OATSystems, a tiny company that makes software that turns RFID data into business information, made a name for itself through deals with Kimberly-Clark and Airbus. But that success isn't enough to go it alone in the shaky RFID market. Now Checkpoint Systems (not to be confused with security vendor Check Point), which makes anti-theft tags for retailers, has acquired OATSystems for an undisclosed sum.
RFID use in the U.S. retail and consumer-goods industries hasn't taken off in a way some hoped it would when Wal-Mart issued its RFID mandate several years ago. European retailers, however, have been much more receptive to RFID, and Checkpoint will give OATSystems entree to 30 countries where Checkpoint already sells products.
More than 80% of Checkpoint's $835 million in annual revenue last year came from electronic article surveillance. Its tags can be hidden inside pricey garments and will set off an alarm at a store exit if not deactivated at the cash register. Recently, Checkpoint has expanded into RFID in an effort to help retailers manage their supply chains. Its dual-purpose RFID tags can be used for security purposes and also contain information about the item for supply chain efficiency efforts.
OATSystems provides the missing piece Checkpoint needs to become a total solution provider, says Per Levin, president of Checkpoint's shrink management division. One of OATSystems' applications analyzes data collected by RFID to determine what's causing products to run out of stock.