Customers tell us that the biggest headache in managing precast operations is in dealing with inventory. They subscribe to our RFID product tracking service because they want a more efficient way to do this. Though their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems automate management of most other business functions, they do not offer the complete inventory tracking solutions that precasters need. How nice would it be to automate this as well?
As the infographic illustrates, ERP systems like those offered by Microsoft, Oracle, Infor, Sage and others provide modules that automate marketing and sales. Or, they can integrate with leading third-party tools. These are marketing automation tools such as HubSpot and Marketo; sales & customer relationship automation tools like Salesforce and Insightly. While automating market-facing functions is valuable, this still leaves the precaster's biggest pain point unaddressed.
Inventory items can be created and production can be scheduled in ERP systems but this still leaves the yard manager walking the yard to count inventory with a clipboard. Yes, you can use your production system to create barcode labels (we have many customers that do this) but this doesn't adequately address inventory management because barcode labels will bleed or disintegrate when exposed to the elements.
RFID tagging solves all of these issues because the tags are encased in plastic and can last for up to 50 years. When products are serialized with RFID tags and recorded in web-hosted systems like Idencia, the data can be transferred to update inventory records in ERP systems just like marketing and sales data can be synced with ERP systems by tools like HubSpot and Salesforce.
We see this as the next productivity breakthrough in precast yard management and are currently working with TIBCOScribe to integrate Idencia with virtually any ERP system. This is expected to be fully operational in Q1 2019.
We see three phases of industry adoption:
1. Use of handheld scanners and tablets to take inventory
Customers walk the yard and scan inventory with a handheld scanner and tablet. Inventory is reconciled in Idencia and the ERP system is automatically updated. This makes inventory counting more productive by:
- Improving accuracy with scanning
- Removing need for managers to count (product knowledge is unnecessary when scanning)
- Reducing time to conduct inventory counts
- Eliminating time required to manually enter counts into the ERP system
2. Plant/Yard automation
Customers will install fixed readers on forklifts and/or gates to automatically scan RFID tags. This will automate the hand scanning, making the inventory count process just that more efficient. We are currently working with RFID network solution providers like AB&R (Phoenix, AZ) and Auxcis (Stekene, Belgium) to bring this to precast manufacturers.
The third iteration will be the use of drones, which will be even more efficient than using gates and forklift mounted readers. The obvious advantage here is the ease and speed with which drones can scan stacked inventory.
RFID to ERP is the future and is central to our concept of Connected Concrete. We are excited about bringing this to the precast market! Want to see the kind of real-time information your plant can already get from RFID tracking?
Our mission at Idencia is to elevate the productivity of manufacturers. We offer precast RFID tracking solutions that improve productivity and offer value throughout the value chain. As a cloud-hosted product tracking system that is seamless between manufacturers, contractors and asset managers, Idencia adds information value to all, eliminates redundancy and saves time.