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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
All 55 of Container Centralen's depots will be outfitted with Nordic ID PL3000 handheld readers (the company is purchasing 200), which will be linked to CC's logistic system. (It has also installed two RFID gates in Holland, for demonstration purposes only.) The company will utilize the handheld readers to identify every CC Container that enters or leaves a CC depot or repair shop.

Sorensen says his company cannot force customers to buy RFID readers, and it does not know how many clients will opt not to purchase. However, he notes, FloraHolland and the other project partners do plan to buy and use the devices, rejecting any trolleys that lack the new RFID tag.

The tagging deadline had originally been set for February 2010, Sorensen says, but customers were worried they would be too busy before the peak season in the spring, and so they requested a deferral until November. This gives them additional time to acquire readers, perform tagging, provide training to employees and consider how their own internal processes will change with the use of RFID, since identification was previously accomplished only visually, whereas now the cart tags must be interrogated. In addition, some companies may choose to use data about the carts in their possession for improving their internal logistical processes.

With RFID, the horticultural industry will have a platform in place that can facilitate track and trace processes, automate ordering and reduce the amount of paperwork. Container Centralen has set up a Web site, Operation Chip It, to inform its customers about the project, as well as the possibilities that RFID offers to various members of the supply chain.

Separately, in the United States, Container Centralen is employing active RFID tags on 250,000 of its trolleys, so that they can be tracked at 150 locations throughout the country (see Container Centralen Adds Active Tags to U.S. Carts).

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