Customer magazine feature for CHEP written by Richard Stewart


New Software Enhances Visibility of Tagged Products, Pallets, Containers

A new CHEP RFID-related system now being piloted by eight customers promises to streamline supply chain operations and enable customers to better manage their business through improved visibility of their products. RFID-tagged pallets and containers are tracked from the time they leave the CHEP service center until they are returned. The tags are read at participating locations, providing information on cycle times, dwell times and transit times.

Called CHEP Track N Trace, the system is designed to provide real-time tracking data in an easy-to-read report that can help both CHEP internally and customers to improve supply chain efficiencies. The new system is a continuation of CHEP's pioneering efforts in supply chain applications of RFID technology and the company's commitment to fully test a concept before bringing it to market as a service offering, relates Ben Pobanz, CHEP RFID Manager.

“Our initial focus with Track N Trace was on a small group of high-value container related projects for our Automotive, RPC and IBC business. We found that RFID technology has improved internal operations and business value with customers, making CHEP an indispensable partner,” says Mr. Pobanz. “As always, our goal is to provide differentiated technology solutions to drive our pallet and containers services.”

He reports that a recent RFID pilot program with an automotive custmer that tracked Foldable Large Containers (FLCs) and Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs), reduced cycle time from 22 days down to 10, improving container utilization. Another RFID program conducted at a CHEP service center in Atlanta improved labor productivity by 30%, cut the time required for damage inspection in half and reduced paperwork.

Moving forward with RFID Track N Trace, CHEP IS and project management teams are in the process of finalizing customer requirements across the globe and aligning with best-in-class suppliers prior to the launch of the system as a service offering, adds Mr. Pobanz.



CHEP's Automotive Business Europe earned a coveted E-Logistics award in the category of RFID Applications recently at the annual AKJ Logistics Congress in Cologne , Germany . The award recognized CHEP for conducting the largest cross-border rollout of RFID technology on Foldable Large Containers (FLCs) in Europe . About 150,000 CHEP FLCs are in circulation in Europe , and over 90% of them carry an RFID tag.

The E-Logistics Award honors innovative logistics concepts and solutions in use or about to be launched. “CHEP's RFID initiative provides significant benefits to the automotive industry, delivering control and cost savings and improving supply chain efficiency,” the awards jury noted. “What made the effort special and unique is that CHEP delivered this application on a European scale and made it work.”

CHEP is deploying tag reader infrastructure at service centers in seven countries across the continent to track the containers upon issue, return, during inspection and repair, relates Rainer Sandow, VP CHEP Automotive, Europe .

“In order to convincingly offer our customers the much anticipated benefits of tracking automotive parts and components, we wanted to first prove to the market that CHEP is capable of a mass cross-border rollout of an RFID Track and Track application and infrastructure,” observes Mr. Sandow. “This project provides a solid foundation from which to expand our RFID-related service offerings to our customers.”