“Smart” Pallet. A design for a pooling service

The R&D Center of 1EN has introduced a customized Track & Trace system for a major Russian manufacturing enterprise producing large-size plastic packaging and wrapping materials. The system made it possible to automate the processes of marking and aggregation of returnable containers and provided a technology of controlling its turnover.

The design accommodates provisions of the GS1 EPICS standard (description of physical events in the supply chain) in conjunction with the regulatory and reference information, specified as per standards GS1 CBV and GS1 GDSN.

The solution was created to support the processes of packaging turnover between iPlast, an FMCG-manufacturer and the federal network X5 Retail Group. Pallet pooling is a system of packaging turnover where a client takes pallets for temporary use (similar to carsharing). The financial benefit of pooling is in the absence of need to keep a stock of pallets, handle their storage, inspections, repair, return from retailers.

The works completed by 1EN for the project were carried out in several stages.

First, the kernel of Track & Trace and the mobile application (POCT) was upgraded to adapt the system for using the codes sGRAI, GPC, FEACN, accommodate additional data (e.g. lifecycle phases of a plastic container), and provide support of data exchange between by means of EPICS Repository.

Then, the developers created Track & Trace level L5.1 (including software adapters to the analogous systems used by X5 Retail Group).

A customized Track & Trace solution was developed for the “Returnable package operator” that allows to control the global identifier code of the returnable assets (sGRAI, serialised Global Returnable Asset Identifier).

The Track & Trace system recognizes the location (movement) of the returnable package, sends notifications to business partners about key oncoming and occurring events, exports data into the ERP system and/or accounting system for billing. We envisaged such features as generating management reports on the quantity of dispatched returnable packages, length and average number of the turnover cycle, percentage of plastic containers withdrawn from circulation or lost, as well as average operation cost.

The final stage was the development of standard software and hardware solutions (L2 and L1) for deployment under the conditions of increased humidity and the possibility of rapid dirt accumulation on the optic barcode readers.