Pricey Pallet Problems are over with TellApe and Code!

TellApe App Uses CortexDecoder Barcode scanning SDK to Track Load Carriers in Real-Time to Cut Waste and Shipping Costs

What’s roughly 18 kg but carries the weight of the world?

Bet you didn’t guess wooden pallets.

barcode scanner pallet tracking
TellApe is a play on ePallet

Some 40 pounds of wood are arranged to carry 2755 lbs (about 1250 kg) of goods from factories to storefronts. Sixty years ago, pallets were an elegantly simple solution for loading trains; in 2021, pallets became costly commodities thanks to spiking lumber prices and shortages in some regions. If products can’t move to market, revenue isn’t generated, and prices rise for items already on sale.

Load Carriers: A Telltale Sign of Loss Despite their value, however, the administration of pallets often relies on goodwill; in addition, pallets are easily lost or stolen. There’s also little responsibility for these returnable transport items (RTIs) between suppliers and customers, creating inefficiencies and revenue loss. Other durable containers (called "multi-use packaging") are also affected, such as trolleys, crates, bread bins, kegs, and buckets.

"We have a client whose annual turnover is 40 million a year. They have around one million in packaging going around that nobody was responsible for," explains Ernst Tjaden, TellApe founder. "When the packaging’s registration, administration, and invoicing aren’t performed properly, nobody can manage it, leading to a big mess."

The Netherlands-based firm, TellApe, prevents the mess. Built on a premise as elegantly simple as pallets, TellApe (the name plays on the term "e-Pallet") is the leading packaging administration and registration app. It provides companies with real-time load carrier insights from location to costs. A prime example of data capture in action, a barcode is affixed to an RTI; scanning the barcode via TellApe triggers item-specific registration. The transaction automatically loads in TellApe's online portal to instantly display all packaging stock, e.g., type and location.

"We manage everything that companies get when buying flowers, beer, or bread, and what they must return to their suppliers," Tjaden continues.

While most users register what types and amounts of RTIs they use and which units are traded, the smartphone app can also facilitate maintenance. For example, a waste management company that issues large containers must know where these items are for periodic service or cleaning. Therefore, they needed a way to register specific load carrier items.

Tracing reusable transport items saves money
Bins and other reusable transport items are worth tracking in real-time, thanks to material shortages.

Better Barcode Scanning → Better Management
Traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and Excel-based packaging administration programs cater to large shipping and logistics companies. As a result, they are too unwieldy for smaller firms like breweries, bakeries, or florists. Additionally, these logistics tools don’t offer the comprehensive, real-time overviews that cloud-based TellApe does.

"In a normal ERP system, you sell and invoice, but that's not how it works with packaging; you don't send you an invoice; you must return it," Tjaden states. "For an ERP system, it's like having stock somewhere else rather than your own company, so you can't manage it. That's why companies need TellApe because it's not possible to track the packaging."

Powered by Code Corporation’s CortexDecoder barcode scanning software development kit (SDK), TellApe allows load carrier items with barcodes (e.g., pallets) to be scanned and tracked correctly during transport.

During TellApe’s early stages, a customer requested "item-specific registering." So, the app’s team set off to find a party that could scan barcodes, discovering Code.

"I like to work with specialists to get the best solution, so when I needed barcode scanning, I reached out to an old LinkedIn contact, and I had a good feeling about it," Tjaden recalls. "Before we integrated scanning into our solution, we tested it; when we saw it was fine, we bought it," Tjaden explains.

The scanning feature also allows companies to calculate RTI lifespans, view how long a unit has been circulating, and view which customers have what items. This traceability is a massive benefit for customers and their end-users.

"We have a company that rents out beer kegs," Tjaden shares. "After 20 rentals, the customer must remove specific components from the keg. That's why he counts on item-specific registration."

You + Me = We
The future is bright for TellApe—after recent funding, they’re hiring developers and have a clear path forward. They plan to transition from the "me" phase, where a company can see the registration and administration of items in their system, to the "you and me" phase, where each company's administration system can communicate and exchange information.

TellApe’s third step is building the "we" phase, where, using blockchain, companies can trade RTIs and other materials with businesses they "don't know."

Truckers use TellApe RTI tracking
TellApe dashboard for tracking transport items.

"For example, a truck is driving from the Netherlands to Paris with 33 Euro pallets," Tjaden hypothesizes. "While returning, the driver wants to load his truck with apples and doesn't need Euro pallets. In 'we administration,’ he can use the system to bring the pallets to somebody he doesn’t know. It will be very environmentally friendly, and with blockchain, we can also make it trustworthy."

Firms creating or selling goods will inevitably face sudden changes in labor forces and material costs. Moreover, factors (like pandemics) will continue reshaping shopping, as evidenced by the rise in e-commerce and scan and go shopping apps. However, materials and goods will keep arriving the same way—on trusty pallets. And with TellApe, RTI-related expenses won’t be surprising.

"With the data TellApe generates, analysis and forecasts can be made that help ensure a stronger, more liquid company," summarizes Tjaden.

Stop losing money, contact TellApe to track pallets and other reusable transport items, [email protected] or +31 88 130 88 50.

Harness the power of Code’s CortexDecoder data collection platform to uncover new savings within your company or create new revenue streams, [email protected] or +01 801-495-2200.

Works Cited

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