Beaver Street Fisheries Tackles RFID

Frozen foods distributor taps trio of solution providers to meet customer compliance deadlines

Frozen foods distributor taps trio of solution providers to meet customer compliance deadlines

Richardson, TX — September 14, 2004 — Frozen foods distributor Beaver Street Fisheries has tapped a trio of solution providers to implement a radio frequency identification (RFID) system to meet upcoming compliance deadlines set by Beaver Street's customers.

Beaver Street Fisheries, one of the nation's largest distributors of frozen seafood and meat, has been in business for 50 years. The company, consistently ranked among the top domestic importers of seafood items, brings in more than 1,000 containers of seafood and meat annually from more than 50 countries.

A supplier to the food division of big box retailer Wal-Mart, which has set RFID compliance deadlines for next year, Beaver Street brought in RFID solution providers GlobeRanger and Franwell, as well as The Danby Group, a supply chain systems integrator, to implement an RFID compliance solution.

Franwell and The Danby Group worked with Beaver Street to deploy Franwell's rfid>Genesis solution for the company. Franwell developed the rfid>Genesis solution on GlobeRanger's iMotion Edgeware platform. The software is designed for the ease of deploying RFID solutions for compliance and scaling for growth.

The initial implementation phase includes setting up compliance stations where RFID labels are encoded with a Zebra R110 smart label printer/encoder and applied to cases of tilapia, crab, lobster and other frozen fish products and then validated through an RFID portal.

In the near future, Beaver Street plans to leverage RFID technologies to track cases and pallets of frozen fish at the company's seafood processing and packing plants for improved inventory management.

Beaver Street Fisheries' long-term RFID vision is to involve its network of suppliers to apply RFID labels at the source and leverage information on the RFID tags to meet legal data requirements, such as method of catch, catch weight, country of origin and date codes.

"After conducting several RFID pilots, we selected Franwell's rfid>Genesis package to help us rapidly deploy a proven solution," said Howard Stockdale, chief information officer at Beaver Street. Stockdale noted that Beaver Street is the only frozen seafood company that volunteered to meet Wal-Mart's compliance requirements by January 2005.

"With deadlines for mandates approaching, we're finding companies are looking for proven product and integration expertise to quickly and smoothly implement RFID solutions," said Fred Lovelady, vice president of sales and technology services at The Danby Group. "Our integration and hardware knowledge, combined with Franwell's seasoned software experience, mean customers can rapidly meet retail, Department of Defense and FDA compliance deadlines."

New Release of RFID Platform

In related news, GlobeRanger has rolled out a major release of its iMotion Edgeware platform. The new release provides enhanced scalability and infrastructure management for enterprise-wide, multi-site deployments and greater flexibility for leveraging a single RFID edge infrastructure across multiple applications, according to the solution provider.

As RFID implementations expand, companies are searching for the capability to easily configure, manage and monitor increasingly complex device networks. The new release of iMotion provides flexible, distributed, profile-based configuration for large deployments, as well as comprehensive, centralized management and monitoring capabilities across multiple sites, GlobeRanger said. These functionalities can help lower operating expenses for customers and ease implementation changes.

Another key enhancement is the ability to share RFID device networks across multiple applications, optimizing infrastructure utilization and maximizing return on RFID investment, according to the solution provider. For example, the RFID readers and antennas deployed at dock doors can now be used simultaneously for multiple applications such as theft detection and shipping/receiving processes.

From the application development perspective, iMotion provides the capability to define data input requirements from the device network through application level events (ALE) specifications, a standard being established by EPCglobal. This functionality gives application developers the ability to access desired data. GlobeRanger said it is one of the first companies to implement ALE and is an active participant developing the emerging standard, with a member of GlobeRanger co-chairing the Software Action Group for ALE.