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RFID Increases Sour Cream Maker's Visibility

This spring, Daisy Brand will start using radio frequency identification to increase product visibility in its own warehouse, and eventually throughout its distribution chain.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 27, 2006This spring, sour cream maker Daisy Brand will launch an RFID system that the company claims will save its forklift drivers time previously spent filling out paperwork, as well as increase the visibility of its products as they move from Daisy Brand's warehouse in Texas to third-party facilities across the country. Eventually, says Kevin Brown, director of information systems, as more customers and third-party warehouses acquire RFID technology, Daisy Brand hopes to track its product from the moment it is placed on a pallet until it goes onto the store shelf.

Based in Dallas, Daisy Brand initially sold its sour cream only in the central United States. With a growth in sales of about 20 percent annually, the company's products are now shipped to third-party warehouses and sold in all major U.S. grocery retail chains, as well as at stores in Europe and Mexico. To accommodate such growth, Daisy Brand sought a solution that would increase the visibility of its perishable inventory while improving transportation efficiency.

Daisy Brand's Kevin Brown
By deploying an RFID system, the company believes it will be better able to track its products' locations and expiration dates, as well as determine what types—fat-free, low-fat or regular—are being stored at each warehouse. If a customer orders more cases of a specific product, the RFID system would make it easier for Daisy employees to locate the product the customer needs and determine its expiration date. Currently, Brown says, such a special order requires numerous phone calls, e-mails or faxes.

Although third-party warehouses do not yet have RFID technology, Brown says he predicts many eventually will. Ultimately, he expects to see Daisy Brand employees working at some of those warehouses and overseeing the use of RFID readers there.

Daisy Brand operates its own warehouse in a unique way, allowing forklift operators to make their own decisions regarding inventory movement. That requires a software system flexible enough to allow the operators to input changes to inventory management plans, says Larry Chandler, vice president of business development at GlobeRanger, the supplier of the iMotion Edgeware RFID middleware platform Daisy Brand will be using. While most companies operate with a warehouse staff that follows specific instructions about where and when to transport inventory, Daisy Brand management offers several options to forklift operators, who must determine the best action to take, based on the conditions in the warehouse.

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