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RFID Tracks Transatlantic Shipments of Jaguar Parts

Logistics provider Unipart is using radio frequency identification to monitor the security status and location of containers sealed with Savi Network's active tags.
By Beth Bacheldor
Sep 25, 2006RFID is being used to speed up and streamline the supply chain for after-market Jaguar automobile parts being shipped from the United Kingdom to the United States. Unipart Group, a third-party logistics provider, is testing active RFID tags and sensors affixed to containers carrying the parts from two of Unipart's distribution centers in the United Kingdom to two of its warehouses in Mahwah, N.J., and Brisbane, Calif. There are currently no plans to track parts as they move from Jaguar's manufacturing facilities to Unipart's, but both companies say they will explore additional ways to leverage RFID.

Unipart, which manages Jaguar's entire after-market parts supply chain, is working with Savi Networks, a joint venture of RFID systems provider Savi Technology and seaport operator Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), says Susan Evans, Savi Networks' director of business development for the European and African regions. Unipart is using Savi Networks' SaviTrak, an RFID-enabled global container shipment-tracking service. SaviTrak includes RFID tags and interrogators, as well as software that collects, processes and analyzes the RFID data.

"RFID is something Unipart is getting into, and the company sees RFID as a big, potential service offering they can provide to their customers," says Evans. The RFID-enabled supply chain, called the Jaguar Tradelane Project, will provide Unipart a good deal of logistical information. This will include when containers leave and arrive at various points along the supply chain, as well as any details about the condition of containers, such as temperatures or whether the container was opened. "If RFID can take one day out of their lead time from point of origin to point of destination, that is a significant savings," she says.

Unipart also plans to leverage the technology to increase the level of certification it currently has under the U.S. government's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), a voluntary program for shippers, freight forwarders and carriers involved with U.S. importation.

Unipart started planning the Jaguar Tradelane project about six months ago. The company is now using RFID interrogators at its U.K. distribution centers in Honeybourne and Baginton on containers outfitted with Savi Technology's Savi Tag ST-676 ISO Container Security Tag, an active 433 MHz RFID tag that clamps onto the cargo container's door. The Savi Tag ST-676 also includes a sensor bus affixed to the inside of the containers, which monitors temperature, shock, light and humidity.

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