As a land-grant university, SCSU’s mission includes working together with local communities for the public good. Along with Zebra PartnerConnect Solution Partner Advanced Mobile Group—innovators in RFID with its ViziTrace RFID solution, as well as wireless and mobile computing solutions—the university is developing techniques for tackling challenges that farmers and distributors face within the supply chain.
These include threats from terrorism and helping secure South Carolina’s agricultural resources in some of its most vulnerable areas.
Built using Zebra RAIN RFID readers and barcode scanners, the automated solution replaces manual, pen-and-paper record keeping and reporting. The new platform is designed to provide state- and federal agencies, distributors and seed suppliers with real-time crop data. Zebra RAIN RFID technology is integrated into each step of the supply chain, helping farmers and their distributors track key food safety metrics such as the quantity as well as where food products are stored and exchanged.
“The great value of RAIN RFID solutions is their ability to automate and enhance previously manual tracking processes, quickly unlocking real-time data to transform supply chain visibility,” said Chris Schaefer, director, data capture market development, Zebra Technologies.
“Like many other industries, usability is a major factor for onboarding the agricultural community with a new technology. If they can’t just pick it up and run with it, chances are that they won’t adopt it,” said Craig Littlejohn, associate professor, industrial engineering at South Carolina State University. “Zebra RAIN RFID and Advanced Mobile Group’s ViziTrace solutions enable users with varying degrees of technology experience to quickly and easily read, record, and share data.”
In addition to improving food safety, the university is working with farmers to understand more traditional challenges, including spoilage and leakage, to overcome any barriers to help deliver quality produce to market.
The project currently focuses on a handful of farms and early successes are providing a case for rapid expansion. “We’re communicating our initial findings to several local farms and project stakeholders,” said Littlejohn. “We’re encouraged by greater insights that have been driven by the ease of adoption and expect to get many more farms onboarded before the end of the year.”