Tracking Returnable Transport Items (RTIs)

Track your returnable stillages, tote boxes, roll cages, pallets & trays through the supply chain

tracking returnable tote boxes on production line

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Maximise the use of RTIs and prevent assets getting lost or stolen with RFID tracking


Returnable Transport Items (RTIs), used to transport stock and goods from one location to another, are essential assets for virtually all manufacturing and logistics companies. Keeping track of your RTIs can be challenging, especially when logging their location depends on manual processes like scanning. If RTIs land in the wrong location or cannot be found, the movement of goods becomes difficult or impossible which can cause delivery delays. Despite our reliance on them, many businesses lack visibility over the availability, whereabouts and quality of their RTIs and find themselves shelling out considerable sums each year to replace those which have been lost or damaged.

With typical annual shrinkage rates of 3 to 9%, having to continually replace your lost or stolen RTIs can have a serious impact on profitability. Therefore, through pallet tracking, tote box tracking and stillage tracking for example, better visibility right through the supply chain is provided and enables better utilisation of these returnable items. This means you can reduce pool stock levels as there is no need to maintain the just-in-case items due to having the ability to now know the who, what, where and how many.


tracking returnable containers through supply chain


Maximises the use of your available RTIs 
Helps prevent your assets getting lost or stolen
Reduces disputes between trading partners about assets' locations
Enables inventories to be performed in minutes rather than days
Identifies shortages or oversized stock for better management


How we track RTIs

To track Returnable/Reusable Transport Items, we use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to help improve the management of assets. Our specially designed RFiD Discovery system identifies individual pieces of equipment and tracks them across different sites to ensure they are in the place where they are needed. When your business prioritises asset mananagement and uses asset tracking as an integral part of its strategy, there are many ways in which smart technologies can support to reduce loss of assets, resources and time by optimising your operations.


Each RTI is fitted with an RFID tag. The unique identification numbers of RTIs fitted with a tag are then detected by a small number of strategically placed readers. Advances in technology mean that it is no longer necessary to install readers at each doorway or choke point

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Location information is sent back to the central RFiD Discovery database where it can be analysed. This database allows you to determine how many RTIs have been despatched to a particular supplier or customer so you know which trading partner to contact for their return

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Integrating the RFiD Discovery system with your ERP system provides company-wide visibility of your RTIs ensuring that required assets are available at the appropriate locations to fulfil any transportation request


Case Study Video - Tracking RTIs in the fishing industry

We have been able to successfully implement an innovative solution used to transform the management of returnable transport items in fishing harbours in Brittany, France. It has worked to the main objectives of reducing loss of boxes and sufficient availability at the right place and the right time for both fishermen and buyers.

RFiD Discovery Location Solutions - Tracking Fish boxes in French Harbours

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Potential savings you can achieve

Automated asset tracking using RFID is a proven solution for asset pool operations to deliver a quick return on investment (ROI). Tagging assets allows for automation of paper work associated with despatch and receipt, so you can optimise transport for the collection of your assets and improve your service levels. Reducing the levels of lost reusable transport packaging can allow you to invest in higher quality RTIs which provide longer life cycles.

Saving example

A major supermarket chain has a pool of 250,000 roll cages, each worth approximately £120. With better pool management using RFID tracking they identified that they could remove 10% of roll cages from stock which are currently kept as a reserve pool. This over time frees up a total of £3m in capital. In addition, better tracking of RTIs reduces their typical current annual shrinkage of 7% (17,500) roll cages by 10%, a further saving of £210K per annum.



RFiD Discovery RTI Tracking brochure


Tracking Reusable Transport Items Brochure

Download the RTI tracking brochure to read more about how RFiD Discovery can support. View the brochure

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RTI Tracking in the Fishing Industry Brochure

Download the "RTI Tracking in the Fishing Industry" brochure to read more about the features and benefits of this solution.View the brochure




For more information about tracking returnable transport items