Efficiently tracking asset flow in a small warehouse is not a complex mission but can be less straightforward and challenging for large ones. In a giant warehouse, it is not uncommon for stockpiles to get forgotten and, in some cases, expire before distribution, thereby causing an unnecessary financial loss for companies. In an anonymous example shared with us, a brewery warehouse based in China has beer packed in identical pallets that sit in a 27,000 m2 (291,000 ft2) warehouse, making it challenging for stakeholders to manage the physical stockpiles.
USE CASE AND BUSINESS IMPACT
The brewer's warehouse adopts Pozyx's ultra-wideband (UWB) sensors to track and manage its inventory. The company integrates the sensors into its forklifts to monitor its factory traffic flows, thus enabling more efficient use of its forklifts and management of its inventory flows. It examines the traffic history to reveal the stockpiles that were not taken care of properly and take timely action to resolve the issues, thus reducing inventory costs and unnecessary financial losses. The UWB sensors use frequency bands ranging from 3 GHz to 10 GHz. The system consists of active radar sensor tags and anchors detecting the signals. It uses the time difference of arrival (TDoA) protocol. The tags send information with identity to surrounding anchors, and the anchors calculate the difference in arrival time of signals to calculate the assets' location.
Pozyx's use case is creative compared to the conventional logic behind asset tracking. Conventional installation of sensors on pallets temporarily placed in a warehouse has three drawbacks: 1) It requires substantial upfront capital investment in sensor hardware and future costs in maintaining the sensors (e.g., battery replacement). 2) Frequently placing and removing the UWB sensors can be time-consuming and costly. 3) Stacked pallets may block signals from sensors placed in the middle of bottom stacks, potentially miscounting inventory. Monitoring the forklift would simplify the tracking process; however, miscounting inventory is still possible without strict operational rules in place for travel paths.