New Compliance Solution for Suppliers Facing Pentagon's RFID Deadline

BALTIMORE -- Savi's Proven Experience with DoD and Supply Chain Technology Partners Symbol and Zebra Provides Extra Measure of Assurance for DoD Suppliers

With fewer than 65 working days to meet strict deadlines for their shipments to be tracked automatically by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems, suppliers to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) now have a simple "plug-and-play," rapidly deployable solution to meet the new RFID Policy requirements. Savi Technology, the primary source of RFID solutions to the DoD since 1994, introduced today at the EPC Global U.S. Conference a unique and complete solution easily integrated with existing systems to meet the DoD's basic "tag and ship" requirements for suppliers to use RFID technology by Jan. 1, 2005.

Called "RFID-ACT: Assured Compliance Today," the basic turnkey solution can be installed and operational within several hours. It enables suppliers to use RFID solutions that automatically link information about their outbound shipments to DoD supply chain management systems to better prepare and plan for incoming supplies. The solution is based on Savi's 15-year, real-world experience building the world's largest RFID cargo tracking networks by working with nearly all major Automatic Identification and Data Collection (AIDC) technology companies. Through three major procurement contracts with the DoD during the past decade, Savi also has provided a range of AIDC/RFID solutions, including for closed-loop and point-to-point operations, as well as network-wide implementations, such as the In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network that was extended in support of conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and today tracks an average of 37,000 multi-modal shipments per day over land, ocean and air transport modes. ITV is the world's largest RFID shipment tracking system.

Savi RFID-ACT is designed to help suppliers comply with the initial minimum requirements of DoD's new RFID Policy to have passive (EPC-compliant when available) RFID labels on cases, pallets and item packaging for certain types of supplies by January, specifically:

-- Packaged Operational Rations (Class I)

-- Clothing, Individual Equipment, Tools (Class II)

-- Personal Demand Items (Class VI)

-- Weapon System Repair Parts and Components (Class IX)

Savi's packaged solution leverages partnerships with a number of leading AIDC solution providers, including Symbol Technologies, which is helping to develop the first EPC-compliant labels and readers to track them, as well as Zebra Technologies, a leading manufacturer of bar code printers that also is developing printers for EPC-compliant passive RFID tags.

RFID-ACT comes in three different packaged offerings, which range in terms of price and functionality depending on the scope of the customer's implementation needs. All components, business rules and processes for both passive and active RFID necessary for compliance are built into the unmatched cost-effective solution, which, depending on the solution level, can incorporate all or some of the following:

-- Appropriate passive RFID labels or active RFID tags, encompassing Class 0, Class 0+, Class 1 and UHF Gen 2 labels (when available), as well as Savi's existing active RFID tags, which are required for other specified supplier classes shipping products via containers and air pallets, as well as for large mobile equipment.

-- Savi SmartChain Site Manager, which is the cornerstone of the solution that translates barcode IDs into Electronic Product Codes (EPC) and validates passive RFID data. Savi SmartChain Site Manager also is the platform linking real-time data from readers to existing software systems.

-- DoD Supplier Shipping Application, which integrates data from existing systems, and manages, prints and associates passive RFID labels with DoD-compliant Advanced Shipment Notices using the required 856 format.

-- EPC-compliant passive RFID label printer, by integrating the reader/encoder into the printer design, which has flexibility in tag placement and label size.

"Because DoD suppliers whose contracts are renewed in October have precious little time to comply with the military's new RFID policy, Savi architected this quick-and-easy, turnkey solution for basic compliance," said David Stephens, Savi's Senior Vice President-Public Sector. "Savi RFID-ACT provides all the tools necessary to ensure compliance from pilot to production, and provides the flexibility to expand the tool set to meet growing needs and optimize the full value of RFID-driven solutions for supply chains."

Stephens also emphasized that Savi experience and expertise provides a uniquely competitive advantage because of its long-time association with the DoD in meeting its exacting standards. In addition, Savi's "technology agnostic" philosophy gives it a special third-party objectivity in assembling and integrating "best of breed" and total solutions, leveraging leading AIDC hardware devices, middleware, enterprise-class software and applications.

There are approximately 43,000 suppliers to the DoD required to comply with the new RFID Policy in stages over the next couple of years. A percentage of them whose contracts are being renewed the remainder of this year are facing minimal requirements by January, which include certain suppliers shipping into Defense Distribution Depots in Pennsylvania and California. The RFID Policy calls for additional suppliers to be compliant in graduated stages up until 2007, when the shipments of all suppliers will have to be RFID-linked.

Last week, Savi also announced the rollout of its "RFID Value Assessment" consulting services package -- a comprehensive methodology to analyze, customize and implement the optimum solution for customers trying to meet or go beyond recent RFID requirements from government and commercial organizations, including the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Wal-Mart. The Savi RFID-ACT is set up to be installed easily on its own, but users could leverage the RFID Value Assessment to go beyond basic compliance for further RFID expansion.

Savi's unique experience of seamlessly linking AIDC technologies with ERP software systems, including Savi's own SmartChain(tm) Supply Network Operating System, has led to its role in helping to build the DoD's In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network. ITV, which extends across more than 45 countries, 800 nodes and 1,400 installations, is the world's largest AIDC-enabled cargo tracking system that's used in times of conflict and peace.

As a long-time leader in providing real-time supply chain visibility, management and security solutions, Savi Technology has worked and partnered with all types of leading AIDC providers and integrated their technologies into legacy or new enterprise-level software platforms or applications. In addition, these solutions have been deployed to track shipments, assets and equipment across and between all modes of transport -- ocean, surface and air. It tracks, on average, 37,000 shipments per day.