Benefits Provided by RFID Pallets Proven in IoT Testing

The Supply Chain Network conducted two tests in order to establish the viability of IoT (Internet of Things) applications to gauge potential benefits for the supply chain.

One of the key items tested was RFID pallets. The primary project was entitled the “SCN Grocery Pilot”, and it involved the utilization of RFID chips embedded in pallets in an emulated, automated DC (Distribution Center) setting.

A secondary test was carried out to test the viability of the RFID pallets for the Office Products Industry, and involved a combination consisting of case level and pallet level RFID chips being used to produce results for automated DC’s and Direct to Store receiving.

The biggest surprise is that it is ten years since these tests have been successfully completed, and it is only recently that IoT has been seen as a viable option at boardroom level. Since interest has spiked of late, and especially among supply chain and logistics executives, it seems worthwhile to re-investigate these two early test runs and their results in order to establish what, if anything, they can tell us about the implementation of IoT technologies in the supply chain.

The SCN Grocery Test
This test allowed complete visibility for the participants into the supply chains they shared by fitting pallets with RFID chips, enabling GPS on their fleet as well as enabling EDI messaging and Master Schedule/Dashboard tools. They expected the outcomes of implementing this end to end process were deliveries on time, RFID accelerated receipts, delayed receipts eliminated and a flow of geo-fence monitoring while product shipments were in transit.

Actual Benefits
• A reduction in gate-to-gate time for pallet shipments by 50%, from four hours to two in the test
• The technology was verified as reliable
• Potential ROI implementation as an ongoing concern was established for inbound full pallet orders

The SCN Office Product Test
This test provided the participants with the opportunity to simulate the creation of full visibility into the supply chains they shared by utilizing a combination of RFID chips on both pallets and cases, GPS on their fleet, as well as EDI Messaging and Master Schedule/Dashboard tools. They expected the outcomes to be on-time deliveries, receipts accelerated by RFID, delayed receipt elimination and geo-fence alerts.

Actual Benefits
These were both qualitative and quantitative, and can be seen in detail.

Learn more about the tests.

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