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Jaguar Signs On as Savi Extends RFID Network to UK

Savi Networks has announced that the Port of Felixstowe became the first UK port outfitted with the SaviTrak RFID container tracking infrastructure, and Jaguar will track parts shipments from Felixstowe to the US. Now 50 percent of all cargo that enters the US originates from ports equipped with Savi tracking technology.
Sep 21, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

September 21, 2006—The reach of Savi Networks' active RFID-based cargo tracking network now extends to the UK. Earlier this week the Silicon Valley company announced that the SaviTrak infrastructure was installed at the Port of Felixstowe in southeast England. Car-maker Jaguar will begin using the network and Savi's services to track parts shipments bound for the US.

Felixstowe is Savi Networks' first UK port installation and joins 19 other ports in Europe, Asia, North America and South America to be equipped for the SaviTrak network, which uses a flexible combination of active and passive RFID, sensors and other technologies to provide in-transit visibility. The infrastructure is now installed at ports where 50% of all the cargo that enters the US originates, Savi Networks Chief Operating Officer Lani Fritts told RFID Update from Shanghai, where he is traveling on business. Savi has partnerships in place to equip 75 more ports.

"There is a definite network effect," said Fritts. "As more and more of logistics networks are covered, automatic real-time tracking becomes less of an exception and more of a rule. Companies can cover more of a complete supply chain than a specific trade lane. That's bringing the technology closer to the tipping point."

Savi Networks, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin's Savi Technology subsidiary and Hutchison Port Holdings, the world's largest port operator, has announced a string of port installations and partnerships this year to build out its network. Savi, which also has a large customer base in the defense industry, was acquired by Lockheed Martin earlier this year (see Lockheed Martin to Buy Active RFID Leader Savi).

Jaguar and its logistics partner, Unipart Logistics, will use sensors and ISO-standard active RFID tags on shipping containers as part of the Jaguar Tradelane Project to provide real-time location information and security alerts for shipping containers packed with replacement parts. Savi's systems at the Port of New York/New Jersey and the Port of Oakland in California will track inbound Jaguar shipments.

"As you can imagine for an automotive company, Jaguar's supply chain is very sophisticated," said Fritts. "They already get shipping data by EDI. They'll use active tags on containers to provide security, get location information, and automate some of the data feeds they're getting now. They're looking for ways to supplement their existing data and make it easier to collect and analyze."

Earlier this week Jaguar's parent company, Ford Motor Company, announced its Way Forward program, which will bring major changes to its business and workforce. The Jaguar Tradelane Project isn't specifically part of Way Forward, but the timing of the announcements underscores that fundamental changes are coming to the automotive industry, and that RFID will play a role.

"Supply chains are more and more competitive, and it's especially important for automotive companies to find new ways to compete," said Fritts. "The adoption cycle of RFID technologies is accelerating. I see it as a continuation of the ongoing process in the automotive industry. There was total quality management, then Six Sigma. RFID is part of the continuous improvement process."

Last week RFID Update reported findings from Frost & Sullivan that predict the collective automotive, aerospace and heavy manufacturing market for RFID will grow 17.9% through 2012.

"The world has been very focused on case and pallet tracking and what Wal-Mart is doing," said Fritts. Meanwhile, adoption for RFID-based cargo tracking has boomed in the private sector and defense industries. "Eventually we'll see logistics and case and pallet systems merge, and companies will also track at additional levels, such as GPS or satellite."
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