Norsk Lastbærer Pool pilots RFID pallet tracking in Norway’s food industry25 March 2011

Norsk Lastbærer AS Pool, which manages nationwide pallet leasing for Norwegian retailers and manufacturers, is piloting RFID tags for tracking plastic pallets and totes.

The pilot covers two food factories, Maaraud and Finsbråten, and two distribution centres for the Coop retail chain.

NLP was established in 2006 to reduce the environmental footprint of logistics operations in the Norwegian, fast-moving consumer goods supply chain.

Tom Romanich, NLP's IT business development manager, explains that the RFID pilot is being managed by Hrafn, with fixed RFID readers provided by Impinj and the antennas by Intermec.

It is using UPM ShortDipole UHF EPC Gen2 RFID tags, designed to deliver stable high performance in supply chain management applications.

In operation, all four corners of the plastic pallets have been embedded with a UPM ShortDipole tag. Pallets loaded with goods, destined for either of two RFID-enabled Coop DCs, are read via handheld readers, which encode them with the serial shipping container code (SSCC).

Romanich says the readers also transmit the ID number to the company's back-end system as well as to EPCIS software, where the data is stored and made available for web access.
Loaded pallets pass through a reader portal as they are transferred to trucks, which reads the tags, confirming that the goods are being shipped and forwarding the information to Fosstrak software.

"The pilot tracks only the movements of pallets," says Romanich. "The next step is the development of software which enables users to link pallets with the actual goods loaded onto them and track their products' movements.

So far, Norwegian FMCG companies have already used approximately 150,000 tagged plastic pallets leased by NLP without using RFID infrastructure to read the tags. During the pilot, which runs until May 2011, the companies will be able to track their products through the supply chain in real time, from site to retailers.

Romanich says NLP wants to standardise on an RFID infrastructure package suitable for any of the 800 or so facilities in Norway's consumer goods supply chain, including warehouses, DCs and retail stores.

Brian Tinham

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