Compiled by Editorial Staff
The hype around radio frequency identification has largely died down as companies either have figured out that they're not going to get swept up in one of the much-publicized industry mandates (think Wal-Mart and Department of Defense) or, conversely, have gotten down to the hard business of figuring out where exactly they're going to be able to mine real value out of RFID technologies. In response to frequent reader requests for examples of where RFID value is to be found today, we present here three case profiles from the public, logistics and consumer products sectors.
Public Sector: RFID ROI in Paradise
Even though vacationers can leave the world behind and enjoy the mid-Atlantic slice of paradise that is Bermuda, the nation has budgetary requirements that must be met and essential government services to provide, such as the registration of motor transport vehicles.
About 8 percent of the roughly 47,000 vehicles on the Bermudian islands are unlicensed, and the Bermudian government decided to implement an RFID-based wireless solution to track and enforce vehicle registration across the nation.
McLean, Va.-based MIKOH Corp., which creates tamper-evident RFID tags and labels, says electronic vehicle registration (EVR) has been shown to enhance registration enforcement through the use of RFID in addition to traditional paper-based forms. EVR tags are monitored as vehicles pass under readers at normal driving speeds. Readers can be placed at tollgates, underpasses and other convenient locations to automate the monitoring and enforcement of registration compliance. Additionally, law enforcement personnel may be equipped with handheld readers to interrogate tags while documenting traffic violations and other traffic stop encounters.
Part of the reason for Bermuda using such a system was that it fit well into plans to streamline current licensing initiatives. Leveraging online vehicle registration, an EVR tag can be updated remotely and without a visit to a registration office to reflect the vehicle's registration status, and therefore remove any false positives. With six reader sites in four major chokepoint locations around the country, the government of Bermuda is due to recoup its initial financial investment within one year of deployment. Over the next five years, recouped revenues will total an estimated $11 million, with additional benefits accrued through ensuring that vehicles have had appropriate environmental and safety inspections.
Logistics: Adding Customer Value with RFID
Third-party logistics (3PL) providers, like California-based Megatrux Inc., are also partaking of the benefits of RFID for themselves and their customers.
At Megatrux's new company-owned facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the company has initiated RFID tagging, tracking and quality control services from Montreal-based Ship2Save for two customers that are shipping goods to Wal-Mart. The Ship2Save solution is deployed in conjunction with fixed and mobile RFID readers from Motorola and RFID label printer/encoder labels from SATO America. The RFID system is integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and transportation management systems (TMS) from TMW Systems.
As shipments arrive from the two participating suppliers, the Ship2Save software generates electronic product code (EPC) Generation 2-compliant labels using a SATO RFID printer. These labels are applied to both cases and pallets of product before merchandise is moved to storage locations within the warehouse. Employees use a hand-held Motorola RFID reader to scan the pallet tag and a bar-coded location label. This data is then transferred wirelessly to the warehouse management system (WMS) so that the pallets can be located for outbound shipping.