New EPC/RFID Applications from Checkpoint Systems

Checkpoint Systems, Inc., a leading provider of radio frequency-based product identification and shrink management solutions for retailers and consumer package goods manufacturers, has presented several new Electronic Product Code/Radio Frequency Identification (EPC/RFID) applications for use in the retail-apparel supply chain.

Respected analysts and researchers including Accenture, AMR Research, A.T. Kearney and The MIT Auto-ID Center have published studies and business models that show item-level EPC/RFID tagging can provide a return on investment today for select product categories, including apparel. Retail and CPG industry leaders are actively testing that business case now.

New RFID applications for the apparel supply chain

The new applications developed by Checkpoint leverage all the ways RFID can be used in the apparel supply chain and include:

  • A Smart Dock Portal for identifying and receiving products into inventory automatically at the distribution center.
  • An inventory management function for identifying inventory real-time in the stockroom with a portable reader.
  • Smart Shelves/Smart Zones monitor merchandise throughout the store and provide complete inventory visibility, notifying personnel when inventory replenishment is needed.
  • A Smart Merchandising solution for changing rooms where shoppers can view accessory items on screen (providing cross-selling opportunities for retailers) and provide information, for example, about sizes and colors of merchandise in stock.
  • A Smart Point-of-Sale for speeding the check-out process while capturing critical data, including identification of each item for better, more complete transaction histories.
  • 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.
  • "These RFID applications are prototype designs to demonstrate how the technology will fulfill a customer's need for greater information and stock availability while at the same time protecting items from both shoppers' and staff theft," said David Donnan, President, North America 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."

    Checkpoint Systems' RFID solutions are designed for the retail supply chain. 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.

    The convergence of electronic article surveillance (EAS) with RFID

    As part of its presentation, Checkpoint featured a short video demonstrating how RFID is converging with EAS to create value at key points in the retail supply chain. Practical examples of how dual frequency EAS/EPC technology is currently being integrated into apparel at both the item and shipping case levels to improve inventory visibility and to reduce shrink were provided.

    "The business case for EPC technology is today being driven primarily by supply chain and shrink management applications," said John Thorn, General Manager ' Supply Chain and Brand Solutions Group of Checkpoint Systems. "To meet consumer expectations, retailers must improve their in-store and supply chain operations. With the introduction of Checkpoint's new EPC applications, retailers now have tangible proof of the advantages offered by RFID."

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