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Nestlé Italy Finds RFID Brings ROI for Ice Cream
The company expects to see a range of benefits from using RFID tags with built-in sensors to verify ice cream is stored and transported at temperatures neither too cold nor too warm.
"Nestle pays the costs of insurance indirectly through the higher prices the distributor has to charge," Marasi says. Distributors, he notes, are very happy because of the improved relationship with customers, as well as the automatic quality control.
Finally, Marasi sees big potential savings in energy costs and benefits to the environment. The exact temperature readings of shop freezers taken during the pilot revealed that some freezers were set too cold and were, thus, wasting energy and causing ice cream to be served too hard to customers.
This year, Nestlé Italy intends to expand the pilot to cover all production plants and the three primary distribution centers directly managed by Nestlé, as well as 150 primary large trucks and 150 freezers. "The company wants to give our partners the message that we care about the ice cream," Marasi says, "from production up to their delivery point." Nestlé is also considering an RFID sensor tag that could measure the electrical power consumed, so that it can better control energy use.
According to Marasi, Nestlé Italy is pleased with the system, though it wants to see improved software stability and better tag read rates, which he says presently average between 80 and 90 percent.
The system offers a number of other potential benefits as well, including substantial savings by reducing manual tracking tasks. The system could also be used to analyze data that can be the basis for business decisions. For instance, the company could make quicker decisions on quality management using real-time data, and it could also certify the cold chain and use that certification as a basis for advertising.
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