Magazine Article | August 1, 2005

International Bakery Experiences Eight-Month ROI With RFID

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, August 2005

Fornetti is a large international frozen baked products company that manages franchise operations across eight European countries. The company maintains a cadre of 90 mobile workers who provide field service, on-site CRM (customer relationship management), and special marketing/sales activities.

The company had problems monitoring its mobile workers and identified issues such as false time reporting, inaccurate inventory counts, data entry errors, and unreported bakery equipment damage. Fornetti needed a next-generation mobile enterprise resource management platform to help overcome the problem.

The company selected Mobile & RFID Data Systems' Aware/Mobile communication and integration platform as the basis for its re-engineering efforts. Using RFID tags and the Aware/Mobile platform, Fornetti fitted various pieces of bakery equipment with RFID tags, which included information such as franchise and inventory data. The tags were configured so that no franchisee could tamper with them (i.e. change the data on the tags). RFID tags were also attached to the mobile workers' vehicles and to bakery equipment that is delivered to the franchisees. Each mobile worker was equipped with either a Palm Handspring PDA or Compaq iPAQ PDA. The handhelds include the Aware/Mobile Client Module software, which enables the devices to read the RFID tags and transmit data in real time to Fornetti's headquarters via various carrier networks. An Aware/Mobile Server translates the data into an XML (extensible markup language) format and, using Web services, interfaces with Fornetti's ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.

Now, Fornetti's mobile workers' electronic route plans are time-stamped via the RFID-enabled PDAs. This new functionality strictly enforces the workers' itinerary. For example, before a mobile worker can deliver a box of frozen baked goods to a franchisee, the box is scanned using the PDA, which records the sale and the time the sale occurred. If the mobile worker shows up late to his next appointment, the next time stamp generates an exception report, which is e-mailed to the mobile worker's manager.

Since deploying an RFID tracking system, Fornetti's mobile workers' productivity increased 18%. The company also realized a 7% decrease in the consumption rate of bakery equipment replacement parts. Furthermore, the information in the company's ERP system is up to date, and the company obtained a return on its investment within eight months.