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Pinnpoint, Smartrac Team Up With Lexmark for RFID Printing

The resultant on-demand printing solutions allow shippers to automatically view the status of returned goods via RFID tag reads, enabling the growing reverse logistics model for online shopping.
By Claire Swedberg

That process opens the opportunity for online purchases, but puts pressure on the logistics providers and brands, and can lead to extra product inventory waiting in receiving areas until the companies can scan in each returned item. By providing an RFID-tagged shipping label for returns, however, a brand or retailer can enable goods to be checked in automatically (with a fixed reader at a portal or a handheld reader used by warehouse personnel), so that they know what goods have been returned, as well as when and where this occurred, in close to real time. In that way, labor hours can be reduced and the products can more quickly be made available for other sales.

Linton says the solution providers with which Lexmark partners, as well as end users, have approached the company indicating that Lexmark printers could enable users to print the return shipping label as each product is packed, and to store the tag's unique ID on that label in the software, along with the product's stock-keeping unit (SKU), so that the goods can be easily identified when returned.

Amir Mobayen
"We partner with a lot of label manufacturers, including Pinnpoint," Linton says. "They are super-aggressive," he states, "and we like that style." Pinnpoint also provides systems integration, which enables Lexmark to sell its printers to end users with a full solution.

Pinnpoint is a label company based in Malmo, Sweden, with U.S headquarters in Dallas, Steely says. The firm was launched four years ago with the introduction of a laser label intended for use with Lexmark printers. In 2017, Pinnpoint developed its reverse logistics laser label, as well as its Print, Ship & RFID Return solution for printing laser labels that can incorporate UHF and NFC RFID inlays. This year, the company partnered with Smartrac and Lexmark with four letter-sized label RFID sheets.

Pinnpoint presently has several pilots under way with companies employing the Lexmark printer with Pinnpoint labels and software to manage RFID tag reads. However, those companies have asked to remain unnamed. For brands and retailers, Steely says, "The way of the future is for shopping [online] to be as frictionless as possible."

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