New RFID Solutions for Retail Supply Chain

THOROFARE, NJ, - Retailers, manufacturers, distributors and packagers saw a glimpse of the future when Checkpoint Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CKP), a leading provider of shrink management and supply chain technology solutions worldwide, demonstrated EPC/ radio frequency identification (RFID) capabilities that enable automated identification, tracking and securing of merchandise at key checkpoints in the supply chain, including loading dock doors, store shelves and point of sale.

"We have real-world RFID solutions that can provide near-term ROIs, and the technology is ready to pilot," said John Thorn, general manager for Checkpoint's Supply Chain and Brand Solutions Group.

The demonstration took place at the Radio Frequency Inventory Management (RFIM) conference held recently in Las Vegas. The event also included presentations on shrink management, educational sessions and panel discussions on RFID/EPC, addresses by industry analysts, and source tagging workshops for hard goods and soft goods retailers.

"A lot of creativity can go into harnessing this technology, and we saw that demonstrated today," said Sean Campbell, who leads IBM's RFID efforts for the Distribution Sector. "We've just seen a practical example of how this technology could be used to address real business issues today."

Real-world solutions, real-time information

Attendees saw a manufacturing and distribution application that tracked a pallet of boxes as they passed through an archway representing a manufacturer's shipping dock door. The items passed through another reader at the distribution center receiving dock, where the system compared the items received against the shipping manifest and identified a missing box by serial number.

The retail store portion of the demonstration area featured a "smart shelf" and a "smart zone" with EPC-compliant readers that allow the retailer to track real-time shelf inventory status. Tied to the retailer's inventory system, the application can trigger replenishment when inventory drops to a pre-determined safety stock number in order to maintain proper shelf inventory levels. The application can generate an alert if too much inventory is removed too quickly, as in the case of a theft resulting from a shelf sweep, and can transmit real-time event information to a manager's mobile PDA.

Retailers will be able to establish smart zones in any sensitive area of the store. Readers can be placed over high-value, high-risk merchandise. Apparel retailers who want to pilot smart zone applications in the near term can use EPC/RFID-based reusable hard tags to leverage tag costs.

"Unlike many demonstrations, what we saw here today is an integrated, end-to-end solution that is prepared to handle the data generated from EPC/RFID and to enable the user to do something meaningful with that data," said Kyle Smith, Global Alliances Manager, with Accenture.

As part of the demonstration, Checkpoint showed solutions designed to help its customers move toward RFID pilots while protecting their legacy EAS investment. Concepts include a hybrid scanner that reads both bar codes and EPC/RFID and can disarm the security function at the point of sale.

Piloting holds promise

With a rich history in radio frequency-based solutions for the retail industry, and more than two decades of experience in systems connectivity and data management in access control, Checkpoint and its technology partners are ready to pilot the RFID/EPC systems demonstrated at the show.

"We're working with forward-thinking consumer product goods manufacturers and retail clients on pilots to demonstrate ROI and understand what this technology means to their businesses," said Thorn.

Checkpoint Systems, Inc., is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of technology-driven solutions for retail security, labeling, and merchandising. Its website is located at http://www.checkpointsystems.com.

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