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Kayser-Roth Takes First Steps Toward RFID Usage

The hosiery company is applying EPC tags to socks sent to one specific retailer, and has also added tag-testing to its product-quality auditing processes, with plans to use RFID in other ways as well.
By Claire Swedberg
May 13, 2011Hosiery and intimate apparel manufacturer Kayser-Roth is providing item level RFID UHF EPC Gen 2 tagging of men's socks packaging as the products are shipped to one of its customers. But rather than simply applying the tags merely to meet the retailer's mandate, Kayser-Roth is testing and verifying them as well during product audits, using RFID readers at three specific points of manufacture to verify that the tag is working and to ensure that the correct tag has been applied to each product.

Kayser Roth manufactures variety of hosiery and intimate apparel bearing the Hue and No Nonsense brands, as well as private label products. Kayser-Roth is the maker of products such as No nonsense and HUE. It manufactures its products at four facilities in North Carolina and Tennessee, and has its headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.

In January 2010, the unnamed retailer mandated that Kayser-Roth apply RFID tags to each package of a private-label product (manufactured specifically for that retailer) each of which contains three pairs of men's socks manufactured at—and shipped from—Kayser Roth's facility in Burlington, N.C. Kayser-Roth says it already had been tagging pallets and cases of products destined for that retailer for nearly five years. The item-level mandate was due July 2010, at which time Kayser-Roth began applying the tags. The testing of those tags, to ensure they are attached to the appropriate product and can be read, began in late July.

When the company received its directive to apply EPC Gen 2 tags to the packaging of its men's socks, it looked for something more than a "slap and ship" tagging approach because such an approach would provide for Kayser-Roth with limited benefit and no guarantee that the ID number on the tag accurately reflected the product to which it was attached. Instead, it developed a tagging system that enables it to read each item's RFID inlay at three separates points following manufacturing to ensure that each item is tagged correctly, and has a foundation that will allow the manufacturer to track when products are packed for shipment and ensure the right products are sent to a customer.

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