Sunday 23rd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Retailer tags global supply chain

Retailer giant Metro Group is expanding its RFID programme into China and India in a bid to create real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility.

It is working with Checkpoint Systems to implement the “Tag it easy” programme, which involves more than 75 Chinese and Indian consumer goods suppliers, alongside the 100 manufacturers already in the programme from Hong Kong, China and Vietnam.

All participants apply RFID labels on shipments bound for Metro’s sites in Germany.

The programme is part of the retailer’s Advanced Logistics Asia initiative to improve logistics processes with its Asian suppliers, using RFID to track products through the supply chain.

Benefits for the suppliers are said to include the removal of manual counting and checking of export packages, enhanced proof-of-delivery information and more accurate shipping data.

Dr Gerd Wolfram, head of CIO-Office, Metro Group, said: “Since the programme’s inception, the processing of incoming goods at warehouses and stores has been accelerated considerably and read rates using UHF EPC Gen 2 tags have been highly satisfactory.

“Time-consuming manual counts are no longer necessary, and that means goods get to the individual stores much faster and easier. Our ultimate goal is to optimise both the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chain management. The key to achieving this lies in maximising transparency in the flow of products and information upstream and downstream throughout the supply chain. This project has the capability of achieving such a transparency.”

The RFID labels provided by Checkpoint store the serial shipping container code, which is read at several points along the supply chain between the region and Germany.

Metro receives an electronic advance shipping notice detailing the contents of each shipment, and the suppliers receive automatic proof-of-delivery notifications.

Suppliers order the RFID labels through the company’s global supplier portal, Metro Link.