Tchibo Uses Wireless Location to Cut Costs and Increase Efficiency

SANTA CLARA, Calif.*March 30, 2004*WhereNet Corp., the leader of wireless solutions for tracking and managing enterprise assets, announced today that Tchibo, a large international retailer, has deployed the standards-based WhereNet® real-time locating system (RTLS) and wireless local area network (LAN) for mobile communications to help process more than 6000 pallets of consumer goods every day.

The WhereNet system is installed at BLG Logistics’ 120,000-meter facility in Bremen, Germany – the largest and most modern logistics hub in Europe. As the exclusive user of this state-of-the-art facility, Tchibo relies on the WhereNet system to expedite the throughput of more than 100 daily outbound trailers and ensure the accuracy of every shipment as the system verifies that the right pallet is delivered to the right dock door at the right time. The projected cost savings realized by preventing incorrect shipments from entering the delivery chain will enable Tchibo/BLG Logistics to achieve a complete return on its WhereNet investment in less than one year. Tchibo also realizes additional benefits from WhereNet’s technology, including better customer service, more efficient use of labor, and increased yard throughput.

“Because of our ‘a new experience every week’ commitment where we offer unique promotions and new product bundles every week, we inherently operate a highly dynamic and time-sensitive logistics environment,” said Kay Middendorf, managing director at Tchibo Logistik GmbH. “We considered traditional RFID technology, but ultimately chose WhereNet as it is the only technology on the market today that can provide a complete solution for our daily logistics challenges. When every second counts and one mis-routed shipment can have significant cost implications across our supply chain, we have no margin for error. WhereNet’s 100% accurate, real-time data capture capability gives us a proven system for verifying that every pallet is loaded onto the right truck to ensure on time shipment departures.”

“With our high-performance palletizing robots capable of forming pallets at minute intervals from loose cargo on the inbound side, we needed an equally efficient technology to manage the outbound side to maintain a high-velocity distribution environment,” said Dipl. Ing. René Kaschel, Manager Technic & IT, BLG Logistics. “WhereNet enables us to automate the final few steps of our complex logistics processes, ensuring that every one of our 100 or more daily outbound trailers has the correct load and departs on schedule every day. Our Bremen facility is a technology showcase that will help drive additional business for us across Europe as more and more customers like Tchibo embrace a just-in-time logistics model.”

Single System Provides Real-Time Visibility and Mobile Communications Whether tracking the whereabouts of an inbound trailer of loose cargo that just arrived from Asia, ensuring that a fork lift operator retrieves the correct pallet from the right conveyor, or allowing an employee to send a text message alert from his mobile terminal, Tchibo is leveraging the complete functionality of the WhereNet wireless infrastructure, which combines both location and WiFi-certified mobile communication capabilities in a single integrated system. With an array of 12 WhereNet wireless locating access points and 86 WherePort devices mounted indoors and outdoors at its distribution center, BLG Logistics has complete coverage of its entire 120,000-meter facility.

Deployed in less than 90 days, the WhereNet system provides the technology backbone of Tchibo’s high-capacity, complex logistics operation. In conjunction with robotic palletizing equipment and a sophisticated conveyor system, WhereNet helps automate the movement of all incoming and outgoing freight, thus enabling precise work planning, dock door scheduling, and optimization of every shipment. Specifically, the WhereNet wireless location and communication system enables Tchibo to:

*Direct inbound trucks to the correct dock ensuring maximum unload performance and minimizing the chance of mishandling of the shipment
*Improve pallet to truck load time
*Ensure that the right pallet is loaded into the right truck
*Enhance process security by reducing forklift traffic through the elimination of incorrect loads

“Our deployment with Tchibo not only signifies our growing presence across Europe, but also a significant milestone as it marks the first time that our technology has been used for pallet-level tracking in a distribution environment,” said Matt Armanino, senior vice president, WhereNet. “Just as we have demonstrated in the marine terminal industry, we can track, locate and manage untagged assets by associating them with other WhereNet-enabled devices, time-stamped events, and enterprise information systems. This is a natural evolution of our technology that brings a finer level of granularity to real-time enterprise inventory and in the process, drives greater cost savings and operational efficiencies for high-velocity distribution centers.”

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