Exel has launched an RFID trial for Selfridges, using RFID to track inbound and outbound movements of around 150 temperature-controlled thermocontainers transporting thousands of different foods in 20 vehicles.

Each thermocontainer and lorry incorporates an active RFID tag. When the containers and vehicles are close to the six loading bays at Selfridges’ Hams Hall depot in the West Midlands, RFID readers and antennae read the tags and update Exel’s in-house software.

Exel business director, retail services, Paul Richardson explains: “One major criticism of RFID systems has been the inaccuracy of some of the reading and, during this project and an even larger one with the House of Fraser, we hope to address this issue.

With Selfridges we have incorporated into each loading bay a touchscreen interactive kiosk which, via audible alerts, confirms to drivers that tags have been accurately read and data downloaded.

“We will soon link the system to Selfridges’ four stores and later connect the system to the Hams Hall warehouse management system. We already know exactly where each lorry and container is but will eventually be able to monitor precisely which products are in which lorry.”