Hygiene product company Kimberly-Clark is trialling a radio frequency identification system jointly developed with enterprise software firm SAP. The ERP supplier said the technology would be the foundation for its next generation of RFID software systems.
The Electronic Proof of Delivery (E-Pod) system is expected to go live in early 2006. It is intended to prevent discrepancies in invoices, which can occur when goods are shipped to retailers.
By using an RFID system instead of manual processes, Kimberly-Clark said it would automatically be able to match the physical flow of goods with the information flow of business transactions at various points in the supply chain, thereby cutting the number of discrepancies.
The system uses SAP's Netweaver platform to collect and analyse electronic product codes (EPCs) and other business data that is shared by Kimberly-Clark and its trading partners. The firm has deployed SAP's Auto-ID infrastructure to record EPC information, with data then going into a MySAP ERP system.
Mike O'Shea, director of Auto-ID sensing technologies at Kimberly-Clark, said E-Pod would enable the firm to derive value from RFID beyond just adhering to compliance requirements. "This supports Kimberly-Clark's vision of using RFID to drive business value and insights for its customers, shoppers, users and internal operations," he said.
Michael Mahler, research director at analyst firm Gartner, said, "SAP and Kimberly-Clark are using RFID to enable collaborative, event-driven business processes and real-time information sharing. This provides the fuel for improved analytics and insight with retail partners.
"What is critical for long-term competitive advantage is having the functionality to react, analyse, collaborate and execute quickly."