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Implementation Cases Print E-mail

Seven different network level solution pilots were carried out in the TraSer project between January 2008 and May 2009.

The customers of logistics service providers and their partners, such as transportation companies, expect a growing need for timely and accurate information about the progress and status of individual shipments.

Some organizations already use RFID tags to identify container shipments, this can be extended to individual product level by the 2010s, and could enable value added services – such as vendor managed inventory – to be installed afterwards.

In TraSer data are associated with individual items. These data are hosted on a network server, whose accessibility along with the identifier of the product is stored in the RFID chip using the ID@URI notation. These associated data can be accessed by concerted organizations.

This controlled sharing of data not only enables such complex services to work as merge-in-transit - a typical scenario of which is marketing campaigns (see Fig. 1), when a multitude of personalized content has to be delivered to the audience, but also makes it possible to keep tracing information of those items, even for such abstract items as documents.

Figure 1. An example for merge-in-transit scenarios: mail marketing campaign

Product tracking pilot

The first pilot was lead by the Finnish company Itella (formerly Finnish Post) and it focused on physical asset tracking. The pilot tracked reusable transportation elements (roll cages in this pilot) by using RFID technology across a network of companies using or co-producing its logistics services. The purpose of this pilot was to find a solution to decrease the shrinkage of roll cages and other reusable transportation items, because according to the several studies, companies typically loose annually over 10 % of their roll cages, if they are not tracked. Without tracking, companies such as Itella do not even know the number of roll cages they own even if the value of these assets is relatively high.

Here vehicles have been tracked using RFID technology. In the full implementation of the proposed scenario RFID readers have been inserted at gates of post terminals and also at customer sites. Eventually also yards that have nothing to do with Post except that vehicles belonging to the same traffic contractor visit them, could join the system.
 
In the pilot the idea was to develop and test ways of how different stakeholders can best access and utilize the tracking information through TraSer. For example the system could give automatic alarms if a certain shipment leaves a post terminal behind schedule.

Figure 2: Linking product-centric solutions to a distributed and evolving network of tracking points

Product-data tracking pilot

The Hungarian manufacturer Innotec Magyar KFT applied the TraSer platform in two sample cases. Their first case was tracking of physical products within a supply chain consisting of SMEs and focusing on individually tailored solutions of business-to-business interfaces. This pilot focused on goods tracking between Innotec and one of its suppliers and getting real-time data of the situation of the tracked products.

 

Innotec’s second pilot dealt with tracking of electronic product data, blueprints produced by several collaborating industrial partners during product design. Company Assets more and more dominantly exist in Electronic Data Format. It is imperative to control and manage the Life Cycle of such assets. One key aspect of these tasks is tracking.

 

The main purpose of the pilot was to find ways to detect the latest or other desired version of the document among the group of files. The TraSer decentralized document tracking system offers solution for tracking both the Flow of Information (Externally and Internally) and the Change of Information (creations, revisions, deletions: Externally and Internally to the co.). Such tracking is essential part of the corporate risk management and competitiveness.

TraSer’s Electronic Data Tracking enables Access Control & Monitoring and Revision Control and Monitoring of files.  

Compared with centralized document tracking systems this solution is cheaper to install and operate, not to mention the cost of distributed and reduced network traffic. 

Figure 3: Linking and tracking product-data changes across the systems of varying business partners

The Dutch research organization TNO has developed a closed-circuit asset management application and tested item centric tracking as a foundation for managing assets in a laboratory environment. The TraSer-based tracking system is now linked to TNO’s formerly built user management and authorization system including user access interfaces to equipment.

 

The British company RedBite Solutions Ltd. tested TraSer software by integrating it with their RedBox product for tracking and tracing of conveyor shuttle loads in a supply chain management application. This pilot concentrated on developing TraSer software to be more compatible with other software.

 

The Finnish company Teletalo Oy tested TraSer software as a supplementary healthcare asset tracking option for their current TEPO multi-service information system, which is designed for purposes of hospitals. In this pilot, TraSer server and software transferred the information collected by RFID readers and tags to the graphical user interface of Teletalo’s TEPO system.

 

Similar tests were done by the Finnish non-profit organization RFID Lab Finland. They tested TraSer software for tracking and positioning assets used in hospitals in combination with RFID hardware supplied by different Finnish SMEs. The purpose of both of these pilots was to test the connectivity of TraSer software with different RFID positioning hardware solutions and compare the functionality of these solutions.