RFID TECHNOLOGY OFFERED AS STANDARD FOR PLASTIC PALLET POOLING
RFID gives a greater level of control and visibility than more traditional systems used to track pallets.
PLS – a specialist in plastic pallet rental and management services – is believed to be the first company in Europe to offer RFID-enabled plastic pallet pooling as standard to its customers.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Bibby Distribution, says that by adopting this advanced method of asset tracking, customers can achieve greater visibility of pallets as they move through the supply chain.
This results in increased productivity, better inventory management and, ultimately, reduced costs.
“It’s about making assets work harder,” said Jon Graves, General Manager of PLS. “Whilst the technology has been around for many years, the cost characteristics have been prohibitive; however, these issues have now been addressed. Cost and performance are now at a level which makes the adoption of RFID tracking a logical development.
“RFID gives a greater level of control and visibility than more traditional systems used to track pallets. By listening to our customers, we have found that they are particularly keen to see a more comprehensive level of data by which to improve the performance of their supply chains. RFID is a more accessible technology and provides the ideal solution to the complex issues they face,” added Graves.
Each pallet is fitted with two Gen 2 Electronic Product Code (EPC) compliant passive RFID tags to ensure maximum readability. Traceability is also improved as each pallet is also sequentially numbered and bar coded.
The use of EPC compliant tags enables the PLS pallet to be integrated into the customer’s supply chain and RFID systems. This generates additional efficiencies, such as assisting in product tracking and automatic inventory updates within the customer’s supply chain, as well as when pallets reach the end customer.
PLS – which has been involved in a four-year development programme with the technology – says the move to plastic pallets, over the traditional wooden variation, is gathering pace as companies become increasingly aware of the hygienic, economic and environmental benefits. Inefficiencies in identifying lost and misplaced pallets, which can often lead to erroneous customer billing and inaccurate records on usage rates, have also been areas of concern.
“There may have been reluctance by some customers to adopt the use of plastic pallets and other returnable systems due to the cost of lost equipment. However, for those faced with annual outlays in excess of £50,000 for lost pallets, this technology could quickly prove indispensable,” added Graves.
“The motivation to develop and introduce RFID tracking, which will now be offered as standard, comes back to transparency, and enabling our customers to become more efficient and precise in their operations.
“As we develop new pools of equipment in new markets, we will continue to base this around RFID and exploit the technology to realise further opportunities. There are many ways to use the data generated, over and above simply tracking assets, and we will be working with customers to build on this and respond to industry-specific challenges.”
PLS operates across the food manufacturing, beverage, retail and automotive sectors to offer a total asset management programme. It offers a full range of services including plastic pallet and associated equipment rental, as well as sorting and washing facilities for a wide range of plastic-based reusable transport items.
For further information on PLS visit http://www.packaginglogistics.com
Notes to editors:
PLS operates from a network of sites across Europe providing comprehensive returnable packaging solutions. The company utilises high quality equipment which is designed to optimise today’s fast moving supply chains and automated production lines. Its dedicated team works across a wide range of sectors including food manufacture, beverage, automotive and retail.
Additionally, PLS can integrate its services with those of its parent company, Bibby Distribution and provide its customers with a more wide-ranging supply chain solution.
All operations are ISO accredited and PLS utilises industry leading track and trace management systems to maximise the control and utilisation of pooled equipment.
As one of the top ten logistics providers in the UK, Bibby Distribution exists to enable other companies to drive value from their supply chain activities. The company specialises in providing contract logistics, warehousing, distribution, systems integration and added value services to a wide range of customers.
Bibby Distribution operates from 105 locations across the UK, employs 2,500 people and manages 2 million ft² of warehousing space.
The majority of Bibby Distribution’s business is based on long-term partnerships. Its diverse capability also means it can share best practice across the various industry sectors it operates in, from Automotive to FMCG.
The company is part of the £1bn-turnover Liverpool-based Bibby Line Group, a 200 year old family owned business-to-business services specialist. It is involved in ship-owning and operation, shallow water accommodation, offshore oil and gas services, contract logistics, financial services, memorial parks, employment law, health & safety advisory services, specialist plant & equipment hire and retail.