RFID Gets a (Fork)lift from International Paper

IP's Smart Packaging business debuts radio frequency identification forklift solution

IP's Smart Packaging business debuts radio frequency identification forklift solution

Memphis, TN — March 24, 2005 — International Paper's Smart Packaging business has debuted what it says is the industry's first operational radio frequency identification (RFID) forklift solution.

"While other companies are making plans and talking about developing this type of solution, International Paper is leading the industry with our first-of-a-kind RFID forklift solution that is now available commercially," said Alan Clark, general manager of International Paper's Smart Packaging business. "There is an industry need for this type of RFID solution, and our expertise and experience in RFID has enabled us to deliver and successfully meet that need."

International Paper said it leveraged its development experience with the industry's first RFID lift-truck solution to create this latest offering. The company developed and implemented its Warehouse Tracking System, which uses RFID to identify and locate large paper rolls, in its Texarkana, Texas, paper mill two years ago.

"We now offer the forklift as a product line extension for use with palletized products," said Scott Andersen, technical director for the Smart Packaging business. "The forklift reads electronic product code (EPC) pallet tags and tracks every warehouse product movement. Our forklift solution combines the use of RFID to identify the pallet contents with the use of RFID and other proprietary technologies to monitor and report the location and condition of the forklift in real time."

International Paper said that its latest RFID solution could potentially provide a less expensive alternative to warehouse RFID deployments. Customers wanting to improve their inventory accuracy, reduce lost shipments and improve their overall supply chain can do so with RFID forklift solutions and eliminate the need for RFID portals at every dock door, the company said.

The new RFID forklift solution is able to identify and track product onboard the forklift from loading to unloading. With an automated shipping and receiving process, forklift operators could focus on driving the trucks and improve their productivity instead of manually scanning barcodes, International Paper said.

Customers who already have RFID systems in place can also benefit from this new system, according to the solution provider. "International Paper's RFID forklift solution can be integrated with any existing system and can be installed on any forklift," said Mark Brown, system analyst with the Smart Packaging business. "We work with our customers to meet their needs and customize solutions that work for them."

International Paper said its RFID lift-truck solution has successfully captured 5 million EPC reads in its nearly two year commercial existence. "We know this solution works because of its track record in a demanding production environment," said Brown.

Brown added that the company has conducted testing of EPC pallet reads at its Customer Solution Center (CSC), an integrated warehouse demonstration, testing and training facility in Memphis, Tenn. "This product consists of ruggedized readers and locator technology that exceeds industrial requirements for surviving the warehouse operation's tough environment," said Brown.

The forklift solution, which was shown and demonstrated at the RFID World show in Dallas earlier this month, is available for immediate commercial application.

Additional Articles of Interest

For a contrary view of the future of the RFID market, see the article "The O'RFID Factor: A 'No Spin' Look at Where Radio Frequency Identification Is Headed," in the October/November 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

For more information on trends relating to radio frequency identification, follow this link for an extensive listing of SDCExec.com articles, featuring the latest research findings on the RFID, including adoption, return on investment and barriers to implementation.