RFID Solution in Europe
ADT, Europes leading provider of electronic security solutions, has helped TOSHIBA Europe develop an integrated radio frequency identification (RFID) solution that is significantly increasing the throughput of its laptop configuration plant at Regensburg in Germany.
The Regensburg manufacturing facility handles the customer-specific configuration of every TOSHIBA laptop destined for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). To address warehousing bottlenecks and improve workflow and logistics efficiency, a project team consisting of ADT, TOSHIBA Europe (software interface developer), TOSHIBA TEC (vendors of RFID label printers) and UPM Raflatac (suppliers of RFID tags) was established.
Critical to the success of the project was ADTs ability to help TOSHIBA achieve optimal label placement and equipment configuration. Gerrit Wassink, ADT Europes RFID General Manager explains: From the very early stages it was clear that label placement was going to be crucial, as was the ultimate design of the system because the space available at the TOSHIBA plant to install the RFID equipment was very limited.
Extensive label placement testing was subsequently conducted at the ADT Europe RFID Performance Lab in the Netherlands to identify the optimal label position. This facility, which was accredited by EPCglobal IncTM earlier this year, is the first of its kind in Europe in which customers can test and refine crucial aspects of their RFID solution before deployment. ADT also undertook a detailed site survey to ensure that the final system design met the space restrictions and would perform effectively in a challenging environment.
Following a successful pilot phase in September, the solution was fully operational by early October. The current daily average throughput of 9,500 laptops is expected to grow by 57 per cent to 15,000 by the end of 2006. With every laptop passing through the plant receiving an RFID tag, almost four million tags will be used each year, making this project the largest item level RFID deployment in Europe to date.
TOSHIBA Europes Manager EMEA Engineering Gerd Holzhauser explains the challenge: Our key objectives are focused on quality, efficiency, availability and reliability so we are able to maintain the optimum product set-up and release structure. For our customers, this means we can guarantee a reliable product quality with a maximum level of competence and responsiveness. We commit ourselves to deliver customised products that are easy to order and with a supply capability to match any configuration request. This new RFID solution will help us meet that commitment more efficiently than ever before.
The solution we have helped TOSHIBA implement clearly shows the benefits which item level RFID can bring to a fast moving supply chain, concludes Gerrit Wassink from ADT. TOSHIBA is saving up to 90 per cent of the time it previously spent on warehouse booking and is using warehouse space more efficiently. Importantly, it has also eliminated double handling and product availability delays. As a result of the success of this project, TOSHIBA Europe is planning to share its experiences to help develop RFID solutions at other TOSHIBA sites around Europe.
ADT, part of Tyco Fire & Security, designs, installs and services electronic security systems for retail, business and government and home intruder protection and detection systems. Sensormatic is a leading brand of ADT. In Europe, ADT's products include alarm systems and integrated security applications that link access control, CCTV, electronic article surveillance and source tagging systems. They are used to deter thieves and protect people, goods and property.