The Need for Intelligent Reusables

While hurdles to implementing RFID in reusable transport packaging still exist, the ongoing development of standards, emerging regulatory requirements, increasing awareness and quantification of risk exposure as well as a growing awareness of the opportunities created by intelligent reusables all continue to build the case for the adoption of intelligent reusables.  As Hanna Östman wrote recently at the NordicID blog, “Real-world RTI pool tracking projects with RFID are popping up like mushrooms in the forest.”

Other interesting articles of note include:

So with this trend continuing to swell, I recently got off the fence about intelligent reusables, with my article, The Need for Intelligent Reusable Transport Items, which summarizes some of the drivers. You can download it here. When one looks at the perfect storm of risk, regulation, efficiency gains and other opportunities, the case for intelligent RTIs continues to strengthen.

This point of view is only strengthened by various comments from industry thought leaders, who were asked by Intelleflex “In terms of produce quality and traceability, what’s the most significant thing you expect to see happen in 2013”

Dr. John Ryan, President, Ryan Systems: “Due to the lack of aggressive food safety implementation on the part of supply chain members and the delayed FSMA implementation, I suspect the most significant issue to arise this year will be a number of large scale food recalls.The industry appears to be in as much of a muddled state as the food side of the FDA.Until governmental expertise and industry reluctance work together in this way, what else should we expect?”

Dr. Jean-Pierre Emond, Director of Cold Chain Research, Georgia Tech: “Consumers will begin to place more demands on the retailer as they strive to obtain more information about their products. They will want to know more about the origin of foods as well as the expected shelf life. A retailer has begun to offer guaranteed vase life for fresh cut flowers, this guarantee will become expected in other perishable products.”

Dean Stiles, Editor, Global ColdChain News: “Social media is potentially a useful tool to improve public awareness of food safety issues and disseminate knowledge about food risk. The flip side is instant broadcasting of any failures by food companies with huge implications for brand values. Traceability and monitoring is no longer optional insurance, but a critical aspect of the food distribution chain. Food logistics providers are in the vanguard with this service but need to push its benefits hard.”

Kaley Parkinson, National Sales ManagerSupply Chain Technology,Rehrig Pacific Co:”Without doubt I see the emergence of Intelligent RTI’s in the fresh produce sector.The marriage of technology and a reusable platform is the answer to the question, “This is great, but how am I going to pay for it?” which is the number one barrier to implementation for these essential initiatives. Once that door opens, the possibilities are endless for improving this supply chain.”

As the shift towards intelligent reusables continues, it will interesting to watch how it plays out in terms of value creation, increasing use of reusables, and improved RTI management.


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