Checkpoint integrates RFID with EAS technology

Related tags Supply chain Supply chain management Rfid

Checkpoint Systems has launched several new Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) applications to improve supply chain
traceability.

The product range reflects Checkpoint's firm belief that EPC/RFID is inevitably converging with Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology to create value at key points in the retail supply chain.

Practical examples of how dual frequency EAS/EPC technology is currently being integrated at both the item and shipping case levels to improve inventory visibility and to reduce shrink were provided.

"The business case for RFID technology is today being driven primarily by supply chain and shrink management applications,"​ said John Thorn, Checkpoint Systems supply chain and brand solutions group general manager.

"To meet consumer expectations, retailers must improve their in-store and supply chain operations. With the introduction of Checkpoints new applications, retailers now have tangible proof of the advantages offered by RFID."

The new applications developed by Checkpoint include a smart dock portal for identifying and receiving products into inventory automatically at the distribution centre and an inventory management function for identifying inventory real-time in the stockroom with a portable reader.

Within the store, smart shelves/smart zones monitor merchandise throughout the store and provide complete inventory visibility, notifying personnel when inventory replenishment is needed. A smart point-of-sale can help speed up the checkout process while capturing critical data, including identification of each item for better, more complete transaction histories.

The smart system also includes an anti-theft function. Only items identified as paid can have their hard tags removed and be carried through antennas without setting off an alarm.

Analysts including Accenture and AMR Research have published studies and business models that show item-level EPC/RFID tagging can provide a return on investment today for select product categories. The key to realising the true enterprise value of traceability systems , they argue, is to move the focus beyond compliance to operational efficiency.

A recent report from Aberdeen Group claims that compliance represents a small percentage of the total possible benefits for manufacturers. Other benefits include improved information on inventory status, better tracking and management of assets, improved responsiveness and customer service and improved tracking of shipping containers. This can then lead to reduced labour costs, improved inventory availability and reduced inventory stockouts.

"These RFID applications are prototype designs to demonstrate how the technology will fulfill a customers need for greater information and stock availability while at the same time protecting items from both shoppers and staff theft,"​ said David Donnan, North America president of Checkpoint Systems.

"The fast-paced business of retailing is getting more complex. Retailers are struggling for consistent profitability and many are searching for a more strategic approach to the challenge. And that is where we believe EPC/RFID technology can play a significant role."

Field tests are currently being conducted in North America and Europe. The Metro Group, one of Europe's largest retailers, is testing several retail applications at its Store of the Future, in Rheinberg, Germany.

RFID tags are tiny computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be affixed to physical objects. The most common application of RFID contains an Electronic Product Code (EPC) with sufficient capacity to provide unique identifiers for all items produced worldwide.

When an RFID reader emits a radio signal, tags in the vicinity respond by transmitting their stored data to the reader. The read-rang of passive (battery-less) RFID tags can vary from less than 3 cm to 10 metres, while active (self-powered) tags can have a much longer read range. The data is then sent to a distributed computing system involved in supply chain management or inventory control.

With more and more of an emphasis on food traceability and safety as well as increasing logistics efficiency, both food retailers and manufacturers are increasingly employing RFID. US-based retailer Wal-Mart has led the way in the introduction of RFID technology, with its insistence that all its suppliers implement the technology leading to a worldwide surge in demand. Largely driven by this factor it is estimated that by global expenditure on RFID will increase from approximately $1 billion in 2001 to around $3 billion by 2007.

Checkpoint​, a leading provider of radio frequency-based shrink management solutions to the global retail industry, including over half of the world's top 200 largest global retailers. The group has a presence in more than 80 countries.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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