PLS in software company acquisition


RETURNABLE packaging specialist PLS continues to pioneer the application of technology for managing returnable transport items (RTIs), following its acquisition of US-based supply chain technology specialists RTI Manager.

Following a five-year strategic partnership developing tracking technology in response to a growing market need, PLS and RTI Manager have joined forces, with PLS now having full ownership of RTI Manager’s proprietary asset management and tracking software.

Combined with its first-to-market experience in the use of RFID-enabled pallets, PLS can now provide a complete returnable packaging supply chain solution that improves efficiency and traceability for customers in sectors such as retail, wholesale, manufacturing, engineering and postal services.

PLS is also set to benefit from the wealth of experience and expertise RTI Manager’s management team brings in the application of technology to the supply chain, and is pioneering the adoption of RFID as a means to facilitate effective management of RTIs.

When combined with suitable hardware, such as industry-standard RFID technology which is already incorporated on all PLS plastic pallets, the software enables the user to unlock value from improved supply chain visibility.

Users will benefit from increased visibility and data regarding their RTI estates, and that information can then be used to improve the efficiency of a customer’s asset pool utilisation. Businesses can pinpoint and reduce losses, damage and inefficiency, whilst removing expensive and inefficient manual management processes from the supply chain. Through enabling these benefits, PLS is confident that the solution can deliver a material positive impact on the profit and loss statement, balance sheet and performance of supply chains – not to mention leading to reductions in costly downtime for manufacturers, or poor on-shelf availability for retailers.

Paul Byrne, Managing Director, PLS, said, “We have been seeing evidence of the growing inefficiency in returnable packaging management for several years, and it continues to be a priority on the agendas of many retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and parcel carriers alike. The acquisition of RTI Manager is a key component of PLS’ strategy and will enable us to provide a technology-driven solution to these clear market needs.”

RTI Manager provides close to real-time visibility of the returnable packaging asset pool by location, dynamically reconciling balances and using dashboards to present this information clearly. It also issues alerts when components of the supply chain move out of pre-agreed tolerances. Importantly, the system can be easily applied both to existing estates of packaging assets, or alongside new adopters of returnable packaging. PLS supply a modular or fully managed solution, together with flexible commercial models to suit different customer requirements.

John Webb, founder of RTI Manager and now PLS Business Development Director, said, “Joining forces with PLS makes complete sense in the context of the market. There is an increasing need for management solutions for returnable packaging, bringing together supply chain insight, the capability to physically manage and maintain pools of assets, and the technology to track and provide data to enrich management. Together with PLS we are able to do this and offer the market a stronger proposition.”