RTLS – The disruptive force empowering manufacturing’s future

Technologies have changed how we work, and many are designed specifically to improve our work outputs. When it comes to these changes, real-time location services (RTLS) is one of the most disruptive. More than just changing manufacturing, it’s revolutionizing every aspect, from the factory floor to your bottom line.

In this blog, we take a look at how RTLS is a forced to be reckoned with when it comes to work-in-progress tracking, inventory management, and worker safety.

Work-in-Progress Tracking

Bottlenecks, chokepoints, or other hurdles between the beginning and the end of a project cost trillions of dollars every year. Location-based work-in-progress (WIP) tracking delivers a granular, in-the-moment picture of how far—and in what order—key processes have gone. The patterns behind all the moving parts of these processes are invaluable. Motion histories can reveal anomalies from normal processes. Timing data can quantify how long each production phase takes without requiring workers to manually account for it.

Location data can also provide accurate updates in workflows, for instance, providing visibility into an item’s progression from assembly to quality control, or triggering status updates as manufactured parts advance from one step to another. Precise location data or tracking histories help illustrate exactly where and when delays begin, so they can be addressed with accurate data instead of just a guess.

Inventory Management

Keeping track of inventories is a technical challenge for every industry—not just manufacturing. However, smart inventories can be especially important in settings where unplanned downtime can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each hour, often due to just one or two missing objects.

One of the most valuable benefits RTLS provides is its ability to automate inventory reporting. Rather than planning times to shut down operations and check for key tools, hunt for missing items, or individually re-scan materials that never moved in the first place, inventory can become an autonomous, always-current process. This means that inventory managers can also create customized alerts for when an item leaves its area, when a quantity is low, or when another performance parameter is reached.

RTLS also provides key insights into how your real estate is being used. Gathering data on space and item usage is a powerful way to maximize square footage, reduce excessive purchases, and stay lean. It also helps identify backlogs from equipment shortages or other areas where more item purchases could actually translate into greater productivity and increased revenues.

Worker Safety

Dozens of technologies feed into the safety and wellbeing of employees on the job. Real-time location solutions fit well into this landscape by providing a few unique benefits that are difficult to attain without real-time, dependable location data.

A big part of collision prevention is identifying the locations where accidents are likely to happen. Location histories can be heatmaps for clogged or hazardous areas. Having a point-by-point trail of where forklifts, pallets, unmanned vehicles, or workers move will immediately show where they share space and how regularly intersection is most likely to occur. This data can then provide insights for whether shifts need to be adjusted, work processes need to change, or even whether your workspace layout needs a change to bolster worker safety.

RTLS makes it possible to delineate restricted zones as items move in real time. An indoor vehicle, for example, could be surrounded by a safety zone that moves with it. Virtual zoning can also eliminate the need for expensive door readers, replacing badge scanning with real-time location data. Furthermore, using location data is generally less personally intrusive than camera or vision-based systems, and RTLS tracking zones can easily be confined to specific workspaces only.

A little disruption is a good thing

See for yourself how TRACE Sensors RTLS can be a disruptive force within your environment.

Schedule a 15-minute demo of TRACE Sensors in action and find out how i-Virtualize can help empower your future.

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