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HP & RFID

Emerged in the middle of the century XX, the technology for tracking objects based on radio frequency waves (RF) was used initially during World War II to distinguish friendly aircrafts from the enemy.

About twenty years later, in the 1970s, there was the introduction of bar code readers based on UPC (Universal Product Code) establishing a single code for each product. This system brought a revolution for the commercial area as well as for logistics. However only in the 1980s it was associated to digital techniques of treatment of the information, what turned technically viable its wide spread.

From 1990 on, the interest for the identification technology for RF is addressed to expedite operations of supply chains and increase the speed of inventories and payment processes. In 1999, the consortium Auto ID begins the development of "Intelligent Tags". Also in 2003, the union of UPC Barcode Controller, EAN International and Uniform Code Council created EPCglobal.

The retail trade begins, then, to request that their suppliers quickly adopt the RFID technology in the identification of their goods. Wal-Mart, for instance, mandated that 100 of their suppliers started to do obligatory use of intelligent labels in their deliveries, starting from January of 2005. With that demand, the world's largest retailer put the RFID digital identification under the focus of the great trade organizations and industry, changing the strategic foundation of many companies.

Therefore, HP, being one of the largest solution providers in the world, plans to comply with these directives and commits itself with the implementation and application research of the RFID technology. In 2002 starts to explore how the RFID technology could both to improve its own-supply chain management and to offer new capabilities to its partners and customers. Thus, HP conducts some pilot projects using RFID tags in four different facilities, two in Manchester, Virginia, and two in Memphis, Tennessee, fulfilling the desire to comply with Wal-Mart request to provide RFID tags on cases and pallets of product shipments.

In June 2004, HP begins the pilot in Brazil, Sao Paulo, to test RFID tagging at the item level, focusing on improvements at product inventory accuracy and reduction of internal costs. In other words, the same RFID technology used in the former pilots used in a different scope: a pioneer implementation in its own operations to gain operational efficiencies and for information gathering.



The Sao Paulo site, located in Sorocaba, was chosen from 26 other plants, as the ideal location for this pilot as HP Sao Paulo handles a complete supply chain, including all manufacturing, packing, distribution and reverse logistics.



The pilot was very successful and HP now tags the chassis of printers for “end-to-end information gathering” purposes. HP is creating, therefore, an integrated supply chain, not only through the material flow, but also under the point of view of information flow, with total visibility on production times, stop of materials in the warehouse, FIFO (First-In-First-Out) control and dispatches from the plant to the distribution center. The existing RFID infrastructure executes the data collection and adds the information related to the operation execution throughout the productive supply chain. Such information comes back to HP, making possible a more efficient management of the operation.



HP Brazil implementation is internationally recognized as an outstanding Best RFID Implementation, having won from the world's leading media company covering radio frequency identification technology, RFID Journal, the first RFID Journal Awards – Best RFID Implementation. In the same way, the Supply Chain Council (SCC) also recognized its excellence, awarding HP the second place in the 2007 Supply-Chain Excellence Awards in the category Technology Excellence.

HP Brazil also received the APICS Innovation Award of Excellence by APICS (Association for Operations Management). The winners were presented during the International Conference and Exhibition of APICS 2007.

The HP implementation was also considered one of the best I.T. projects in the year and was listed at "2007 InfoWorld 100 - "The Best IT Projects of 2007". This annual awards honor IT projects that demonstrate the most creative use of cutting-edge technologies to further their business goals.

HP Brazil RFID implementation was also listed among the "TOP 25 Brazilian innovation projects of the last decade" in a research from Monitor Group and one of the most important business magazines in Brazil, Exame, which evaluated 228 different projects.

HP received the award for the RFID-enabled Manufacturing & Supply Chain Management project, in the category Innovation Mastery. This award is granted to companies that have achieved a significant advance or breakthrough in product concept, design,production or ability to deliver to customers.

 

The activities of research and development in Brazil were supported by the Center of Excellence in RFID which objective is to develop innovative solutions for practical applications in the supply and productive chains and generate competence to the productive environment of the companies through the development, automation and improvements with the administration system integrated to the Radio Frequency Identification technology.





 
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