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Open EPC Number Management System for apparel retailers
20
Jan '11
Checkpoint Systems Inc, a leading global supplier of shrink management, merchandise visibility and apparel labeling solutions for the retail industry and its supply chain, announced its Open EPC Number Management Solution for apparel retailers and their suppliers.

As the apparel retail industry increasingly adopts Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-based solutions to improve inventory management, reduce out-of-stocks, reduce working capital and increase sales, the challenge to vendors and retailers lies in managing the unique tag numbers required for every single one of hundreds of millions of items.

“In an RFID-enabled retail environment, each item requires a unique EPC number consisting of the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which identifies the type of item, as well as serialization data, which uniquely defines it,” noted Prasad Putta, Executive Vice President, Checkpoint Systems' Merchandise Visibility Solutions. “But due to many factors, including global distribution, multiple suppliers of merchandise, multiple service bureaus and high volume of goods, vendors and retailers find it increasingly difficult to manage and ensure unique EPC numbers across their operations. However, this is critical to providing the data integrity needed to extract the full value of RFID.”

Some service bureau providers are taking advantage of this problem by bundling EPC number management together with their print service bureau offerings, which locks retailers and their vendors into using them as a single-source provider of RFID labels. Even when customers want to do their own in-plant printing, these vendors are requiring the use of proprietary encoding software, printer versions and label formats to work with their number management systems.

“We often hear from our customers that they want multiple service bureau suppliers and don't want to be forced into buying from only one vendor,” Putta added. “Checkpoint's Open EPC Number Management solution frees apparel retailers and manufacturers from getting locked into one provider. It offers them flexibility to obtain service bureau services and consumables from multiple providers, while still ensuring unique number management.”

Checkpoint's Open EPC Number Management Solution is an easy-to-deploy, cloud-based software application that provides complete global EPC number management.

“We are pleased to offer apparel retailers and their suppliers the only unbundled number management, labels and tagging solution available,” noted Per Levin, Checkpoint Systems' Worldwide President, Merchandise Visibility Solutions. “By giving retailers and suppliers maximum flexibility to work with the optimal RFID suppliers, we hope to help them to manage the complexity and logistics issues with a robust, yet simple, number management solution. This approach will allow retailers and suppliers to overcome a major hurdle in embracing RFID and harnessing its power.”

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