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Checkpoint Systems Creates RFID-centric 'Visibility' Division

The company has established a Merchandise Visibility Solutions division that will focus on swiftly providing comprehensive item-level RFID systems to retailers around the world, along with installation and maintenance services.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 16, 2010With the goal of becoming the world's premier provider of item-level RFID technology and integration services for the retail market, shrink-management and merchandise-visibility firm Checkpoint Systems has created a new division focused solely on the company's RFID inventory-tracking solutions for retailers. The division, known as Merchandise Visibility Solutions, will be led by Per Levin—previously Checkpoint's president of shrink-management and merchandise solutions—and will be one of three distinct divisions within the company. The other two divisions are Shrink Management Solutions, which provides and supports electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems and components, and Apparel Labeling Solutions, which offers tags and labels for a retailer's merchandise.

With a division singularly dedicated to merchandise visibility, Levin says, the company intends to better focus its RFID-based solutions for those customers that need them. "The best way to drive the solutions that draw upon the strengths and resources across the company is by having an independent line of business that can leverage the strengths of both Shrink Management Solutions and Apparel Labeling Solutions," he states.

Checkpoint Systems' Per Levin
With the new RFID division, Levin says, Checkpoint expects to provide RFID support to companies with a global footprint, by providing software and integration support, assisting in the identification of appropriate tags or labels, installing readers and providing maintenance at stores worldwide. When it was still part of a combined division with shrink management, the company reports, its merchandise visibility arm lacked sufficient flexibility to focus on RFID as well as draw from the apparel-labeling division.

The new division has been about five years in the planning, Levin says, and is a part of Checkpoint's strategy to provide RFID services as deployments become more commonplace. In 2008, the company purchased RFID software firm OATSystems (see Checkpoint Systems Deems OAT Acquisition Strategic). The following year, it acquired Asian label company Brilliant Label Manufacturing, which prints a variety of RFID labels that Checkpoint presently uses.

"This is part of what has been a very long game plan over the past five years or so," Levin says. The company has been participating in RFID pilots to track inventory and reduce out-of-stocks in stores, and Levin reports that it has determined the moment is now right to launch the new division. Some of the reasons he cites include the fact that standards (EPC Gen 2) are currently in place, the technology has proven itself to perform properly in the retail environment, and early adoption is now underway—in some cases publicly, and in others with non-disclosure agreements. All of these factors point to expected growth in item-level RFID tagging in retail, he says, noting, "The time has come when it is appropriate to build this new division for merchandise visibility."

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