The first application of the latest Gen 2 RFID technology at retail pallet level is being operated by the REWE Group in Germany. It has over 11,500 shops and 195,000 full-time employees, with food retailing as its core business. A pilot scheme at its Norderstedt distribution center involves the use of UHF Gen 2 inlays manufactured by UPM Rafsec. The group aims to strengthen its competitive advantage and market position by “optimizing the joint supply chain” with its suppliers. Up to 30 suppliers are involved in the pilot’s first phase. REWE is said to have bundled the projected need to one supplier in order to access quality RFID labels at a competitive price of 0.23 euros, or 27 US cents each.
REWE’s RFID intranet allows its partners to access a label pool and order the labels. There are two different label types available: a standard 4" x 6" label and the UPM Rafsec FlagTag. The latter was developed with Sato for tagging pallets with problematic content, including fluids, metal and glass. The label portion containing the UHF tag is folded so that it sticks out vertically from the pallet surface.