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J.D. Smith Tracks Pet Food Shipments Via RFID

The Canadian logistics company used pallets fitted with passive EPC tags to chronicle when goods were loaded and shipped to a retailer.
By Claire Swedberg
Once a truck arrived at the customer's store, its driver used an Axios app running on a Blackberry to manually indicate the number of pallets unloaded, as well as when the shipment was delivered. That delivery status was then forwarded to the Axios server, along with the GPS location determined by the phone. In that way, the software was able to detect when and where a delivery was placed, and issue an alert to J.D. Smith's management in the event that a shipment were taken to the wrong location (such an error, however, did not occur during the pilot, the company reports).

J.D. Smith tracked 50 tagged pallets during the six-month pilot period. According to Psihos, the participants found that the RFID solution provided a series of benefits. For example, it enabled J.D. Smith to know when it was running short on pallets (due to an insufficient quantity having been shipped out), or when it would need to coordinate a pallet pickup from a customer site.

"Leveraging technologies such as RFID was very insightful," says Scott Smith, the president of J.D. Smith. When applied correctly, he adds, RFID not only improves efficiencies, but also delivers value to the company's customers.

For instance, Smith reports, the system helped provide J.D. Smith with visibility into the collection of pallets within the staging area, thereby enabling greater truck-loading efficiency. When a truck arrived at the warehouse, for example, the company's staff could simply sign into the Axios system and view which shipments were already in the staging area, and then coordinate loading accordingly.

In addition, the solution allowed the firm's management to analyze how quickly orders were being delivered, as well as how the order of deliveries could be optimized to make delivery times shorter. What's more, the system could also catch mistakes before they occurred, since it could immediately issue an alert if a driver reported an erroneous delivery. For the customer, the RFID data culled from the tag reads provided a view into when products were shipped, while the Blackberry mobile app supplied details indicating when they were received by stores.

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