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RedPrairie Adds RFID Support for Yard Management

RedPrairie announced its core warehouse management system now supports RFID for yard management functions. The leading WMS and supply chain software provider said its customer base has shown strong interest in using RFID for asset management and yard management, but not for case and pallet tracking within distribution centers.
Aug 27, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

August 27, 2008—A new module from RedPrairie uses RFID to help organizations find trailers within their yards, and also provides some insight as to where distribution center operators are most interested in using RFID. This week the Milwaukee company known for its warehouse management systems (WMS) announced its software now supports a variety of RFID technologies for yard management. Jim LeTart of RedPrairie told RFID Update many of the company's customers are more interested in using RFID for yard management and asset management than for case and pallet tracking within their distribution centers.

"The RFID technology interest that is hottest for us right now is for asset management," LeTart said. "This yard management solution is an extension of that. People are starting to realize there is a strong ROI for tracking their trailers and managing other assets with RFID."

RedPrairie updated its warehouse management software to support RFID yard management. The new release works with RFID tags placed on trailers and tractors, fixed-position readers used at gates, and mobile readers to record trailer movements within the yard. Event-management features in RedPrairie's software can note exceptions and issue alerts or recommendations based on trailer movement. Supported applications include check-in/check-out, finding trailers in the yard, auditing and security. Customers can choose to use passive UHF, semi-active UHF or active 433 MHz RFID technology, which RedPrairie will provide through its current RFID technology partners.

RedPrairie chose not to support trailer tracking by WiFi real-time locating system (RTLS) technology, even though many distribution centers already have WiFi wireless LANs in place. "Because of the scope of the yards we're talking about, the cost factor [for WiFi RTLS] would be very high because of the number of read points that would be required," said LeTart.

RedPrairie has long offered RFID capabilities to supplement its warehouse and distribution center automation software, and has many customers who must comply with RFID shipment tagging mandates. However, LeTart said currently there is not a lot of customer demand for RFID in warehouses and DCs, and that implementations have largely been confined to customers with compliance requirements. Warehouse operators are more interested in using voice and other technologies instead of RFID to improve efficiency, he said.

However, there has been much stronger interest in using RFID for asset management in distribution centers, factories and other environments the company serves, according to LeTart. His assessment of RFID demand is consistent with a recent market analysis by ABI Research (see ABI Research Finds Widespread RFID Market Growth).

The new release also broadens the portfolio of RFID solutions that are available by subscription. RedPrairie gives customers the option of acquiring its software through traditional licensing, or via a service. SkyeTek, Fluensee and Hewlett-Packard each introduced RFID software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings recently (see New RFID Solution Targets Sales Chain Automation, Fluensee Acquires TrenStar's RFID Software Business and HP Launches RFID Service for IT Assets, respectively).
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