Necessity is the root of all innovation. Such was the case for Logistik, this year’s Innovation Award winner for best digital innovation. During its May, 2020 financial audit, Logistik was asked to do a complete cycle count of all items. Performing this task manually would have required more than 4,000 hours to count the 2.5 million items in 220,000 square feet of warehouse space.
With a monumental task to perform, and little time to do so, it was suggested to use the RFID technology in place to scan the entire inventory. No options were commercially available for this vision, and the early versions were not suitable for the scale of their business. The I.T. team designed a mobile unit able to scan entire rows of articles in minutes. A warehouse worker moves the RFID readers on a cart and the systems automatically verifies the quantities by reading the tags in the boxes surrounding the machine. If the system detects discrepancies, the operator individually checks the relevant location and enters the correct quantity into the computer.
While the scanned items are usually passed through a static machine in a box, the cart with RFID antennas can move around and scan the items around it. Although the idea of using RFID technology to count inventory has been explored before, especially in stores, there does not seem to be a precedent for a mobile unit or for counting an area as large as ours. Each of the solutions tried, all the initiatives that built this project represent a novelty and a first time.
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