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Razor to Tag Its Scooters

Starting in December, the company will begin affixing EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to one model of its electric scooters bound for Wal-Mart.
By Beth Bacheldor
Nov 27, 2006This holiday season, it's a safe bet that parents across the United States will purchase scooters made by Razor USA. During the journey to retail stores, some of those scooters will sport RFID tags.

In mid-December, Razor plans to begin affixing EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to one model of its electric scooter bound for Wal-Mart. Razor, based in Cerritos, Calif., is implementing RFID technology to comply with Wal-Mart's mandate, says Kevin MacDonald, vice president of client architecture at ODIN Technologies. ODIN, an RFID provider in Dulles, Va., is helping Razor design and implement the RFID system, which will include Alien Technology UHF 915 MHz EPC Gen 2 tags, Zebra Technologies RFID printer-encoders and Symbol MC9060-G RFID handheld interrogators.


Kevin MacDonald
Specifically, Razor will affix RFID labels to cartons containing individual Pocket Moods, miniature electric scooters able to travel at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. The unique Electronic Product Code (EPC) for each label will be associated with a unique bar-coded serial number, which will also be printed on the label. That association will be stored in a back-end Microsoft SQL Server database. Labels will also be printed and encoded for pallets.

Razor employees will affix the labels as they pick and pack orders onto pallets bound for Wal-Mart distribution centers. After packing pallets with the Pocket Mods—each pallet holding 20 scooters—employees will then use the handhelds to read the individual scooter EPCs and pallet EPC to create an association between them. That data will also be stored in the back-end database.

MacDonald says Razor is creating the EPC associations so that once Wal-Mart requires it to start creating and sending advance shipping notices detailing the individual and pallet EPCs, it will be prepared to do so. Until then, Razor will send Wal-Mart a printout of the EPC numbers along with each shipment, MacDonald says.

In the event that an interrogator cannot read a label during the packing process, Razor has created an exception policy directing employees to remove the failed label and replace it with a new one. To encode the new label, the employees will scan the failed label's bar code, which is correlated with the original EPC number associated with that bar code during the initial label printing/encoding process. They will then print and encode a new RFID label containing the same bar code and EPC number as on the failed label.

According to MacDonald, Razor will tag several thousand products per month once the implementation goes live. In addition, the company will ramp up its implementation in 2007 and begin tagging other products it supplies to Wal-Mart. "This is a pure compliance effort," says MacDonald. "In the future, Razor does want to use RFID for other things within its operations, but at this point the RFID is for compliance to Wal-Mart."
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