The ability to establish In-Transit Visibility (ITV) has transformed consignment logistics for NATO allies, saving significant time, money and manpower and allowing full interoperability. The key to success has been adopting RFID labels, readers and software. A rugged tablet PC puts this instant data capture capability into the hands of military personnel all along the supply chain.
As the world’s largest wireless cargo management network, the Department of Defense uses a combination of RFID and GPS to automatically collect shipment identification data and track all types of consignments past hundreds of nodes in dozens of countries around the world.
Real-time information capture enables complete visibility, regardless of location. Personnel at any point can see exactly where the consignment is, what it includes, when it’s expected to pass specified checkpoints and arrive at its destination. That’s mission-critical in combat situations and far more efficient even for everyday shipments of supplies.
The US enabled NATO’s adoption of RFID-based coding systems, by sharing its existing global RFID infrastructure with the Allies. Acquiring this valuable technology has allowed nations to improve internal systems while integrating seamlessly with NATO.
RFID augments barcoding with faster, more accurate and more detailed information that facilitates interoperability and enhanced shipment security. Using RFID, military logistics personnel can:
- Read multiple tags almost instantly, even in fast-moving rail cars or trucks and even without direct line-of-sight.
- Read tags at a much greater distance, as much as 100 meters.
- Re-write tags as necessary.
- Automatically gather data about supply chain assets as well as consignments, in real time regardless of travel mode or geography.
- Instantly know when goods arrive.
Tags are weather- and tamper-proof and can hold much more detailed information than bar codes. Full automation requires less manpower than bar code systems, so data is captured and transmitted faster. And data is easily integrated with information management software, allowing better, more immediate decision-making.
A rugged tablet PC makes ITV possible.
By relying on rugged tablets to power their consignment tracking systems, NATO is capturing the same operational and decision-making benefits enjoyed by the private sector.
A rugged tablet PC has become the mainstay of commercial supply chain logistics because it’s easily portable yet tremendously powerful. It is entirely reliable and unrelentingly tough. Nothing else enables the same level of in-the-field versatility or flexibility or stands up to the intense rigors of military and shipping environments – drops, shocks, vibration, extreme heat and cold, moisture and grit, seemingly endless hours of operation.
Consignments may on the move continuously as they make their way to their destination on the other side of the globe. But thanks to high-performance rugged tablets, personnel can locate specific supplies from the battlefield or command centers in minutes, allowing far better tactical support
That’s especially important when dealing with volatile battlefield conditions. Because troops are often the ultimate recipients of consignments, it’s essential they receive the correct supplies, at the time and place expected, even when troops themselves are on the move.
A rugged tablet PC makes an RFID-based scanning system fully operational. Portable tablet PC systems enable supply chain personnel to add “check-in” nodes if necessary, for better location-sensing and also monitoring of surface communications. They can be instantly alerted if a convoy doesn’t pass a specified node as expected.
For NATO, In-Transit Visibility has improved logistics efficiency and accuracy. Most of all, it has increased confidence in knowing consignments will travel smoothly to their destination, as quickly as possible and without getting diverted or lost.