RFID and NFC Technology Helps Automate Age-Old Processes in the Winery Industry
HID Global, a company that specializes in secure identity solutions announced its industry and logistics RFID tag solution combined with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has been selected by Bodega Norton winery in Argentina to refine its harvesting process. HID Global provided cutting-edge expertise to automate age-old processes, enabling the winery to enhance and streamline logistics in a long tradition of fine wine-making.
HID Global, in partnership with system integrator Fundación Ada Byron (FAB), worked with Bodega Norton to develop a solution to replace a cumbersome, outdated tracking system that was used for compensating employees; this system was based on the manual distribution and collection of thousands of aluminum and plastic chips that tracked the amount of grapes picked by harvesters. The chip system presented inherent administrative and logistical difficulties. The paper-based system required that one day a week was allocated for collecting, counting and processing the chips. On that day, harvesters were unable to earn compensation collecting grapes and the winery did not have grapes to proceed with wine production.
“We sat down with Bodega Norton and reviewed the entire production process, from vine to bottle, to identify how HID Global’s RFID technology could help improve efficiency, accuracy and productivity, while still ensuring the highest quality of finished product,” said Guillermo Ibarraran, sales manager, Latin America, Identification Technologies with HID Global.
With the new solution, each harvester is issued an armband equipped with a unique HID Global contactless card, grape collection bins are now tagged with HID Epoxy Disc tags and vineyard supervisors are outfitted with NFC-enabled smartphones. The system enables vineyard supervisors to simply place their smartphone next to the harvester’s armband triggering an audible beep that assures both the harvester and supervisor that the collection bin has been counted and credited to the appropriate harvester.
Placing harvesters in the forefront is one reason Bodega Norton was recognized as one of the best companies to work for in Argentina. Bodega Winery is committed to evolving its people to ensure a successful harvest season. This commitment enabled Bodega Norton to focus more time and attention on their winemaking versus management and logistics.
“Hand picking is the only way to harvest grapes properly to ensure the best wine, and at Bodega Norton, people bring to life the winery — if you cultivate the best people, they will help you produce the best wine,” said Pablo Minatelli, vineyard manager for Bodega Norton. “Due to the efficiencies of the new system, we pay better than other vineyards, and that means we attract the best harvesters,” explained Minatelli. “With the best people and reduced administrative time and expense, we get a better harvest and yield.”
With Bodega Norton’s 150 harvesters and their supervisors now able to devote one additional day each week to gathering grapes, the HID Global and Fundación Ada Byron solution drastically improved Bodega Norton’s productivity as the solution eliminated the day that was previously spent collecting and processing harvest tally chips. The harvesters are also more confident that they are being compensated fairly, and are motivated by knowing their efforts will be properly rewarded.
Additional areas at Bodega Norton have been identified for enhancement using HID Global’s RFID technology in the future. “With interoperable HID Global cards and tags, incorporating NFC technology enabled cost-efficient software development and eliminated the need to invest in dedicated ruggedized RFID readers,” said Héctor Franco, of Fundación Ada Byron. “More importantly, they allowed us to incorporate Internet access and the integration of applications, such as GPS and accounting into the system.”
The new RFID and NFC driven system generates more detailed, real-time information that can be used to guide better management decisions. “Ultimately, the multi-tiered, RFID tracking and recording system we are implementing with the help of HID Global and Fundación Ada Byron is designed to achieve our mission of presenting the best wines to our customers,” said Minatelli.