Extensive RFID trial delivers outstanding time and cost benefits

Printronix Inc., the leading integrated supply-chain printing solutions manufacturer, today announced the completion of an extended RFID (radio frequency identification) trial with Virgin Atlantic, Britains second-largest airline. The trial, which includes Printronixs RFID SL5000r printer, was intended to evaluate the impact of RFID technology on accuracy, efficiency and accountability in the companys central logistics, maintenance and engineering departments.

Virgin Atlantic has a fleet of 33 aircraft and is now based at both Londons Gatwick and Heathrow airports, it operates long haul services to twenty-six destinations world-wide as far apart as Las Vegas and Shanghai. Accuracy, schedule maintenance and accountability are critical to success in the highly competitive air travel market.

The decision to pilot RFID technology at the airlines Heathrow operation was based on several critical factors, including increasing competitiveness and operational cost pressures in the airline industry, and recognising an opportunity for increased efficiency and risk reduction in the spare parts supply chain. Additional anticipated benefits include an increased ability to comply with guidelines concerning traceability and authenticity of aircraft components from the European Aviation Safety Agency and integration with RFID specifications proposed by Boeing and Airbus.

Working closely with Tata Consulting Services and ORACLE, we chose to partner with Printronix after considering other RFID printer manufacturers, said Graham Holford, Senior System Analyst at Virgin Atlantic. The technology and support offered by Printronix was unparalleled in terms of reliability and professionalism. In addition, the company was able to work to a quite aggressive timeframe of under five months from initial meeting to full trial rollout.

The trial received positive feedback from the users involved, as well as offering some measurable benefits.  We were able to demonstrate that, should the RFID/Mobile Technology processes replace Virgin Atlantics existing ones, then task time would be substantially reduced.

 We were delighted to be involved with this very successful trial, said Claus Hinge, V.P. Sales and Marketing Europe, Middle East and Africa. A great deal of attention has been paid to the role of RFID in the retail sector but this is a perfect example of the way in which the technology can deliver financial and efficiency results in other mission-critical areas as well.

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