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VarodaRent Uses RFID to Manage Rented Moving Equipment

The Dutch company cut its office labor costs nearly in half by using the technology to track which containers, dollies and other items are shipped to customers, as well as when they are returned.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 23, 2016

For the past four years, VarodaRent, a Dutch company that provides containers and other moving equipment on a rental basis, has been using radio frequency identification technology to track the movements of its boxes, containers and other assets as they are automatically sent to customers and then returned. The company is now deploying the same RFID solution, provided by Belgian company Aucxis, to two more facilities at which its half-million assets will be tracked. The system consists of EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags, handheld readers and Aucxis Base Gates, each of which contains a fixed RFID reader with four 30-degree antennas.

VarodaRent was founded in 2011 as a spinoff of Dutch moving company P.A. van Rooyen, to rent out reusable plastic containers used for moving and storage—including some measuring up to 20 feet in length—as well as small packing boxes and dollies. The firm has approximately 500,000 assets in about 100 different categories, says Patrick Schoonenberg, VarodaRent's general manager, and the number rented out at any given time depends of the time of year. "In busy times," he states, "it is up to 80 percent." One of its primary customers is P.A. van Rooyen itself.

When containers or other rented items are shipped out or returned, a VarodaRent warehouse worker pushes them through an Aucxis Base Gate installed at a dock door. The gate's built-in RFID reader captures each item's tag ID.
Prior to installing the Aucxis RFID system, VarodaRent tracked its assets manually, using paper and pen. When a customer's order arrived, the company delivered the requested containers via one of its own vehicles, or the customer picked up those items at the VarodaRent facility in Uithoorn (near Amsterdam). An employee recorded that transaction by hand and then input the information into the computer.

As the business became busier and the volume of containers increased, the manual method of tracking grew more difficult to manage. "We did find out that it is very hard to count correctly," Schoonenberg says, "or to see the difference between articles that look the same." For instance, some plastic boxes are identical other than one having nylon wheels and another rubber wheels. "This was the main reason, at first, to start up RFID."

The company also found that it was difficult to trace the point at which goods went missing if a customer failed to return an expected number of products, or claimed to have not received everything that had been ordered.

Four years ago, VarodaRent began working with Aucxis, which recommended a software suite in which customer orders could be inputted. The software would then track the tagged items as warehouse workers pulled and shipped them, and issue an alert if a mistake were being made.

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