RFID has long been touted as the future of logistics for all companies by allowing retailers and suppliers to track goods throughout the supply chain. Regulations on traceability and mandates from such giant retailers as Wal-Mart and Metro are slowing forcing processors to make investments in the technology.
Pliant said the pilot programme is testing the system by tracking shipments between two technical centers and client sites. Pliant is using handheld devices to read the RFID tags and to identify potential tampering in real-time, said Sebastian Taylor, head of IBM's global RFID services.
"IBM RFID asset tracking and inventory management allows Pliant to identify and manage in-transit goods in real time, giving it unprecedented insightinto its supply chain" Taylor said. "In addition to lowering costs and increasing productivity, RFID ensuresthat the right information is available at the right time to enable more strategic businessdecisions."
The system uses IBM's software including its data collection server product and WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure. The software installed on Pliant's networkwas used to create RFID labels, which were printed and deployed on pallets. The pallets were tracked as they moved between the two Pliant technical centers in Newport News, Virginia and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
IBM created Web pages on a network database so staff could track the content and movement history of each pallet so that its location was always known. Awireless handheld RFID reader loaded with the WebSphere RFID Device Infrastructure software was used to scan the pallets within the plants.
Pliant is an international supplier or film and flexible packaging to the food, personal care, medical, industrial andagricultural sectors. The company operates 22 manufacturing and research and development facilities around the worldand has annual revenues of about $1.2bn.