Asset Management Solution for Reusable/Returnable Containers in Bakery, Dairy and Beverage Distribution

This article first appeared in May 2010.

Editor’s note: The following release from The Kennedy Group echoes the theme of last week’s editorial content here at, emphasizing the importance of asset management in achieving a successful reusables program. Many companies continue to leave money on the table by under managing this critical function.

Industry leaders from the bakery, dairy and beverage industry assembled in Chicago on April 15, 2010 to address a serious problem common to their distribution channels which has been plaguing their industry for decades. In his presentation at this conference, Pat Kennedy, VP of Sales and Marketing for The Kennedy Group, explained how RFID can serve as the bridge to overcoming gaps in reverse logistics and improve asset retention practices within open supply chains.

Multiple overhead antennas in RFID portal provide optimal read pts of movement.

Multiple overhead antennas in RFID portal provide optimal read pts of movement.

Many companies in food and beverage logistics have to date been unable to accurately track the shipment and return of reusable containers, and are forced to deal with container losses that cause delayed shipments or require the need to scramble for a temporary alternative. The impact is increased packaging costs, higher labor and time involved in managing such disruptions. Often companies compensate for these situations by carrying safety stocks, which presents risks associated with potential loss, theft, damage, or obsolescence, as well as the necessity for large amounts of storage space, all adversely impacting cycle times and inefficiencies.

Companies with less disciplined retrieval procedures frequently misplace and lose track of the returnable/reusable containers. Some re-usables are inadvertently destroyed or stolen. Containers are often lost or not returned from downstream points in the supply chain, and businesses are put in contentious relationships with supply chain partners in holding them accountable and assigning liability for such losses.

The presentations in Chicago included various ways the industry has attempted to combat these losses, from investigative missions, legislative and prosecution attempts, education and awareness campaigns as well as theft deterrent approaches. Still, despite these efforts the shortcomings were evident with the need for more effective asset management clearly emerging. The ability to prosecute theft of returnable and reusable containers would be strengthened with the tracking intelligence and documentation from an RFID asset management program.

Are you experiencing shrinkage in returnable and reusable containers because you lack visibility of those assets? The time is now to establish your business case for solving this problem and consider the advantages accurate visibility of assets can provide. An RFID system can benefit many organizations by optimizing reusable container utilization, improving turns and cycles, eliminating safety stocks and having the ability to effectively respond to surges in demand.

For information about RFID for asset management, The Kennedy Group has experience with end-to-end RFID deployment and can help guide planning. Visit the The Kennedy Group at or call (440) 951-7660.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.