Wireless Applications

Walgreens Deploys Blue Vector Technology

September 17, 2008

The project sets up a system that replaces all paperwork and barcode scanning during shipment loading and relies on RFID technology in day-to-day production, with the goal of achieving 100% shipment accuracy, from distribution center to retail store.


PALO ALTO, CA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Blue Vector Systems announced that Walgreens, the "nation's largest drugstore chain," has deployed Blue Vector as a major solution component in one of the industry's most technically advanced and ambitious large-scale RFID supply chain system deployments.

Designed to replace all paperwork and barcode scanning during shipment loading, the system leverages RFID technology in day-to-day production towards the goal of achieving 100% shipment accuracy, from distribution center to retail store. With over 6300 drugstores across the U.S., the "nation's fastest growing drug retailer" recently launched the first of its next-generation distribution centers (DCs) in Anderson, SC. The DC is the first facility of its kind to employ a significant number of people with disabilities. While more than 42% of the facility's workforce has a physical or cognitive disability, the facility aims to boost productivity over the legacy DC with the new system. Employing some of the most innovative logistics systems in the distribution industry, the deployment already represents one of the largest RFID deployments to date, with over 170,000 assets tagged—spanning 45 shipping doors, dollies, cart exit stations, and RFID tagging hospitals. The Anderson DC, at full capacity, will ship approximately 80,000 cases daily to over 700 Walgreens stores across the Southeast.

"Walgreens has a long tradition of pioneering break-through technologies in the industry," said Randy Lewis, Senior Vice President of Distribution and Logistics for Walgreens. "Today, we're leading the charge to revolutionize our distribution center systems and processes to drive significantly higher efficiency, accuracy, and ultimately higher margins. With the help of Blue Vector, we're making significant progress toward the next-generation of automated and intelligent distribution and logistics systems."

The logistics and distribution system scans every product loaded onto every truck in real-time, immediately alerting workers to any potential shipping errors. With Blue Vector's edge intelligence software and infrastructure products deployed on a wide range of structures—from dock door portals and conveyor stations to asset hospitals and tagging stations—the system verifies correct assets, quantities, dock door, and loading sequence before automatically updating Walgreens' warehouse management system. Enabling automated tag verification, diversion, and repair processes, Blue Vector edge processing intelligence is performed locally at every shipping door—with each trailer's shipping manifest preloaded onto a Blue Vector edge appliance housed within dock door portals—to ensure accuracy and rapid error detection.

"As companies look for ways to improve their performance, their attention turns from installing strong planning systems to bridging those systems with the physical world and day to day activities to detect deviations from plan as they occur and correct them immediately when it is fastest and easiest," said Mike Gardner, Blue Vector President and CEO. "Blue Vector is uniquely positioned to help companies like Walgreens meet these challenges, and we're honored to help the company work toward its goal of 100% shipping accuracy."

About Blue Vector
Blue Vector Systems is a trusted choice of industry leaders who are revolutionizing their operations by extending the reach of their current business processes to the edge of their operations. An offshoot of groundbreaking research into highly distributed military sensor networks, Blue Vector's technology puts RFID, barcode, temperature, GPS, and motion sensors to work for leading businesses who need to control remote inventory, improve their shipping accuracy, monitor the movement of assets, or track the progress of individual items throughout their supply chain. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA.


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