Veiling Holambra, a Major Latin American Horticultural Supplier, Adopts RFID

By Edson Perin

The cooperative, which is tagging more than 1 million baskets, carts and other circulating materials, expects to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

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Cooperativa Veiling Holambra (CVH), a Brazilian cooperative considered one of Latin America’s most important producers of flowers and ornamental plants, decided to adopt radio frequency identification technology to monitor the movements and distribution of its products. The company’s goal was to lower costs, increase stock-control accuracy, eliminate distribution disruptions and maximize gains.

The project is under the responsibility of Possato Jorge Teixeira, Veiling Holambra’s manager of logistics and facilities. Francisco Roberto Pereira, the cooperative’s logistics coordinator, will provide a presentation about the project and its RFID deployment at the RFID Journal LIVE! Brazil conference and exhibition, to be held on Nov. 6-7, at the Espaço APAS Convention Center, located in São Paulo.

Veiling Holambra is attaching passive EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags to the baskets and other circulating materials that the company uses to transport its products.

The project provides for the individual identification of all of the cooperative’s circulating materials (MCs), including carts, dividers, baskets and vases. “For this, we will use EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags, monitored and controlled by fixed readers and mobile portals for all logistics processes of CVH,” Pereira explains, “with emphasis on the processes of MCs’ expedition to suppliers, receiving materials from suppliers, dispatching MCs for customers and returning customers’ MCs.”

With this investment in RFID, Pereira says, Veiling Holambra expects to increase process reliability, reduce costs, eliminate the manual entering of inputs and outputs, prevent fraud, facilitate inventory counts of MCs and increase operational efficiency.

Currently, Pereira reports, the logistics process is semi-automatic, using bar codes to control 55,000 carts, as well as other MCs—approximately 1 million units—via 100 data collectors consisting of Intermec CN3 handheld computers to record the MCs’ internal movements. The mobile solution interfaces directly with the cooperative’s enterprise management software, Oracle‘s E-Business Suite (EBS).

“The use of RFID was motivated by the search for logistics efficiency by reducing losses, disruptions, costs, fraud and operational alignment with global practices,” Pereira says. “RFID tags are being installed in nearly one million pieces.” Those tags will be read by interrogators installed throughout CVH’s 91,000-square-meter square (980-square-foot) complex in Santo Antonio de Posse, a city located about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from São Paulo.

The collected RFID data will be forwarded to a middleware system providing security and intelligence, able to store, process and forward the information to the Oracle software. “All the information needed to monitor and control each individual MC will be integrated in real time,” Pereira adds, “allowing operational visibility.”

CVH’s Francisco Roberto Pereira

According to Pereira, fixed readers and antennas, as well as RFID portals and handhelds, will be deployed at strategic MC control and monitoring points, including at receiving docks, in storage areas and at points of passage. Furthermore, he says, readings may be performed based on logistics-event handling previously set by CVH.

“CVH will work with world-class RFID collection equipment, readers and tags, to minimize risks and ensure the reading of 99.95 percent of the items,” Pereira says. Regarding the system’s expected benefits, Pereira cites logistics efficiency in moving products and MCs, as well as a reduction in loss, fraud, embezzlement, costs, supply disruptions (from producer to customer), and errors in receiving, storing and shipping materials. Moreover, Pereira expects the RFID solution to improve information accuracy, data quality, confidence in processes, and traceability, as well as visibility into the flow of products and materials along CVH’s distribution chain.

The project will initially employ a local database, Pereira says, but will incorporate infrastructure and RFID technology able to work with cloud computing, according to CVH’s strategies. “The next steps,” he states, “are focused on consolidation of the current RFID project, essential for carrying out CVH’s existing roadmap in this area.”