The METRO Group, the worlds fourth largest retailer and the first to deploy RFID technology across the whole supply chain has chosen Checkpoint Systems to form part of an RFID solutions team, that will help suppliers implement the technology in their daily operations.
Within the scope of the solutions team, Checkpoint has been chosen as the recommended partner for systems integration services, along with IBM. In addition Checkpoint is also recommended as a supplier of RFID labels and antenna.
METRO Group announced earlier this year their intention to begin a roll out of the technology, from November 2004, initially working with 20 suppliers to the group. This will gradually be extended to 100 suppliers, eight central warehouses and 269 different locations of METRO Cash & Carry, Real and Kaufhof in Germany.
The use of RFID in the supply chain operations of the retailer, will ensure better traceability and food safety in addition to improved inventory management leading to better stocked shelves and thus improving the customer in store experience.
Checkpoint has also been working very closely with METRO Group in the retailers RFID Innovation Centre which opened last week in Neuss, Germany. Checkpoint provided many of the applications that will help suppliers, sales divisions and suppliers of the METRO Group familiarise themselves with Radio Frequency Technology (RFID).
The Innovation Centre, which covers a floorspace of 1,300 m2, is an important testing laboratory for all participants of the rollout. METRO Groups partners can gather their own experience by testing the technology under virtual conditions, focussing on practical applications at all points in the supply chain.
Checkpoint technology features in all parts of the Innovation Centre. The company has provided a number of source to shelf RFID solutions that will allow centre visitors to interact with RFID technology and attain a better understanding of the benefits it can bring to their business. Checkpoints supply chain technology includes a warehouse solution, a smart dock that accurately reads UHF labels on cases, verifying quantities are correct and allowing a real time knowledge of inventory levels.
The department store solutions include smart rails and shelves, dual frequency hard tags and integrated RFID swing labels, a Smart Merchandising and Information point, a Smart Point Of Sale (POS) and Checkpoints dual frequency EAS/RFID Gemini antenna, the latter of which is already in use in the METRO Group Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany.
The technology may be used by fashion retailers and shoppers alike, informing them which sizes and colours are in stock simply by scanning the tag. A screen displays all the information about the particular garment without the need to wait until a shop assistant becomes available. In addition, the Smart Merchandising screen located at the changing room can advise shoppers on complementary items to go with the items they are trying on, which may lead to greater sales opportunities.
Checkpoints dual frequency RFID/EAS hard tags can be attached either at source or in a distribution centre and in addition to providing a reusable and therefore cost effective tag, elimate shrinkage at point of sale because they cannot be detached from the item unless the sale has been entered into the cash register.
Dr. Gerd Wolfram, Executive Project Manager said Checkpoint has a wealth of experience with RF-EAS technology, in applying labels at source which are read at the point of sale, the RFID business is very similar. Checkpoint can leverage this experience to be used in the supply chain, putting the tags on the crate and pallet. I am very appreciative that Checkpoint is part of the METRO Group Future Store Initiative and will also be working with our top suppliers.
Albert Roger, Vice President and General Manager RFID Solutions at Checkpoint Europe said of Checkpoints participation in the Innovation Centre: We are very pleased to be playing a major role in the first deployment of RFID in the retail supply chain and being part of the METRO Group RFID Innovation Centre. By visiting and using the Innovation Centre, suppliers and retailers will be able to more clearly understand the particular benefits this new technology will bring to their operations and their customers. Its a win, win, win for all involved.