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French Mayo Maker Finds RFID a Crucial Ingredient

Benedicta is using EPC Gen 2 tags, EPCIS and ONS to track pallet movements, fill customer orders, create advance shipping notices and share supply-chain data.
By Beth Bacheldor
Oct 02, 2006French food manufacturer Benedicta Group is running a trial comparing the ability of RFID and bar-coding to track pallets of products as they move between the company's own facility and those of two of its packaging and logistics suppliers. Benedicta makes mayonnaises and other sauces.

The pilot got underway about three months ago, built on what Benedicta calls an event-driven architecture. According to Philippe Gautier, Benedicta's chief information officer, the pilot leverages EPCglobal Gen 2-compliant passive RFID tags and bar-code labels compliant with the EAN-128 bar-code standard of GS1, the international bar-code standards body. Event-driven architectures rely on events (information related to a transaction or incident) to trigger steps along a supply chain or other operation.

Philippe Gautier
During the pilot, Benedicta is encoding each RFID tag and bar-code label with a unique ID number. Employees affix the RFID tags and bar-code labels to pallets of goods as Benedicta's factory produces them. The company expects to use about 3,000 RFID tags in the pilot. RFID interrogators and bar-code scanners document when pallets leave the site and when they arrive at either EGTN, a packaging company, or FM Logistic, a global logistics provider.

Benedicta uses logistics software called Trackway4 from Stockway, based in Helsinki, Finland. Trackway4 helps Benedicta manage its advance shipping notices (ASNs) and other logistics information, which will be correlated with the data collected from RFID interrogators and bar-code scanners. The RFID tags and bar-code labels will aid in the picking processes, particularly at EGTN, as products are pulled from pallets and readied for shipment. "There will be, as well, in the near future, some additional reads inside Benedict and at FM Logistic's place, in order to trace different internal pallets' status," Gautier says.

As part of the pilot, Benedicta uses IBM's EPCIS data repository. It also plans to simulate another partner, such as a retailer. IBM's EPCIS data repository is a prototype for testing the proposed standard for EPCglobal's Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS). Currently a working draft standard, EPCIS serves as a communication mechanism between applications and data repositories so companies can effectively exchange and query data from within their own RFID processes, and with partners (see Unilever Launches Trial Using EPCIS Protocol).

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