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Gaining Traction with Track and Trace Solution

October 18th, 2018
SATO, a leading company in Auto-ID solutions that streamline operations and empower workforces, has recently integrated its SAP-based track and trace technology into a tractor production operation with positive results. SATO has cooperated in this project with BlueStar Finland, which is very experienced in the conception and implementation of track & trace solutions. 

What was the challenge? 

The tractor manufacturer had identified the need to generate real-time status updates during its tractor production process to improve visibility of the process from preparation to shipment and facilitate internal and external communication. An important element of the project was that the tracking solution selected would not increase the workload of operators in the production line as the tractors moved through the different areas in the plant. In addition, it was agreed that the preferred way to monitor the data collected was online. 

The solution 

To address this challenge, SATO and BlueStar introduced RFID terminals at agreed checkpoints throughout the tractor plant to create gateways. By attaching an RFID-enabled sticker to the tractor chassis, data can now be collected throughout the production process without the plant personnel needing to perform extra steps. Data are captured automatically as the tractor passes through each gateway. 

The integration of SATO technology with the tractor manufacturer’s existing systems allows data to be captured from the moment preparation begins when the finished tractor exits the plant. The data is presented as a user-friendly webpage, with output that is managed in multiple Excel® files. At a glance, users can now identify the status and location of each tractor within the plant at any time. 

SATO and SAP 

Interfacing with SAP systems to produce barcode and RFID output is a requirement of users that rely on label printing for critical business activities. SATO supports SAP® solutions to offer customers a direct connectivity option that enables label printing without the need for additional software or middleware. SATO thermal printers seamlessly integrate with the SAP system, allowing SAP users access to data from enterprise applications that are used to print barcode and RFID labels. 

SAPscript: SAP users design barcode labels using an intuitive label design software package such as NiceLabel Designer Pro and BarTender Designer. They can define all fields that need to be filled in later by variable data from SAP applications. It automatically generates the SAPscript for SATO printers by exporting the ITF SAPscript file. The barcode labels can then be printed directly from the SAP system without additional processing.

Support of SmartForms: SAP users make use of the graphical design capabilities of Smart Forms to conveniently add barcode and text styles and graphically layout label formats. The device driver and device type are compliant with all the requirements for device types defined in the SAP Printer Vendor Program. 

Integration in the SAP Auto-ID infrastructure: The interface module for SATO XML-enabled 4.0 solution is certified for integration with SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure via the SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure-Device Controller Interface (All-DC-RFID) 7.1 integration scenario. The XML-based interface enables direct printing of RFID smart labels from non-SAP back-end system applications that transmit their print jobs natively in an XML data stream.




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