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Euro Pool Systems' 'Depot of the Future' Leverages RFID for Efficiency, Accuracy

The UHF RFID-based solution, provided by Aucxis, enables the returnable transport item company, as well as supermarket chain Ahold Delhaize, to gain real-time data regarding the locations and statuses of reusable trays and crates. Employees can access information about each item's next step, while management can better assign labor according to the movements of workers wearing RFID badges.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 26, 2019

Euro Pool Systems (EPS) has automated the tracking of more than two million returnable transport items (RTIs) as they flow through its new depot. The facility was constructed to serve Belgian supermarket chain Ahold Delhaize.

With an RFID solution from Aucxis, the RTIs, each of which have an RFID tag attached to them, can be traced as they move through the company's receiving, counting, processing and outbound processes and are then shipped for reuse to Ahold Delhaize stores. The result, the firm reports, is greater efficiency and productivity throughout its depot, and has led to a 30 percent drop in processing costs.

EPS provides reusable packaging for the European cold supply chain market. Its trays and foldable crates are used for fresh and packaged foods shipped throughout 30 countries; in fact, the company reports, there are one billion EPS crates in circulation annually. Retailers pay a rental fee for use of the containers and are responsible for the transportation of those crates to their own site.

With the new RFID-based solution in place, the company is tracking and managing the movements of those crates that pass through its new Returnable Logistics Distribution Centre (RLDC), located in Zellik, Belgium. EPS built the facility in cooperation with Ahold Delhaize, which has been partnering with Euro Pool Systems since 2004. The retailer uses EPS's and its own plastic crates for all of its fresh product.

To track and trace the locations of its RTIs, EPS has used RFID technology for more than a decade. The company started applying EPC UHF tags to many of its trays and crates in 2008. As the years passed, many more kinds of assets were added to the pool; at present, the company offers approximately 10 different types of containers, including fish boxes, plastic trays and dollies. Not all of the RTIs were tagged.

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