i-RAM - Intelligent Returnable Asset Management


Many industries across the UK use returnable assets to move product from point of manufacture to the end user or distributor. These assets include items such as, gas bottles, retail roll cages, tote bins, beer barrels and pallets. Industry faces the daily challenge of managing these assets to ensure continuous supply to production and distribution lines. In sectors such as retail distribution this process is fairly well streamlined but many other sectors are less so. This project focused on driving logistical efficiencies through the returnable assets infrastructure primarily in the UK independent brewing industry but was also applied to other industries that face similar issues. The small independent brewers number some 700 in the UK and are responsible for millions of stainless steel barrels which is key to the success of the brewery, but tends to be inefficiently managed.
The project consortium developed and built an integrated solution, using the latest electronic and software technology with the age-old practice of brewing. By harnessing technologies such as RFID, Mobile Communications, GPS, Barcode and IT, the project succeeded in making information available to the brewer about dispersed barrel stocks enabling efficient logistical management.
In addition a Point of Sale information system was developed utilising Mobile Communications giving product information for the consumer who wants to enjoy responsibly, and to raise awareness that buying local produce is important to promote the local community, economy, and environment by reducing food miles.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Avonwood Developments Limited, Wimborne, UNITED KINGDOM £508,538 £ 259,267


Avanti Communications Limited, LONDON £467,907 £ 233,953
Close Brewery Rentals Limited, Ringwood, UNITED KINGDOM £117,000 £ 58,500
Wadworth and Company Limited £58,534 £ 29,267


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