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3/25/2009
09:38 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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IBM RFID Helps Track Norwegian Beer, German Cars

RFID supply-chain solutions are helping Norway's largest brewer increase profits, improve customer service, and get fresher beer to thirsty Norwegians. And Volkswagen's group CIO said his RFID project could lead to a paperless production and logistics chain throughout the entire corporation.

RFID supply-chain solutions are helping Norway's largest brewer increase profits, improve customer service, and get fresher beer to thirsty Norwegians. And Volkswagen's group CIO said his RFID project could lead to a paperless production and logistics chain throughout the entire corporation.Norwegian brewer Ringnes said the RFID project with IBM is allowing the company to replace manual and phone-based processes and gain real-time insights into the location and status of its fleet of 200 trucks and various shipping containers. The new system lets the brewer have full visibility into arrivals, departures, and full/empty status for all 40 loading gates at its Oslo plant.

Ringnes business-process manager Jan Inge Bakkane told Manufacturing Computer Solutions the company intends to expand the RFID system to four other plants, integrate it with other logistics systems, and extend the use of RFID from large-scale trucks and containers to individual pallets.

That last step has been a challenging one for many companies that have undertaken RFID trials as the volumes of data can become overwhelming at those more-granular levels.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 miles south of Oslo in Germany, Volkswagen, after a one-year trial that involved 3,000 shipping containers, is expanding its use of IBM's RFID solutions as part of its "long-term goal to implement an integrated, paperless production and logistics chain throughout the whole group," according to a separate article in Manufacturing Computer Solutions.

"The pilot project showed that we can reliably integrate RFID technology into our business processes at a low cost," said group CIO Klaus Hardy Muhleck in that article. That will let VW "significantly enhance operational efficiencies" by giving it full visibility into inventory status along the chain from suppliers' factories through transit and ultimately the VW shop floor.

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