The Friday Report Blog: May 26th, 2023

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Chipotle to Use RFID to Track Food Ingredients

Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced that it will increase its use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to track its ingredients from supplier to restaurant. The restaurant chain is currently testing the technology regionally; however, the company plans to utilize RFID nationally by the end of the year. The company’s effort at improving visibility into its national inventory is driven by the E. coli outbreak of 2015 that sickened over 1,000 customers.

In 2022, Chipotle began testing RFID technology on meat, dairy, and avocados from five suppliers in 200 Chicago-area restaurants. Since then, the company has asked each of its suppliers to tag products with RFID.

The use of RFID provides Chipotle with a real-time look at its inventory across distribution centers as well as restaurants. It also benefits the company’s suppliers, who can utilize the system to improve their own inventory management processes.

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Nippon Express Buys Cargo-Partner

The world’s seventh largest third-party logistics (3PL) provider, Nippon Express, has agreed to purchase Austrian logistics company Cargo-Partner for $1.5 billion. Cargo-Partner will operate under its own brand within Nippon Express. The deal is expected to close between November 2023 and May 2024.

The purchase of Cargo-Partner will bolster Tokyo-based Nippon Express Group’s European network and add to its ability to provide logistics between Asia and Europe. In addition to freight forwarding services, Cargo-Partner handles intermodal rail shipping as well as warehousing services.

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FedEx Express Increases Use of Automation at World Hub

FedEx recently purchased a dozen parcel-sorting robotic arms from Plus One Robotics and Yaskawa Motoman for use at its FedEx Express World Hub in Memphis, Tennessee. The World Hub now utilizes a total of 16 robotic arms in its Small Package Sort System.

Plus One robots are able to handle a variety of package types with the use of 3D sensors, artificial intelligence, and robot grippers. The robotic arms pick packages from collection bins and place them onto a conveyor belt, where they are moved, scanned, and received into the system.

FedEx has also deployed Plus One’s mixed depalletizing systems at its Reno, Nevada Express facility. These systems enable easier and more effective movement of cases from palleted shipments throughout the facility, enabling employees to perform more skillful tasks, such as loading and unloading airplanes and trucks.

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