production of corrugated cardboard
  • Tool management
  • Vendor managed inventory (VMI) of raw materials
  • Automated electronic ordering
  • Integrated job scheduling
  • Tracking in the production process
  • Intelligent packaging with active sensors
  • Individual identification
  • Traceability

The teams involved helped put success on their side by carefully selecting of the business processes to be optimised; considering pp-front consideration a range of cost and revenue factors; establishing concrete project milestones at a manageable pace; and developing inhouse know-how while at the same time enlisting the support of suppliers.

For more information about GS1 Germany, visit
www.gs1-germany.de  

For more information about PROZEUS, visit
www.prozeus.de  

For more information about GS1 EPCglobal, visit
www.gs1.org/epcglobal  

For more information about the GS1 SSCC and other GS1 Identification Keys, visit
www.gs1.org/barcodes/technical/id_keys  

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