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Cutting Costs and Boosting Efficiency: How Ferrero Uses RFID

The Ferrero plant in Poland effectively supervises workwear using RFID technology

Workwear in the Food Industry

Workwear in the food industry that meets HACCP standards is a significant cost for companies. Usually, washing and care for the service of clothing is the responsibility of the employer, who makes it available to his employees. It is often the case that employees need to change clothes even several times a day, so access to clean clothes must be ensured.

Tailored Solution

The Ferrero plant in Belsk Duzy, Poland, a world–famous Italian sweets manufacturer, the third largest plant of the Ferrero Group, employing almost 3’000 people, has decided to implement RFID technology. The solution was used to properly bill the laundry service of individual workwear of its employees, prevent clothing loss, locate clothing, control the number of washing cycles or damage to clothing to monitor lifespan or prevent theft in the case of jackets for reduced temperature work. Having its own RFID solution also allowed the customer to be independent in choosing a laundry service provider.

Implementation Process

As part of the solution, an individual database application was developed, which was integrated with the Ferrero system for assigning workwear to an employee. The RFID UHF technology enabled quick scanning of clothes sent to the laundry and quick identification after they were returned from the laundry.

Desk–mounted RFID readers (Nordic ID Sampo) were used for the physical handling of operations. The readers are used to initially assign unique laundry tags to a given piece of clothing, and then to assign given pieces of clothing (with a unique RFID tag) during handing over to a given employee. In addition, the clothing is individually labeled with the employee's name and surname.

Workwear Laundry Management

Employees throw dirty clothes into containers, from which they are collected by a selected laundry. It is possible to choose one of the two laundries contracted by the company, where the clothes go, which adds a competitive effect on the quality of the laundry service. Before the dirty laundry is handed over to the driver, items are counted by scanning with an RFID terminal. After the washing process, clean clothes are also scanned this time by the laundry and delivered to the driver. Marking the clothing facilitates its segregation in the plant after washing and assigning it to the employee. It should be emphasized at that point that the implementation concept does not violate the principles of GDPR. The data feeding the system provides detailed information about the location – the plant or one of the two laundries. This allows for ongoing control of the basis for billing with the service providers.

Additional Benefits

All RFID tags are pre–programmed and protected against unauthorized reprogramming prior to delivery to Ferrero. This is a standard procedure used by us during implementations, which ensures the security of the solution. 

Labeling workwear with RFID laundry tags is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, most often the biggest beneficiaries of this technology are the laundromats that use it – and their customers have to rely on their data without any additional control of their own.

Implementation at Ferrero and having our own system gave additional benefits. Employees equipped with terminals can carry out stocktaking of the clothing warehouse and it takes them several minutes instead of many hours or days.

In the event of a loss, e. g. a mistake when disassembling into cabinets, you can quickly find the lost piece. You can also quickly check whether a given employee is wearing his clothes even if he is dressed in multiple layers.

The system has been successfully operating for many years, and RFID Solutions successively provides its ongoing support and development as new needs arise.