Walter Knoll AG & Co. KG utilizes RFID to streamline logistics with Motorola Solutions’ rugged devices

Furniture maker Walter Knoll is using RFID and Motorola Solutions’ rugged Psion Workabout Pro 3 handheld computers to manage its inventory of sample furniture efficiently

This press release was issued by Motorola Solutions Enterprise business prior to its acquisition by Zebra Technologies on Oct. 27, 2014. 

IDSTEIN, Germany – March 4, 2013 – Motorola Solutions announced today that Walter Knoll AG & Co. KG, a leading manufacturer of upholstery and office furniture, has deployed an RFID solution in combination with Psion Workabout Pro 3 handheld computers to streamline the way it manages its furniture and to optimise its logistics process chain. The rugged handheld computers serve as reading devices for bar codes and RFID codes on items of furniture and are helping to manage inventories transparently. Thanks to this solution, the company now always knows not just the condition of furniture items but also where they are currently located – in the warehouse, in the outgoing goods area or at customers’ premises.


  • The RFID solution and the Psion handheld computers have enabled Walter Knoll to reduce the amount of manual effort involved in managing furniture as well as simplify logistics processes and expedite inventory-taking.
  • The handheld computers were supplied by WAROK GmbH, a Psion value-added distributor. Walter Knoll also received assistance with the installation of the system from avus Services, an IT and RFID specialist.
  • Walter Knoll makes up to 70,000 items of furniture a year. Finished items are packaged and then shipped to customers through a haulage company. Some of the furniture also goes out on loan to furniture stores. If these items are not sold, they are returned after a set period of time and added to a pool of sample furniture. In the past, the original bar codes applied to furniture were often lost, which meant items had to be re-identified and re-registered on their return. There was also the additional effort of having to apply new labels. The condition of the furniture was noted in a manually prepared list and then recorded later in a computer system.
  • To simplify the processes involved in managing its furniture, Walter Knoll, assisted by avus Services, has deployed an RFID solution that uses the Psion Workabout Pro 3 as a reader device. Details of the number of furniture items belonging to the order appear instantly on the display. The data is then reconciled with the ERP system over Wi-Fi via the handheld computers, which match tags with open data records containing items’ individual RFID numbers.
  • The RFID labels reduce the number of tasks formerly carried out by hand: They also help eliminate redundant information, because an RFID gate now automatically reconciles delivery notes with the actual goods shipped. The solution also makes it possible to identify the locations of items and determine when they left the warehouse. This has significantly reduced the time spent locating specific pieces of furniture.
  • The RFID labels are also an advantage when Walter Knoll takes back furniture: Staff use a handheld computer to read out each item’s RFID code. They can then view comprehensive information on the item of furniture and record its current condition in the mobile device. These details are transmitted to the database automatically. This means that each furniture item is inventoried on site in the sample furniture store – an advancement that brings benefits in terms of transparency, speed and reliability for Walter Knoll.


Jürgen Heim, Psion Managing Director, Motorola Solutions
“The Workabout Pro 3 was developed specifically as a rugged handheld device for mobile staff working in the field or in manufacturing locations, for example. It’s tough enough to take knocks and has an exceptional battery life. What’s more, the display is easy to read in almost any light.”

Christian Mayer, Head of Operations at Walter Knoll
“We now put RFID transponders on all our furniture during the production process. This means each item has an invisible and unique identifier that includes the manufacturer’s details. With the Workabout Pro 3, we’re equipped with an ideal reading device for RFID codes and bar codes. Our staff uses them to record the code for each manufacturing order. We’re also really happy with how the Workabout Pro 3 handles. It’s a handy size; it’s low in weight; and we can add more functionality if necessary. Going forward, its RFID capabilities will help us to optimise our logistics processes. We’re currently also discussing whether to expand our solution to track our truck loading processes. Here, too, the handheld computers would play a key role.”

Motorola Solutions

Further information 
Walter Knoll
avus Services

About Motorola Solutions
Psion, now part of Motorola Solutions, is a pioneer in quality mobile handheld computers and their applications in industrial markets around the world. Motorola Solutions is a leading provider of mission-critical communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers. Through leading-edge innovation and communications technology, it is a global leader that enables its customers to be their best in the moments that matter. Motorola Solutions trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “MSI.” To learn more, visit For ongoing news, please visit our media centre or subscribe to our news feed.

Media Contact:
Susanne Stier
Phone: +49 - (0)6126 - 9576 - 502
Mobile: +49 - (0)172 - 6161 - 773

MOTOROLA, MOTO, MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS and the Stylized M Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Motorola Trademark Holdings, LLC and are used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2013 Motorola Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.