September 29, 2009
Telstra, Australia’s largest provider of local and long distance telephone services, mobile services, dialup, wireless, DSL, and cable Internet access, hopes to save AU $4 million (US $3.2 million) annually by using RFID technology. The company has already added RFID tags to 12,800 cellular phones sent from a Sydney distribution center to six stores around the country.
Based on this first initiative, Telstra estimates having improved inventory accuracy through increased visibility from 65 percent to 99 percent. Additionally, the company reduced time spent receiving goods by 75 percent; time spent on inventorying by 50 percent; and time spent searching for missing items by 50 percent.
All of this bodes well for Telstra’s main goals for the RFID system: to reduce the loss of cellular phones in the supply chain and reduce shrinkage at Telstra retail stores.
Shrinkage is a large problem in Australia, with the value of retail shrinkage in 2007 reaching AU $2.26 billion (US $1.8 billion)—or 1.39 percent of sales. With Telstra’s phones ranging in price from AU $150 (US $121) to AU $1,000 (US $805), they are high-value items for thieves, and the company hopes that the improved visibility provided by RFID will reduce shrinkage.
The company also expects to see other benefits by deploying RFID:
* Increased productivity by reducing staff time spent in the stockroom receiving or looking for phones
* Improved accuracy of stock levels
* Eliminating out-of-stocks
* Minimizing oversupply of stock
The RFID system could be rolled out in Telstra’s retail stores by early 2010. (http://www.itwire.com/content/view/26040/127/)
September 15, 2009
ABB Oy—a leading power electronics and automation technology group with more than 115,000 employees in 100 countries—has found that RFID technology helps it significantly reduce errors in outbound goods streams. The system automatically monitors and records movements in the stock control system and prevents loading errors in consignments.
Here’s how it works: RFID tags are affixed at parcel level to all transport units belonging to a consignment. Meanwhile, fixed RFID readers located at all trailer loading docks scan all tagged, loaded parcels. The readers record the registration number of the vehicle arriving for loading, and the data is sent to the company’s back-end software system, where the delivery’s progress is controlled automatically. For example, if the wrong goods are loaded onto a vehicle whose registration numbers (and, therefore, proper shipment details) are already recorded, the reader at the gate issues an error message. The gate will only close when all of the correct goods belonging to a consignment have been loaded into the vehicle.
The new, automated RFID system covers approximately two million transactions per year. In addition to preventing loading errors, this offers ABB dramatically more floor space on which to work. This is because when workers load outbound consignments, it is no longer necessary for them to work with the goods in a consolidation area. Instead, workers can use goods-vehicle trailers for storage (http://www.upmraflatac.com/europe/eng/news/presscenter/2009/44_71734.asp).
September 8, 2009
By February 1, 2010, Danish Container Centralen (www.container-centralen.com) will begin the largest RFID project of its kind in the horticulture industry (http://sev.prnewswire.com/null/20090630/NY4023530062009-1.html). The company, which is Europe’s largest provider of reusable transport equipment, will use RFID sensor technology to monitor the progress of shipments as they move through the supply chain—spanning 40 European countries.
According to Tonny Vangsgaard Gravesen, CEO of Container Centralen, the company’s goals for the technology are to increase efficiencies while reducing operational costs; to improve control of the flower and pot plant trolleys circulating in the international supply chain; and to satisfy the future demands of its retailers.
These are no small objectives, as approximately 80,000 growers, wholesalers, and retailers use Container Centralen’s flower and pot plant trolleys—or CC Containers—to deliver and display flowers and plants. Indeed, there are 3.5 million flower and pot plant trolleys in constant circulation in the company’s international supply chain, or CC Pool System, which makes accurate monitoring of the trolleys essential.
The RFID sensor technology solution requires that RFID tags be affixed to each flower and pot plant trolley. This will provide Container Centralen with transparency and security throughout the supply chain and, thanks to improved order management, save money for all of the supply chain players. Additionally, the RFID sensor technology solution will deter the creation and circulation of inferior, counterfeit horticultural flower and pot plant trolleys, enhancing quality assurance for retailers and customers alike.