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Gruninger Uses RFID Sprinter to Meet Metro's Mandate

The German sausage maker is deploying a packaged solution put together by a 10-company consortium of vendors, and expects an ROI within two years.
By Rhea Wessel
Gruninger workers will employ an RFID label printer-encoder from SATO, another consortium member, to encode each label's tag with an EPC containing a Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC). Known in Germany as a Nummer der Versandeinheit (NVE), this 18-digit number is used to identify logistics units. The label will also be printed with a bar-code representation of that same SSCC. The workers will apply the labels to empty cases by machine or by hand, depending on the production line.

Boxes filled with sausages will be loaded onto pallets also carrying an RFID tag. When shipping the goods from its factory, Gruninger will use a portal reader from consortium member deMan Industrie Automation to read the pallet and case tags to document the outgoing goods.

The application will enable Gruninger to meet Metro's RFID requirements, while also benefiting the company by providing a better overview of which cases and pallets were shipped to the retailer. Eventually, Gruninger may RFID-tag pallets and cases for customers that have no RFID mandates, to obtain a better overview for itself of which goods were shipped to which customers.

The Gruninger project began in January, with hardware and software slated for testing in August. The company expects the system to be operational by September.

"This will work very well," Kuechler says. "We have all the know-how we need in the consortium." He adds that by using RFID to record when pallets and containers were shipped to which customers, Gruninger calculates it will reduce the time needed to track outgoing goods by 30 percent, and thus reach a return on its investment within two years.

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