DB Schenker rolls out RFID temp-monitoring service

Logistics giant DB Schenker is working with an unnamed global pharmaceutical company to roll out a radio frequency identification (RFID) system for monitoring temperature-controlled shipments. The service provider is developing the system for air, sea, land and rail transport, with this first roll out devoted to air. The drugmaker is using the tags to monitor shipping temperatures as part of its QC effort.

DB Schenker, which has so far spent $145,000 on the project stretching back to its first pilot in early 2010, wants to demonstrate its cold chain abilities to customers and prospects. Another purpose is to verify airline temperature-control claims.

In this current roll out, DB Schenker and the pharma company decide which products will be monitored in two temperature-controlled shipments to the U.S. At its Germany warehouse, DB Schenker reads the tag IDs and then attaches the tags to a sampling of items within the shipment, aiming for a spot-check of two to 5 items per flight. The tags record a temperature reading every 15 minutes. 

In the U.S., the goods are unloaded and a worker retrieves the RFID-tagged packages and brings them to a desk-based reader. Temperature, date and time data are read and transferred to the client's computer system.

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