Unipart Logistics, Intermec Technologies and SAP opened the world's first logistics centre dedicated to improving business process through the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology at Unipart's million sq ft distribution facility in Oxford.
The facility, called the Global Enterprise Model (GEM), developed and perfected over five years, is a 3D, large-scale model to replicate the end-to-end supply chain, linking raw material supplier to the final customer.
GEM encompasses all supply chain business steps and processes, IT functionality, and IT infrastructure. This enables the business community to simulate new, advanced logistics processes and technology in real world but risk-free environment, to test the impact and benefits of RFID deployment in terms of strategy, people and process.
Underpinned by SAP's RFID platform, the system uses Intermec's RFID readers and printers. The GEM simulates a real-life environment, complete with raw materials, picking systems, pallets and supermarket shelves complete with real goods, to create a physical representation of the cost benefits of RFID technology throughout the supply chain.
Unipart Logistics GEM Project Manager, Carl Powell, said: "With the agreement of new standards and the current investments being made by Tesco, M&S, Wal-Mart and other major retailers, it is evident that the next stage of RFID - widespread adoption - is a matter of months away.
"SAP, Intermec and Unipart Logistics are working together to meet the needs of the organisations which will soon adopt the technology."
"The purpose of the facility is to demonstrate the real-life impact and benefits of an RFID-enabled supply chain. GEM can be used as a demonstration centre, but more importantly, can be used to implement RFID trials to clearly demonstrate the business case for real-life implementations.
"Potential RFID investors can also run their own warehouse hardware and software on the system at GEM to fully evaluate the benefits of RFID before implementing full-scale rollout at their own premises."