Edition 83
How the Food Industry is Contributing to Reverse Logistics
by Reverse Logistics Association , , Reverse Logistics Association

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A short while ago, members(1) of the RLA Standard’s Committee(2) met with members of the CTA Standards committee in San Francisco. We met with Dave Wilson, Vice President, Technology & Standards at Consumer Technology Association and John Card II, Director at EchoStar Technologies at Dish Networks.

We explained our SQRL codes project and both ‘got-it’ right away. The fun began when John fantasized an application we hadn’t considered. His company, Dish, does truck-rolls for installation and repair. He thought of an application that could save millions of dollars for his company.

His concept: they must send technicians to install their product. Sometimes this involves complex setups such as for home entertainment systems. The installers, of course, document their wiring and file their notes. However, what if the installing technician had a simple QR code printer with them and could print a scan-able label to the back of the device? A repair technician could simply scan and determine if the problem was a simple case of “someone moved the cables!” Why an optical scan? Dish often installs in areas without Internet connectivity.

He discussed how their company can reach 90% of the US population in 20 minutes or less. Because of this infrastructure, they often contract their network to other manufacturers—especially for recall programs. He cited one project involving 250,000 appliances that needed a recall retro-fit. His team did not have access to installation notes from the original installers. Imagine how much easier if, universally, installers created a simple diagram. It would have to be a universal standard (such as the SQRL codes which have been ANSI approved) so that proprietary software was not required.



In order to assure the coverage required by Dish Networks, they rely heavily on independent contractors. Such contractors would also benefit from a standardized solution since they support multiple manufacturers.
Our dialog has begun. It will be fun to see where this goes. The RLA Standards Committee continues to meet monthly and is developing templates that can make applications such as this a reality. We are also working on templates for the Internet of Things (IoT) and have been endorsed by the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) as the labeling protocol for on-boarding. We have already created templates for Computer Diagnostics designed to help automate computer repair and refurbishing, as well as additional templates for counterfeit returns detection. Other groups are investigating food and pharmaceutical applications related to product recalls and alerts.
We are seeking additional ideas and inputs. Pilot projects are in the development phase with a couple of tier-one manufacturers at this time and we are actively soliciting additional support for this project which has the potential of impacting the entire labeling industry. We are truly optimizing the utilization of optical labeling technology. A 2-D code can record over 4,000 characters of data for pennies. Why not use it?

References
1 Attending the meeting for the RLA was Dr. Ron Lembke, Scott Lofgren, Bruce Brown and Ken Jacobsen.
2 The RLA Standards Committee meets on the 2nd Friday of each month at 2pm EST via video conference
RLM
RLA Standards Committee

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