Sistema de agentes para control de stock de almacén basado en identificacion por radiofrecuencia
Abarca Álvarez, Antonio
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Currently it is very important for companies to maintain proper stock. The rhythm of life to which we are accustomed to every day, demands an immediate response to the intentions of consumer purchases. This requires having enough stock to answer to this situation, being prepared for quick increases in demand. On the other hand, maintaining increased stock in the warehouse is well known to produce additional costs. Due to the enormous competitiveness, the control of stock can have a decisive role in determining the viability of a company, causing an additional cost for over-stock or losses in the event of breakage in stock. Also in this case, it is necessary to consider the damage to the company's image caused by these delays. The economic interest of stock control is reflected in a continuing search for an optimal solution. It is not easy, since it depends on various parameters: nature of the products, degree of rotation, different suppliers, delivery, transport units (pallets, trucks, containers, etc.), storage capacity, etc. It is interesting to automate the processing of orders. To do this, it is necessary to obtain some standards which permit adjusting the parameters within acceptable limits. This could make the system able to process the orders automatically without being influenced by external factors, which could take into account human beings. The use of agents to make the automation of stock control and order processing easy is perhaps the most sensible choice. This can be affirmed thanks to the characteristics that define the behavior of the agents, which, using Artificial Intelligence techniques and following an adequate process, can learn for themselves. They are also able to make decisions and to relate to each other, among other features. For the system of agents to make appropriate and precise decisions, it is necessary that information about the stock, product location, etc. is as accurate and reliable as possible. The technology used almost exclusively until recently (bar code) does not provide the conditions required by the current agent systems proposed. This will require higher performance, more accurate information in real time, according to the required accuracy of the system. RFID (identification based in radio frequency) is chosen to perform this task in satisfactory form. The most relevant contributions from the use of RFID technology, among other things, include traceability and visibility. If the mentioned RFID provides cutting edge technology such as systems for information management (Information Management System), it is able to identify and manage product information, making possible the identification of any unit of product through RFID-IS. In addition, if the Multi-Agent Systems are applied to those tasks indicated above, it works in distributed systems under the name applied to RFID intelligent manufacturing systems (Intelligent Manufacturing Systems). The application of network communication technologies, such as that used in ZigBee, complements the identification by RFID and enables a simple way to expand the area or areas over which it seeks to control the evolution of products and can also create a network of wireless sensors WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network). This network has a number of features that make it suitable for this use: energy-optimized economic systems, which are not very demanding in terms of electric power consumption and limited communication skills. The integration of existing communication systems (GSM, GPRS, UMTS, etc.), and present global location and future (GPS, Glonass, Galileo), allow real-time (RTLS) knowledge of the position and status of any product that is traveling throughout the earth's surface. This work discusses the automation of a distribution company, starting with the receiving of merchandise in their stores, and even being more ambitious, from the beginning of the manufacturing process. The indicated technology allows a specified tracking of each unit of product as opposed to current technology of identification that is only able to differentiate whether they are products of different types, managing, at best, in batches. This leaves the door open for various possible solutions with the implementation of the stated techniques. Each particular case will affect one way or another the different aspects shown, so the design of agent-based systems and the use of appropriate technology (RFID, ZigBee, etc.) must meet the conditions for reaching optimal solution in each case. In a time of crisis like we are currently experiencing, economic experts say that we need to take advantage of the opportunities to try to come out of this difficult situation stronger. And one of the most important decisions to move forward is investment in technology, obtaining with it a dominant market position against competitors.