24-Hour Crib Service

24-Hour Crib Service

Crown Equipment, a manufacturer of electric lift trucks, needed a better way to manage its indirect materials because the system it was using did not provide adequate inventory access.

Crown realized a less than four-month return on investment for its inventory-management system.


Crown Equipment, a manufacturer of electric lift trucks, needed a better way to manage its indirect materials because the system it was using did not provide adequate inventory access. The shop's machine operators had to have access to company inventory 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the unavailability of inventory for all three working shifts was hurting production. To ensure round-the-clock access for its employees, Crown incorporated an inventory-management system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID).

Since installing the CribMaster Accu-Port system from WinWare Inc. (www.cribmaster.com), Crown's employees can access the inventory crib at any time, and there is no longer a need for a crib attendant, instead, light-duty workers spend only about an hour and a half restocking the crib. The system consists of a plug-and-play portal, antennae and RFID readers, and lets Crown organize delivery of items and keep its replenishment method. The replenishment method is effective, and the CribMaster system integrates with that existing system.

In addition, Crown reports that implementing the Accu-Port crib helped it to reduce its daily average inventory use by $333, making for a less than four-month return of investment on the system.

Crown does not attach RFID tags directly to its small expendable items, such as screwdrivers and drill bits, but places the items in bags that carry a corresponding label and RFID tag. When a worker takes an item and exits the crib, he or she removes the item from its bag and places the bag in a "mailbox." The bags are reusable, and that helps to minimize the cost of tags and restocking efforts.

All crib items are tagged and stocked according to a coordinate system. So, if the crib needs to be moved, Crown can dismantle the walls and relocate them with all products still attached.

The crib monitors two to three hundred items per day at Crown. Using RFID, employees simply refill the item bags and can take as many as 30 items back into the crib at a time. All 30 are then instantly recorded and assigned to a tag.

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