Tristan operates an internationally famous group of gourmet restaurants with an extensive wine cellar. The immense inventories stored in three warehouses were becoming a logistical challenge to properly manage.
Tristan turned to Traza and Nordic ID to help design and implement a radio frequency identification (RFID) system that would enable fast, accurate and agile identification and traceability of inventories. Traza specialising in developing solutions related to automatic identification and traceability, while Nordic ID is a pioneer and market leader in handheld RFID reader technology.
HIGH-RISK MANUAL TRACKING
Prior to the adoption of the RFID system the wine cellar was operated manually, which required an enormous investment of time and labour. The three warehouses multiplied the difficult task and it was always running a risk of breakage due to handling of the bottles. In addition, it was not possible to provide updated inventories, which could lead to shortages and a negative effect on service and sales. The tracking and inventory control was done manually in the cellar, with a lot of manipulation that brought a high risk of error.
The objectives of the RFID project undertaken by Traza were to streamline internal processes related to inventory processing, product locating, minimisation of product handling, and order processing. The aim was to create an RFID system that would allow the wine cellar staff to quickly and with minimal physical contact, locate any bottle throughout their entire facilities.
TRAZA designed and implemented a system of identification and traceability of wine bottles using RFID ultra-high frequency (UHF) technology. Other technologies such as barcodes were deemed insufficient. Unlike bar codes, RFID technology enables the reading of information contained in the chip without being in direct sight. In addition, RFID enables reading multiple tags simultaneously, which is not possible with objects identified by barcodes.
The conditions and requirements were to integrate the solution with the management system of the restaurant and the use of reusable tags, small size and with strong performance at long reading distances, and a strong attention to aesthetics. Traza set about to accomplish these aims and designed a custom label that fits perfectly on the neck of the bottle and matches the image of the restaurant.
The Nordic ID Merlin UHF RFID Cross Dipole mobile computer was chosen as the RFID tag reader due to its excellent reading results, strong support, and accreditation. Communication with the restaurant management system is done in real-time using wireless 802.11 b/g communications.
REALISATION OF BENEFITS
TRISTAN has quickly begun to see benefits from its implementation of RFID technology with improved inventory control of their wine cellar, rapid search time for bottles, minimized errors and the elimination of handling bottles during inventory processing. TRISTAN has now begun to use the RFID system to aid in the processing of orders and deliveries to other restaurants in the group they manage. IT manager for the Tristan group Mr. Dami Frau summarizes the benefits they have seen with the new RFID system: "With the system developed by Traza and the use of the Nordic ID Merlin mobile computer, we have incredibly improved our inventory times and, in addition, we don't need to manipulate the wine bottles. We have definitively improved our wine cellar management and control, with more than a thousand varieties of wine."