NATO Piloting RFID Project to Support Afghan Operation

Signs up Savi in bid to improve real-time consignment visibility and collaboration across multi-national supply chain

Signs up Savi in bid to improve real-time consignment visibility and collaboration across multi-national supply chain

London — March 24, 2004 — The Headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) has contracted with Savi Technology to pilot a project using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology linked with Savi's SmartChain platform to manage and track multinational consignments between Europe and Afghanistan.

The project, to be evaluated for possible future expansion, will help determine whether NATO and its 19 member countries can leverage Savi's platform and RFID technology to enhance pan-NATO logistic collaboration.

The contract, announced at the Defence Logistics and Materiel Support 2004 conference, calls for the installation of the network along the International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan (ISAF) supply chain, which stretches from the Netherlands and Germany through Uzbekistan to Kabul in Afghanistan.

Consignments will be tracked by using Savi's newest generation SaviTag ST-654, an active RFID tag that communicates wirelessly with the network at distances over 100 meters. In addition, Savi's fixed readers and Savi SmartChain Site Managers will be installed to capture and convert the RFID-generated data into information that can be managed by users on the network in secure information environments.

Savi will begin immediately to conduct site surveys, perform installation work, train users and integrate the Savi SmartChain software into NATO's LOGFAS information system.

The NATO-Savi agreement follows an offer to NATO last October by the U.S. Department of Defense to share its existing, global RFID-enabled In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network for joint logistics operations if NATO added compatible infrastructure to plug into the system. The U.S. offer was made to help improve supply chain visibility and communications during joint operations.

Following a four-month evaluation, NATO chose to use the same solutions used by both the DoD and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) that are designed, developed and deployed by Savi.

Savi, a provider of RFID networks for supply chain visibility, asset management and security, provides RFID tags, readers, Site Managers and a networked software platform and applications, as well as integration services for government and commercial organizations.

Over the past decade, the company helped build and maintains the DoD's ITV network, which is the world's largest active RFID-enabled cargo tracking system, operating at over 800 locations and in 45 countries. Last year, Savi also installed a similar infrastructure for the UK MOD that provided real-time communications on the location of consignments during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Multi-nationally, this common network can help 19 nations bring their goods in and track their own consignments in near real-time from anywhere, and it will help build more confidence in shared information not only for the NATO commanders but also the member countries where supplies are for their own forces," said Commander Bill Sympson from NATO's Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe.

"This project provides the opportunity now for NATO to adopt a similar solution for consignment tracking that the United Kingdom and the United States have adopted and thus overcome the enduring problem that we have had within NATO of finding one solution that meets individual national needs while at the same time is interoperable and serves allied needs on a global basis," said Col. David Martin, director of the UK MOD's Defence Logistics Operations Centre responsible for overseeing logistic operations using the UK's RFID-enabled network.

"What it has meant for us," Col. Martin added, "is that we've been able to send all the supplies to the operations commanders on the ground as required in the correct order, at the correct time [and] in the correct quantities to those ports of disembarkation in theatre."

"Savi's contract with NATO is a major first step in bridging supply chain information gaps to ensure that the right vital supplies get to the right place at the right time," said Bruce Jacquemard, Savi's executive vice president and general manager for global field operations. Jacquemard said that the solution would bring new levels of consignment visibility and collaboration to NATO allies, whether for internal tracking purposes or joint force operations.