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RFID Baby Born from Checkpoint-OATSystems Marriage

Checkpoint Systems introduced a comprehensive offering of RFID hardware, software and services so retailers can track goods from manufacturing through the store. The new Merchandise Visibility Solution is the first offering that integrates software functionality from OATSystems, which Checkpoint acquired last year.
Apr 13, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

April 13, 2009—Checkpoint Systems' stated vision of offering retailers complete RFID solutions covering the supply chain to the store shelf became a reality last week when the company announced its Merchandise Visibility Solution, a collection of products and services that integrates its hardware and services with the RFID software functionality it gained when it acquired OATSystems last year (see Checkpoint Buys OAT to Become One-Stop RFID Shop). The software can monitor shelf and back-room inventory, protect against shoplifting, alert store staff when items need to be restocked, and automatically generate new orders.

"For the first time, a retailer can go to a single vendor to get all the software, hardware, tags and implementation support they need to install a complete RFID system," Paul Cataldo of Thorofare, New Jersey-based Checkpoint Systems told RFID Update. "It makes it a lot easier for the retailer and takes a lot of the risk out of deployments."

That's what Checkpoint had in mind last year when it bought OATSystems, which was one of the first and most successful developers of RFID-driven software and won several high-profile customers for item-level tagging applications. Checkpoint already had deep experience in the retail industry as a provider of anti-shoplifting and inventory management solutions, and was expanding its RFID efforts. It offers a variety of readers and tags and its Check-Net service will apply RFID tags and other types of labels for retailers, so that goods arrive at stores ready to sell and to work with various in-store tracking systems. The integrated offering is helping broaden Checkpoint's focus from loss prevention to more comprehensive inventory management. Checkpoint expects to name the first Merchandise Visibility Solution customer within a week.

"We're now helping retailers with their top line, by providing merchandise visibility so they have more goods available to sell," said Cataldo. "RFID in a sense extends a retailer's sales floor into the back room, because you now have visibility there. Back-room operations are often a black hole for inventory visibility, but RFID shines a light into that level."

While the focus of the new Merchandise Visibility offering is on in-store inventory improvements, Check-Net and other Checkpoint services enable retailers and their business partners to use RFID to track goods throughout the supply chain.

Cataldo said the strongest interest in integrated services and item-level RFID tracking has come from the apparel sector, particularly in Europe, which is consistent with outlooks provided by other vendors and industry analysts (see IDTechEx: RFID Apparel Market to Grow 70% Annually). Several studies and actual deployments have validated the business case for item-level RFID tracking by helping retailers optimize inventory levels and keep merchandise in stock. For recent coverage see: "One customer told us that for every two percent improvement in inventory availability, they're experiencing a one percent increase in sales. You may say, 'Why is inventory availability important now -- no one is buying anything?' But inventory availability is especially important in a slow economy, because when customers are ready to buy retailers have to be ready. Our RFID customers have reported they have been able to reduce their overall inventory levels and increase their shelf space and sales."
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