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Daisy Brand Deems RFID a Success

The sour cream maker says it has operated more efficiently since deploying its RFID system last year, and that expansion plans are underway.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 10, 2007After implementing an RFID system to track pallets at its manufacturing site in Texas and throughout the supply chain, Daisy Brand is working to expand the system to a new facility. The system, deployed last spring (see RFID Increases Sour Cream Maker's Visibility), has required some training and maintenance, according to Kevin Brown, Daisy Brand director of information systems, but it has been a success.

Daisy Brand is preparing to deploy a simulated version of the system at a temporary distribution center near the site of a future manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, Ariz. The simulation is intended to be in operation by the end of first quarter 2007, and Daisy Brand says it will be prepared to launch an RFID system immediately when the new manufacturing plant opens in 2008.

Kevin Brown
Since last year, the company' factory and warehouse in Garland, Texas, have been applying Alien Technology ALL-9460 Omni-Squiggle EPC Class 1 Gen 2 RFID labels to loaded and shrink-wrapped pallets. It has also been using Alien 9800 RFID readers and tablet computers on forklifts, in conjunction with an iMotion Edgeware RFID middleware platform provided by GlobeRanger. In addition, 10 dock doors at the facility each contain an Alien fixed RFID interrogator.

The Garland system went live May 1, Brown says, and the seven forklift drivers were given training on a GlobeRanger Flash multimedia simulator program that mimicked the tablet PCs they would be using. For about a month, trainers on the floor helped with RFID-related problems, Brown says. "I'd say we were fully functional by the third week, and by the fourth week, we no longer needed the help on the floor."

The existing system allows Daisy Brand drivers to press prompts on their tablet PCs to update the company's ERP system with RFID data detailing which pallet is being moved, where it is going and why. According to Brown, this system has decreased the average time the company requires to load a truck from 50 minutes to 20 minutes. That includes time spent locating a loaded pallet, taking it off the rack and loading it onto the truck, while automatically recording which items were loaded on which truck, and even where on the truck they were loaded.

The system offers several features. Forklifts fitted with RFID readers capture the EPC numbers of tags applied to loaded pallets. That data is then linked with a five-digit pallet number used in-house, Brown says, because it is shorter and easier to track. Data about the product on that pallet, including its type (no-fat versus regular sour cream, for example) and sell-by dates, is stored in the company's ERP system. The driver can see the pallet number on the screen of his tablet PC, which prompts him to press responses to such questions as where the load will be located in the warehouse.

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