APR 15-17
2015
SAN DIEGO
CALIF.
Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

RFID Transforms Michigan Vending Company

Sterling Services operates self-service convenience stores that replace on-site cafeterias, saving businesses money and satisfying customers.
By Jill Gambon
Feb 16, 2009Sterling Services, a food-service management and vending company that has operated in the Detroit area for some 23 years, has employed radio frequency identification technology to transform its business. For the past three years, the company has been running RFID-based self-service convenience stores in office buildings, manufacturing facilities, hospitals, a health club and even a high school.

The RFID-enabled stores, known as Fast Track Convenience, often replace money-losing company cafeterias or vending machines. Operating the Fast Track stores has proven to be more profitable than the vending machine business, says Ray Friedrich, the company's general manager.


After making their selections, customers bring the items to a kiosk equipped with an RFID reader.

The RFID-based retail system was developed by Freedom Shopping, a privately held, 14-employee firm in Hickory, N.C. The company's self-service systems are deployed in approximately 30 retail sites in the United States. Resellers can brand the stores with whatever name they choose. The system includes RFID tags and interrogators from a variety of manufacturers, as well as software and a checkout kiosk. "We use the [hardware] brand that's best suited for the circumstances," says Rob Simmons, the company's CEO. Freedom Shopping also maintains a database containing all of the product, inventory and sales information for the self-service stores.

Sterling owns the equipment and operates the convenience stores, while its customers provide space at their facilities. "Companies don't want to subsidize food services," Friedrich says. With the Fast Track stores, businesses can provide workers with an amenity without incurring costs. A business typically spends $50,000 to $150,000 operating an on-site cafeteria, Friedrich estimates. At a time when companies and organizations are slashing expenses, there is little taste for supporting food operations that lose money. The Fast Track stores offer far greater choices than vending machines, he notes, while avoiding the labor costs associated with staffing a restaurant or cafeteria.

Friedrich purchased his first retail system from Freedom Shopping in 2007 after seeing it demonstrated at a trade show. He had no customers lined up at the time, but was convinced the self-service stores would win over businesses. "I thought it was brilliant," he says. The first customer he showed it to—an auto parts manufacturer—signed on and built a room on its property for a Fast Track store. Two years ago, Sterling created a separate division, known as Fast Track Convenience, to market the retail systems. The company now has more than a dozen Fast Track Convenience stores in southeastern Michigan, including those at Garden City Hospital, Ford Motor Co. and the Franklin Athletic Club.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,945 words and 4 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2015 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco