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Weber joins industry leaders to help retailers monitor products at the item level using RFID technology

Weber Packaging Solutions, a leading worldwide manufacturer and supplier of a wide range of labeling solutions, is participating in a unique item level RFID pilot program to test Electronic Product Code (EPC) technology.  The program is a collaborative effort among movie studios, DVD replicators, distributors, merchandisers, retailers, technology companies, industry associations and EPCglobal. Through the program, many new DVD releases will be individually tagged so retailers can monitor products on the shelves and assess the ROI of consumer item-level RFID tagging.

Leading up to the program, a tag feasibility study was conducted to determine the optimal placement for RFID smart labels that were applied directly to individual, plastic DVD cases. RFID labels were printed and encoded using a tabletop RFID printer-encoder.  The study concluded that RFID tags could be read in multiple positions on individual, plastic DVD cases. 

The next step in the project was to confirm that RFID tags could be encoded, printed and applied without reducing throughput on packaging and sortation lines. Weber Packaging Solutions provided an RFID item-level label printer-applicator integrated with a Zebra Technologies RFID print-encode engine. The system was used to simultaneously encode the RFID labels, verify their adherence to specifications, print human-readable information, and finally apply the RFID smart labels to the DVD cases.

After the initial steps were successfully completed, the “go-live pilot” commenced, where individually tagged items were introduced into live inventory that would end up at a retailer and, ultimately, the consumer.  Those Individually tagged products now are running through a number of retailers’ supply chains during this period of live testing.  As part of the go-live pilot, Weber Packaging Solutions has collaborated with Cinram, the world's largest provider of pre-recorded multimedia products and related logistics services, and 20th Century Fox, the studio which issues the DVDs.

“Weber is very pleased to be a critical part of this industry-wide pilot, a first in terms of consumer item level RFID tagging,” said Tom Michalsen, Weber’s director of marketing. “Throughout the pilot, trading partners will be able to assess the ROI of using RFID to track products and inventory on store shelves and in the back of the store. Moreover, we’ve shown suppliers that adding RFID technology to operations won’t slow them down.”

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