Provia Software Introduces RFID-Enabled Supply Chain Execution Solution

ViaWare WMS First Supply Chain Execution Application to Offer Full RFID Support for Warehouse Operations

ViaWare WMS First Supply Chain Execution Application to Offer Full RFID Support for Warehouse Operations

Grand Rapids, Michigan —July 29, 2003 — Provia Software, a provider of order-to-delivery supply chain execution software solutions, announced full Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) support for the company's ViaWare WMS (Warehouse Management System), the core component of Provia's ViaWare supply chain execution suite.

Provia has already developed RFID support within ViaWare WMS, and will introduce its live warehouse prototype, complete with full RFID-enabled WMS support next month.

General availability for the Provia ViaWare WMS with RFID support is set for September. At that time, Provia will be the first supply chain execution vendor offering full RFID support for a WMS in a standard product. Provia's ViaWare WMS is already compliant with the most recent Electronic Product Code (EPC) specifications.

Provia is currently working with a client to test RFID support as part of the client's plan to track RFID-tagged items through their supply chain. Unlike other vendors announcing support of RFID in anticipation of serving the market need, Provia is the first supply chain software company to actually be involved in testing RFID technology with a client for real-world use.

"Companies who use ViaWare WMS for tracking RFID data will gain real-time visibility into their supply chain, and will be able to share this improved visibility with their own customers," said John Pulling, Vice President and COO of Provia Software. "This improved visibility will yield many benefits for users, including increased shipping accuracy, inventory accuracy, and reduced inventory shrinkage."

By focusing on pallet and case product distribution, Provia is taking the lead in developing the foundation for companies who realize the need to incorporate RFID technology into their supply chain. According to Pulling, the key to initial success in RFID is not in the store, but in the distribution environment. "Recent announcements about major retailers delaying trials of in-store RFID tag 'smart shelves' in favor of case and pallet tracking in the supply chain amplifies the need for companies to focus on RFID in the distribution environment first," said Pulling. "Anyone shipping to the major retailers needs to be tracking these developments very closely."

According to Paula Rosenblum in the AMR Research Alert, July 9, 2003, "corporate resources are better spent refining RFID technology for use in the supply chain, where the ROI is obvious and quantifiable.... Given the pricing challenges of readers and chips, item-level RFID for consumer products in retail is still many years away."

How RFID Works with ViaWare WMS in the Distribution Center

With an RFID-enabled ViaWare WMS, users will have access to totally automated logistics tracking processes, enabling products to pass through the distribution center, in many cases eliminating the need for manual checking and barcode scanning.

RFID technology tags are attached to cases and pallets, enabling each piece to be uniquely identified. These tags transmit Electronic Product Codes (EPCs) and communicate wirelessly to other devices over radio frequency waves. RFID tags are designed to help companies better track and control inventory - from warehouses, to loading docks, to trucks and finally when the customer receives the product. Due to the efficiencies they promote, RFID tags may one day replace bar codes.

"Our work on the first full-scale RFID project will help set the future standards by which all companies use RFID tag technology," said Ken Lewis, President and CEO of Provia. "We are proud of the work we are doing to promote this technology and are excited about the prospects for creating additional value for our customers."