An earlier blog introduced how this “Poor Man’s RTLS” solution works, and here we’ll discuss another example – Tracking internal deliveries.

In many large operations, fast deliveries are the order of the day.  In the aviation arena it is about two orders of magnitude more important than in other businesses.  Why? For lack of a $50 part a $350 million aircraft will not be making $1.3 million in revenue today because the flight must be cancelled.  THAT’s a huge multiplier effect, so when an aircraft needs parts it is very important they get them!  At an airline maintenance facility the typical day starts with several 18-wheelers backed up to the loading dock offloading just the high priority, overnight deliveries.

The curious thing is, after expending great effort and cost to get a particular part delivered to the right place, it usually gets about 99% of the way there before the airlines’ internal delivery system takes another 2 days to get it to the person who needs it!  Despite the advances that the overnight delivery companies have made in moving parts around the world overnight, it’s that “last mile” syndrome that still costs the airlines so much grief.

Using the concepts behind this Location Tag that has a special filter bit to designate it as such, the internal delivery person can scan the boxes when he drops them off at one of the drop points, and the Location Tag mounted on the wall near the drop point will automatically tell the RFID application which drop point that is.  With RFID that information is collected transparently.  With just a little more IT work behind the scenes, the person/department who wanted the part could be texted that the item was just drop off so he would know to go and look.  The person who ordered it, his delivery point, the resulting PO can all be linked in a simple database.

Even if the box was delivered to the wrong delivery point, the system would automatically know that and a search for the desired part would reveal the incorrect location.  Without that capability, where does one begin looking for a lost delivery across hundreds of delivery points, backshops, and stockrooms?

Where a traditional RTLS system at great expense can give you exact moment-by-moment locations information, the “Poor Man’s RTLS” solution can give you the information of “where was this part last seen?” – and for 10% of the cost of a traditional system that may be more than good enough.