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RFID Tracks Scooter Helmets, Jackets for Ride Services

Indonesia's Gojek is supplying RFID-enabled helmets and jackets to its millions of contractors, thereby better managing where the products are distributed so that they are available in the right sizes; in the future, it plans to track maintenance to keep them in good working order.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 26, 2019

Since launching an RFID solution to manage the helmets and jackets its contractors wear, Indonesian digital multi-service platform Gojek has produced 1.5 million of these products with built-in UHF RFID tags. Those tagged jackets and helmets can now be tracked as they move from production through distribution and sale to a contractor.

In that way, Gojek reports, it has reduced the number of man-hours required to manage the supply chain, while ensuring the right products are available for sale to contractors. The company can also use the RFID data to capture a record of who buys each item, so that it can be reminded when maintenance is due. The solution is provided by systems integrator Zulu, including an app to manage the goods, while PT Electrodata is selling the RFID hardware, which comes with UHF RFID tags from Confidex.

Gojek, which operates throughout Southeast Asia, launched in 2010 as a ride-hailing service, similar to U.S.-based Uber, but on scooters. The name "Gojek" is derived from the Indonesian word "ojek," meaning "taxibike." The company expanded five years later to three services: GoRide (for ride-sharing), GoSend (for couriers) and GoMart (for shopping assistance). At present, Gojek is valued at about $10 billion and offers what it calls a "Super App," which provides more than 20 services ranging from scooter rides to house cleaning, car washing and massage.

As of 2018, Gojek had a fleet of one million drivers and 30,000 professionals for personal services. Customers can call upon these contract-based employees using the Super App. On both city and rural streets, they can be easily identified by their Gojek-branded helmets and jackets. The company has strict requirements that every contractor must wear such gear, and that these items must fit well and be in good working condition in order to maintain proper branding. Each rider must also carry a Gojek helmet for passengers.

Getting millions of these products into the hands of drivers and service providers proved challenging. The personal gear is made at Chinese factories and is sent to a main distribution center in Jakarta, and then to satellite DCs throughout Southeast Asia before a contractor can access and purchase them. Without the RFID-based solution, counting every carton of goods as it is received at the DC can be time-consuming—it could take 15 minutes or more per carton of 50 jackets for workers to scan the barcodes and ensure that the products are in the specified styles and sizes before they are re-routed to the appropriate location.

To make this process faster and fail-proof, Gojek began working with Zulu to provide wearable technology. Zulu designed a system that employs RFID tags built into the items at the factory. The tags can be read via a handheld reader, and Zulu's app enables individuals to view data regarding the items using a smartphone. Confidex Carrier tags are sewn into the jackets, while Crosswave tags are built into the helmets. "Gojek needs to track the products from manufacture to distribution," says Edward Lu, Confidex's sales director for the Asia-Pacific region. The tag enables each item to be tracked from the production floor in China to the item's sale and on to a contractor.

Zulu began working with Confidex on Gojek's solution last year. As the product is made, the RFID tag's unique ID number is stored along with the product details in Zulu's app, which integrates with Gojek's own app. The goods are next shipped to Gojek's Jakarta distribution center. As items are received, warehouse personnel use a handheld RFID reader to capture data from the tags in each carton without opening it. The information is captured in the Zulu app, which updates details indicating which goods have been received.

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