DHL, in partnership with Microlise and AeroScout, has developed a dynamic new system for the pharmaceutical industry which enables the real-time monitoring of product shipment temperatures throughout an extended supply chain using RFID sensors.
DHL, Microlise and AeroScout partnered with a leading healthcare company to develop a system that will help customers better meet temperature compliance regulations set within the pharmaceutical industry. With this system, full real-time visibility of the location and temperature of the pharmaceutical shipments throughout the supply chain has been made possible, through a web browser linked to the Microlise Transport Management Centre (TMC) software. The TMC enables real time tracking of the vehicle position along with the temperature indication from the Wi-Fi-based AeroScout Active RFID tags which are used to monitor the shipments.
The system has been installed inside trailers from Mueller Transporte, a Vienna-based company that specializes in Temperature Controlled transportation and is used to transport BioScience products, which need to be stored at between 2 and 8°C. The first lane to test the system is from Belgium to DHL's 3PL Warehouse in Sweden.
RFID Wi-Fi temperature sensor tags from AeroScout are attached to shipments inside the load compartment. These tags continuously monitor and transmit the load's temperature to a Wi-Fi reader connected to the Microlise Tracking Unit installed in the vehicle. This unit sends temperature and vehicle location data, using a GPS device that transmits data via GPRS to a central server provided by Microlise, which hosts the TMC.
During the journey, the system monitors the temperature of the shipment against customer defined business rules and if the shipment undergoes a change in temperature an alert message (SMS/e-mail) is automatically generated so that the appropriate action can be taken.
An added advantage of using the AeroScout RFID Wi-Fi tags is that the shipment / pallet location and temperature can continue to be monitored within the Distribution Centre even after delivery using the existing standard Wi-Fi access points.
Recently, DHL won the RFID Journal Award 2007 at the "RFID Journal LIVE: Putting RFID to Work" congress in Orlando, Fla. The award-winning RFID application, developed by DHL Innovation Centre in cooperation with two partners, was nominated in the category of "Best Use of RFID in a Service". The pilot project, 'temperature-monitored pharmaceutical logistics with RFID', was conducted by the DHL Innovation Centre. The pilot project offers a promising service to the pharmaceutical industry and other sectors searching for a solution for sensitive temperature-controlled transports.
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