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Bag Maker Adopts RFID Solution to Prevent Counterfeits, Gray Market

Bagjack is using Serfides' authentication software to track high-end messenger bags shipped from its German manufacturing site and, eventually, within a store.
By Claire Swedberg

The Serfides software being used by Bagjack stores not only each bag's encrypted validation key and tag ID number, but also its expected route through the supply chain. As a bag leaves the German manufacturing site, its NFC tag is read by onsite personnel, and that read data is stored in the Serfides software, thereby indicating that item has left the facility. The company can also input the bag's expected supply chain route—for example, whether it is destined for Japan, the United States or elsewhere in Europe.

This fall, Doll says, Bagjack plans to request that some wholesalers of its high-end products in Japan begin reading tags via their NFC-enabled phones upon receiving the goods. That information would then be made available to the dealer, as well as to Bagjack. The messenger-bag manufacturer also intends to later send scouts to enter stores in specific areas, in order to conduct spot checks. They will read the tags of goods being sold at various stores, and that data will be received by the Serfides software on Bagjack's server, thereby confirming not only the product's authenticity, but also the validity of its location. If the product is expected to arrive in the United States, for instance, and a retailer in Asia reads its tag, Bagjack could receive an alert and then contact that retailer to resolve the problem.

Richard Doll, Serfides' managing director
According to Doll, the pilot—which focused simply on ensuring that the tags could be read, and that the collected data could be stored in the software—was completed last month. Bagjack, he says, is now moving into the next phase of the installation, by continuing to tag products and by working with some of its wholesalers and retailers in Japan to begin reading tags within that country.

In the meantime, Serfides is launching another pilot with a large manufacturer that produces pumps and specialty tools. In this case, the company (which has asked to remain unnamed) will use the labels to ensure the authenticity of products that reach retailers. The manufacturer also aims to pilot how well the technology could be used to track the service and maintenance history of its products. Doll says the manufacturer is interested in offering the Serfides solution as a value-added service to customers who may want maintenance or other servicing support for a product. In this case, he explains, the manufacturer could provide a buyer with a Serfides label that could then be read in order to obtain service on the product during the future months or years. By reading the tag via an NFC-enabled phone loaded with the Serfides app, the buyer could be directed to the manufacturer's servicing department, or could automatically place an order for a maintenance request.

Serfides is currently marketing its solution directly to potential customers, as well as through systems integrators.

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