Fruit Logistica Impresses

Fruit Logistica, the largest fruit and produce show in the world, is underway in Berlin and it doesn’t disappoint.  Spanning some 19 halls and hosting tens of thousands of visitors, it’s almost a spectacle that compares to something like the Mobile World Congress, CeBit or Comdex in its prime except, instead of computers and cellphones, it’s acres of apples, lettuce, grapes, berries and every other conceivable type of fruit and vegetable.

If you're in Berlin, visit us in Hall 23 at stand A-03.

If you’re in Berlin, visit us in Hall 23 at stand A-03.

I’m amazed at the expanse of people that we met with yesterday from those local to Germany and as far away as Vietnam, Australia and Peru.  Many of them were interested in new approaches to improving quality and delivered freshness using wireless temperature monitoring which we explained in English, German, Dutch, Gaelic, French and bits and pieces of other languages.

It’s quite an experience.  If you’re in the neighborhood, visit us in Hall 23 – The USA Pavilion – stand A-03.

Kevin Payne
Senior Director of Marketing

 

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Measuring Concussions: What the NFL can Learn from the Military Using RFID Sensors

Recently Marc Gunther, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote a post titled “The Point After: Why I’m Done with the NFL” in which he details why he can no longer watch or support football.  To him, it’s simply too inherently violent.  His biggest concern is the risk associated with concussions…and it’s not just the NFL he’s worried about but college, high school and Pop Warner too when young kids, their brains still in development, can suffer permanent brain damage due to traumatic head injuries and high-speed impacts.

I’m not intending to make a value judgment about football here.  I still watch the NFL and root hard for my 49ers.  But, I see and acknowledge Gunther’s point.  Fortunately, some yardage gains are being made.

After years of doing apparently little, the NFL has now (publicly) realized this is a problem – at least in terms of public relations –  if not in terms of potential liability from the players’ association.  Last month the NFL announced it was donating $30 million to the National Institutes of Health for research, potentially including research related to concussions.  They’re running commercials during the game (featuring Tom Brady) to promote their investment in this.

The Army Uses Sensors in Helmets…so can the NFL

Injuries due to concussive force also impact the military – big time.  Instead of hits from linebackers, there’s brain injuries related to bombs and other devices that explode in the vicinity of our troops that lead to concussions.  And, like the tough NFL players, our proud and determined soldiers don’t want to be pulled off the field.  Fortunately, the military is taking this very seriously.  They’re investing in helmet-based RFID sensors and now, according to Stars and Stripes, the Army is working with the NFL to test  sensors in football helmets, and any information gathered will be shared with doctors, engineers and the military. The goal is to prevent concussions — or at least minimize the severity — and reduce the stigma of seeking treatment for head injuries.The Army has been putting blast sensors in helmets since 2007, and will use 45,000 of them to monitor head injuries suffered by bomb blasts in Afghanistan.  BAE Systems, provider of the helmets, reported on July 9, 2012 that the Army is continuing to order the helmet sensors.

Hopefully, for the sake of all of the soldiers as well as the men and boys that  play football, forward progress can be made.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

SmartView from Antaris Helps Panalpina Gear Up For Temperature Controlled Shipments

SmartView, an award winning solution for cool chain optimization from Intelleflex partner Antaris Solutions, is utilizing RFID solutions such as Intelleflex temperature monitoring tags and readers to enable logistics provider Panalpina to better control and manage shipments of temperature sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals.  A story, which appeared recently in Logistics Week and a number of other publications details how SmartView delivers new levels of visibility and control by providing Panalpina with actionable data about the status of their shipments as they move from the manufacturer in Europe to the United States via Panalpina’s 747 air freighters.

Panalpina, with operations on six continents, uses SmartView in its own controlled air freight network. SmartView provides Panalpina an integrated control center to manage temperature sensitive shipments throughout the end-to-end supply chain. Temperatures can be documented in the air, and actively monitored in the transit warehouse and on the road. Where there are instances of temperature deviations, Panalpina now has the tools to proactively intervene.

SmartView, from Antaris Solutions, Provides Actionable Data In-transit – Not Just After Delivery

Traditional data loggers only provide information about the condition of a shipment after it has been delivered when it is too late to take any corrective action.  Monitoring the products in transit using Antaris’ SmartView as they move from manufacturer to the customer enables Panalpina to provide a better level of service to their customers creating a competitive advantage for them in the marketplace.  This process can all be automated so that Panalpina can collect data even where they have no personnel.

With the massive increase in the volume and value of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, the old approach to monitoring temperature sensitive shipments is inadequate for managing today’s cool chain.  Solutions like SmartView utilize the latest in RFID to address the challenges faced by today’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and third party logistics providers.  You can learn more about SmartView by viewing this recent IQPC webinar in which Antaris Solutions Managing Director explains how SmartView is helping Panalpina deliver a superior service to its customers.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Tracking the Clues

Many of us remember playing “Clue” a popular board game from Parker Brothers.  We had to determine who, what and where something happened by a process of elimination.  For me, at least, it wasn’t easy. It was hard to keep track of all of the players and locations and who was where when.

Tracking and Tracing the Clues Can be Difficult

When it comes to food safety and recalls, it can be even more complicated as contamination issues need to be tracked to the source and then traced through distribution to a myriad of retailers and ultimately to consumers in order to stop the spread of tainted product.  And, unfortunately, there seems to have been an increase in the number of recalls with one grower having just now issued its third recall in two weeks time. We should applaud their proactive approach to removing potentially contaminated produce from the supply chain as quickly as possible.

What can we do to improve the traceability process?  Trying to sort the clues using paper-based systems be a time consuming and complex process fraught with dire consequences.  The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is designed to help remedy this problem and RFID-based track and trace systems can be a big part of the solution because they have the ability to capture and digitize information for more rapid analysis. Pallet-level temperature monitoring RFID tags not only helps to improve shelf-life management but also can store way point data about the product as it moves through distribution.   Having an electronic – rather than paper-based system –  can help speed the search to the source of the problem and then more quickly identify who has received and distributed the product, potentially shaving days or weeks off the recall process.

Not only does this help to ensure public safety, it also helps protect the growers, packers, shippers and distributors by enabling them to better manage their supply chains in the event of a recall.  We have a short white paper on the impacts and benefits of the FSMA which you can find here.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

 

 

What’s Really Exciting About Today?

RFID Journal Live!, the industry’s largest tradeshow kicks off today in Orlando. What’s exciting is that it has the potential to be something far more than just another RFID show because of new capabilities that are being made available to the market. RFID is no longer tied to speeds and feeds but now is demonstrating real business benefits. As someone whose background is in enterprise applications, I see the transition to business-enabling solutions as significant.

At last year’s show, Intelleflex featured our new generation of XC3 Technology readers and tags. This award winning technology brought significant business benefits to a number of industries, including the cold chain for food and pharmaceuticals. Case studies, pilot programs and partner adoption over the past 12 months have helped to validate the value proposition for our solutions.

Introducing ZEST and the CMR-6100

But, what’s really exciting is that, this year, we’re taking it a step further with the introduction of our CMR-6100 Cellular Reader and ZEST™ Data Services. The CMR-6100 is the first fully integrated cellular-enabled, GPS-equipped multi-protocol RFID reader with support for the ISO Class 3 battery assisted passive and EPCglobal C1G2 passive standards. Intelleflex ZEST Data Services, a cloud-based repository for aggregating, warehousing and sharing information across the supply chain, facilitates on-demand access to actionable data for improved supply chain operations.

The vision behind these new offerings is to deliver true business value by providing customers with timely access to information that improves the delivered freshness for food, ensure efficacy and quality of pharmaceuticals, and optimizes asset utilization. With increasing pressure on the bottom line, new industry regulations and tighter competition, companies are looking for solutions that make it easier to do business. By delivering new solutions to capture Actionable Data – information that people can use on-demand for real-time decision making – and simplifying how it is shared across the supply chain using a cloud-based model, we believe that Intelleflex, along with our partners, can help improve how companies do business. If you’re at RFID Journal Live!, please come by booth 205 and take a look.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Get Your Actionable Data Here

Modex is a huge supply chain and logistics event being held in Atlanta from February 6-9.  You’ll find most everything you could imagine relating to a supply chain at this exhibition from automated forklifts to packaging machinery and software and hardware solutions. Intelleflex has a small booth on the show floor and we’re meeting with quite a few companies that have need for temperature monitoring and track and trace solutions.

Get Actionable Data at Modex booth 204

It’s always interesting to hear the different problems people are trying to solve. Many had previously thought that in-transit temperature monitoring wasn’t feasible or cost-effective but they’re pleasantly surprised when the come by and see Intelleflex XC3 Technology-powered solutions in action. If you’re in Atlanta for the show, please stop by and say hello.  Or, if you just want to know more about the benefits of Actionable Data, click here.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Why Do I shop at _______?

Why do consumers select a particular grocery store?  The answer is because of the store’s fresh produce. People are increasingly searching for healthy food options and heading for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Progressive Grocer‘s December issue features its annual Produce Operations Review which provides a snapshot of the foremost issues the average retail produce director deals with on an annual basis.  Three of the top six concerns relate to produce quality, customer satisfaction and reducing shrink.  (The other three are economic concerns to the retailer. 14 reasons were listed in the survey results.)

  1. Wholesale Prices
  2. Competition from Supermarkets
  3. Quality of Product
  4. Shrink/Spoilage
  5. Profits
  6. Customer Satisfaction Levels

Shoppers are increasingly scouting out the freshest, highest value produce they can find.  They don’t want to spend their precious dollars on produce that will go bad the next day.  If they buy a basket of strawberries on Friday only to find that come Saturday morning the berries are fuzzy and molding, they’ll likely consider switching to another store.  This puts the onus on the retailer to ensure adequate shelf life and quality of the produce they sell.  But visual inspection isn’t always adequate to ensure the produce will remain fresh long enough for the consumer to enjoy it.

Fresh, High Value Produce is Key to Customer Satisfaction

In-transit temperature monitoring can help.  Temperature monitoring can provide a shelf life index (or freshness factor) that tells the grocer that the produce he or she is receiving from distribution is fresh enough to sell, providing actionable data that goes well beyond visual inspection.  Interestingly, by improving the quality of produce, retailers can create competitive advantage that helps address the other three issues relating to pricing, profits and competition! You can learn more about this by reading our case study and white paper or email me.

Here’s to a healthy and fresh 2012!

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

RFID in the Pharmaceutical Industry

A recent issue of The PDA Letter (October 2011) featured an article titled “Evaluating the Use of RFID in the Pharmaceutical Industry”. The article was great about highlighting many of the benefits and issues associated with using RFID solutions, especially related to the reduction of counterfeiting and theft and improving supply chain security. Unfortunately, the article raised some concerns about the use of RFID in pharmaceuticals that no longer apply.  Let me explain.

Examining RFID in Pharmaceuticals

Prior to joining Intelleflex, I was in charge of the anti-counterfeiting serialization program at Genzyme.  I was a big believer (and frankly still am) of using 2D barcode technology for tracking individual units of pharmaceuticals. At the case- and pallet-level however, RFID is a much more effective solution than barcodes, especially now that there are good RFID tags for storing the information related to the inference data that also features chain of custody recording capabilities.

As indicated in the article, over the past couple of years, many advances have been made towards an industry-wide adoption of RFID but few of have yet to take advantage of the additional benefits next generation RFID Class 3 Battery Assisted Passive (BAP) tags that companies like Intelleflex manufacture.  These BAP tags offer many new features and capabilities towards improving the documented proof of efficacy at delivery, actionable data for in-transit monitoring and for serialization. These tags, with their built in memory and processor, are able to log and store condition data of the product from inside the package while providing secure access.  They’re also are FAA compliant, with a much longer free air read range than traditional passive RFID tags that provides the power to penetrate the packaging without opening or tampering.

The article raises unfounded concerns surrounding what, if any, impact RFID would have on biologics and their efficacy. As reported in The RFID Journal,  the University of Southern Florida recently conducted a study on the drug/biologics efficacy impact of RFID and came up with no evidence of any such impact.

Class 3  is definitely worth a look for your pharma supply chain applications.

Peter Norton

Senior Cold Chain Consultant – Intelleflex

Cold Chain is Hot at Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Ann Grackin, of ChainLink Research, recently published a summary of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals conference.  Intelleflex CEO Peter Mehring was part of a panel on Cold Chain Management during the conference.  You can read Ann’s summary of the conference here.

In the summary article, Ann writes:

Cold Is Hot

Clearly, government mandates plus consumer illnesses are getting to the food and Pharma companies. Cold Chain is a global issue. We learned a lot about this topic with a small, but clearly, dedicated audience (that did not leave the Cold Chain sessions) that tried to obtain all the cold chain nuggets of information they could digest.  Firms like FoodLink, Intelleflex, SYSPRO, and ImpactFactor along with standards group GS1 really helped cook-up some important insights about cold chain challenges and where we need to go from here. With over 30% of the world’s food going to waste, it seems like there is a huge ROI across the supply chain, if we can just dig our forks into it!

Get Your Copy of Peter Mehring's Presentation at CSCMP

The Cold Chain Management Panel used the example of the impact of temperature on strawberries and how proper temperature monitoring can reduce waste and improve operations.  If you’d like a copy of Peter Mehring’s presentation, please email me.  I’d be happy to send you a copy.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

 

You Never Know What You’ll Learn at a Trade Show

Day 1 of PMA’s Fresh Summit in Atlanta is now behind us.  I’m not sure what the final attendance numbers will be but the show floor is buzzing.  With an eclectic mix of fruits, veggies, pre-packed snacks, salsas, juices and other items, there’s plenty to see and plenty to taste.  A lot of people have come by the Intelleflex booth (3782) and we’ve had some very interesting conversations as people describe their products and the unique challenges associated with packing and shipping them for retail distribution.

Lots of People to Meet and Things to See at PMA Fresh Summit

For example, I learned that Basil is the only herb that has unique shipping refrigeration requirements.  Other herbs can be refrigerated but Basil has to be kept in the mid 50 degree range or it browns and spoils. As such, it’s often a casualty of improper shipping and posed a significant challenge for two Basil growers from Chile that I spoke with.  I also learned that apples which, by fruit standards have a fairly long shelf life, still have specific temperature management issues, especially when shipped abroad.  Interesting also that apples, when held in cold storage, aren’t easy to inventory as the store rooms have no oxygen, making careers in apple inventorying very unappealing.

Basil is Often a Victim of Temperature Mishandling in Transit

We’re speaking with a lot of large and small growers, many of whom made the trip from Mexico, Chile, Honduras, Brazil and Argentina, demonstrating the huge global market for fresh fruit throughout the year.  Latin American growers are particularly interested in pallet-level temperature monitoring, shelf life prediction and documented freshness at delivery due to the longer shipping distances they’re forced to deal with when sending products to the USA.  Large retailers like Costco and Safeway are also exploring the show floor.

Day 2 begins at 11am today and, in addition to the tens of thousands of screaming produce fans, we’ll also have about 60,000 screaming Atlanta Falcons fans here today as well.  Sounds like an exciting Sunday in the making.

PS: To you apple fans out there, keep an eye out for a new variety called a “Lady Alice” that will be making its appearance on store shelves in February I’m told.  Really tasty!

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for the New Lady Alice Apple

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing