Managing returnable assets in motion RFID for returnable transport items November 9th, 2018

Managing returnable assets in motion RFID for returnable transport items

Companies in a wide variety of industries invest substantial capital in their inventories of returnable transport items (RTIs); the durable and reusable cartons, bins, pallets, wheeled trolleys, cages, and other containers used to pack and move goods from site to site. Properly managed, RTIs can be a powerful tool to support efficient and sustainable supply chain practices, helping companies to free valuable capital and other resources by reducing the time and money spent to transport goods.

The challenge has been finding an effective way to track and manage RTI asset pools. Units are often used by non-owners with little accountability, so accurate manual audits can be neglected. Shrinkage can reach 25% annually as RTIs are damaged, lost, stockpiled or simply cycled inefficiently. That results in additional purchases and larger-than-optimal inventories just to avoid shortfalls and downtime.

RFID makes managing RTIs efficient

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) offers an affordable and efficient way to get the greatest value from RTI inventories. Imagine this scenario: At a busy bottling plant, cartons of soft drinks just off the line are being quickly loaded into the plastic RTIs that will carry them to a regional distribution centre. As the product rolls through the loading dock and onto a truck, the RTI inventory report is automatically updated – recording not only how many units are headed out, but precisely which units they are, which truck will carry them and which distributor will receive them. Yet no one is carrying a clipboard. No one is counting. There are no forms to sign. RFID tags on each individual unit make it possible to accurately and automatically track its movement, using fixed readers at strategic in-and-out portals at the distribution centre or handheld readers for mobile read points at remote/customer facilities.

Automating the management of these mobile assets means all users can be held accountable for the units that pass through their facilities, so shrinkage and other losses can be curtailed, cycle times can be optimized and RTI inventories can be right-sized and lean. RFID is a solution ideally suited to meet the challenges of RTI asset management, enabling the real-time tracking of each individual RTI asset – from the moment it leaves your facility to the moment it is returned, again and again.

 Get your RFID solution today!

BlueStar’s Partner Zebra Technologies offers a wide range of asset tracking technology. Contact your BlueStar’s sales representative now to find out which is most suitable for your needs.


Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.