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Global Logistics Focus Sept.21, 2015

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Page 12 of 63 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 13A 2015 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE GLOBAL LOGISTICS FOCUS SPECIAL REPORT Alb Stte Port Authority THE PORT OF MOBILE WHERE Souther cofort AND GLOBAL TRADE collide. AND seen a 30 percent fuel savings in the trucks, since they used to have to carry more inven- tory," Feldman said. The distributors now also can use much smaller vans to bring the right quantity of batteries to the distributors. He called the pilot program "the largest autonomous, connected network using RFID that we know of. The whole architecture is very fl exible, and we can install it in almost any application," including the automotive after-market and health care products. One such RFID installation involves Point of Presence displays used by some automotive parts shops to sell replacement windshield wipers. When it comes to bat- teries and replacement wipers, the same fundamental challenges exist: How to enable your distributors to gain visibility into the inventory in their supply chains so they don't have to ship their products as frequently, or ship the wrong products at the wrong time. In both sectors, RFID is helping distributors save time, fuel and labor. Some medical device manufacturers are using RFID systems to track high-value devices such as spinal parts and hip- and knee-replacement parts after they are dis- tributed to hospitals, or are carried by sales representatives in their trucks. Many hospi- tals "don't like people coming in every day" to distribute such devices. They only want those devices to be there in the hospital pre- cisely when they are needed, Feldman said. "The surgeries are all scheduled at the last minute, so inventory has to be there at the last minute," he said, but the hospitals want to avoid holding expensive safety stock. Here again, "RFID provides visibility into what is there, either at the hospital or in the truck driven by the sales representative." Interstate Batteries, meanwhile, will decide soon whether to expand the RFID program to all of its dealers or whether to engage in one more study of the results of the program, Feldman said. — Alan M. Field

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