Transport items such as pallets, cases, cages, etc. are used in many supply chains to deliver products from manufacturing centers and/or distribution warehouses to end customers. Most companies involved in managing such items struggle with visibility and cannot always answer questions such as: Where is my equipment? Has customer X returned the 150 cases we delivered to him last week? Is my fleet big enough to cope with the upcoming rush period? What is the average pallet rotation time? Which centers might be able to help me out, so that I don’t have to order new equipment for centre Y?
Barcode technology identifies equipment, but has its limits: misreadings can occur, the barcode label or mark must be visible, and it does not stand up well to outdoor storage and repeated washing. For a long time, RFID technology has been preferred for this environment as it has a number of advantages. Various tag types and formats are available on the market for most transport equipment. The data capture process requires little or no human intervention. Large quantities of data can be read simultaneously. The object does not have to be facing the reader. Because automatic checks can be performed when passing through doors or pre-identified areas, RFID also simplifies traceability procedures.
A Transport Equipment Tracking Solution
IdRTI uses RFID technology to track transport items. Therefore, it provides extensive visibility of the use of your equipment, enabling you to optimize your fleet and hence reduce your overall operating costs.
IdRTI is a comprehensive solution, enabling you to identify and track transport equipment during processing and transit, i.e. in production centers, distribution warehouses and storerooms, and during the shipment, reception, return and/or inventory processes implemented in storage areas. IdRTI allows you to measure the variance between goods delivered and goods returned per recipient site, calculate return times and equipment rotation rates, draw up inventories, identify specific items in a stock using a mobile terminal acting as a detector, etc.
IdRTI is not just a ‘hardware’ package. It is a global solution that takes into account all the hardware, software and service components of the RFID project. An IdRTI solution implements many elements driven by Neopost Shipping: the RFID infrastructure for data capture, management applications to process RFID readings, data exchange interfaces between the RFID system and your information system, and software to manage the RFID equipment. Depending on your needs, the RFID infrastructure used in the IdRTI solution may include various devices implemented and operated by Neopost Shipping: portal-type or mobile industrial-type readers, reading and/or tag encoding terminals, fixed device control peripherals managing RFID data traffic and readers.
A Solution Based on the EPCglobal® Standard
EPCglobal® is an RFID industry standard for traceability in the supply chain. It has all the benefits of a standard: interoperability, free choice of equipment (an EPC tag can be read by various EPC-compatible devices and can be replaced by another, more recent and more efficient EPC tag with no impact on the infrastructure), and shared traceability thanks to the ONS (Object Name Service) concept, which provides access to information on a given object, stored in several databases.
Neopost Shipping has always favored the EPCglobal® standard. Besides its in-depth experience with the tag-encoding and reading standard, Neopost Shipping has an expert knowledge of EPC-IS databases. We set up one of the first Oracle EPC-IS databases in France, for a major customer project. This database is managed and hosted on Neopost Shipping’s servers.
At present, if your project specificities allow to it, EPCglobal® is the obvious choice. Neopost Shipping’s expertise will be of great help in your EPCglobal® implementation.
A Bundled Solution Based on a Service Contract
IdRTI is a bundled ‘Managed Services’ solution including all the components required by the project:
- The hardware suite in the RFID infrastructure
- The inherent software and interfaces
- On-site implementation and maintenance services
- RFID data management and hosting
This service-oriented approach enables you to implement your solution with little or no investment. It also means that you will not need to invest in your own technical resources. Finally, it is the perfect way of keeping costs in line with the size of the solution.
In order to determine the overall project requirements, define methods of optimization and estimate your return on investment, we will run a complete analysis of your environment. This includes understanding your processes, running site audits to capture the project’s physical environment, studying your entire vehicle fleet to select the most adapted RFID solution - and adjust it when necessary, analyzing the data flows to be managed for a tailored solution, and determining your exact functional requirements so you can fully benefit from the collected RFID data.