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Taiwanese Auction Company Sold on RFID

Bang Master Group—an auctioneer of luxury goods in Taiwan and China—has reduced its inventory counting time, as well as prevented errors and the potential for counterfeit goods, thanks to radio frequency identification.
By Claire Swedberg

The manual method had several shortcomings, Bang Master reports, which became a greater problem as the company expanded and began hosting a greater number of auctions featuring more products for sale. Time spent tracking unsold inventory was a problem for auction personnel, who were already tired from the event, and their labor—as well as the hotel rental during that post-auction—was expensive. In addition, buyers sometimes complained that counterfeit items had made their way into the auction. However, BMG could not determine at what point in its processes those fake goods had been introduced.

BMG wanted a system that would track inventory as soon as it was received from a seller, delivered to the appraiser and then sold at auction, and it sought to ensure that nothing was swapped out before it arrived at the appraiser. "We deployed RFID for inventory and ID authentication," says Tory Yuan, Bang Master Group's strategy manager.

Bang Lee, BMG's founder
With the RFID-based system, each item is assigned an EPC Solutions Taiwan RFID tag made with an Alien Technology Higgs-3 chip. If the seller, for instance, indicates he has four items, four tags are included in the paperwork that the workers take to the individual's home or business. The company reads the four tags, linking each one to a specific product description already provided by the seller. At that location, a tag is attached to each item via a locking plastic zip-tie, and a worker provides a receipt to the seller indicating that the four items were picked up. Because the zip tie must be cut to remove it from an item, it would be difficult for the tag to be reapplied to another product, though not impossible—it could be done if a staff member were able to acquire the same type of zip tie and reapply it to another item.

The goods are next delivered to the appraiser, at which time the tags are read for the second time. The appraiser enters information about those items, and the seller then uses an Alien ALR-9640 fixed desktop reader to link the tag ID with that information, according to T.H. Liu, EPC Solutions Taiwan's president. The appraisers then create an appraisal authentication indicating the product's value, or return that item to the seller if it is deemed not worth selling.

The collected data is stored on software provided by EPC Solutions Taiwan, residing on BMG's database. The company stores the unique ID number, along with the seller's information, data about the item itself and the results of the appraisal. This data is then forwarded to BMG's ERP and point-of-sale software.

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