“Lean” manufacturing theory asserts that every step in the manufacturing process must deliver perceived value to the customer. All steps that do not generate value are considered wasteful, or inefficient, and must be eliminated. Examples of waste might include:
- Unplanned downtime
- Time wasted searching for misplaced tools for or retrieving needed tools
- Time wasted waiting for inventory, tools or materials to arrive on location
- Mismanaged inventory by failing to order needed quantities of material
Whether the setting is a factory, a lab, a medical facility or a warehouse, intelligent asset management is a proven method to eliminate the wasteful examples noted above.
Let’s consider smart asset management in two ways: First, managing the usage of mobile assets such as tools, laptops, tablets and instruments. Second, using smart technology to maintain a safe, secure facility.
Smart Asset Management
Smart tool or machine tracking can help to optimize workflows, identify wasted time or lag time, and determine needs for additional tools or resources or capacity overages and underutilization.
The chip contains information exclusive to its assigned item. RFID tags applied to apparel and textiles allow swift, accurate inventory counts and validate shipping quantities of sizes and types being shipped out. In a hospital setting it enables real-time control of inventories and aids in laundry management.
RFID chips have no batteries or moving parts. They are maintenance-free and give years of dependable service.
Consider this scenario:
A cable assembly company approaches Deister for help to secure and track utilization of finishing tools, including expensive handheld fiber optic splicers that cost $1,000 apiece. The client does not want to buy more tools than needed. Given the high replacement cost, the client wants to ensure that the splicers are secured from theft. And they want to know who is currently in possession of the equipment to support shared use.
Smart storage cabinets and lockers are the solution. They are invaluable for deploying and securing costly, portable equipment such as laptops, hand tools, instruments and other devices, especially shared assets. They provide information on:
- Who is currently using a tool
- How often the equipment is being used
- How many tools or devices are currently in use
- Curfew violations — an automatic alert can be sent if equipment is not returned on time
Smart storage can reduce the time a worker needs to locate a necessary tool, identify slackers on the shop floor, facilitate accuracy in procurement, and much more. You can assign smart lockers to individual workers for personal security, restrict access to controlled items such as medications, manage and track shared devices, assess historical usage for inventory purposes, or measure performance by user.
Smart storage systems can be installed at a central location or at points of use throughout the facility. Additionally, the software generates usage reports that can be audited; for example, to compare actual usage vs. a contractor’s stated work times. Every transaction — check-out and return — is recorded.
These systems, combined with their analytics, provide organization, control, and accuracy to drive efficiency, lower costs, and boost profits.
Proof of Visit
Security and plant protection — for personnel, property, and other assets — is a vital part of facilities’ management.
Smart security solutions simplify this task considerably. Adaptable to commercial or industrial settings, these RFID-based solutions record the time and location of security, cleaning and maintenance personnel. These systems enable more efficient deployment of staff and provide audit information on work performed. If a check was missed, the appropriate action can be taken.
A proof-of-visit system consists of handheld data collection devices, fixed-location checkpoint apparatus, and management software. When a worker visits a checkpoint, a simple “read” of the checkpoint with the handheld device records the time of the visit.
These reliable, easy-to-use, and maintenance-free smart systems verify that security patrols and protocols are carried out. It also ensures that maintenance, cleaning, and routine servicing happen as scheduled, eliminating wasted time and uncertainty.