A leading Wal-Mart supplier is installing RedPrairie RFID transportation and warehouse management software in order to comply with looming RFID shipping mandates. The retail giant expects that by January 2005, its top 100 suppliers will be RFID compliant.
There is therefore great pressure on suppliers and manufacturers to meet these deadlines - missing out would undoubtedly lead to a significant loss of business. The company in question, Bruce Foods, intends to achieve compliance and standardise its business processes by using RedPrairie's RFID Igniter technology.
The business recently acquired Cajun Injector, a speciality Cajun foods manufacturer last year, and overall growth has intensified the demand on the firm's supply chain resources.
Lot tracing is a critical capability for Bruce Foods, since the company manages date sensitive products and must comply with government and FDA food safety regulations. The food manufacturer will leverage both RedPrairie's WMS and visibility solution, LENS, to gain network-wide visibility and inventory control at the point of sale level.
RedPrairie technology is designed to improve productivity and order accuracy within the distribution warehouse. Bruce Foods will use radio frequency directed work and wave processing to improve efficiency. RedPrairie's automated WMS is designed to reduce shipping errors associated with the existing system.
Bruce Foods also believes that it can achieve substantial savings and further standardise business processes with an integrated transportation management system (TMS). The company manages transportation through its current ERP system and spends significant time on the phones with carriers and brokers.
Recent company growth, however, makes this practice impractical and emphasizes the need for automated transportation management processes.
RedPrairie's DLx Transportation will help Bruce Foods electronically manage load tendering to minimise transportation costs across multiple carriers and lanes. The solution's carrier management capabilities will enable Bruce Foods to take advantage of best possible rates while maintaining carrier contract commitments.
On top of this, the technology allows the food manufacturer to develop a centrally managed load control centre to determine routing opportunities across multiple sites, reducing Bruce Foods' labour requirements for transportation planning. Using DLx Tracker, Bruce Foods will be able to provide better customer service with network-wide, real-time visibility. Customers will be able to track order shipment status and predict arrival times to better manage their operations.
Bruce Foods is already a member of UCCNet Global and will jumpstart its RFID compliance initiatives by implementing RFID technology early next year. RedPrairie's RFID Igniter will enable the food company to simultaneously manage data from barcodes and RFID tags, and transmit ASN's (Advance Ship Notices) electronically to leading grocery retailers and food service distributors. Bruce Foods also expects the technology to improve efficiencies in picking and inventory tracking.
RFID implementation is proliferating at an incredible rate. Many see the technology as inevitable as bar codes were a few decades ago, and with Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer driving the concept, suppliers have little choice but to jump on board.
In fact, Wal-Mart recently announced further milestones in the rollout of the technology. By June 2005, for example, the system should by live in up to six distribution centres and up to 250 Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations, rising to 600 stores by October 2005.
Finally, the next wave of suppliers - some 200 this time - will be asked to switch to the RFID system by January 2006.