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RFID Automates Invoice Data for Bulk Storage Facility


More than a year after installing an ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID system to track the movement of its bulk storage, MSC Distribution reports that it has reduced labor costs and boosted invoicing accuracy, and that it can share data with customers regarding the locations of their goods. The solution, provided by Doylestown, Penn.-based technology company Advanced Mobile Group (AMG), enables MSC to identify which zone each tagged product enters and leaves through, thereby ensuring that pallets or packages of goods do not end up missing or fail to meet schedules.

MSC Distribution, a dry and liquid bulk packing and storage third-party logistics (3PL) firm, built a new facility to serve the industrial triangle between Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Thousands of products move through the facility and spend at least some time in storage. Those items vary from palletized dry goods to drums and bagged goods, and are typically stored or moved around the facility via a forklift.

Managing the billing for each stored item can be complex, the company reports, since the kind of storage provided affects the price. For instance, MSC Distribution offers cold storage, as well as areas with higher ceilings or various types of lighting, each of which requires a different price for customers. Traditionally, it was difficult for the company to identify where bulk goods were being stored for invoicing purposes, as well as when available space might be under-utilized to improve efficiency. In addition, if a product is stored in one area for an unexpectedly long time, tracking the exact time that it remains there can be difficult.

The location of goods is especially important when it comes to volatile products, such as chemical agents used during fracking and other processes. Ensuring that those products are monitored, and that their whereabouts is known at all times, is critical to the company.