Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) – Map, Measure, Minimize Waste

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Within the OpExChange, our companies are all at some point of a continuous improvement journey – striving to improve both their bottom-line and top-line results by reducing waste and increasing value for their customers. Many are now incorporating industry 4.0 technology as a strategic part of this journey.

The webinar last week with Gemba Systems was an educational session. There were 45 attendees from 29 companies across the state that participated in this event. Stijn Van de Velde, Ryan Graham, and Joseph Etris demonstrated how a real-time locating system (RTLS) is an Industry 4.0 tool that connects the factory to key information in real-time so that decisions can be made quickly.

Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) Technology

RTLS took a giant step forward with the introduction of ultra-wide-band technology. Joseph explained how this “next big thing” is beginning to take over for tracking. This radio frequency technology holds incredible tracking accuracy – within 2” to 8” – but it is also low cost. This precision jumps UWB beyond the capabilities of RFID and Bluetooth and opens the floodgates of possible use cases.

Industrial Demonstration

Ryan walked the team through some videos of actual industrial demonstrations. One of these was at a Autokiniton, a Tier 1 automotive supplier and an OpExChange member. This demonstration tracked real-time movement of material carts in a “tugger train.” Jeff Slater was the Director of Continuous Improvement at that time and is a believer in the UWB technology. Jeff joined the webinar and gave a succinct synopsis of the potential benefits offered by this system.  In addition to tracking material to improve robotic cell uptime, another key benefit they were considering was tracking and controlling non-conforming material in a “Hold” area. The designed system could automatically transfer material within the ERP system.

Stijn also shared several use cases of RTLS and how an incremental improvement in OEE can result in quick, bottom-line results. He demonstrated one example where improving OEE from 68.4% to 69.3% could result in an increase in operating income of $656K. He provided a spreadsheet template for all OpExChange members that detailed many use cases and an OEE calculator for determining their own financial impacts.

We Have a Winner

The event concluded with a “lucky draw” where one company was randomly chosen to receive a complimentary one-week demonstration with a Gemba Systems kit. Congratulations to Michael Williams and T&S Brass and Bronze Works on winning this draw!

About Gemba Systems

Gemba Systems Inc. supports manufacturing companies in the digitalization of their operations, especially focused on improving their manufacturing execution systems. We help companies navigate the complex and fast-evolving landscape of “smart manufacturing” and the Industrial Internet of Things. We offer guidance, tools, and hands-on support in the selection and implementation of those industry 4.0 technologies that will best support our clients’ most critical business processes, and the people who perform them.

About OpExChange

The OpExChange is a peer-to-peer network of companies in South Carolina known for generating data-driven success for members through benchmarking and best practices activities. Member companies host events and share practical examples of industrial automation, lean manufacturing improvements, and leadership development. It is an invaluable resource to South Carolina companies that provides access to others who are on similar improvement journeys. If you are interested in joining, contact Mike Demos ( or visit the OpExChange website to see current companies:


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