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The resort has reduced labor costs and loss by automating its uniform-management system—reading RFID tags on garments as they are turned into the laundry facility, then are sorted and returned to employees
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Resorts World Genting Malaysia

 

from RFID Journal

Jun 25, 2017—Resorts World Genting has launched a radio frequency identification system that automates its uniform management to sort more than 100,000 items of clothing. The resort plans to double that volume as it introduces new facilities and employ new staff members. Resorts World Genting is a popular integrated resort situated 6,000 feet above sea level in Malaysia.

In January 2017, Genting deployed its passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID Uniform System, from InvoTech (a technology company located in Woodland Hills, Calif.), to manage the laundry operations of uniforms and linens across its six hotels—involving more than 10,000 rooms in total—and restaurants, for more than 18,000 employees.

The solution tracks each uniform as it is moves through a central laundry service and then a complex network of sorting conveyors to automatically provide that garment back to the correct employee. The InvoTech software that manages the RFIDbased data resides on the resort's servers and is integrated with its accounting, human-resources and conveyor systems.

The RFID technology is designed to eliminate daily manual tasks and automate processes, says Jeff Welles, InvoTech's president. In addition to reducing labor costs, he says, it establishes accountability "to eliminate losses and provides critical information to reduce purchases." Accountability results from employees having knowledge that software is tracking which uniforms they take and then return, or fail to return.

Resorts World Genting's operation is reportedly one of the largest enterprises of its kind in the world. It employs tens of thousands of workers and houses two uniform departments that service personnel for all of the hotels, as well as restaurants, entertainment venues, an indoor theme park and, opening soon, the world's first 20th Century Fox Theme Park. Employees wear uniforms owned by the company, then turn them in for laundry services at the end of each shift and pick them up again for their next shift.

To manage the uniforms, Resorts World Genting traditionally only labeled each pair of trousers, shirt or other item with the appropriate employee's name. Workers then manually sorted the uniforms in the laundry area and issued the garments back to the proper department and staff member via the uniform departments. Managing hundreds of thousands of uniform items was tedious for the company workers, Welles says. In addition, if an employee reported a uniform missing, it had to be repurchased, though the source of the problem was impossible to trace.

As the company continues to expand, the company reports, this process is becoming more complicated. Therefore, Genting Malaysia has installed RFID technology within the two uniform departments, as well as at the Resorts World Genting central laundry facility, in order to automatically track the movements of these pieces. It currently tracks uniforms for more than 18,000 employees.

InvoTech installed 30 Impinj Speedway Revolution fixed RFID readers at uniform-assignment stations located at the UniformDepartment services counters, as well as on the automated uniform-sorting and -distribution conveyors. In addition, InvoTech provided Zebra Technologies handheld readers for laundry processing and physical inventory counts.

Thus far, only 25,000 items have a Fujitsu RFID tag sewn on them, while the tagging of uniforms is still under way. Each tag is encoded with a unique ID number linked to the product's ID in the InvoTech software. The resort has assigned each uniform's RFID number to a specific employee in the software. Staff members place uniforms in a designated slot on an automated uniform distribution conveyor.

Upon reporting to work, employees use their ID card to retrieve the uniforms from the automated conveyor. Once they present their ID badge to a card reader, and once the software approves that ID, the conveyor system automatically provides the individual with the proper uniform. InvoTech software then updates the record of which uniform was taken by which employee.

The receipt of goods within the laundry area is captured at InvoTech RFID reader stations. When employees return their soiled uniforms, they place them in one of the laundry drop-chutes. The staff then uses a handheld Zebra reader to interrogate each tag ID, and to store another status update indicating that the item has been returned for washing.

Once washed in the laundry, the garments are placed on the automatic sorting conveyor, to be arranged for fast and easy storage back on the automatic distribution conveyors. RFID readers at the conveyors automatically record which uniforms were received back from the laundry.

"The InvoTech system maintains a perpetual inventory of the uniforms," Welles says, "and manages employee uniform assignments." The system also has reporting capabilities to maintain optimum inventory levels, and to forecast the need for purchases in the event that a uniform fails to return from the laundry or from the employee, or if the laundry inputs data indicating that a particular uniform is no longer useable.

Resorts World Genting Malaysia primarily wanted the system to establish accountability and reduce uniform purchases. While 25,000 garments are currently tagged, the company plans to tag 150,000 uniforms in total as it continues to grow.

InvoTech has hundreds of satisfied clients worldwide in more than 30 countries, including hotels, resorts, casinos, theme parks, stadiums, arenas, convention centers, medical centers, cleanrooms, and laundries.

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