The software, from supply chain execution provider Provia Software, is part of the latest generation of traceability technology that has significantly changed the manner in which suppliers and manufacturers can control the supply chain.
Indeed, a growing number of major retail industry leaders have announced RFID/EPC mandates beginning January 2005. In Wal-Mart's case, from next year all cases and pallets delivered to them must be RFID compliant.
Menlo Worldwide says that it will use its longstanding Provia partnership to offer supply chain solutions with RFID/EPC (radio frequency ID/electronic product code) features.
"Many companies who supply these retail giants are struggling with how to deal with RFID compliance issues and many others are running out of time to implement a compliant solution of their own," said Paul Crist, Provia's vice president of global sales and marketing.
"Outsourcing to a third-party logistics provider is a logical option. For these companies, being able to offload that portion of their distribution to a respected company like Menlo Worldwide can offer a supplier some peace of mind."
Menlo Worldwide Logistics has already completed one pilot RFID warehouse project and is currently working on two more. These pilots are focused on RFID-enabling the receiving of tagged material from contract manufacturers and the shipping of RFID-compliant products to key retail customers.
"Provia's technology enables us to expand our RFID offerings as we continue to offer innovative, cutting-edge technologies," said Richard Carroll, vice president of information technology at Menlo Worldwide Technologies.
"Using Provia's RFID-enabled WMS solution enables our customers to achieve the benefits of RFID compliance with a minimum investment and risk. As RFID technology and standards evolve, our customers can keep up without having to bear continuing development and implementation costs on their own."
Menlo Worldwide claims that it now offers a wide range of RFID solutions that can increase supply chain performance and reduce supply chain costs. These range from basic RFID tag application services and facility-enablement, to strategic consulting services. Menlo Worldwide can RFID-enable cases, cartons or pallets, as well as shipping and receiving operations, warehouses and full factories.
Menlo Worldwide is based in the US and is a business segment of CNF, a US$5.1 billion management company of global supply chain services.
RFID tags are tiny computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be affixed to physical objects. The most common application of RFID contains an Electronic Product Code (EPC) with sufficient capacity to provide unique identifiers for all items produced worldwide.
When an RFID reader emits a radio signal, tags in the vicinity respond by transmitting their stored data to the reader. Passive (battery-less) RFID tags, read-range can vary from less than an inch to 20-30 feet, while active(self-powered) tags can have a much longer read range. The data is then sent to a distributed computing system involved in supply chain management or inventory control.