The Dutch company Van Gelder Groente & Fruit no longer has to bother with crate return receipts. Since late last year, they have been testing an automated and digitized crate management system. RTI Blockchain is helping this fruit and vegetable supplier with a platform that provides real-time overviews of where all packaging is at both Van Gelder and its food service customers. Drivers use a mobile scanning app to scan the crates when loading and unloading them. This scanning application can be added to the RTI Blockchain platform.
Drivers do not always take the correct crates
“In this new system, every crate in our pool has a unique barcode, which drivers scan as they get loaded. If the driver scans a crate intended for a different route, the system immediately indicates that. If too few crates are scanned for that particular route, the driver sees that on the display. They cannot take the wrong or the incorrect number of crates,” says Demis van Kouwen.
Once at the client’s, the crates are rescanned. The RTI Dashboard, a supplier/customer, shared portal, notifies Van Gelder and the consignee right away that the shipment has been delivered. The return crates, too, are scanned and taken back.
Crates have barcodes; pallets have RFID tags
“Our trucks also have track-and-trace systems. As soon as the vehicle leaves, the customer gets a message that it’s on its way. We want to also begin uploading photos of the crates to be delivered to the portal. For now, we use barcodes for the crates, but we’re already considering RFID tags for the pallet loads. We tested that a few years ago, but the reliability was at 90%. As soon that reaches 100%, RTI Blockchain will implement the RFID system for our pallets.”
From three people processing the containers to a single real-time dashboard
There is another advantage besides the real-time overview of all crate balances and movements and the time and cost savings regarding losses. Van Gelder no longer needs three people for container processing. “We not only save on labor costs; it was always a struggle to find people for this not-so-glamorous job. We now have only a trip supervisor who directs the drivers and helps with questions or problems. We do require more IT support, but that doesn’t cost as much as three employees. It’s quite a big project, and, initially, it took some shifting. But it represents another big step forward for our company,” Demis concludes.