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RFID tracks assets for agricultural chemical service providers

The return on investment for many RFID projects continues to hit the stratosphere. That certainly seems to be the case for Bear River Services, an agricultural supplier based in Rio Oso, Calif., that has seen an ROI of just several months for the yard management system it installed from Intelleflex and InCom.

The first automated asset tracking and management system available for the agricultural-chemical service industry relies on Intelleflex XC3 RFID products and InCom’s OnSite 2.0. The system enables users to automatically track the movement of assets such as trucks, fertilizer and agricultural equipment, and premixed chemical products.

RFID is helping to solve dispatch and tracking problems associated with the agricultural chemical distribution business.

Agricultural and chemical products are undergoing increased scrutiny to prevent terrorists attacks. The RFID-based system helps companies meet Homeland Security standards for facility access and expected future regulations focusing on tracking chemicals and fertilizers.

“Our entire OnSite system went live in a single afternoon, and operation requires virtually no human effort,” says Rich French, owner of Bear River Services. “We’ve seen a 200-percent improvement over our previous paper-based system, and an overall ROI that allowed us to reach break-even on our investment in just a few months.”

The system, available directly from InCom, replaces error-prone, labor-intensive paper and spreadsheet-based systems, allowing users to increase profitability by optimizing the use of revenue-producing agricultural equipment, and to vastly reduce the costs of lost or underutilized equipment.

The system allows users to automate reporting, eliminating the manual efforts, costs and inefficiencies involved in complying with industry standards. By deploying Intelleflex XC3 RFID-based readers to monitor and read the movements and locations of agricultural assets — including vehicles and equipment — as well as individual containers or entire pallets of pesticides and fertilizers, users have real-time visibility into their products.

Each of these assets is tagged with an Intelleflex metal-mount XC3 Technology tag. Information collected by the readers is automatically utilized by OnSite to provide real-time views of asset location and movement, provide alerts, and let users produce and even customize reports for asset management, activity scheduling, sales tracking, customer utilization, and equipment maintenance.

“Intelleflex readers are bulletproof,” said Mike Dobson, vice president and founder of InCom. “In our tests, we achieved 100-percent reliability in read operations, even in monitoring vehicles while they leave the yard, which includes multiple equipment deliveries to specific sites and nonstop, 16-hour-per-day traffic (in both directions) — even during busy planting seasons — and at distances of 30 feet.”

OnSite can also be applied to a range of industry applications beyond agricultural equipment and chemicals, where managing and tracking the movement of high-value assets is important for improving operations — not only at a company’s principal facility but also at remote worksites and vehicle yards.

“InCom’s OnSite Asset Tracking solution capitalizes on the superior performance of Intelleflex XC3 Technology readers and tags to deliver immediate value for the agricultural chemical industry,” said Kevin Payne, senior director of marketing for Intelleflex. “OnSite, utilizing information captured with Intelleflex readers and tags, optimizes asset utilization, reduces the loss of equipment, and addresses regulations to improve the profitability of agricultural service providers.”

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