Returnable Transport Item Tracking using Smart Technologies
The use of returnable containers (pallets, roll cages, returnable plastic containers, tote boxes, ingredients bins, dollies, IBCs, intermediate bulk containers, gas cylinders, and kegs etc) is an increasing phenomenon in the modern supply chain, with companies constantly seeking to reduce costs, increase handling efficiencies and improve environmental responsibility through less waste. Increasingly stringent traceability regulation worldwide requires companies not only to provide a complete audit of product and ingredients movement in the supply chain but also compels them to track secondary packaging and materials handling equipment flows associated with product shipment.
In addition, the supply chain suffers significant costs annually, associated with the loss of equipment/assets and their subsequent replacement.
A common requirement is for companies to track mobile assets that would originate in their facility, get shipped to a trading partner’s facility, and then return. This scenario is the basis for many asset management applications, where the goal is to track the location and status of assets in order to improve asset utilization. The same scenario is also the basis for various consignment scenarios.
SmartX Hub offers an affordable and efficient way to get the greatest value from RTI inventories.
RFID tags on each individual unit make it possible to accurately and automatically track its movement, using fixed readers at strategic in-and-out portals at the distribution center or mobile devices (handheld, cell phones, tablets) readers for mobile read points at remote /customer facilities.
Benefits of implementing SmartX Hub
- Accountability. Automating the management of these mobile assets means all users can be held accountable for the units that pass through their facilities, so shrinkage and their losses can be curtailed, cycle times can be optimized and RTI inventories can be right-sized and lean.
- Visibility. A RFID container tracking solution automates the process by providing real-time visibility for tracking and managing reusable containers wherever they are located within your facility. Whether your business uses totes, bins or containers, a RFID container tracking system will improve productivity and reduce lost or stolen items – which leads to lower inventory carrying costs.
- Reduce counterfeiting. Pool players can improve their sales and their brand image (i.e. authentication of pallet quality) by gaining more visibility on the locations where counterfeited assets arrive in the supply chain.
- Adjust the pool size. With visibility on asset flow and asset stock at each location, pool players will have the opportunity to adjust their pool size with actual customer demands.
- Optimized exchanges with partners. With accurate visibility, companies can plan efficient collection of empties with their partners. They can also control both the quantity and authentication of assets being collected in order to balance their partner’s account and prevent recovery of lower quality, counterfeited pallets.
The standard RTI process supported by SMARTX HUB software includes the following steps:
- Tracking of returnable container current and historic locations, from supplier to customer and back again
- Commissioning and maintenance of RFID tags or bar codes placed on returnable assets using the standard global returnable asset identifier
- Tracking of the asset through the various operations within the supplier’s facility, such as packing, loading, unpacking, and unloading
- Tracking of the asset through the various operations within the customer’s facility
- Automatic monitoring of events, such as empty and full status, using event management tools that alert relevant parties of unintended or unexpected events or changes in status
SmartX Hub is able to accomplish your operational efficiency with the least waste of time and effort:
- Manage RTI pool shrinkage due to “stockpiling” in the distribution channel or at customer sites.
- RFID read point at “ownership” transitions in the supply chain.
- Account for damaged and lost RTI’s in financial budgeting.
- Increase availability of existing container supply by a proper allocation based on need/volume.
Implementing Smartx Hub® at your company, the high cost of old inventory management can be used to invest in your company growth since Smartx Hub® offers:
- Confirm cargo loads by quickly scanning RTI’s, reducing mistakes in shipments… much faster than barcodes!
- Reduce cost of leased RTI’s through more efficient inventory tracking.
- Reduce theft of high-value cargo by assigning responsibility… the customer knows the RTI is being tracked.
Smartx Hub® has the capability to provide your company with the desired Asset tracking results:
- Tagged RTI’s can facilitate regulatory compliance by tracking origination (i.e. fresh food products) and destination (particular store or DC) for an audit trail.
- Manage RTI cleaning schedules for regulatory compliances.
- Manage periodic maintenance requirements by cycling inventory back to factory/production plant.