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OATSystems Bundles Apps for ROI

The middleware company has developed two solutions designed to help consumer products companies attain a quicker return on their RFID investment.
By Jonathan Collins
Apr 04, 2005EPC middleware provider OATSystems is launching two new bundled offerings geared to helping consumer product goods (CPG) companies get a return on investment from their RFID deployments.

One bundle, called Comply for ROI, includes hardware and services; the other, ROI for CP, consists of two OATSystems applications (one updated, the other one brand new) designed to help CPG companies already tagging RFID shipments to better use RFID data to get a return on that investment. Although the company's software has been available in software-and-hardware bundles from other vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, the Comply for ROI is the first such bundle from OATSystems itself.

Marc Osofsky
"By precertifying hardware configuration, we know it will work and we can offer a more cost-effective solution than using a systems integrator to bring together various RFID components," says Marc Osofsky, vice president, marketing and product management at OATSystems, which is based in Watertown, Mass.

A key function of Comply for ROI is to identify the stock-keeping units (SKUs) likely to deliver the most value from RFID and tagging those first. The bundle is built around the company's core Foundation Suite, a set of preintegrated software products that include OATxpress, for RFID middleware and EPC number management; OATlogic, an RFID design environment; and OATaxiom, which provides central management of enterprise-wide RFID initiatives.

So far only the SensorID Agile 2 multiprotocol, multifrequency RFID reader from Tyco's Fire & Security's Sensormatic division has been certified for inclusion in the Comply for ROI bundle, but OATSystems says readers from other vendors will follow.

The Comply for ROI bundle is built on OATxpress 4.2 and is available immediately. (A later version of Comply for ROI, set for release in June, will be built on OATxpress 4.5). Pricing is based on the number of the CPG customer's sites using RFID. The bundle includes professional services from either OATSystems or an OATSystems partner, according to customer preference, to design and install an initial implementation as well as an RFID reader, an RFID label printer-encoder and other equipment from as yet unspecified suppliers to enable a working RFID portal to be built. Tags, however, are not included.

"Less than 60 person-days are required for the complete Comply for ROI solution, including an initial site survey, product testing, hardware installation and testing, software installation and testing, integration with existing systems, complete system testing, training and project management," Osofsky says.

OATSystems second new bundle, ROI for CP offering, is designed for CPG companies currently shipping tagged goods but looking to drive greater value from their RFID deployment.

"ROI for CP targets the tier-two mandated companies just getting into RFID and looking to get ROI rather than just the costs of slap and ship," says Marc Osofsky. By January 2006, Wal-Mart will require its next 200 top, or tier-two, suppliers to begin RFID tagging some cases and pallets.

Set for release in June, the bundle consists of OATSystems new OATepod (electronic proof-of-delivery) application and the 4.5 version of OATaxiom, which will not be available until June, when the Foundation Suite Version 4.5 is also released. OATSystems says that OATepod will enable CPG claims managers to automatically verify retailer deductions and collaborate with retailers to prevent claims from occurring. OATepod is not part of the Foundation Suite and is available separately. The software does, however, require OATaxiom 4.5 to operate.

By filtering RFID data from readers and linking case and pallet EPC numbers with shipments, the ROI for CP bundle will also automatically create an EPC manifest detailing the products included in each tagged pallet. That manifest can be used to improve fulfillment accuracy by using OATSystems software to link the RFID network with a CPG company's existing warehouse management system (WMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, where details of the required order are stored.

OATSystems says one of the largest consumer products companies in the world has already ordered the new OATepod application to help stem losses of up to $20 million a year in deductions from retailers. That customer already uses OATSystems' Foundation Suite software.
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