RFID based vendor-managed inventory (VMI) for paper cores
Sonoco Alcore is part of Sonoco, a global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and supply chain services. Sonoco Alcore is the acknowledged leader in high-quality, innovative, value-creating tube and core solutions.
Sonoco Alcore delivers tube and core solutions and services to our customers in the paper, film, man-made fiber yarn, metal and construction industries.
Sonoco Alcore delivers cores to paper manufacturers, where production processes run continuously day and night. Due to end product variations, core consumption of a certain type is not constant. The end customer needs to monitor the core warehouse levels of different core types and trigger replenishment orders manually. Usually this is done by office staff, who are not on duty on production night shift and week-ends. This leads to overstocking for safety, or in the worst case out of stock if the manual process has been neglected. If no cores are on stock no paper can be produced, which means very high line stoppage costs at paper producers.
Sonoco implemented an RFID based vendor-managed inventory (VMI) solution with Vilant Systems. This enables Sonoco to offer paper core VMI as an automated service to end customers.
The cores are equipped with RFID tags in Sonoco’s manufacturing processes. Core shipments to customers are registered in the VMI system. RFID readers at the paper machines of a customer paper mill identify which cores have been consumed by the paper machine. As core input and output to the customer warehouse is automatically monitored, the system automatically keeps real time track of core inventory. When a customer is ramped up for VMI, warehouse levels, delivery times and reorder and alarm levels are configured in the system to match individual process requirements. Sonoco also equips customer paper machines with RFID readers.
The RFID readpoints are controlled with Vilant Engine software, and the entire process managed by Vilant Visibility Manager Server (VVM). VVM is also used for integration of VMI process information for logistics and billing of consumed cores.
- The RFID solution made it possible to create a fully automated vendor-managed inventory (VMI) solution for paper core customers
- Core inventory, consumption and replenishment orders are now monitored completely automatically, so that customer staff does not need to monitor warehouse levels of these consumables manually anymore
- Vilant RFID middleware enables a real time process visibility and integration for the core inventory and replenishment process.