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Container Centralen Says It's Ready to Roll Out RFID in Europe

Within the next few months, users of the company's 3.5 million plant trolleys will begin receiving custom-designed passive tags that lock onto each cart, with the goal of improving inventory control and reducing shrinkage and counterfeiting.
By Rhea Wessel
Sorensen is confident that his customers will follow through and tag the CC Containers as requested. Over the years, Container Centralen has asked its clients several times to switch out a trolley's identification label with a new one. In any case, if a client fails to tag a CC Container, it will be unable to exchange that trolley for another that is properly tagged, because those companies that have properly tagged trolleys will be unwilling to accept one that is non-tagged. (To simplify logistics, it is common practice for one party to exchange a trolley filled with potted plants or flowers for an empty trolley, or vice versa.)

Once the RFID system is implemented and goes into use on Nov. 1, Container Centralen recommends that all of its customers use a handheld RFID interrogator to read the tags on the trolleys before making a swap.

Soren M. Sorensen, Container Centralen's COO
Besides fighting counterfeiting, the RFID tags will enable Container Centralen to track the flow of trolleys as they move from one of the firm's facilities to another. According to Sorensen, the project also lays the groundwork for tracking plants and flowers from grower to retailer, if users decide to set up integration software in their own computer systems.

Most of the tags will be mailed to Container Centralen's customers by express mail in October, approximately two weeks before the Nov. 1 tagging deadline. For larger customers that need to tag several hundred thousand CC Containers, the company intends to deliver the tags earlier—in late September or early October—and make special arrangements.

Container Centralen strongly recommends that each of its customers purchase at least one RFID interrogator to take advantage of the tags' potential benefits, such as quick identification and assurance of a trolley's authenticity. The company has suggested handheld devices from Panmobil and Nordic ID, costing €400 to €1,123 apiece, or more. Handhelds are more flexible for horticultural processes than fixed readers, Sorensen says, since they're mobile. The company has tested the scanners' computer functionality at its facilities, and has carried out lab and field tests.

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