Savi Adds Forecasting and Planning

By Bob Violino

Savi Technology beefs up its systems RFID tracking software with tools that give customers more control.

By Jonathan Collins

Oct. 7, 2003 - Savi Technology provides active (battery-powered) RFID tags and the software—Savi Asset Management System (AMS) and Savi Transportation Security System (TSS)—to enable its customers to track shipping containers and other large assets. Customers have been asking for additional capabilities, such as the ability to forecast demand and to modify security rules on the fly. Savi has responded by partnering with another software company to provide those capabilities.

Savi's Shannon

To add forecasting and planning to its AMS, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Savi turned to longtime optimization software specialist GAINSystems, based in Oak Brook, Ill. A joint-development project carried out over the past year has resulted in a new add-on module for Savi's AMS.

"AMS focuses on operational management and control of mobile assets," says David Shannon, Savi's director of business development. "This new extension enables that management and control to be extended into forecasting when and where those mobile assets are needed."

The goal is to know where everything is in the supply chain and where it will be needed, so you can manage inventory much more effectively.Through the integration of real-time data captured by RFID and other automatic-identification technologies, including bar codes, the extension dynamically optimizes the inventory and utilization of supply chain assets. In addition, analytical tools help customers optimize their asset inventory by using the forecasting capabilities in conjunction with Savi's real-time container-tracking RFID systems.

The AMS module was developed in response to demand from an air cargo container management company. That Savi customer is currently deploying the new forecast module across its container-tracking business, says Shannon.

The new capabilities are best suited to asset-intensive companies, with large and complex supply chains, in industries such as consumer products goods, aerospace and freight transportation. Those companies, says Savi, have the greatest need for tracking assets through the supply chain and for advance knowledge about where best to deploy those assets.

Savi chose to partner with GAINSystems because of the company’s specialized skill and experience in advanced planning systems. Through licensing and reseller agreements, both companies are now set to jointly market the extension, which is available immediately; pricing will be based on the size of deployment and the number of assets to be tracked. The AMS system typically costs about $500,000.

To introduce proactive functionality, Savi developed a new version of its Transportation Security System, which debuted in October 2002. TSS is a Web-based application that provides real-time continuous monitoring of the security and integrity of "smart" cargo containers—that is, containers equipped with RFID tags. The TSS Version 2 provides greater reporting capabilities regarding the status of the containers and adds the ability to modify security rules to deal with changes in the status of secure containers—sealed containers that can be tracked and whose security status can be monitored.

The new version, developed with feedback from existing customers, can send regular reports on the security status of a smart container, such as whether it is still secure, and send out an alarm if the container's security status has changed, perhaps because someone without authorization opened the container or it was damaged. The automated alerts are sent to TSS immediately to provide updates on the security status and integrity of the container, as well as the location and any deviations from plan, such as a delay or a rerouting. TSS Version 2 also adds a real-time control capability that enables users to specify controls on alarms, so that if sensors inside a container detect a specific event has taken place, such as noise or light, an alarm can automatically be tripped for that container indicating a change in security status.

Although Savi says TSS Version 2 is available immediately, the cost of the system has yet to be determined. Pricing for Version 1 has been based on the size and scale of each shipping terminal, but that model could be changed for Version 2, according to Shannon.

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