Joins with partners, client personnel to give third-party logistics focus to Lab
Markham, Ontario — October 15 — President and CEO Joe Couto of Delfour Corp., a provider of third-party and fourth-party logistics (3PL/4PL) management software, said his company has led the formation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) laboratories for testing RFID technologies (hardware, software, labels) and integration with standard operating procedures (SOPs) in a real warehouse operating environment.
Operating under an industry consortium framework in which various 3PL operators and vendor technology groups work together to drive 3PL/4PL-based RFID solutions, laboratories have been established in Richmond, Va., at the facilities of Richmond Cold Storage and in Brampton, Ontario, Canada at the facilities of Confederation Freezers. Delfour said the dual laboratory sites offer access to both temperature-controlled facilities that include a freezer environment and ambient temperature warehouse storage and services. Support for the effort is derived from the growing consortium of Delfour clients, their customers and partners and members from the industry-at-large, all of which are entitled to make use of the test facilities.
On-site solutions include the Delfour SmartEnterprise 2 3PL and 4PL Enterprise Foundation product suites, with partnered technologies supplied by Captech Technologies, R. Moroz Ltd. and others. The labs engage multiple standards that reflect the labels, reading equipment, middleware and communications systems in use by lab members' customers. They also offer support for RFID as it applies to a variety of transportation management environments. Delfour serves as the technology solutions lead and is also responsible for assembling information from members and delivering reports of the research efforts' findings.
"In establishing this lab, we recognize that the need is imminent for RFID implementations and that the technology is emerging rapidly through the efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense, Wal-Mart and various manufacturers," Couto said. "We expect these efforts to lead to widespread demand that 3PL and 4PL operators be enabled for RFID in the relatively near term.
Couto went on to say that as 3PL and 4PL logistics providers, the companies' clients have special needs in handling multiple customers' inventory within a single facility or warehouse infrastructure. "These needs currently are not being met, and it is imperative that 3PL providers achieve a high level of RFID awareness and capability quickly," he stated. "The consortium-based laboratories will enable them to do so cooperatively and cost-effectively."
The RFID User Laboratories are under the direction of a board elected by the members of the RFID consortium. Delfour acts as administrator of the facilities and also holds one seat and one vote on the board. The company expects to commercialize recommendations from lab activity, with the resulting products available to participants in the research at preferred pricing.
"The experience that our members acquire through their experimentation and testing in the labs will enable them to demonstrate to their customers conclusively their ability to support RFID applications," Couto said. "This cooperative effort is a genuine commitment to leadership by all parties and one that is certain to advance the state-of-the-art in the logistics management field."