This is part of the Chainlane Interview Series, where we talk with supply chain professionals on the hottest topics, solutions, and thoughts on the industry.

Should you have your own supply chain/ retail tech insights to share with Chainlane’s readers, feel free to contact us at for a potential interview.‍

This time, we talk with Viv Bradshaw from Denso Wave Europe, exploring technologies that will shape the future of the supply chain.

About you- Please tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Viv Bradshaw and I’m the Technical Consultant & Solutions Product Manager at Denso Wave Europe. I’ve been with Denso Wave for 6 years and my role includes a number of areas. These include:

  • Working with system integration partners to adopt our products.
  • Providing solutions using various Denso technologies, including RFID, our IoT Platform, Secure QR codes, and Face Recognition QR Codes.
  • Supporting our sales team around Europe.
  • Working with Denso Wave Japan to give them market analysis and help them in future product development.
  • Looking for interesting and new technologies that can help with our solutions.
  • Providing direct sales.

My experience is quite wide from auto-ID to telematics, supply chain solutions, and product design to name a few. I feel that Denso Wave liked my broad experience due to its diverse product portfolio. This also suited my way of working.

Within Denso Wave, I try and provide market analysis, trends, and ideas for solutions and products. This is provided both in Europe and to our colleagues in Japan.

Are there any interesting stories or projects within your role or industry, which you're proud to share?

I was part of a team that developed a solution for a retailer that tracked their orders and assets using RFID from picking to marshalling, to vehicle loading (on the correct truck in reverse load order). We then tracked the vehicle using GPS/Telematics on its multi-drop journey, checking off each delivery using an RFID handheld to identify the RTI’s against the manifest (PoD) and also collecting/logging the empty assets (PoC).

As the customer stated at the time ‘everything was being tracking using a variety of technologies from a few inches to hundreds of miles’. The solution won a major logistics award. It may seem fairly normal now, but this was in 2003, so quite innovative for the time…

Any awards, recognition, inspirations, or achievements worth mentioning?

I have lectured on RFID at Brunel University and have papers published by the IEEE. I am named on a patent for using RFID on trailers to track assets/products on/off the vehicle. I have lectured at Nottingham University for their supply chain business course. And also, GS1 Accredited.

About your company and role

Please provide a little bit more info on Denso Wave Europe's offering/s

Denso Wave manufactures barcode and RFID identification products, robots, IoT Platforms, and automation control products. Beyond this, we also work with Chainlane to provide an end-to-end solution for the retail supply chain using RFID. As Denso Wave is the inventor of the QR code, we also have different QR code-related symbologies that work with our Cloud-based tracking solution for product authentication and misappropriation.

Technology, QR, and Denso

With more companies realizing the potential of RFID for retail and supply chain visibility, what does the future hold for this technology?

RFID will become more pervasive as the technology further matures, business cases are understood, and use cases become available.

Full support for RFID in the supply chain is the next obvious step, especially if you are tagging at source anyway. Once the inventory is known, then the customer experience and marketing parts come into play; there are so many ideas here already…

People generally know the benefits of RFID now, although understanding the processes and implementation of the technologies to suit can still be an issue. We need real-life working examples and that sometimes needs customers to take risks and be supported by a company that understands and is dedicated to getting it working.

What use cases are best solved using RFID technology, and what additional benefits are behind the scenes?

Go back to basics and understand the benefits of RFID over say traditional barcodes:

  • Reading non-line of sight.
  • Reading multiple tags quickly.
  • Ability to change information/status.

Can this help your processes? For example, reading the contents of an order where it would be too time-consuming or disruptive using barcode codes. Does this save you money by identifying issues before they become even bigger issues and more costly to put right? Then RFID might be right for you.

There are many use cases for RFID, the problem is knowing which one gives the best return. A knowledgeable company with experience can help you determine it.

Other technologies introduced to assist with inventory tracking and supply chain visibility include NFC, BLE, QR codes, and more. What are your thoughts about each and how are they best utilized in specific use cases?

I refer to the previous question. Know your ID technology advantages and how they may apply to real-life issues. Mix and match ID technologies to give the complete solution based on their capabilities. No one technology can do it all.

And remember barcodes and QR Codes are good visual interaction points with people. They are cheap forms of identification too…

Denso has invented and introduced the QR code to the world. How do you see it has impacted the supply chain, retail, and other industries?

The QR code saw a massive reinvention during covid times. The ability of smartphones to read it unaided also contributed to its popularity.

Although not well used in the supply chain due to existing barcode symbologies, it is the interaction point with customers, be it retail, pharma, or other verticals. (Almost) everyone has a smartphone, can read QR codes, and be utilized in many ways.

For retail interaction the QR Code has advantages; Denso Wave’s gift to the world has given retailers a lot of new options.

Do you believe the QR code has evolved since inception, how, and where else can it journey to?

Denso Wave’s other QR code technologies are heralding in a new world of Digital Identity, Secure Payments, and Ticketing with distinct advantages over other methods. We are already seeing our Secure and Face Recognition QR Code being used for age verification, KYC, and AML.

And this functionality will give retailers new methods of payment, interacting, and marketing to customers. Not just retail, but hospitality, regulated industries, events, and much more.

About the Supply Chain

In your own words, how would you define ‘the supply chain’?

In very broad terms: From manufacture to customer adoption and death of a product, if you include recycling, as we should :)

What has changed in the Supply Chain since you’ve started in the industry? 

The technologies that have made a difference, in my opinion, are Wider use of Barcodes, Mobile Computing, Radio Data Communication, Automation, Robots, and RFID. There are probably more, but I feel these are quite important. I am biased (technology and its adoption/use is my area), but obviously, the consumption and analysis of the data it produces is as important.

What are the most crucial supply chain pains, weaknesses, and areas that need solving?

Impossible to answer in a concise way. Almost every part has pains and problems and depending on your role, you will highlight your area as most important. However, identification and tracking in a timely manner are important; visibility.

What does “Inventory Accuracy” mean to you? Why is it so important for businesses?

It’s stock, so it’s money tied up and not being sold. Not knowing where stock is, how much you have, and where it should be going is the simple answer. It’s not simple though.

If you think you have a (for example) a garment on sale, but it's not actually there, your customer is disappointed and you lose a sale. Perhaps the customer.

Inventory Accuracy is important and one reason why RFID is being considered and adopted by many. Being able to increase your accuracy and maintain that accuracy in-store will help increase your sales by the simple fact your customer can actually buy an item that is there.

Getting the items to the store is another part of the journey that RFID can help with, especially if you tag from the source.

What do you think will be the biggest changes and innovations we’ll see for the supply chain within the next 10 years? 5 years? next year?

The easy answer is greater adoption of what we are all seeing now; automation, RFID, telematics, and IoT tying it all together.

The systems will make sense of all this collected data, present it, and make decisions easier, which are critical to the success of any business. And then there is AI added to the mix. I’m sure this will tease out even further benefits…

What do you recommend other industry professionals focus on in the coming year/s?

There are many, many professionals better than I and it is not my place to tell them what to focus on. I’m sure they have their own ideas and strategies. However, it’s always good to listen to others; learning is a continual process.

How would you describe your collaboration with Chainlane?

A close and friendly one over the years. We can talk openly and discuss ideas and issues in equal measure. This is how a good relationship should blossom.

How has Chainlane helped you or the businesses/clients you serve?

We have promoted Chainlane SaaS with our RFID hardware for a complete solution. Our partners appreciate this and with our education of all things RFID, we can take them on the next step of their retail journey. This is something that Denso Wave is moving to as we can provide a turn-key solution together with Chainlane.

How would you describe the process of working with Chainlane? From concept, to planning, to integration/implementation, soft launch, QA, and ongoing support and growth?

Every step is well-defined and documented. You know what to ask the partner at each point. Support is there when you need it, and you have experts available to help as required. Once the business process mapping is defined and documented, the system deployment is known and can commence. Online, email, and on-site support is available from Chainlane.

Where can people go and learn more about you, what you do, and your company?

People can visit Denso Wave on the website. Here you can find out about our products, services, and solutions. We also have YouTube and LinkedIn pages too.

What final thought/s would you like to leave the readers with?

Technology is just an enabler. Understand the benefits it can add to the supply chain and do not implement technology for technologies sake. Sometimes technology is just not right.

However, technology can be transformational, and this can sometimes be difficult to communicate and take time to understand the business cases. RFID is an example of this. It’s not new, but it’s taken years of trial (and error) to get it rising the adoption curve.