RedPrairie Corporation, the world’s leading consumer driven optimisation company, has released that it is partnering with Unilever in the company’s trial of EPCIS (Electronic Product Code Information Service) to collect and access information from within the company’s logistics environment and from trading partners in the supply chain. Through RFID enablement and its integration with EPCIS, Unilever is looking to create additional business value in the areas of promotion management, supply chain visibility and metrics and RFID readability.
The EPC Information Service (EPCIS) is a specification for a standard interface for accessing EPC-related information. RedPrairie provides information on RFID tags in the EPCIS specification to Unilever, including:
- Commissioning Tags– During picking, the RedPrairie warehouse management solution, DLx Warehouse, will commission the RFID tags that are required for each item on the order. DLx Warehouse will generate the EPC numbers for each case and pallet in the correct format and will relate them to a bar-coded license plate number, if necessary. These RFID-enabled labels will be applied to the appropriate cartons on the pallet. Similarly, an RFID-enabled pallet label will be generated.
- Tag Aggregation – RedPrairie solutions aggregate case-level tag information for each case on a pallet and associate it with the pallet-level tag. This helps to reduce the amount of data that needs to be read at the reader portals. By reading the pallet tag and a definable number of case tags, the user can get a positive confirmation when moving pallets in the warehouse. This aggregation of tag list data is also passed in standard EPCIS format to the database that is shared with the retailer for data analysis. This analysis capability benefits both Unilever and the retailers.
- Shipping Verification - At shipping, DLx Warehouse will physically read the tags that move through the reader portal at the shipping dock. The GLN (Global Location Number) will be assigned to the pallet depicting the pallet's site location. This is the final step in capturing the tag list data and ensuring that the order was identified correctly.
According to Unilever, by replacing manually intensive data exchange tasks with automated processes, more time is available for analysis and value creation. As RFID begins to proliferate, EPCIS will serve as the foundation for manufacturers like Unilever to gain valuable insight, predict needs and problems before they occur, and improve business operations and responsiveness to each of the partners within the supply chain.
According to RedPrairie, manufacturers and retailers can share vast amounts of item data by accurately tracking RIFD tagged products. RedPrairie’s RFID capabilities help Unilever sift through the raw data and analyse store level promotional success within their EPCIS business analytics.