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Catalyst Bundles for Compliance

The supply chain systems specialist has launched three packages of RFID hardware, software and professional services to help smaller companies meet mandates.
By Jonathan Collins
Apr 14, 2005Drawing on the software and experience it gained designing and supporting custom RFID implementations, supply chain systems specialist Catalyst International has launched three RFID bundles composed of hardware, software and professional services.

The Milwaukee-based company says it has worked on RFID implementations for eight large product manufacturers, seven of which are already putting RFID tags on cases and pallets shipped to the U.S. Department of Defense or Wal-Mart. The new bundles, however, are focused on smaller suppliers facing their own retailer or DOD RFID mandates.

Larry Cinpinski
"The implementations we have done so far have been largely engineered solutions. But now we are finding that—largely driven by the DOD, which has over 60,000 suppliers, many of which are small—the market is looking for something that is more standard and that can allow companies to quickly become compliant," says Larry Cinpinski, vice president, emerging business at Catalyst.

RFIDComply, the least expensive of the three new offerings, consists of an RFID reader, an RFID label printer-encoder, 1,000 RFID labels and a site license for Catalyst's RFID device management software and database. According to Catalyst, the software comes preconfigured for the hardware chosen by the customer, who can pick from a range of suppliers, including printer-encoder makers Printronix, Sato, Zebra Technology and Datamax and reader manufacturers Symbol Technologies, Alien Technology, SAMSys and AWID.

Catalyst maintains that a company can set up RFIDComply in a single day to enable mandated shipping requirements. Priced at $35,000, RFIDComply includes implementation services limited to just one day's phone support.

RFIDConfigure, priced at $75,000, comprises the RFIDComply kit but adds 20 additional days of bundled services to help plan, design and deploy the RFID network. RFIDConfigure also includes up to three days of case and pallet testing, using the customer's products, at the RFID Star Alliance center in Sussex, Wis., to determine the best tag to use and the best place to put the tag. The RFID Star Alliance center was established in December by Catalyst in partnership with material-handling equipment and control-systems company Babush Material Handling Systems, Columbia Machine's material-handling division and packaging specialist Glennon Group.

The third bundle, RFIDComplete, is priced at $125,000 and consists of the RFIDComply bundle and all additional services necessary to provide a turnkey RFID compliance package. Projects would generally take up to three months, says Catalyst.

"Our kits can used to meet either DOD or retailer mandates, but I think the RFID Comply kit will be of more interest to DOD supplier base because there are more small suppliers shipping a small number of articles. CPG manufacturers shipping thousands of products a month to Wal-Mart are probably going to go more toward the second and third kits," says Cinpinski.

Catalyst says that European versions of its kits are also available, with equipment that adheres to European spectrum regulations. Prices for the European versions, however, are higher.

"There is no premium in the software and the services, but there is a premium on the price of readers and printers," says Cinpinski.
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