Martori Farms, one of the nation's largest growers and shippers of melons and broccoli, and supplier to major supermarket chains nationwide, is currently testing plastic pallets that are tracked with RFID technology.
Matori is working with Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS Co. LLC), Orlando, FL, a large-scale pallet supply service that provides RFID in every pallet to track shipments in real-time, reducing the logistical cost of shipping and allows companies to verify food and drug safety, as well as to address security issues.
"There are a number of elements that made the iGPS product appropriate for a test program," says Paul Fleming, vice president of marketing and business development of Scottsdale, AZ-based Martori Farms.
"iGPS's pallets offer many advantages over traditional wood pallets, including light weight at 47 pounds, greater durability and a consistent 48" by 40" top deck, all of which could lead to significant shipping efficiencies. At a time when the produce industry is adopting greater automation and information technology across its supply chain, the RFID capability of the pallets was also a draw," Fleming adds.
"We are looking at ways to integrate the RFID tag in the iGPS pallets into our own warehouse management and product tracking systems," he says. "We currently use a bar code pallet tag, but if we are able to integrate with the iGPS RFID tag, we could capture all of that information at each logistical point throughout distribution."
iGPS says it offers the ability to rent plastic pallets at comparable rates and avoid the ongoing expense of owning and maintaining traditional wood pallets.
"It is significant that our first announced client supplies fresh produce," says iGPS CEO Bob Moore.
"The logistics and supply chain infrastructure we have built with our partners since launching iGPS in March is already capable of handling delivery of perishable items which are extremely time-sensitive."
Additionally, the shift from wood to plastic pallets is environmentally responsible, which is important to companies like Martori Farms that incorporate a commitment to Environmental Sustainability into their business operations.
iGPS plastic pallets are 100 percent recy-clable and, because they are 30 percent lighter than pallets made of wood, could remove several billion pounds of non-value freight from the shipping and supply-chain infrastructure, resulting in huge potential fuel savings.