RFID Technology Help Track International Wine Shipment

wine-shipment-track-rfid-blogUsing EPC Gen 2 RFID tags and readers to track shipments of wine from Europe to Asia, GS1 Italy and GS1 Hong Kong got a result and made a conclusion that radio frequency identification technology (RFID) could make the supply chain more visible, which benefits not only wine producers, importers and distributors, but also retailers and consumers can also benefit from them.

The pilot has just been completed by these two groups, consisting of testing an RFID-enabled supply chain of wine between Italy and Hong Kong. Electronic Product Code (EPC) passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags were used in the pilot. They were placed on bottles of wine, cartons and pallets. Besides, temperature sensor tags were also placed in cartons and on pallets, and were affixed to the wall of an Italian vineyard warehouse.

The aim of this pilot was to determine how well an RFID solution could help monitor imported products by tracking the bottles from when they were shipped from the wine producer until they left the local importer, en route to the wine shop.

The data which was read from the tags on the bottles, cartons and pallets was collected and stored on GS1 Hong Kong’s ezTRACK Web-based application, based on the EPCIS standard. That information was then shared with the EPCIS-based data stored by GS1 Italy.

Judging from the results, GS1 Italy determined that the accuracy of supply chain data could be increased from 80 percent to 100 percent and that logistics management could be improved based on having better knowledge of products’ locations.

The technology proved that retailers in Hong Kong can “achieve full visibility of the whole movement of the wine products, from oversea vineyard to their storage destination, which eventually improved their inventory management and quality assurance.”

In the future, by reading a label’s tag in order to access data regarding when and where wine was bottled, as well as the temperature at which it was stored, the technology could help retailers predict overstock or out-of-stock events, and provide consumers with quality assurance in stores.