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New Remote RFID Labeling System

Manhattan Associates and Zebra Technologies have teamed up to enable companies to print RFID labels over the Internet.
Feb 10, 2003Feb. 10, 2003 - Manhattan Associates and Zebra Technologies said today that they are working together to offer companies a way to print RFID labels remotely over the Internet.

The new system combines Manhattan's infolink real-time collaborative commerce software and Zebra's R140 printer and R402 RFID label printers. A retailer could use the system to print a label at a supplier's manufacturing facility. The supplier puts the label on a pallet, case or item when it's shipped.
Manhattan's Peters

Printing the label automatically triggers an advanced shipping notice, so the retailer's distribution center or store knows the item is coming. When it arrives, the RFID tag can be scanned automatically by a portal reader or manually with a handheld device. The information flows automatically to Manhattan Associates warehouse management system, and the item is checked into inventory.

"This system gives the retailer control," says Eric Peters, VP of product and strategy, marketing and alliances for Manhattan Associates. "They can ensure the label is compliant and all the right things are done."

The labels can be customized to each retailer's requirements. Typically, the printed label would have a ship-to address, customer purchase order number, bar code with the order number, ship date, routing and the contents of the package.

The Zebra printer can work with a variety of RFID transponders. All the information the retailer needs does not have to be stored on the tag. The unique serial number on the tag can be linked to the shipping information in a database.

Peters says the retailers his company has been talking to want to take a "crawl, walk, run" approach with RFID. This system is very basic, but allows retailers to begin running pilots with business partners. They can use it to begin to quantify the benefits of automating the process of receiving and checking in goods.

"There has been a fair amount of interest in this system among our retail customers," Peters says. "They know that if they can do this and get a return on their investment, then they can also get the infrastructure in place for when RFID reaches widespread adoption."

Manhattan Associates also announced today that it is extending its compliance guarantee to "any new and emerging RFID standards" adopted by the top 100 global retailers and the top 100 US retailers. The company currently guarantees that suppliers using its software will be compliant with the shipping and labeling requirements for the top retailers. As those retailers adopt RFID systems, Manhattan Associates will ensure that suppliers remain in compliance.

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