Success for Australian EPC/RFID pilot

Thursday, 12 July, 2007

Radio frequency identification (RFID) using GS1 global standards can improve productivity, reduce delivery processing times and open up visibility throughout the supply chain for the benefit of all trading partners, according to a multi-industry Australian consortium.

This was presented by GS1 Australia, CHEP and MasterFoods "” three of the consortium involved in the National EPC Network Demonstrator Project Extension (NDP Extension), a pilot that has shown what can be achieved with RFID technology and GS1's global standards, incorporating electronic product code (EPC) standards.

"This project allowed us to gain an insight into the viable applications of the technology, which could prove beneficial as we continue to look for opportunities to streamline operations and improve supply chain collaboration," said Sarah Jack, customer logistics manager for Procter & Gamble Australia and part of the NDP Extension team.

The NDP Extension focused on returnable asset management and with more than 10 million pallets in circulation throughout Australia, their management can be extremely time-consuming.

The consortium explored how EPC/RFID could benefit this process by facilitating real-time asset management with built-in alerts that control reconciliation at the point of breakdown. Full automation was achieved, leading to a paperless environment, the elimination of human error and the accuracy of order versus delivery verified. The concepts proven are also transferable to other supply chain items such as logistics units, trade items and other assets.

"The NDP Extension used the GS1 System (incorporating EPCglobal standards) with second generation RFID technologies," said Maria Palazzolo, CEO of GS1 Australia.

"This provided the consortium with guaranteed visibility of assets along the entire supply chain, as well as paperless delivery, electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) and improved inventory management."

CHEP, using Six Sigma Kaizen analysis, found that 28% of end-to-end processing time could be saved per pallet delivery journey. This equates to 49 minutes. In addition, the company calculated that increased efficiencies would create a general saving in service centre administration of 2 hours, 43 minutes per day per service centre.

"This new pilot will provide many answers to questions we've been asked, such as the compatibility of EPCglobal standards and GS1 standards. These standards provide businesses with a much more holistic integration as they allow interoperability between different technology providers and facilitate the integration of EPC/RFID into existing business processes," said Palazzolo.

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