RFID technology tracks export birds

August 2005 Asset Management, EAS, RFID

For those who are not too familiar with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, it might sound like something prevalent in a high-tech, automated manufacturing plant. However, 100 000 tagged ostriches in rural South Africa prove that RFID has gained acceptance even in agriculture.

SACO Systems tagged 100 000 ostriches with radio frequency identification chips for The Klein Karoo Cooperative (offloading)
SACO Systems tagged 100 000 ostriches with radio frequency identification chips for The Klein Karoo Cooperative (offloading)

"The Klein Karoo Cooperative approached us with the requirement of having to prove to European Union inspectors that ostriches had been inoculated, kept under quarantine and handled correctly before being slaughtered," explains Des Oliver from SACO Systems, supplier of complete RFID systems. "A comprehensive record and audit trail from the original place of birth, through the various farms to the abattoir was required. To this end, 100 000 ostriches were tagged with re-usable tags at the time of inoculation," he continues.

Handheld terminals were used by the veterinary technicians to record the date and time of inoculation, where the inoculation took place and the batch of medicine used. The same information was also stored on the tag attached to the wing of the ostrich. On return to the Cooperative, this information was downloaded from the handheld terminals onto the central database. Similarly, when the ostriches were delivered, each one was scanned by a reader at the offloading point. "This process verified that each ostrich had been inoculated at least three months prior to being delivered and any birds that did not conform to these criteria could be identified and rejected," Oliver reports. "Not only did the system ensure that the correct procedure had been followed for each bird, a record of the delivery was also matched with the main database and could then be used for payment to the specific farmer and other record keeping and statistical purposes."

Having specialised in tracking technology for over 28 years, SACO Systems' complete solution includes consultation, customisation, installation, commissioning, training and support. The company believes that "it is not only technology which drives a solution, but a comprehensive understanding of a customer's business, its processes and information systems that makes for a successful end result".

Applying a 'best-of-breed' philosophy, SACO Systems carries out a business process analysis to determine and deliver the best solution for every individual client. On various occasions, it has had to develop innovative new RFID concepts to ensure success. With its broad experience base, ranging from project management through to process engineering, SACO Systems has solved tracking requirements for clients across the whole of southern Africa and as far a field as Europe and the Middle East.

For more information contact Des Oliver, SACO Systems, 011 652 5320, doliver@saco.co.za

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