News and Trends From Across the Food Supply Chain

For the second consecutive year, the cost of unsaleables has gone down for consumer products manufacturers.

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Orange Glo, Unilever Receive Recognition
Oange Glo International and Unilever Foods were among seven transportation management leaders cited in a study by the Aberdeen Group, based in Boston.

Both companies use Holland, MI-based LeanLogistics On-Demand TMS (transportation management system) and are featured in the report, "Best Practices in Transportation Management-Case Studies on How Companies Are Driving Cost and Service Improvements."

"Best practice leaders are successfully transforming their transportation operations to drive increased value for their business," says Beth Enslow, senior analyst, AberdeenGroup. "Companies like LeanLogistics are providing the tools to help supply chain and transportation executives meet the transportation rate and capacity challenges that plague their organizations today."

Orange Glo International, a household cleaning supplies manufacturer based in Denver, was selected for its improvements in service levels and launch of a carrier ease of business program to reduce rates and secure capacity. Using LeanLogistics solution, the company centralized transportation control to manage outbound freight to customers, giving visibility to all parties, allowing them to act proactively to meet customer service levels.

Orange Glos initiative saved $1 million in the first eight months and directly helped increase revenue.

Unilever Foods implemented the LeanLogistics on-demand solution to create customer-centric transportation processes, allowing it to improve on-time delivery dramatically, keep customers better informed about requested arrival date exceptions, and proactively plan for on-shelf availability for promotional activity.

USCS Builds RFID Center
U.S. Cold Storage is building a facility in Dallas to develop best practices for applying radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in the cold chain.

Dubbed the RFID Solution Center, it will help USCS meet RFID mandates by retailers and suppliers-including Wal-Marts 2006 mandate for two-tier suppliers. Cognizant Technology Solutions, an application outsourcing provider based in Teaneck, NJ, is helping USCS develop the RFID infrastructure.

"The center will demonstrate our ability to provide business solutions that fulfill the RFID mandates and requirements of large global retailers, manufacturers and other supply chain partners," says Tim Brennan, director of IT for USCS, based in Cherry Hill, NJ. D

RFID Deployment Finally Takes Hold
AMR Research released a report assessing the radio frequency identification (RFID) market from 2005-2007. Sixty-nine percent of respondents are planning to evaluate, pilot or implement RFID in 2005, with the average budget for RFID at more than $548,000, increasing to $771,000 by 2007.

Among key factors driving implementation of RFID, compliance remains at the top.

The report, based on a survey of 500 companies and conducted with RFID Journal, identified several key issues facing the RFID market:
- The opportunity for market technology leadership in RFID is wide open, with no one vendor establishing an early leadership position;
- The overwhelming majority of survey respondents cite significant challenges finding the return on investment (ROI) to justify their RFID spending. Twenty-eight percent cite it specifically as their biggest obstacle with regard to RFID adoption;
- A lack of standards maturity continues to be a key factor, especially for process manufacturers; only 29 percent believe the standards have reached an appropriate level of maturity.

"RFID is still in its formative years," says Dennis Gaughan, research director, AMR Research, Boston. "The market will be hotly contested across all technology segments from tags and readers through middleware and enterprise applications."

Good Times For WMS Vendors
The worldwide market for warehouse management systems (WMS) has had its best year in several years, according to research from ARC Advisory Group, Dedham, MA.

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