Postprint version. Published in Proceedings of the 3rd Annual IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering: Scottsdale, AZ, September 22, 2007, pages 1034-1038.
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The potential for RFID based systems to improve the safety and efficiency of a supply chain with rapidly decaying products and strict health standards is creating pressure to adopt RFID in several agricultural industries. A handful of fresh produce industry leaders currently participate in mandated pilot projects, while the industry as a whole is still intimidated by the perceived cost of RFID. Therefore in this study we attempt to validate the correlation between performance and automated data collection, paving the way to economic justification of investment in data collection technologies, such as barcode and RFID.
The majority of product in this industry is identified and tracked using pallet barcode labels at the more progressive facilities, or facility-specific manual identification methods at the less advanced facilities. Most fresh produce facilities in the US have minimal information systems capabilities, and most of their logistics operations are documented on paper only.
Thus the form of Automated Data Collection (ADC) used in the more advanced facilities is Barcode-based. This study compares facilities that use ADC with those that do not. Significant advantages of using ADC are found in many areas, especially in product spoilage, administrative labor and space utilization.
Industrial Engineering | Manufacturing