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3/8/2006
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DHL Taps Several Vendors For RFID Project

The initial project will integrate RFID technology into the supply chain to improve repairs and returns. DHL wants to track valuable items, such as high-definition television sets bound for repair shops.

DHL has tapped several companies to expand its radio frequency identification technology (RFID) projects within the supply chain.

The logistics provider Wednesday said it's collaborating with IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Royal Philips Electronics N.V. and SAP AG.

IBM's Sensor and Actuators business unit has been appointed to help develop specific "proof of concepts," along with Intel, Philips, and SAP, said Scott Burroughs, solutions executive with sensor and actuators solutions at IBM. "We're bringing intellectual capital and technology into the mix," he said.

Burroughs defined "proof of concept" as identifying a technology, a business issue, and validating that the tools solve the specific problem.

The initial project will integrate RFID technology into the supply chain to improve repairs and returns. DHL wants to track valuable items, such as high-definition television sets bound for repair shops.

Success could see the logistics provider replicate the model for use in other business processes. By affixing RFID tags on repair shipments, readers positioned at points along the transport route can monitor packages as they move through the supply chain in containers and pallets, and loaded and unloaded on aircraft. The RFID tags also could monitor packages as they're picked-up and delivered to customers, keeping a record of service.

DHL expects the RFID project will "dramatically" improve shipment visibility, and reduce inbound and outbound scanning processes by 90 percent, saving valuable time when transporting shipments.

This project is the first example of the “DHL Innovation Initiative” led by parent Deutsche Post World Net, the company said.

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