CASE STUDY | RFID GATE FOR LOADING AIDS IN THE DRUGSTORE TRADE
Estimating was yesterday, counting is today
The German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt uses loading aids with an integrated RFID tag to transport commissioned goods from the distribution center to the stores. In the 5/2022 issue of ident, we reported on RFID loading at the Wustermark site. In addition to plastic pallets, GS1 smart boxes are also used throughout the company for the delivery of small articles. All loading aids are provided by a pooling service provider and invoiced to dm on the basis of the time they were rented. dm allocates the costs incurred in this way to the national companies and passes them on. Until now, only the new additions of loading aids were clearly documented; everything else was passed on by means of estimates and assumptions.
With the technical possibilities available in the meantime, the idea arose, together with the pooling service provider, to move away from approximation to concrete counting. The solution was to be as simple and scalable as possible in order to be able to equip all locations with it, regardless of the technical characteristics and local conditions. The costs for the hardware used and its maintainability, especially with regard to IT security, were always kept in mind. After various rounds of exchange, the idea was born to implement it by means of a cloud solution to which the reader sends its collected data directly, i.e. without an additional PC. The data was collected and processed by Sydesoft, the provider of the cloud solution “WS-RFID Tracking Solution”, and made available to the pooling service provider. This provided the basis for a more accurate load.
In the search for suitable hardware for this project, the company KATHREIN Solutions GmbH was found. In addition to the pure hardware, such as readers and antennas, KATHREIN already offered a software solution for the management and administration of the remote KATHREIN readers (CrossTalk). The whole project was rounded off by direct and uncomplicated communication, as well as support for questions regarding the Kathrein products used.
In the meantime, seven of these counting stations have been established at four different dm locations. They are essentially the same, but differ in their specific design according to the loading equipment to be recorded and the structural conditions. The solution is so flexible that it can also be used for other customers of the pooling service provider with little effort and places minimal demands on the conditions on site.
Thus, the “estimate iron“ can be hung up on the nail at this point.
Figure: RFID gate / RFID counting station, acquisition on two roller conveyors