Location, Location, Location Is Critical To Shipping Company - InformationWeek

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9/12/2003
02:26 PM
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Location, Location, Location Is Critical To Shipping Company

NYK Logistics installs wireless solution to track ocean freight containers and outbound trailers.

NYK Logistics Inc. has deployed a real-time locating system and yard management software to help manage more than 50,000 ocean freight containers and 30,000 outbound trailers at its 70-acre facility in Long Beach, Calif.

The wireless LAN and proprietary software technology from WhereNet Corp. is aimed at helping the shipping company increase dock-door utilization, reduce yard congestion, and increase overall throughput. The technology has allowed the company to move away from using golf carts and walkie-talkies to convey information through the facility and yard. Instead, 35 WhereNet wireless access points are mounted around the yard, providing complete coverage of 1,100 parking slots and 250 dock doors.

"It's really exceeded our expectations to date, and we feel like as we go forward we'll be able to utilize information gained with this software even more effectively to enhance management of our employees, freight, and assets," says Rick Pople, general manager of NYK.

WhereNet has previously deployed its system within the automotive industry, with customers including Ford and General Motors. Those systems let the automakers track vehicles and parts through the manufacturing line, as well as throughout the plant and surrounding yard.

Dan Doles, president and CEO of WhereNet, sees its technology as often working in conjunction with RFID systems. While RFID can be used to track individual parts in close proximity to an RFID reader, the WhereNet solution can be used to track parts and end products in a range of 200 to 300 feet indoors and 1,000 to 2,000 feet outdoors.

"We have a solution that fits in the marketplace above the very low cost passive RFID that is used for item level marking, and the GPS based tracking systems used at the wide area level," he says.

WhereNet's latest yard solution, Yard 4.0, includes a yard rule manager, a configurable rules engine that controls the movement of trailers and containers to dock doors, assigns parking spots within the yard, and verifies that trailers and containers being checked out are allowed to leave the yard.

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