Locationing at its Core
Locationing can be a broad term but what it boils down to is the relationship between physical devices with sensors and connectivity enabling objects that connect and exchange data without human interactions or a direct line of sight. This data exchange happens in real-time, giving up-to-the-minute (and sometimes up to-the-second) updates on assets and inputs along the supply chain. Zebra’s locationing solutions have made real-time data more obtainable, making the value chain completely visible to decision-makers looking to streamline operations and increase productivity.
The two main components of locationing are Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID is the automatic identification of an object, person or good through an ID tag. Similarly, RTLS provides the visualization of this data on computer screens so managers can view, interpret and react. Above all, RTLS and RFID have spurred the development of different software and hardware so that leaders can use predictive analytics to boost company performance.
Dimensions of Locationing Solutions
There are no “one size fits all” location solutions since asset tracking varies widely between industries. As a result, Zebra offers a diverse portfolio of both hardware and software options capable of reporting differing degrees of location accuracy and update frequency. Therefore, locationing strategies will vary in terms of the following dimensions, depending on what businesses find most valuable:
- Range: What is the range of items you are tracking – are they global, in a facility, in a room?
- Accuracy: Subject to interference, time/angle/signal
- Precision: How precisely you need to locate an item: for example, 7m vs 25cm
- Determinacy: How often do you need a location update? (every second, every 5 minutes, or every time someone checks)
- Infrastructure: Existing (Wi-Fi), external (cellular/satellite), simple vs. complex
- Deployment: Traditional cabling, receivers, and antennas vs. tags and an application
- Battery life: Recharge daily, replace batteries annually, replace tags every 5-10 years
- Interoperability: At tags, reader/receiver, at locate engine
- Cost: Cost of tags, infrastructure, deployment and maintenance
Applications for Zebra Location Solutions
Zebra’s enabling technologies, including RFID and RTLS, along with RMS Omega’s trained engineers, can illuminate the daily events involving assets, people and actions in real-time. The technology provides real-time data on the location, condition, timing, accuracy, and speed of the events occurring throughout an organization’s daily operations.
Zebra’s Location Solutions include strategic applications for Yard Management, Asset Visibility, Work In Process, Inventory Tracking, Material Flow Systems and Zebra Sports Solutions currently utilized by the NFL for player monitoring and tracking.
Zebra locationing solutions have a wide set of applications including:
Asset Management – The tracking, management, and utilization of anything tangible that is owned by a company or individual that is held for business use.
Supply Chain Management – The management of interconnected businesses and processes related to the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of products and services. Includes inventory and warehouse management.
Sensing and Monitoring – The integration of sensors (i.e. data loggers) that are used to monitor the physical environment of an object. Common sensors include temperature and humidity.
Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) – MRO is defined as all activities – technical and administrative – that are conducted to ensure that an object (tools, equipment, vehicles) can perform its required function.
Compliance – Compliance is the act or process of adhering to a demand or regimen specified by a government, industry or customer.
Safety/Security – The management, assurance, and compliance of safety and security for an enterprise, its employees, assets, products, and processes. Common applications include worker safety, evacuation, and emergency mustering.
Workflow Optimization – The process of maximizing efficiency for the workflow of a business. Use analytical insights to minimize the number of steps to get from point A to B in the manufacturing process.
Manufacturing – Asset Tracking, Maintenance, and Repair (MRO), Material Replenishment, Safety/Security, Supply Chain Management, Work in Process.
Logistics – Cross docks, Inventory/Warehouse Management, Safety/Security, Supply Chain Management, Yard Management.
Transportation – Asset utilization, Automated Track, and Trace, Loading, Maintenance Turn Times, Packing, Safety (Unescorted Minor) Vehicle tracking.
Retail – Asset Tracking, Inventory, Supply Chain Management, Warehouse Management.
Healthcare – Asset Tracking, Compliance, Patient flow, Safety, Workflow optimization.
Zebra Locationing in Practice
Zebra locationing solutions have a lot of applications across industries. Furthermore, their implementation in the real world has produced exciting results. Locationing has brought innovative change and added insights into decision making in automotive, aerospace, athletics and healthcare industries.
Sports – The Zebra Sports Solution enables a trove of data for real-time insight. As its full spectrum of capabilities continues to be leveraged across multiple sports properties, its impact will be significant. With Zebra’s partnership with the NFL, new player tracking insights will forever transform coaching and player personnel evaluations.
Yard Operations – Better synchronize your yard operations, loading docks and gate check-in with actionable and optional real-time intelligence. With Zebra, you can forecast with precision to ensure a continuous flow of goods to your distribution centers or manufacturing plants, keeping your costs down.
Asset Visibility – Know in real-time the quantity, location and condition of all your essential assets – and the best path to get them to where they are needed.
Work in Process – Capture and analyze cycle and dwell times data for insights into both upstream and downstream constraints. Rely on real-time visibility for superior work control.
Inventory Tracking – This visibility lets you know in real-time the arrival, dwell and departure times for every asset throughout the off-line and finished goods processes, and creates a complete history for each asset.
Material Flow System- Have the real-time data you need to track and manage materials throughout your operation while cutting costs and creating efficiency. Zebra’s visibility software gives you the power to orchestrate the delivery of materials with just-in-time precision.
The Scope of Zebra Locationing Solutions
In summary, locationing applications are wide-reaching, ranging from monitoring physical environments to ensuring safety and patient flow in healthcare.
Overall, Zebra’s locationing solutions are proven to streamline operations, reduce costs, increase efficiency and provide complete visibility of the value chain for better-informed business decisions.