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APC Chooses ODIN for RFID Deployment

ODIN technologies has been selected by American Power Conversion (APC) for the installation of its RFID deployment. APC will roll out RFID across six of its U.S.-based distribution centers and one of its Asian manufacturing facilities.
Sep 26, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

September 26, 2005—American Power Conversion (APC) has selected ODIN technologies as its systems integrator for the installation of a comprehensive supply chain RFID deployment. APC, the giant producer of power protection and conversion solutions, will roll out RFID across six of its U.S. distribution centers and one of its Asian manufacturing facilities. RFID Update spoke with ODIN's Vice President of Operations and Marketing Bret Kinsella about the deployment.

"APC is looking at RFID as a supply chain efficiency technology," said Kinsella. The company has long appreciated the technology's potential, and while this deployment will satisfy the mandate requirements of both Best Buy and Wal-Mart (APC is in the Top 200), compliance was not the driving force behind the company's interest in RFID. Indeed, according to Kinsella, APC "had been investigating the technology for a year before the mandates even came out."

ODIN has already been providing APC with RFID services for over a year. The company will now also work alongside APC's third party logistics provider to do the full deployment, which will integrate with the WMS and ERP software systems already in place at APC. ODIN's flagship Trifecta software, which relies on physics to scientifically identify optimal tag placement and orientation, will also be applied.

Kinsella said that in addition to ODIN's focus on "the physics of RFID", its strict vendor and product agnosticism distinguishes it from other RFID-focused system integrators (SIs). In the case of middleware, for example, many SIs recommend to their clients the package with which they have the most experience. Kinsella cautioned that such an approach is flawed because the feature set and complexity of middleware varies widely, so not every package is suitable for every deployment. Furthermore, given that "middleware is the most immature component of any RFID deployment stack," appropriate middleware selection is a crucial prerequisite to successful deployments.

Kinsella highlighted that the APC deployment will take about six months, start to finish. Such a short amount of time marks significant overall progress in RFID. "Whereas a year and a half ago it might have taken six months to do a single facility, we're at the point now where in six months you can fully outfit a supply chain," he said. "[This improvement] really speaks to the maturation of the industry."
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