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3PL Offers RFID Tagging and Tracking Services

Megatrux, a California-based 3PL, implemented an RFID structure in one warehouse to provide Wal-Mart compliance tagging services for a customer. Megatrux hopes to expand the project to include additional services and applications.
Jun 28, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 28, 2007—Megatrux, a large third-party logistics (3PL) provider based in California, has installed an RFID infrastructure in one of its warehouses to provide Wal-Mart compliance tagging services. Megatrux hopes to expand the service to other customers and to use its RFID infrastructure to streamline internal operations, Conrad Konarski told RFID Update. Konarski is director of alliances for Ship2Save, which developed and integrated the RFID system for Megatrux.

"The way the transportation market is going now, with fuel prices through the ceiling and the U.S./Canadian exchange rate so close that there's cross-border competition, 3PLs have to find ways to innovate and expand their revenue streams," Konarski said. "RFID technology is a way for them to do that."

Megatrux has an RFID system operational at its warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and is using it to meet Wal-Mart RFID tagging needs for a customer. Ship2Save's Operation Management System software is integrated with Megatrux's legacy warehouse management system (WMS) and electronic data interchange (EDI) systems. When Megatrux receives an EDI message from its customer to request an order shipment, the Ship2Save software captures EDI and order information to generate Wal-Mart compliant, EPCglobal Gen2 RFID shipping labels for the cartons that make up the order. The labels are created with a Sato printer/encoder and applied and read as they are being packaged on a pallet with a Motorola MC990G handheld computer with integrated RFID reader. The handheld interfaces to the WMS to validate that each carton belongs with the order.

The system directs another printer/encoder to produce a pallet label, which is read with a Motorola XR400 reader at the dock door prior to loading on the truck. A large display screen at the dock door presents a confirmation message of the successful load, or an alert message if the pallet is being loaded to the wrong truck.

"The RFID reader is a lot quicker than a bar code scanner for reading a pallet. You would probably double the time it takes to process an outbound pallet if you had to get line-of-site to do a bar code scan of every carton," said Konarski. "But that's not the real value for Megatrux. They get real-time feedback of when goods leave, and can provide their customer with much more granular and up-to-date information."

According to Konarski, Megatrux wants to leverage its infrastructure to explore the benefits of using RFID in other warehouse operations, such as bin management and forklift tracking.

"I would say RFID use by 3PLs is a trend," he said. "It's happening more with the top 100 3PLs because they have more money and time to invest. RFID won't provide more revenue and profit right away, but it has twofold potential to help 3PLs. First, they can save money internally by saving time and labor in how they handle goods. Second, they can offer more information and more services to customers."

Read the announcement from Ship2Save
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