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Diakinisis Finds RFID Helps It Expedite Shipments

The Greek third-party logistics provider is using EPC Gen 2 RFID tags and interrogators to track 1,300 pallets per day for a global food and beverage company.
By Beth Bacheldor
If an employee tries to place a pallet at the wrong location, the computer screen freezes, preventing the driver from proceeding with the next task. In addition to guiding incoming pallets to various racks, the forklift-mounted computers also receive instructions to retrieve pallets from specific locations and verify, via the interrogator, that the correct pallets are being picked up.

"You are eliminating a lot of errors on product placement on the racks," Tsezos says. "Due to that, is it much faster to locate products. If you put products on the right rack in the first place, it is much easier to retrieve the products."

Additionally, Diakinisis has affixed Alien EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to trucks that pick up pallets at the loading docks and deliver them either to other DCs or directly to stores. At each loading dock, an RFID portal reads the tags of every pallet loaded onto that truck, recording the RFID tag numbers. That information is automatically cross-referenced with data in the WMS, and in the event of a discrepancy, a light stack displays an alert and a siren is sounded.

"The portals help with traceability. You know exactly that the truck went to a specific customer carrying specific pallets," Tsezos says. "So obviously, you minimize human errors and associated costs—you have to repair the errors or, in some cases, because these are food products that have expiration dates, pay for the loss of products if you ship the wrong products to customers. And obviously, there's better customer service, because the customers receive what they want, and they can see what and when goods were shipped."

The project wasn't without some custom engineering, Tsezos notes. Business Effectiveness tested several commercially available forklift readers, but wasn't satisfied with their performance. "We had to work on designing custom forklift readers. There was a lot of engineering involved," Tsezos says. "Also, we had to install RFID tags on the floor while considering the fact that the floor has a substantial amount of metal in it because it is industrial flooring."

Still, Tsezos says, RFID's benefits are taking the implementation to the next level. Diakinisis, in fact—with the help of Business Effectiveness—is now working on reengineering some of its business processes because of the efficiencies it gained from the technology. "For example," Tsezos states, "instead of having in-between steps, such as placing pallets in a spot and then having them picked up by another forklift that'll take them to the rack, employees are taking the pallets directly to the racks as they come in. This avoids double handling."

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