Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.’s subsidiary Murata ID Solutions received the award “Il logistico dell’Anno 2020” (Logistics of the year 2020) together with Bayer S.p.A. for an “RFID and Blockchain project”. The award was for the innovative approach to Technology and Logistics 4.0 was given by the Italian logistics Association “Assologistica”.
The Pioneering RFID project has enabled Bayer to gain full and real-time visibility over its distribution processes, improving security, transparency, traceability and efficiency. The RFID-based project is the first large-scale application of this technology in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Bayer serves up to 17,000 customers in Italy relying on an extensive distribution network. The RFID system developed by ID Solutions allows the comprehensive tracking of individual boxes of pharmaceutical products as well as the sustainable GreenPallets on which they are shipped. Before implementing RFID, Bayer could not track deliveries in real-time nor did they have visibility of the shipments’ transit in all transportation hubs and subsidiaries. Any problems, such as missing goods, were only discovered when the customers received their deliveries. Today each box of products and every GreenPallet is provided with an RFID tag and scanned at every single stage of the supply chain providing real-time visibility of the entire distribution process.
This data-driven approach works by Murata’s id-Bridge Middleware processing and interpreting the information transmitted from the tagged products, and the id-Bridge dashboard, which turns this data into actionable insights. If for instance, a product is missing in a shipment Bayer is immediately informed enabling quick action (the missing package can be added to the shipment before it leaves the hub or subsidiary). In addition to addressing issues in real-time, the data is used to monitor performance, track KPIs, and guide response to customer queries.
Moreover, to enable an even stronger and more faithful collaboration between Bayer and its partners, the RFID system now integrates with Blockchain. This open system based on shared information thanks to Blockchain notarization increases the confidence and reliability between all the logistic partners.
The feasibility study of the project was completed in late 2019, and by early summer 2020, the tracking system was fully operational. More than 10M RFID data/year allow Bayer to obtain 100% real-time visibility and nearly 100% accuracy. On a yearly basis, Bayer expects to resolve most of their problems in the delivery process (missing products, misguidances, late deliveries and others, that normally weigh the cost of half a million euros) with an expected payback period of around six months.
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id-Bridge suite 4.0 (middleware and dashboard) is a comprehensive, flexible and versatile tool for managing RFID systems in their entirety. The middleware forms a scalable software layer that integrates RFID devices with legacy ERP systems. The dashboard is an important BI tool that transforms the data into valuable insight.