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Avery Dennison Opens European Customer Design and Innovation Center

The company views the new center, located in the heart of Germany's industrial belt, as a key part of its efforts to promote the use of RFID tags attached to apparel.
By Rhea Wessel
Mar 14, 2011Today, Avery Dennison, a Fortune 500 provider of RFID solutions and other products, opened its first Customer Design and Innovation Center in Europe. Top managers from the company descended on the facility, nestled in the hills in the German town of Sprockhoevel (near Duesseldorf), to demonstrate to the press and other visitors how the entire garment and footwear supply chain can be made more efficient with the use of passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags attached to apparel.

The 2,800-square-meter (30,140-square-foot) center will focus on European customers and highlight a wide variety of Avery Dennison's products and services. In the facility's design lab, for instance, customers can learn about the latest trends in apparel fabrics, colors and styles, as well as the accompanying label possibilities for those items. After hearing about the trends, visitors can then view RFID-based hangtags and care tags made for those goods, and visualize how the tagged items can move throughout the supply chain.

At the official opening of Avery Dennison's Customer Design and Innovation Center, in Germany, Shawn Neville (left) uses a handheld RFID interrogator to read an RFID tag embedded in a ceremonial ribbon.

Shawn Neville, the group VP of Avery Dennison's Retail Branding and Information Solutions division (the company's newly renamed Retail Information Services unit), views the new center in the heart of Germany's industrial belt as a key part of the expansion of RFID's use for apparel tagging—a market, he believes, that is essentially untapped.

"We see this as a global center," Neville says. "Our very simple goal here is [to advance] the adoption of RFID in the global retail apparel market. Only a fraction of the market has adopted RFID. There are 100 billion units around the world being produced in apparel, and less than 1 billion—less than 1 percent—are RFID-enabled. The impression is that RFID is very complex and challenging to execute. Our challenge is to make it simpler, clearer and executable for retailers and brands around the world."

According to Neville, Avery Dennison's strategy for RFID is to convince apparel manufacturers and retailers that the greatest benefits can be derived by tagging items at the source—which, he says, is the simplest way to implement RFID. At the innovation center, which he says was inspired by the RFID Innovation Center that Metro Group opened in 2004 in the nearby city of Neuss (see Metro Launches RFID Test Center), customers can see the possibilities of RFID tagging from source to sale, along with Avery Dennison's service offerings for each step of the way.

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