Sunday, June 12, 2005

DHL : RFID Tags For Every Shipped Package

(Via Iweek) DHL Plans RFID Tags For Every Package It Ships -With a goal to gain tighter control of shipments, cut costs, and improve operating performance by reducing paperwork and data collection, DHL International GmbH this month starts developing a global IT infrastructure that will let it affix a radio-frequency identification tag on every package it ships by 2015. DHL's plan to tag every package it handles is a lofty one since the transportation and logistics arm of Deutsche Post World Net ships more than a billion packages a year. DHL already has identified that it needs to automate IT applications, improve connectivity with customers and regulatory agencies, and work with EPCglobal Inc. members to create common standards that can be shared throughout the logistics industry.
The company's IT group spends a lot of time supporting DHL's Object Name Service database, which stores information on shipped packages. Instead, DHL hopes to set up an infrastructure where RFID tags serve as links to information located elsewhere. DHL believes it can reduce its data-collection and reporting requirements related to U.S. Custom declarations by using RFID tags that direct the Customs department to information within databases maintained by manufacturers that ship products. DHL plans to build an automated exception reporting layer to its infrastructure, so that RFID tags will send alerts if something unexpected occurs. For example, an RFID tag will send an alert via mobile phone or E-mail to a transportation manager if a package strays from its appointed route. It is also working to expand RFID-tagging services it makes available to business customers, such as Nokia Corp. and European retailer Metro AG and its suppliers. DHL began testing RFID in 1998 and has since conducted 20 trials with passive and active technology. UPS Inc., by comparison, says it has conducted three big tests, such as using RFID to replace bar codes on packages.

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