Italian sportswear manufacturer Colmar was facing a situation where they needed to optimize the procedures for receiving and shipping goods, automating the process of counting and verification of the goods and supporting the operations of packing and shipping.
The garments reach the company’s Monza headquarters in boxes or clotheshorse by container or truck in large quantities – and it is the accuracy of delivery and the speed of movement of these garments that are key elements for Colmar operability. At the same time, the composition of packages and shipments, organized by customer, must be made on time and accurately, avoiding potential errors on the content.
Colmar’s Technology partner in this demanding project – for both analysis and later stages of project development – was Italian IT company SAIT. Carlo Carminati, Sales Senior Manager for SAIT s.r.l., says that analysis of operating flows and needs have shown that the introduction of RFID technology in the processes of warehouse management can offer valuable support to those operations.
“In essence, RFID represents a starting point for the adoption of better solutions than other business processes are able to do,” he says.
The project had a rather large scope, seeking to retool various procedures/activities within Colmar’s logistics. The ‘do-list’ included e.g. code generation and unique serial production of its care label with RFID tag; tagging and subsequent identification of the individual item; construction of gates and tunnel RFID for massive reading of the items received or dispatched; integration with the existing ERP system of the data read from the new logistics platform; and support to the phases of composition of packages with procedures sw and mobile RFID devices (Nordic ID Merlin).
“In addition, the generation of documentation needed to be made automatic,” says Carminati.
The project, kicking off with the analysis phase, soon commenced with the actual construction of infrastructure, development of the required software components and testing. After those activities, proper training was provided for Colmar personnel and the system went online.
Looking back, Carminati notes that, for instance, the construction of infrastructure featured many separate tasks. “There was the installation of RFID care label printers and the implementation of six RFID gates for two different warehouses.”
“In addition, we realized an RFID tunnel for reading lying garments and created six positions for the composition of packages with integrated weighing systems, mobile terminals – which featured Nordic ID Merlin – and RFID related printers,” Carminati says, adding that Nordic ID was involved in the project for a good reason: “Nordic ID readers offer the best performance available on the market and that was a key element for the over-all success of the project.”
With the system now up and running, it is clear to see that the project has brought major improvements. Receiving of the goods has been optimized, which means that the controls are faster and more accurate now. The flow of garments is more fluid, as individual garments are tracked in the early stages of reception and dispatch. As the accuracy of shipments improves, the streamlining of package composition becomes easier, too.
Furthermore, the integrated technology can be extended to cover also other Colmar processes, such as stock movements (deposits, picking) and traceability of garments during production and retail (quality control, ironing, inventory, antitheft). Also, some surprising benefits have surfaced along the way: e.g. using the new solution, Colmar has discovered and defeated some counterfeiting cases as well as grey market channels.
Room to Grow
Looking ahead, Carminati comments that the concept of tagging items can – in its most extensive evolution – be integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT).
“The Colmar products have onboard intelligence – in the form of the RFID tag – that today puts them in a position to communicate with IT systems that are dedicated to logistics. Tomorrow, the RFID tags can be used to engage in other forms of interaction, ranging from customer experience to brand protection and anti-counterfeiting.”
Related Products & Services
- Optimize receiving and shipping goods procedures
- Automate counting and verification of goods
- Ensure on-time and accurate content of packages and shipments
- Optimize operations’ goods reception
- Improved accuracy of controls
- Tracking individual garments
- Streamline the composition of packages
- Increased accuracy of shipments