The evolution of track and trace technology has made tracking parts in the manufacturing industry easier than ever before, with various solutions available for parts tracking.
There are many ways that track and traceability helps manufacturers to improve their design, purchasing, manufacturing and maintenance processes, as the information that manufacturers can glean from parts traceability is manifold.
In the automotive industry, for example, car parts tracking can allow for the traceability of the products received from part vendors, parts that are currently in production and products that have been sent to buyers.
In addition to the obvious benefits of parts warehouse order tracking—like minimizing loss—parts tracking also has the added benefits of:
- Supporting regulatory compliance
- Ensuring the quality of inventory
- Improving speed and accuracy in the supply chain
- Helping engineers and designers to detect deficiencies in parts and supplying other useful product data
You may already be aware of the importance of utilizing an efficient parts tracking system, but how can you go about implementing one?
How to Efficiently Track & Trace Parts
One of the first questions you should be asking yourself is which type of parts tracking system you plan on implementing.
In the past, tracking parts was a laborious process with a large margin of error, but today, car parts and other tracking is simple and precise thanks to advances in radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and the Internet of things (IoT).
Read Our Case Studies On Parts Tracking in the Automotive Industry
Lowry Solutions has helped numerous businesses in the auto industry to improve efficiency with a complete parts tracking system.
The best companies supplying real-time locating systems (RTLS) will offer and support a range of digital product tracking solutions that speak to the particular needs of companies across various industries.
Solutions for Parts Tracking and Tracing
RFID has been used for years to track inventory, parts and even humans and animals. You might find RFID tags on hospital bracelets, security badges or retail products. RFID has applications in nearly every industry that has a supply chain, so basically every industry.
RFID systems use electromagnetic fields to relay information about tagged items. Unlike traditional barcode scanning systems, RFID readers don’t need line-of-sight to scan tags directly, which allows for greater flexibility and accuracy. RFID tags also have read and write abilities to update their information throughout the process.
Credit: Remy Gieling
This means that readers can receive information from RFID that goes beyond a simple serial number. Manufacturers might use RFID tags to record information such as a part’s intended location, its order number, etc. RFID systems can automatically send such information in real time directly to the company’s parts library, where businesses can store it alongside other useful information, such as supplier catalogs.
RFID technology eliminates the need for manual inventory reports and ledgers, which are naturally susceptible to human error. They prevent the likelihood of parts being labeled or dispatched incorrectly or misplaced, which can save companies untold millions.
RFID systems can be passive or active. The latter type of RFID has its own power source, which means it can continuously transmit its signal to a reader.
Bluetooth Low Energy-based (BLE) RTLS
Similar to RFID technology, BLE relies on battery power and transfers data from a tag to a reader. In this case, the technology relies on the use of Bluetooth Low Energy tags, which emit a signal that other Bluetooth devices can pick up.
The ubiquitousness of Bluetooth technology and devices make BLE an especially cost-effective (and easy-to-implement) RTLS solution. This type of technology has applications that go far beyond asset tracing, such as tracking people to optimize workflows..
Ultra Wideband (UWB) RTLS
UWB is also similar to Bluetooth technology and also appears in active RFID systems. UWB transmits data over a wide band of frequencies (hence the name), which minimizes interference.
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The Internet of Things is a network of objects and devices that transmit and receive data to and from one another over the Internet.
By connecting parts to the Internet, IoT tracking offers real-time insights into their status. This enables manufacturers to not only trace the whereabouts of parts, but also automatically collect data about them, which helps manufacturers make important decisions about performance, use, workflow and more.
As a leading IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions provider, we at Lowry Solutions are proud to offer our own hybrid, on-prem and cloud IoT platform, Sonaria, which supports efficient supply chain traceability through the finding, monitoring and managing of assets.
Sonaria makes it simpler than ever for manufacturers to trace parts. Aside from the software itself, Lowry Solutions also offers continuous support and troubleshooting, as well as support with hardware implementation..
Interested in discovering how Sonaria can help you optimize how you trace parts? Request more information about Sonaria or our other parts tracking solutions, free of charge.