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Megatrux Improves Operations With RFID Tagging

The third-party logistics provider says it is seeing enhanced shipping accuracy as it tags and tracks cases and pallets bound for Wal-Mart facilities.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 03, 2007California-based third-party logistics provider Megatrux has deployed a radio frequency identification system for tracking all cases and pallets being shipped to Wal-Mart through Megatrux's main warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga. Provided by Montreal RFID solutions company Ship2Save, the system went live in June, following four months of testing.

Megatrux can use the system to apply RFID tags to product shipments, enabling the logistics provider to offer RFID compliance services to Wal-Mart suppliers that have not yet launched a system for RFID-tagging their shipments. The company can also employ the system to track the movement of cases and pallets into and out of the warehouse, as well as share this information with product suppliers. In addition, Megatrux uses the system for internal tracking of shipments, error prevention and providing greater visibility of shipments to its customers. Megatrux charges the shippers a fee for RFID tag application and visibility access.

Jeff Potts, Megatrux
Megatrux is an end-to-end shipping company that moves freight both domestically and internationally. It has eight warehouses throughout the United States, as well as nine subsidiary freight-moving businesses. The 175,000-square-foot California warehouse is the company's busiest, with more than 1 million cartons destined for Wal-Mart passing through it each year, says Julie Jarrett, Megatrux's vice president of sales and marketing. Most of the firm's customers, she says—namely, the suppliers—ship to Wal-Mart.

Megatrux had been seeking an RFID solution for several years, says Jeff Potts, the company's vice president of operations. After some testing with Ship2Save, it first installed the system at the California warehouse, which has the most traffic of all Megatrux warehouses. The new system includes RFID-enabled portals installed at six of the site's 36 dock doors, two label printers and one mobile reader, as well as middleware and integration provided by Ship2Save.

When cases of product arrive at the warehouse, Megatrux floor workers use Sato America CL408e printers to print and encode Gen 2 EPC labels. Employees apply the labels to cases of goods, and to pallets loaded with 40 to 50 boxes each. The product SKU and RFID label ID numbers on the boxes and pallets are all linked in Megatrux's warehouse management system via Ship2Save's Operation Management System middleware application.

After tagging, says Sam Falsafi, Ship2Save's director of RFID strategy, the loaded pallets pass through the RFID-enabled portals. Motorola DC600 fixed readers capture the ID numbers of both the boxes and the pallets, sending the data via a wired connection to the Operation Management System middleware. The middleware interprets the tag reads and transmits filtered data to Megatrux's warehouse management system. That data is then made available to shippers through a Web portal in the form of a dashboard, with such details as each box's location and when it arrived there.

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