SUNNYVALE, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Savi Technology, a leading provider of real-time solutions for global supply chain security and asset management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Auto-ID Center, an industry-funded research program to advance automatic identification technology, today announced that they will collaborate to include support of the Electronic Product Code (EPC), an emerging standard for identifying items in the supply chain, in Savi's SmartChain platform and SmartChain suite of software applications - including the Savi Transportation Security System and Savi Asset Management System.
The goal of this collaboration is to help bridge the gaps in supply chain visibility, from the item level to the conveyance transporting them as well as end-to-end from the factory to final destination. For example, if the security of a container is breached, the integrated solution could tell authorities in real-time what specific items are missing from a container as well as that the container had been tampered with or violated. This will be achieved by ensuring that multiple automatic identification technologies, including the Auto-ID Center's Electronic Product Code for passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that help track items, and Savi's active RFID tags for securing and managing supply chain assets, can communicate with each other to create complete real-time, end-to-end "nested visibility" of items, ranging from individual products to the shipping cartons, pallets, containers, and other conveyances that transport them, to the transportation vehicle itself.
The EPC is an emerging standard developed by the Auto-ID Center for item-level identification and tracking throughout the supply chain. A number of major retailers are sponsoring and supporting the EPC for item-level tracking, and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), the world's largest retailer, recently announced that it will require its top 100 suppliers to have EPC-compliant tags on pallets and cases by the year 2005. Savi Technology also is a long-time member and active participant in the Auto-ID Center.
Savi provides real-time solutions for securing and managing supply chain assets. These solutions include active RFID tags with long read ranges and large data storage capabilities, readers to capture the data and robust software to turn the data into actionable information. Savi's real-time solutions have been successfully deployed to track conveyances over the past decade in the commercial and government sectors, including containers with military supplies shipped by the U.S. Department of Defense, which operates the worlds largest RFID network and is credited for helping standardize the use of barcodes for item identification. In the past year, Savi's nested visibility capabilities have also been used to track and secure items being shipped in intermodal containers as part of the global Smart and Secure Tradelanes initiative, which is the worlds largest supply chain security initiative driven by industry.
The collaboration also will encompass compatibility between RFID and other automatic identification technologies as well as the Auto-ID Center's Savant software platform and Savi's SmartChain platform and SmartChain suite of applications - the Savi Transportation Security System and Savi Asset Management System.
Both organizations pointed out that there are times throughout the supply chain when EPC technologies for item-level visibility are applicable and other times when active RFID systems are appropriate. Interoperability of these technologies will provide a greater breadth and depth of visibility for particular shipments and individual products within them. As one example, EPC-tagged products and pallets lose their visibility when placed inside metal containers for ocean, truck, rail or air transport unless there is a compatible active tag on the container.
"Savi has been a leader in automatic identification technology for over a decade. With their global experience, it is no surprise that they are again taking a leadership role in addressing the critical concerns of global supply chain management and security," said Kevin Ashton, Executive Director of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We worked with Savi closely in the successful field test of the Electronic Product Code and look forward to working with Savi to ensure that our technologies are complementary when total visibility is required in the supply chain, whether it's item-level identification in a storage room or container-level visibility at an ocean port. By ensuring that our solutions work side-by-side, we hope to accelerate the adoption of these emerging standards and thereby broaden the context of their application to a global scale."
"The vision of the Auto-ID Center has inspired dozens of companies to come together to define technologies and standards that will enable automatic identification technologies to realize their potential to change how the world does business," said Blair LaCorte, Executive Vice President of Savi Technology. "The Electronic Product Code has great potential to bring about a common means by which products are identified and information about those products made immediately available to concerned parties. This will have a significant impact on our efforts to bring about a common standards-based security and information network for the supply chain."
Both organizations already have been actively engaged in helping to drive global standards for RFID and supply chain security applications. On May 21, the Uniform Code Council and EAN International, announced the launch of AutoID, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that will oversee commercial and technical standards for EPC. The AutoID Center will continue to provide the kind of groundbreaking research that has led to development of today's EPC. Also in May, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Smart and Secure Tradelanes, which relies on Savi's RFID and software solutions for its base infrastructure, announced their partnership to help define, development and implement global supply chain security standards.
"To achieve total supply chain visibility and security worldwide it's critical to have a common sets of standards for seamless transitions between technologies, processes and borders," said Gen. (U.S. Army, Ret.) John Coburn, chairman of the Strategic Council on Security Technology, a global advisory resource that helped to launch Smart and Secure Tradelanes, which is an industry-driven consortium of 65 partners committed to the formation of an automated global security network. "It's clear that there are a number of leading companies, organizations and standards bodies already working on these complex issues. This new collaboration between two industry leaders -- Savi Technology and the Auto-ID Center -- will help accelerate this important process."
SST is being built on existing infrastructure and technologies developed for the U.S. Department of Defense's Total Asset Visibility network, a global infrastructure which most recently contributed to the success of the recent military operations in Iraq. The technology and infrastructure used for SST is both proven and available for immediate deployment while remaining open and adaptable for the integration of new emerging technologies and standards, such as the Electronic Product Code. Many of the world's largest port operators, carriers, service providers, and shippers are participating in SST. The Smart and Secure Tradelanes initiative is closely coordinated with the U.S. Customs Container Security Initiative (CSI), Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) maritime security initiatives, such as Operation Safe Commerce (OSC).
With the inclusion of EPC support in the Smart and Secure Tradelanes information infrastructure, shippers, logistics service providers, and carriers will be able to fully automate the creation of an electronic manifest for each shipping container - enabling them to more easily comply with new US Customs regulations that will soon require the submission of shipping manifests at least 24 hours prior to the shipment leaving for the United States. In addition, importers, Customs agents or other law enforcement agencies, and service providers will be able to be able to quickly identify specific individual products for inspection, and audit the shipment and transportation history of individual products in case of recall due to safety or health concerns.
Savi Technology has been a sponsor of the Auto-ID Center and member of the Technology Board of the center for over two years. Savi also provided software and services for the phase one of the Auto-ID Centers technology field tests that were successfully completed earlier this year.
With over 12 years of global logistics infrastructure experience, Savi is a proven leader in real-time supply chain asset management and security solutions. For additional information, visit www.savi.com.
Founded in 1999, the Auto-ID Center is a unique partnership between almost 100 global companies and five of the world's leading research universities; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Cambridge in the UK, the University of Adelaide in Australia, Keio University in Japan, and the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. More information can be found by visiting www.autoidcenter.org