Supply Scan

News and Trends from Across the Food Supply Chain

Ralphs Reducing Emissions With Retrofit Exhaust System

Ralphs Grocery Co. is operating a cleaner fleet with a new retrofit exhaust system that enables older trucks to surpass new emissions rules.

Last month, the Los Angeles-based supermarket chain demonstrated its advanced diesel retrofit, featuring technology from Johnson Matthey, at the "Future Is Green" conference, an annual gathering of the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association.

Johnson Matthey, a Malvern, PA-based supplier of emission control technologies and its partner, Cummins Emissions Solutions, retrofitted 16 older class 8 grocery trucks used in the Ralphs' delivery fleet with its SCRT four-way control system. The trucks range in age from 1998 to 2004.

The four-way SCRT exhaust emission control system combines Johnson Matthey's two-stage CRT particulate filter system (to reduce particulate matter by more than 85 percent) with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst that reduces NOx by some 60 to 80 percent. It also reduces carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) by more than 90 percent.

The result is a four-year-old truck with NOx emissions lower than those of a brand-new 2008 truck. The Ralphs trucks with this system could potentially remain in compliance with existing and proposed air quality regulations until 2020.

The next stage for this technology is verification by the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is underway now. Johnson Matthey expects verification of the system by the end of 2008 or early 2009.

Latest RFID Research Finds EAS A Promising Application

The use of item-level radio frequency identification (RFID) for electronic article surveillance (EAS) and managing price markdowns appears to be a promising practical application that could deliver substantial benefits, according to a study.

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), in cooperation with the Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association and the University of Arkansas, released the findings of a major item-level RFID research initiative held last month in Fayetteville, AK.

Over 100 attendees heard Phase III results of the new research that was conducted at the University of Arkansas. Inventory accuracy, reducing out of stocks, managing inventory more effectively and moving information efficiently through the supply chain could be some of the benefits realized.

Utilizing industry standards and guidelines, including the use of electronic data interchange (EDI) and barcodes, have proved beneficial to retailers. This experience demonstrated that utilizing electronic product code (EPC) standards will facilitate the implementation of item-level RFID.

The completion of the research is set for year's end. This phase focuses on the ROI of it in the planning stages.

Presenters included Dillard's and Sam's Club who discussed how data is generated in an RFID-enabled environment and used to create business value, the return on investment (ROI) of the technology in loss prevention and privacy concerns.

"The conference solidified our commitment to supporting the university's RFID item level research," says Joseph Andraski, president and CEO of VICS. "All preliminary results are extremely encouraging, confirming that RFID will play a major role in reengineering supply chain management."

Fuel Costs Top Trucking's List Of Industry Concerns

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry's not-for-profit research institute, unveiled its list of the top 10 critical issues facing U.S. truckers.

The cost of fuel and the nation's economy top the list in ATRI's survey of more than 5,000 trucking industry executives. The complete results were released in New Orleans at the 2008 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

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