Radio Frequency Identification is becoming more and more prominent in the context of the manufacturing industry. This is happening in light of the search that companies are constantly in to improve the accuracy of data recording and collection along with the identification of products. Radio Frequency Identification has been used extensively by the retail industry to identify and track inventory. These benefits of RFID are now being recognized by the manufacturing industry as well.
Many manufacturing companies make use of the Enterprise Resource Planning application solutions, and to make sure that they can maximize the potential usage of RFID, they need to ensure that their RFID solutions are appropriate for integration with their ERP solution.
Radio Frequency Identification and SAP
Manufacturing companies that use SAP can make use of RFID for the purpose of tracking their products along their supply chain. This means that the goods can be identified during the process of inbound delivery when they are stored in the inventory and also during the outbound delivery process. Customers are also able to track their items during the shipping process when it is making its way to them using the RFID tags attached on them.
The tagged items can be processed by using automated goods receipts and validation by the Advanced Ship Notice when the inbound deliveries reach a plant. This goods receipt process is also able to identify any wrong items or incorrect quantities sent by the vendor. In the outbound delivery process, the goods can be tagged and loaded on to cases and pallets and then the automated goods receipt can be achieved by making use of the RFID.
The ASN can be sent over to the customer with the details pertaining to the item. During the time a tagged item is stored at a plant, it can be tracked using the RFID tag attached on them. If the item has to be used in the processes involving plant maintenance, such as work orders, the information about the item can be recorded on the tag attached to it.
SAP Auto ID
The SAP solution for the utilization of RFID along with an ERP is called SAP Auto-ID or SAP Aii. It’s a middleware system that receives the data from a RFID data capture source (usually an RFID reader) and then integrates the data it has received from the tag directly into the Enterprise Resource Planning application. The SAP Aii consists of two main components:
- Core Services – It includes the flexible definition and the rule set environment.
- Integration Services – The Auto-ID interacts with three different types of environments. The backend systems, the RFID devices and the web user interface for the control and user maintenance
The SAP Aii offers two interfaces for the users. One of them is a mobile interface which can be used on mobile devices or PDAs and a desktop version, which allows users to enter the SAP Aii settings. The Standard SAP Aii system has a set of predetermined rules and all activities related to them. The users can modify the rules and settings via the user interface depending on their need except for these predefined processes in SAP Aii:
- Goods Issue
- Goods Receipt
- Returnable Transport Items
- Product Tracking