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Zetes has launched a flexible, low-cost Epod solution to optimise traceability across the supply chain by providing the electronic proof-of-delivery (POD) of goods.

Based on a terminal that integrates radio-frequency identification (RFID), wireless communication, a smart card and barcoding technology, the Epod is suitable for retailers or manufacturers with high-value goods or who outsource their transportation requirements to a number of different third parties.

It can be installed either in a vehicle or wall mounted.

The system can also complement existing POD systems based on handheld terminals, providing an additional layer of security in a cost-efficient manner, thus reducing shrinkage levels.

To develop the solution, Zetes applied People ID techniques to a Goods ID situation, thereby giving the goods originator greater security that goods have been physically delivered and received at their final destination.

The Epod ensures error-free traceability between production centres and warehouses and between warehouses and retail outlets as well as during the movement of goods between locations such as retail outlets, pharmacies or hospitals, according to the company.

Real-time correction during the barcode/RFID scanning stage reduces mistakes.

At the same time, accurate deliveries reduce returns and physical POD avoids costly claims.

As a standalone solution, the Zetes Epod does not require integration with existing warehouse IT systems and is suitable for companies with either a limited supply-chain capability or who use third-party carriers for a variety of delivery processes.

It is also beneficial for small, speciality suppliers such as organic-food producers who do not currently use electronic data interchange (EDI) and are required to make frequent deliveries to retail outlets or distribution hubs.

The process is said to be simple.

During shipping, information on what needs to be delivered and where is stored on a smart card.

At delivery, containers labelled with RFID tags or barcodes are passed in front of the RFID reader or scanner of the Epod terminal and checked.

Physical POD is stored on the smart card and sent via SMS to relevant stakeholders.

Information is also uploaded to a repository, enabling data verification, image verification and reporting.

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