DSM is a leading global manufacturer of nutritional products focused on alleviating hunger and the effects of malnutrition. More than two billion people worldwide suffer from malnutrition, and it causes nearly half of the global deaths of children under five years old each year. According to the company’s website, “DSM develops innovative solutions to fight hidden hunger, defined as the micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency in a person’s diet.” With operations on six continents, “DSM strives to make nutrition aspirational, affordable and available by working in partnership with cross-sector partners including the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF and World Vision International.”
Mr. Yip Chi Ming is the Regional Operation Manager for DSM who oversees manufacturing in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and India. The manufacturing facilities are highly automated. In 2006, Mr. Yip needed to replace an existing IBM barcode scanning solution that was no longer supported in Singapore. He wanted to find an automated data collection system to use in the production process that would come with good external support and be a good fit for the company’s security requirements.
DSM selected the RFgen mobile data collection solution for their production operation. RFgen is an enterprise mobility solution that supports wireless barcoding and can be quickly adapted to fit any company’s unique workflows.
DSM implemented RFgen and new Motorola MC3190 wireless barcode scanners in 2006. The initial implementation of RFgen was completed in six months, and in 2015, DSM upgraded to the latest version of RFgen for an enhanced user experience. To this day, DSM employees use RFgen on barcode scanners, mobile tablets, and barcode printers.
RFgen is currently used by 15 production employees in Singapore and 30 in Malaysia. The company plans to expand its use of RFgen to the New Zealand operation in 2016 and may extend to India in 2017. Using RFgen has helped DSM to:
Control Over the Production Process
Today, DSM uses RFgen as a stand-alone system to manage and control DSM’s production process. It is an important part of how they fulfill process orders and handle warehousing of finished goods. “RFgen is used in movement process flow control and weighing control,” said Mr. Yip. For both process flow control and weight control, Mr. Yip reports that RFgen “works as expected.”
Each day, RFgen helps employees work through process orders for daily production operations. RFgen verifies the material when a production worker scans the material code. Then the system checks the quantity of material by reading from digital weighing scales and registers the lot number of the material. These steps are repeated until all lines in the process order have been processed.
After an order has been processed, DSM employees use RFgen to receive the finished goods into the warehouse. After receiving the goods into the warehouse, DSM uses RFgen to update their SAP system through a batch job. Mr. Yip reports that they also use RFgen to perform cycle counts in the warehouse.
As any food or nutritional product manufacturer knows, traceability of both ingredients and finished goods is of the utmost importance to consumer safety. RFgen’s support for lot number traceability contributes to the company’s overall traceability programs and systems.
“Traceability is the number one concern in an accredited Food Safety System manufacturing plant,” said Mr. Yip. “With RFgen, I have observed several benefits, including better traceability and productivity. RFgen is simple to use, so there is less adaptation time for our employees.”
Mr. Yip has noticed improvements in productivity and accuracy since the company began using RFgen. DSM has implemented both new software and new wireless scanners in the production process over the years. “Compared with our prior solution, the speed and interface are much improved. This could be due to our hardware upgrade, our RFgen system upgrade, or a combination of both,” Mr. Yip said.
Mr. Yip also said that so far, he is pleased with his investment in RFgen, and added that, “overall, we have observed a 20% improvement in speed and productivity with RFgen. Accuracy is much improved because the control flow is solid.”