Success Story • September 26 ,2022

Kimberly Clark Case Study

TOPIC • Manufacturer

Kimberly-Clark Utilizes Kaleris YMS to Improve Efficiencies, Reduce Costs, and Enhance Flow.

 

Where it once took a manual yard tracking system up to three hours to locate a specific trailer, this CPG manufacturer is now benefitting from an automated YMS that saves labor, time, and money.

It used to take Kimberly-Clark’s manual yard tracking system up to three hours to locate a specific trailer at the consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer’s Beech Island site, which incorporates five separate trailer storage lots. Interested in saving on labor and improving productivity, the company combined passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags and the Kaleris Yard Management System (YMS) to more accurately identify and locate the approximately almost 1000 trailers that travel in and out of the facility.

Applying Modern Tech to an Old Problem

By applying modern technology and problem solving to one of the oldest problems in the book, Kimberly-Clark has reduced trailer detention, cut back significantly on third-party jockey services, practically eliminated the need for trailer rentals, and turned simple data collection into an operational tool. Using the RFID-based system, for example, it takes just minutes to locate a trailer (versus the previous three hours).

In an interview with RFID Journal, Corey Mingerink, senior RFID packaging engineer, says that when his company began searching for a means of better managing the trailers, it shunned active real-time location systems, even though such systems are widely utilized for that application.

“We looked at the market and we came across Kaleris Solutions, which combines passive RFID technology and GPS technology,” he told attendees at an RFID Journal conference. “This is a great example of using more than one technology—coupling passive technology with GPS removes the need for active RFID tags.”

Successful Pilot Project = Permanent Deployment
In speaking with Logistics Management, Scott Buss, research manager of corporate research and engineering, said his team initially rolled out a pilot using the Kaleris yard management system, a web-based tool that utilizes passive RFID, GPS, and Wi-Fi to provide real-time asset visibility to both users and outside parties, including carriers. It has since been rolled out to additional facilities. “Other yards are fighting over who gets to deploy it first,” Mike O’Shea, Kimberly-Clark’s director of Auto-ID sensing technologies told an audience at an industry conference.

The Kaleris solution has three components that are all being used by Kimberly-Clark. The Kaleris Gate application is installed at a yard’s security entrance and exit lanes and consists of a fixed-position EPC Gen 2 interrogator and Kaleris software running on a computer in the guard post.

Today, yard jockey trucks are fitted with RFID reading, GPS tracking, and Wi-Fi communication capability. As they move through the various yards, the YMS collects “reads” from semi-trailers tagged with temporarily attached passive RFID tags. This information is collected, along with data from the trucks themselves, and it is overlaid on a “virtual” site map and made available through dashboard displays, online data, and reporting capability.

Improved Processes and Better Flow
Along with providing real-time visibility over yard assets, the Kaleris YMS allows Kimberly-Clark to make more accurate driver staffing decisions, based on the visibility it has gained into where its yard trucks are located, as well as how often they move trailers during a given shift. Previously, Mingerink told RFID Journal, Beech Island managers relied on the recommendations of its third-party logistics company—which contracts out the yard truck drivers—to determine scheduling.

By leveraging real-time information coupled with historical information, the CPG manufacturer’s logistics team can make better decisions more quickly. This, in turn, has led to improved business processes, better flow, reduced workload, and overall efficiency improvements. The company has also eliminated daily manual yard checks; discontinued its use of trailer color-coding; developed a new trailer parking plan to improve traffic flow; and enhanced processes to more effectively locate and utilized selected materials (on the trailers).