BAE Systems has been recognized for its smart factory transformation using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to track and manage assets/tools, inventory and workflow processes. The company captured an award for the Best Manufacturing RFID Implementation at the 17th annual RFID Journal LIVE conference after demonstrating significant savings using RFID-enabled technology developed by Tapestry Solutions, a division of Boeing Global Services.
BAE Systems leveraged Tapestry’s Enterprise Sensor Integration (ESI) technology to connect RFID-tagged materials with its enterprise resource planning systems – setting the stage for an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ecosystem. Within the first year of deployment, BAE Systems reported that it saved 2,400 hours tracking work-in-progress, or WIP, and saved 1,248 hours in searching for missing items. The solution has also significantly accelerated manufacturing processes while improving quality.
“The BAE Systems’ program was an excellent example of how RFID and the right software can drive real value for companies. It was truly an award-winning project that demonstrated how RFID can translate into quantifiable results for a major enterprise,” said Mark Roberti, founder and editor of RFID Journal.
The conference is the world’s largest RFID venue, with several domestic and international companies vying for the Best Manufacturing RFID Implementation award. The winners were selected from six different end-user categories.
A highlight at the conference was the keynote address delivered by Deirdre (Dee) Schmidt, BAE Systems’ Operational Excellence Leader, who spearheaded the RFID initiative at the Electronic Warfare Integrated Manufacturing Center (EW-IMC) facility and several other plants. She described the program’s three-pronged objective of automating inventory replenishment, managing the status and location of asset and tools, and improving visibility of WIP.
Prior to the RFID-enabled system, BAE Systems had a largely manual process for tracking and managing supply inventory, assets and tools, as well as workflow on the assembly floor. The firm used a time-intensive barcode scanning process to track and replenish inventory at multiple sites. Procurement teams also released orders manually, which often resulted in longer than desired lead times.
To address these challenges, Tapestry provided the ESI/RFID solution in 2017, leveraging the same sensor fusion technology that it implemented across 27 major Boeing manufacturing sites incorporating over 300 buildings. The ESI solution saved Boeing $100 million in its first year alone, and today processes 6 to 10 billion tags each week.
At BAE Systems, the RFID/ESI solution is currently tracking over 200,000 assets, 30,000 parts and an estimated 6,500 work orders at its facilities. The automation of material replenishment has enabled BAE Systems to transform from a “push” scheduling process to a “pull,” where there is a just-in-time inventory flow through its supply chain. The tool and asset tracking solution enables users to identify items as they enter and return from specific zones with associated alerts. It also monitors recalibration due dates on specific equipment.
ESI is a middleware software solution that connects people, processes and data to improve visibility in the factory – and across an entire enterprise. ESI solves interoperability challenges due to the growing number of disparate tracking technologies that speak different languages.
ESI integrates a myriad of sensor technologies that track, monitor and control assets and workflow processes – providing the gateway to the Internet of Things and smart factory transformation. As a “sensor-agnostic” solution, ESI can be integrated with an organization’s legacy RFID and sensor systems, regardless of hardware or sensor types or brands.
Boeing Global Services
Boeing [NYSE: BA], through its subsidiary Tapestry Solutions, today announced that its Enterprise Sensor Integration (ESI) software platform has gone live at BAE Systems’ Nashua, New Hampshire, facility.
The rollout of Tapestry’s ESI is part of BAE Systems’ large-scale effort to standardize and automate the infrastructure for its manufacturing operations. Plans are now underway to implement ESI at additional BAE Systems’ manufacturing plants in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas and California.
ESI integrates myriad sensor technologies that track, monitor and control assets and workflow processes. ESI also integrates smart Internet-enabled devices, or Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, into one intelligent and interactive network. The software harnesses the power of big data and analytics to boost manufacturing efficiency, productivity and profitability.
As a sensor-agnostic solution, ESI solves connectivity challenges in the evolving digital landscape. It also integrates with an organization’s legacy and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and operates in the cloud or on dedicated servers.
“We are pleased to provide BAE Systems with a flexible, sustainable platform that not only integrates with existing networks, but is also scalable to allow for future growth,” said Michael Spencer, Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing for Tapestry Solutions. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with BAE Systems.”
The ESI installation at the Nashua plant involved the integration of Impinj Speedway Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers, Mojix STAR wide-area RFID sensors and readers, and several ERP and asset management/ordering systems.
ESI mirrors Automated Identification Technology (AIT), the sensor integration solution implemented across 50 Boeing assembly plants. AIT saved Boeing more than $100 million in its first year alone through decreased assembly time, automated asset receipt/payment, enhanced inventory management and improved quality and safety.
About Tapestry Solutions
Tapestry Solutions, Inc. is a global provider of information management software and services for defense, government and commercial markets. We provide mission planning, training and simulation support to maximize readiness for our warfighters. We also help solve logistics challenges for the world’s largest and most complex supply chains. Supporting customers from more than 50 locations worldwide, Tapestry Solutions is part of Boeing Global Services.
Boeing Global Services, headquartered in the Dallas area, was formed by integrating the services capabilities of the government, space and commercial sectors into a single, customer-focused business. Operating as a third business unit of Boeing, Global Services provides agile, cost-competitive services to commercial and government customers worldwide.
Tapestry Solutions Inc.
Boeing Global Services
Watch video to learn more about Tapestry’s ESI technology:
Tapestry Solutions has pioneered the use of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for manufacturing operations – turning hype into reality when it rolled out its Enterprise Sensor Integration (ESI) platform across 50 Boeing factories.
For this monumental achievement, The Internet of Things Institute, Inc. has included Tapestry’s IoT technologies in its listing of the Top 20 Industrial IoT Applications. The Top 20 list includes companies that are “not idly boasting about the promise of the IIoT to transform their business; they have already begun the transformation,” according to the Institute.
As noted in the listing for Boeing: Using IoT to drive manufacturing efficiency:
“Aviation pioneer William Boeing quipped that it “behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement, ‘It can’t be done.’”
The multinational aviation company founded in Boeing’s name apparently still subscribes to that ethos … Boeing and its Tapestry Solutions subsidiary have aggressively deployed IoT technology to drive efficiency throughout factories and supply chains…”
As a sign of aggressive deployment of its IIoT application, Tapestry recently completed the initial phases of an ESI installation for a major defense contractor. The technology will provide the customer with automated asset tracking, workflow and material replenishment processes at their assembly plants throughout the United States.
Tapestry’s ESI is an innovative integration platform that connects disparate sensor technologies through a standard interface – seamlessly connecting people, data and processes through automation. The technology addresses concerns surrounding interoperability between devices and machines that use different protocols with different architectures.
With ESI, there’s just one platform that can communicate with many different hardware and software vendors’ IoT solutions. As a result, supply chain visibility is not completely dependent on one manufacturer or sensor type. This ensures total asset visibility of equipment, tools, cargo and processes anywhere in the world.
The sensor integration solution saved Boeing over $100 million in its first year alone. It continues to generate savings year after year due to improved productivity, reduced inventory costs and increased supply chain velocity.
Unlike other IoT sensor solutions, ESI is a cloud-based platform that can be implemented across a global enterprise. In addition to manufacturing applications, ESI supports global supply chain logistics for industries including pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace and defense.
Tapestry Solutions Inc.
Tapestry Solutions, a Boeing company, and RSAE Labs, a veteran-owned small business, recently demonstrated an advanced asset management solution for U.S. Navy officials that solves logistics challenges related to cargo tracking and monitoring. The solution demonstrated how the integration of software agents, wireless mesh networks and sensor devices can ensure total asset visibility – in open sky or indoor areas without GPS access.
The companies integrated Tapestry’s software technologies developed for military’s Integrated Computerized Deployment System (ICODES) with the automatic location and monitoring features of RSAE Labs’ mist® mesh network.
ICODES is one of Tapestry’s premier software tools used for military deployment and distribution processes, including conveyance load-planning and yard management. It enables real-time collaborative planning and tracking of cargo for vessels, aircraft and railcars and provides a common operating picture across facilities. ICODES has been the Department of Defense’s vessel load planning system of record since 1997 and has served as its single load planning capability since 2007. Today, ICODES serves over 22,000 global users.
RSAE Labs’ mist solution is an ultra-low power, self-healing mesh protocol that incorporates Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) devices, such as sensor tags, location beacons and network gateways. Unlike other AIT solutions limited to periodic manual or choke-point scans, mist can provide continuous end-to-end visibility of tagged assets in near real-time without the need for a fixed infrastructure. This enables regular position updates and timely sensor alerts for assets as they move through the supply chain.
The demonstration validated that mist asset tags can reliably provide ICODES timely position information, enabling fast and accurate responses.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information
does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
Tapestry Solutions Inc.