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Posted Date: 6/15/2010

VAR Helps Cox Industries Achieve 99 percent Shipping Accuracy

Cox Industries, a producer of pressure treated wood products for distribution to building supply dealers and specialty distributors, is using a radio frequency identification (RFID) solution from Motorola and Stark RFID. Motorola's RFID readers, together with Stark's RFID work-in-process inventory management system, have improved operational efficiencies and enhanced customer service for Cox Industries resulting in 99 percent shipping order accuracy.

"Cox is already known for its great service, but we have found that the RFID system improves our offering by giving employees quick access to details such as order history, customer change requests and real-time ordering status," said Greg Campbell, director of operations, Cox Industries.
 
"The RFID system from Motorola and Stark RFID is helping us reach our goals of increasing operational efficiencies and redefining customer service by improving worker productivity by 44 percent and increasing annual inventory turns by as much as two times."

In need of a system that would reduce inventory errors, Cox turned to Motorola and Stark RFID to automate its manual tracking processes. By implementing Motorola's RD5000 mobile RFID readers and Stark RFIDâ╬╢' HackTrac WIP inventory management system, the company was able to gain greater visibility into the locations of its lumber package in real-time -- reducing loading and pick-ticket errors to achieve a shipping accuracy of 99 percent. The system also provides customers with new levels of visibility and control over change requests. For example, if a customer calls partway through the process of loading an order and asks to make a change to the order, the information is transmitted wirelessly and sent out to the forklift operator -- ultimately increasing productivity and ensuring that the customer change order is accurately filled.

Cox's forklifts are outfitted with Motorola's RD5000 mobile RFID readers, which read the RFID tags attached to the lumber packages. When a forklift picks up a package of lumber, the RD5000 reads the RFID tag and the operator views the information regarding where the lumber should be stacked in the yard on a monitor in the forklift. When the package is stacked, the information is transferred wirelessly, enabling Cox's management to track a package's whereabouts, born-on dates and order fulfillment process.

Accuracy and efficiency are essential for delivering quality customer service, a key component of Cox Industries' promise to its customers. In addition to increasing productivity and inventory turns, the RFID solution is supporting quality control by enabling the traceability of finished goods, and delivering cost savings by improving inventory and process efficiencies.
With such positive results at Cox's initial locations, the company is in the process of deploying the RFID solution across its other 12 facilities spread across the southern and southeastern United States. The RFID solution is being implemented along with a new ERP system, a purchasing system and several other applications that will provide a single, integrated inventory platform. When deployed throughout all of Cox's facilities, the system will provide its management with solid, real-time metrics to compare efficiency across plants, personnel and equipment, providing the data necessary for easy adjustments and improvements.

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