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NORDIC ID’S CUSTOMER NEWSLETTER 2011-2012

NORDIC ID

is a lifestyle choice

CASE STUDIES Gerry Weber Vesch! Freda Gatter3 WHSmith Travel Cost Cutter Alepa Hotel Iso-Syöte A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd. Martin McColl YMCA and Airbus Aifos Solutions


EDITORIAL Text: Jessica Säilä & Jorma Lalla / Nordic ID Editing: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Hanna Östman / Nordic ID

DESIGNED DELIVERED SOLD Looking back only 15 years, actually obtaining au courant haute couture was not possible for consumers. The time from design to store was long and high street fashion magazines had to settle for the leftovers of Vogue, which meant catwalk copies were never quite up to date. But this has turned around quickly, and today consumers buy outfits similar to those displayed on catwalks only months earlier. Furthermore, consumers now play an important role in the creation of upcoming trends. Transforming trends and consumer preferences into products, which then are whisked to stores, is a challenge that retailers still face. RFID offers a way to shorten the time from the designer’s pen to the store.

As stated in our last Nordic IDea magazine, we want to be the pacesetters in RFID. As our customers need to recognize the underlying trends at work in the marketplace, we too need to recognize emerging trends. For us, item level RFID and the different solutions related to it are clearly no longer simply a trend, but an ongoing process of which a growing number of Nordic ID customers recognize the benefits, and thus are already deploying it. Nordic ID RFID products, which have been rated the best in the world, benefit from the company’s strong knowledge and experience in RF design. Our crew has their heart set on providing customers with the best solution, and in the case of RFID we have placed special emphasis on

optimizing device performance and battery lifetime. Our strong relationship with VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) and leading technical universities helps us to broaden its knowledge base further. Choosing Fashion and Lifestyle industries as our theme in this Nordic IDea was an easy choice. Where the fashion industry especially was not high tech, not low tech, but rather NO TECH, the wheel has turned— and completely so. As lifestyle and fashion industries recognize the benefits of mobile technology and RFID, they have now moved from followers to the leaders in mobile auto ID. The benefits of RFID reported by our customers are amazing—in fact nearly unbelievable. They include among others cost savings on the order of reducing stock-taking time from 240 days to 2 hours, and design-to-store times almost halved from 15 to 8 weeks. These are groundbreaking benefits and Nordic ID does its very best to match them. We as a company pride ourselves in being fastest in the industry to fill orders for mobile RFID devices. Our aim is to help our customers grow. Reducing out of stocks, making trends a reality for consumer more quickly and encouraging additional purchases are an important part on a retailer’s path to further growth. To answer this need, Nordic ID will continue to develop its current RFID portfolio, as well as to introduce new RFID products to the Retail Technology Marketplace. Jorma Lalla, CEO, Nordic ID Jessica Säilä, Business Development Director, Nordic ID

2 • Nordic IDea


4 GERRY WEBER

FASHION RETAIL RFID PAYS FOR ITSELF IN 24 MONTHS

5 29

2

IN THE MAKING

4 CASE / GERRY WEBER Fashion retail RFID pays for itself in 24 months

“This is how we made the magic happen.”

NORDIC ID NEWSROOM

ARENA

www.rfidarena.com

Nordic IDea 2011-2012 Editor-in-chief: Jorma Lalla, CEO Editor: Mirva Saarijärvi / Hanna Östman Layout: Hanna Östman Nordic ID Headquarters Myllyojankatu 2 A 24100 SALO FINLAND

Printed at Finepress Oy, Finland

N

C DIC E OLAB E OR

EDITORIAL Designed, delivered, sold

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ARTICLE Fashion benefits from Nordic ID’s experience

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ARTICLE Nordic ID Merlin - in the making

14

CASE / Vesch! Russian fashion retailer hikes efficiency

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CASE / Gatter3 A first-mile technology solution

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NEWS

20

PARTNER NEWS

22

CASE / FREDA Optimizing just-in-time manufacturing with RFID

24

CASE / COST CUTTER Stock taking and order at the speed of light

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CASE / ALEPA Webshopping for food

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CASE / NORDIC ID MONITOR Hotel Iso-Syöte A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd.

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NORDIC ID SUPPORT Understanding inventory with select parameters

30

CASE / MARTIN MCCOLL Handhelds deliver efficiency

32

CASE / WHSMITH TRAVEL Porting WI-FI to Bluetooth

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CASE / YMCA AND AIRBUS RFID: the solution

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CASE AIFOS SOLUTIONS Blood bank tracking

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ARTICLE / FINNISH WAYS Turku 2011 - European Capital of Culture

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NORDIC ID TURNS 25 YEARS OLD Nordic ID is a lifestyle choice

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tel. +358 2 727 7700 fax + 358 2 727 7720 marketing@nordicid.com

Contents

NORDIC ID

MERLIN

RFID

NORDIC IDEA

441 678

Printed Matter

Cover image: Seilo Ristimäki / Iloinen Liftari. The views, opinions or positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Nordic ID or any employee thereof. Nordic ID does not assume any liability or warranty for the provided information being up-to-date, accurate, complete or appropriate. All offers are without engagement. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. Nordic ID, Nordic ID Merlin and Nordic ID Morphic are registered trademarks of Nordic ID Oy.

Nordic IDea • 3


RFID ARTICLE Product: Nordic ID Merlin UHF RFID Cross Dipole

GERRY WEBER

FASHION RETAIL RFID PAYS FOR ITSELF IN 24 MONTHS

RFID in retail is nothing new. But in fashion retailing, where stock-outs can shred profit margins, Radio Frequency Identification is proving to be an advantage of incredible value, and for more than just keeping the right inventory on shelves. In the U.S. Bloomingdales is achieving impressive inventory accuracy rates of 95%, but in Europe high-end fashion retailer Gerry Weber is going one better with 99% values. This is thanks to two things: complete RFID integration throughout the supply chain, and store-wide inventories performed twice weekly. The efficiency gains are so great, in fact, that Gerry Weber’s RFID implementation will pay for itself in just 24 months, then start helping the retail chain to increase profits.

4 • Nordic IDea

Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Nordic ID & Gerry Weber & GS1 US

The Germany-based company recently became the first fashion retailer to realize complete RFID supply chain integration. This is a move that Christian von Grone, Gerry Weber’s CIO, says is saving the company money on several fronts. “Each garment care label now carries an RFID tag and electronic product code (EPC), at a cost of just €0.08 more than conventional care labels,” he says. “For that small price we’re experiencing zero shrinkage in transport, less than 1 percent stock-out situations and we’ve reduced theft while saving money on security.” The RFID component of care labels is also designed to degrade after washing, quickly becoming unreadable and alleviating any consumer privacy concerns. RFID NOW FEASIBLE FOR ALL RETAILERS Art Smith, President and CEO of GS1 Canada, an international supply chain standards organization, and advisor to the inter-industry Item-Level RFID Initiative in the United States, thinks that the retail sector stands on the brink of a key technology shift. He sees the use of the global EPC standard for RFID as key to making this process more effective: “As the retail sector moves towards real-time inventory views, standardized RFID technology will enable efficiencies for manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and buyers alike.”


www.gerryweber-ag.com

Jorma Lalla is CEO of Nordic ID, a

Christian von Grone is Chief Informa-

Michele Southall is Director of Com-

puters for mobile data collection

Organisation at Gerry Weber Interna-

leading international supply chain

based in Salo, Finland’s Silicon Valley.

tional AG in Halle/Westfalen, Germany.

standards organization.

leading manufacturer of mobile com-

Jorma Lalla, CEO of Finnish RFID mobile computer manufacturer Nordic ID, the company that provides Gerry Weber with its mobile computers, believes that he is witnessing widespread melting of opposition to RFID use. “When we began manufacturing RFID mobile computers fifteen-odd years ago, our clients were mostly major retailers who wanted RFID tags and readers just so that they could perform stockroom and warehouse inventories more quickly. Other applications hadn’t yet developed and most other audiences wouldn’t even give us the time of day. Now that RFID is proven, we’re getting calls from manufacturers, logistics companies, service providers...you name it.” RFID HELPS RETAILER INCREASE PRECISION, REDUCE COSTS IN 4 AREAS Von Grone has identified four areas where RFID is now helping to reduce costs, showing just how efficacious the technology has become: 1. Lower shrinkage, higher transparency All items wholesaled to other retailers— accounting for 80% of Gerry Weber’s business—are RFID-scanned after being boxed. This 100% accurate reconciliation of what’s in the box with what’s on the manifest has reduced discrepancies in customer orders to zero, as it provides ironclad proof of contents. The process of redistributing merchandise between stores is greatly accelerated. On the other end of the supply chain, total capture of delivery information has resulted in very low shrinkage, thanks to high inventory transparency and reconciliation.

tion Officer and Global Head of IT and

2. Faster goods in When goods come into the store, most retailers do manual checks and scan individual barcodes into the store’s inventory management system. This can take hours or days. With RFID, you can scan each box with a handset, unpack it and get the inventory out on the floor. Returns processes will also be greatly accelerated. 3. More sales Better data quality—which itself delivers lower data-associated costs—results in having the right inventory on the floor. In addition to daily sales-based replenishment, Gerry Weber staff performs storewide inventory checks twice weekly, replenishing a missing size or colour and ordering more for delivery as needed. This level of detail would be impossible without RFID. 4. Lower security costs With the successful completion of a pilot program, Gerry Weber proved that replacing their conventional radio frequency-based electronic article surveillance (EAS) system with RFID would cost less and improve aesthetics. An EAS system consists of gates at store entrances and ‘hard tags’ that are attached to items, then removed at the cash register. Hard tags only last eight to twelve times, and one complete cycle costs Euro 0.35 or about USD $0.48. Attaching, disengaging and recycling hard tags is also a process that Gerry Weber will be happy to do away with. In addition, the retailer looks forward to replacing ugly gates with ordinary RFID antennas hidden in ceilings or walls. Eliminating EAS systems alone has paid for Gerry Weber’s entire RFID integration with retail ERP, wholesale logistics and till systems.

munity Development for GS1 US, the

GREATER FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS Cost savings are both a welcome and an expected result of integrated RFID implementation, but they were never the main goals for Gerry Weber. Von Grone’s chief goals in putting RFID into play throughout the company’s operations were speed and precision. To his way of thinking, increased speed and precision—otherwise known as efficiency—will always deliver cost savings. But it also does something equally as valuable: it puts employee focus back on the customer. “When you reduce the time it takes to do all of these inventory-related things in the store, there is more time for tending to the customer’s needs,” he says. FUTURE PLANS This year, von Grone intends to further the customer experience by launching a pilot that will introduce greater shopping precision. The ‘intelligent fitting room’ will give shoppers the ability to see whether another size or colour of the garment they are trying on is available, and have it brought to their change room. Fitting room displays might also suggest complimentary clothing or accessories. “The next step beyond that,” says von Grone, “is to mine fitting room data for design purposes. For example, based on articles of clothing that are frequently tried on but not bought, we will know that the article needs redesign to become more saleable.” Von Grone also wants to extend RFID further up the supply chain—right to delivery of raw materials—to points of manufacture, typically in Asia. “By following materials throughout production, we’re likely to find more efficiencies, reducing manufacturers’ costs and, more importantly, our time to market.” Nordic IDea • 5


FASHION ARTICLE Text: Jessica Säilä Nordic ID & Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Shutterstock & Hanna Östman / Nordic ID Drawings: Hanna Östman

Fashion BENEFITS FROM NORDIC ID’S EXPERIENCE

At their core, all retail processes are the same: people shop, compare, and purchase. But that’s where the similarities end. You don’t present a coupon to get three Volvos for the price of two, nor do you look for a certain shape and shade of apple in a size 44. When people speak of ‘retail’, they lump together dozens of types of businesses with very different ways of doing things. Customer behaviour also changes, depending on location. When grocery shoppers find that a product is out of stock, they move on. In fashion retail, customers will seek out a salesperson to confirm that the product isn’t in fact available. The converse is also true. When is the last time that someone asked you if you needed help finding anything in a grocery store? Yet that is the norm in fashion retail.

“FFMCG retailers’ competition strategies are quite well defined and limited to select from. In apparel it is different, underlying psychological factors influence businesses far more than in FMCG and there are almost as many different approaches to the markets as there are players on it. That makes the market so intriguing”

6 • Nordic IDea

FASHION RESEMBLES AUTOMOTIVE Retail typically refers to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), a broad subcategory that encompasses groceries, electronics, convenience, less expensive household goods and more. Unlike highend fashion retail, FMCGs do not require in-depth product knowledge, nor are salespeople expected to know what product to suggest if the item a customer is looking for is out of stock. Keeping all products on the shelves at all times is important to guarantee the steady, razor-thin profit margin that most FMCG retailers count on, but the time it takes to design a product and stock it on the shelf is not. The issues that luxury clothing retailers experience are more like those of the automotive industry than those of FMCG industries such as grocery. Product knowledge in both instances is king, as is time to market: the speed with which new products go from design to production and sale. Counterfeiting is also an issue. Just as you can buy a fake Louis Vuitton handbag in certain parts of the world, you can also buy grey market parts for your Toyota just about anywhere. High staff turnover, a fact of life in FMCG businesses, is something that retailers struggle with. Product knowledge is low and consequently the advice that salespeople can


www.nordicid.com

give customers is also lacking in depth. This isn’t so much of an issue with luxury goods, as turnover tends to be lower, but it is with stores like Zara and H&M. If an H&M customer is looking for a specific dress that is out of stock or discontinued, for example, a salesperson might not know enough to suggest a comparable product. This is where technologies like RFID and barcode come into play. HIGH-TECH, NO-TECH For a long time the fashion industry wasn’t high-tech. It wasn’t even low-tech. It was no-tech. But the players in the industry that have gotten into technology are making hay with it. When the Spice Girls were at the height of their popularity in the early 2000s, Gerri Halliwell appeared on stage wearing iconic platform boots with a Union Jack

design. One UK-wide chain selling those same boots sold out very quickly. But staff dealing with customer demand were able to consult their store point of sale (POS) system, which suggested a substitute: a platform boot with an American flag design. Those boots sold briskly, as well. In another case, British retail giant Tesco came out with a copy of the dress that future royal Kate Middleton wore at her engagement in 2010. At £25, the dress sold out within one hour of hitting the shelves. The retailer could have done a brisk business in similar dresses, had Tesco provided staff with handheld devices and configured them to suggest a substitute, but alas—they didn’t have such a system in place. Few retailers do. Yet if you visit their websites, you will see major fashion retailers suggesting that ‘you might also be interested in this’ and ‘people

that bought this also liked that’ and so on. The intelligence exists; it’s just not passed onto handsets and POS systems. Consider this scenario. Footwear retailers don’t put every size of shoe out on display. If a salesperson disappears to a poorly organized stockroom in search of the shoe you want to try on, she might be gone a long time. If you stick around long enough to find out that she doesn’t have the shoe in your size, how likely are you to keep shopping and chance another long wait ending in disappointment? The ideal scenario would have a salesperson reading an RFID tag with a handheld device. They would discover that there is one pair left of the shoes you want in your size and colour. The shoes are not in the stockroom, however; they have just been tried on by

Nordic IDea • 7


FASHION ARTICLE

8 • Nordic IDea


www.nordicid.com

another customer and are waiting to go back into the stockroom, so they should be over… there they are!

retailers are RFID-scanned after being boxed. This reconciliation with the manifest has reduced discrepancies in customer orders to zero. Total capture of delivery information has also resulted in very low shrinkage, thanks to high inventory transparency.

FROM BARCODE TO RFID: A BIG JUMP The technological forerunners of fashion retail have long ago proven the return on their investment in barcode scanners in terms of time saved and dollars earned. They’re now making the jump to RFID technology. Whereas a barcode scanner will tell you that the pair of jeans you took out of a box to scan are women’s Levi’s, an RFID unit will tell you that inside the sealed box at your feet are 12 pairs of women’s relaxed fit faded indigo Levi’s jeans, size 10 and 10 pairs in a size 8. It can also tell you, if you wanted to write such details onto your tags, how long those jeans took at each stop between the manufacturer and your store, what route they took and the ambient temperature all along the way. With RFID you can read a pallet of mixed goods delivered to your stockroom and have an instant record of the sizes and colours of the eight thousand new items you have in stock. FINDING THE FAKES RFID also helps with counterfeiting. Every major brand, from Adidas to Gucci, wants you to buy their product and not a knockoff made on the other side of the world. They also want to keep their manufacturers from running off with an extra 1,000 pairs of sneakers in the dead of night and clandestinely shipping them abroad. How do you guard against these things? Before RFID, protecting your brand’s good reputation required armies of lawyers and teams of investigators. But with RFID it’s very simple. Say, for example, you order 1,000 items to be manufactured. You send your manufacturer care labels to attach to

FASTER GOODS IN With RFID, store employees scan each box with a handset, unpack it and get the inventory out on the floor instead of scanning individual barcodes into the store’s inventory management system.   MORE SALES

those 1,000 items. These labels are made with a combination of RFID and secondary information that makes tags easy for you to validate, but impossible for others to duplicate. At point of sale or anywhere along the way, you can use this tag to prove that the given items are the real thing. EFFICIENCY IN ACTION: GERRY WEBER There are many more processes particular to fashion retail that barcode and RFID help with. Dressing room data, better item security, price markdowns and more. But RFID also just plain improves efficiency. By a whole lot. Germany-based fashion retailer Gerry Weber, for example, is the first in the world to implement complete RFID integration throughout the supply chain. Here are some results: LOWER SHRINKAGE, HIGHER TRANSPARENCY All wholesale orders headed for other

SINCE THE BEGINNING,

WITH SOLUTIONS FOR:

• • • •

Customer sales and service Stock management Cool, custom applications Pricing and markdowns

LOWER SECURITY COSTS Gerry Weber proved that replacing conventional radio frequency-based electronic article surveillance (EAS) system with RFID costs less and improves aesthetics. In fact, eliminating EAS systems alone has paid for Gerry Weber’s entire RFID integration with retail ERP, wholesale logistics and till systems. Gerry Weber went all the way with RFID and achieved stellar results. But while increasing precision and saving time were important goals for them, they also knew the value of putting employee focus back on the customer. If a handheld electronic device helps staff to do a better job of serving customer needs, so much the better.

A PARTIAL LIST OF FASHION RETAIL CLIENTS INCLUDES:

NORDIC ID HAS SUPPORTED

FASHION RETAIL COMPANIES

Better data quality results in having the right inventory on the floor. In addition to daily sales-based replenishment, Gerry Weber staff performs storewide inventory checks twice weekly, replenishing a missing size or colour as needed, reducing out of stock situations to less than 1%.

• • • • • • •

Adidas, worldwide Anne Summers, a UK chain of lingerie stores Anttila, a Finnish department store Gerry Weber, a Germany-based fashion retailer and wholesaler Glitter, a Sweden-based chain of fashion accessory stores Sokos, a Finnish department store Vesch!, a Russian department store

Nordic IDea • 9


www.nordicid.com

NORDIC ID

MERLIN

in the making

SIMPLY THE BEST HANDHELD SCANNER ON THE MARKET. It may be mere technological prowess, but the new Nordic ID Merlin performs like magic. Our new flagship handset, Nordic ID Merlin took its place in our lineup of handheld computers in late 2010. It’s faster, more powerful, more rugged and has 30% more battery life than its predecessor, the Nordic ID PL3000. Giving customers so much of what they asked for in one device comes close to actual wizardry.

Nordic ID Merlin is the result of extensive research and development based on customer demands. Every year Nordic ID conducts a selective partner survey to understand what customers and partners like about the devices that they are using, and what they would like to see more of. “Customers are generally very pleased with our products, but of course there’s always room for improvement,” says Miia Kivelä, Partner Manager, Product Sales with Nordic ID. “What partners want with this kind of handset designed for intensive use is more power, more processor speed and memory,” Kivelä continues. “They also wanted a brighter display, all in a super-rugged package.” It appears that customers got what they wanted. Processor speed and memory have both been given a significant boost to meet the increasing demands of applications 10 • Nordic IDea

that users run on handheld scanners. Javabased applications, for example, need to run a separate virtual machine on units, taxing processor speed and generally slowing the device down. “The overall user experience is better with Nordic ID Merlin because the unit responds more quickly,” explains Janne Mäkeläinen, a technical support engineer and RFID specialist with Nordic ID. “The way that applications are designed will impact speed, but regardless everything is much faster with Nordic ID Merlin, no matter what. The screen is also brighter, for easier use in full daylight.” Nordic ID Merlin is meant to gradually replace the tried, tested and very popular Nordic ID PL3000 series of mobile computers. Its capabilities are similar, but it’s been totally redesigned according to customer demands. Like the PL3000, Nordic ID Merlin is a rugged barcode and/or RFID handheld scanner compatible with virtually all software solutions and capable of intensive use in the warehouse or stock room. Nordic ID Merlin is also based on a Microsoft Windows CE platform and is available in many configurations, depending on customer requirements for data collection and transmission. All Nordic ID devices are built to be backwards compatible, so Nordic ID Merlin units can operate simultaneously right alongside the PL3000. ”In the Nordic ID Merlin series, we have combined the best features of our top

performing mobile computers, says Jorma Lalla CEO at Nordic ID. “The PL3000 mobile RFID reader achieved the highest ratings in all performance categories for an RFID reader in the European EPC Competence Center (EECC’s) tests, and in fact the Cross Dipole version achieved the best value ever measured in an EECC test procedure for ‘receiver sensitivity’,” Lalla continues. “Now we have topped even that by packing all the best industry features into the Nordic ID Merlin.” The Nordic ID Cross Dipole antenna, unique in the industry, is the basis of one of the great advantages that the company enjoys over competitors. “It’s a big selling point,” admits Hannu Heino, Technical Director at Nordic ID. Having 2 antennas in close proximity usually results in impedance, or wasted energy, as each antenna cancels out the other’s power to a degree. In some geometrical settings, however, the mutual impedance between antennas can be zero. This is the case for crossed dipoles used in circular polarization antennas. The Nordic ID Merlin UHF RFID Cross Dipole antenna allows it to read further and faster than any other RFID handset available today, with less energy expenditure, but with high antenna gain and transmission power, excellent directivity and receiver sensitivity. “Our cross-polarizing antenna allows Nordic ID Merlin to handle distances of up to five meters, extending all the way up to eight


Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Hanna Östman / Nordic ID

meters in the case of large tags,” says Anna Nummi, R&D Project Manager at Nordic ID. The cross dipole design also enables the device to read tags horizontally and vertically—functionality that is particularly useful when you’re processing garments or pallet logistics. Feedback from clients has been highly encouraging. New products require a lot of testing, starting internally with R&D, then with product support teams and finally customers that have a passion for the latest and the greatest. To test Nordic ID Merlin prototypes, Nordic ID worked closely with several customers. “Everyone found that the processing speed was what really set this

NORDIC ID MERLIN: TOP FEATURES • • • • • •

High processing power & memory 30% more battery life More rugged; increased shock resistance Bright, full-colour display with touchscreen Cross Dipole: best reading speed and distance in the industry Highest EECC ratings in all performance categories

handheld scanner apart,” says Kivelä. “Our customers have some pretty demanding applications running on their handsets and Nordic ID Merlin was markedly faster.” Customers are moving to Nordic ID Merlin

from the PL3000 for various reasons: the need for more powerful tools, a brighter display for indoor/outdoor environments, longer battery life and more. Applications running on the PL3000 are easily switched over without any changes required.

Anna Nummi / R&D Project Manager (left), Janne Mäkeläinen / Technical Support Engineer (middle) and Miia Kivelä / Partner Manager (right) are some of the key persons behind the development, support and sales of Nordic ID Merlin. Nordic IDea • 11


Nordic ID Merlin has been rigorously tested and developed to the point where engineers are confident of its ability to perform under even the most demanding conditions. It’s also quick and easy to develop applications for the unit, no matter what programming language you choose. “There is no need to know how the hardware drivers actually work,” says Mäkeläinen. “Programmers control them via MHL, the Nordic ID abstraction layer, which supports C and C++, HTML, .NET and other languages.” The Windows CE 6.0 operating system is also highly customizable and does not require the use of a standard interface.

Nordic ID Merlin configurations include the Nordic ID Merlin UHF RFID, Nordic ID Merlin Cross Dipole UHF RFID, Nordic ID Merlin HF and the Nordic ID Merlin Barcode. But as our manufacturing facility is located only 30 kilometers away from the Nordic ID head office in Salo, Finland, we are able to turn out custom versions of the device in short order. In fact, our ability to respond quickly to customer demands is another advantage we have over competitors, most of whom outsource manufacturing to Asia. A custom version of Nordic ID Merlin has, case in point, just been delivered. This space-aged device, the Nordic ID Merlin RFID Blade, has a specially designed external (removable) antenna that makes it ideal for use in libraries and laundries, where it can read small passive tags from a variety of angles with ease. For example, the Blade is capable of reading a 16-millimeter diameter epoxy potted laundry tag as far as 17 centimeters away. Competing ISO15693 handsets are limited to a reading range of about 10 centimeters or less for most tags. For the Nordic ID Merlin, the average reading range is 20 centimeters, with a range of over 50 centimeters for some common tags. 12 • Nordic IDea


TECHNICAL INFORMATION

NORDIC ID MERLIN • Windows® CE operating system and a standard browser • Multiple identification and communication options • Long operating hours • Ergonomic design

• • • • • •

Robust and outdoor usable Sharp and bright colour display Future proof technologies Customer specific SW configurations Available in custom colours 2 year warranty

Processor

ARM11 532 MHz

Operating platform

Microsoft® Windows® Embedded CE 6.0 r 3

Memory

256 MB DDR RAM / 288 MB Flash MicroSD card slot (SDHC)

Display

3.5”, 53.6 x 71.5 mm (QVGA) TFT-LCD adjustable backlight, energy saving function

Keyboard

adjustable key backlight 29 keys, individually adjustable key backlight

Battery

Li-lon >2600 mAh Charging time 1,5 hours from 0 to 90% 5 hours from 0 to 100% and real clock back up battery (real timetime clock maintained)

Colour

Black

Weight

450 g–750 g (incl. battery)

Protection

IP54 (except Nordic ID Merlin Blade)

Drop resistance

1.6 m onto concrete (except Nordic ID Merlin Blade 1.2 m)

GPRS

COMMUNICATION WPAN

Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, Class 2

WLAN

802.11 b/g/i/e, WPA2

(optional)

WWAN

GPRS / EDGE 900/1800

(optional)

USB

via charger

Ethernet

via charger

IDENTIFICATION Barcode

Laser, incl. GS1 DataBar 104 scans/second

(optional)

Imager RFID Frequency Typical reading distance Reading speed (tags/s) Supported standard Notification

HF / HF Blade 13.56 10–30 cm 30 ISO 15693

UHF / UHF Cross Dipole 868 MHz 1.5–4 m 170 ISO 18000-6C

battery status indicator (LED)

All information is subject to change without notice.

Nordic IDea • 13


CASE STUDY

Product: Nordic ID Morphic Barcode

Text: Pilot Editing: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Shutterstock & Nordic ID

VESCH!

Russian fashion retailer hikes efficiency by 20 % with real time data

Vesch! is a multi-brand Russian retailer of affordable clothing for men, women and children. Founded in 1999, Vesch! currently has a total floor space of more than 13,000 square meters in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities. Since 2008 Vesch! has grown over 30% and now employs over 1000 people. In 2008 the retailer added 21 new stores, with a further five new retail outlets opened in 2009.

“Our distribution center is essentially a warehouse with simple operations, and the Nordic ID Morphic handheld turned out to be a perfect match for our needs.” In May, 2005 the Swedish IKEA Group (STK “MEGA”) became a partner in development, and today there are Vesch! stores in each of its MEGA malls in Russia, making Vesch! one of the fastest growing companies in the Russian apparel market. The introduction of new IT processes follow Vesch!´s growth strategy, which the company has also served by increasing the number of stores, diversification, improving customer service and launching a customer loyalty program.

14 • Nordic IDea

MODERNIZING OPERATIONS The Vesch! distribution center uses a cross-docking model: incoming goods are immediately redirected to retail chain outlets in smaller quantities, without being kept in storage. To optimize the distribution center’s operations and to increase its efficiency, Vesch! decided to move to a low-cost, quick setup system and to upgrade equipment. The main goal of the modernization was to significantly reduce paperwork and processing time by moving it online. IMPRESSIVE RESULTS Now that all the data is delivered directly to the online system, processing time for goods and documents has decreased by 20%. This is enabled by the introduction of the Nordic ID Morphic units, new exchange processes and the fact that data verification is no longer required. Thanks to the instant product information update upon delivery,

staff is freed up to perform other warehouse operations. Alexey Neumyvakin, Vesch!’s IT Director and project supervisor, is pleased with the solution: “Our distribution center is essentially a warehouse with simple operations, and the Nordic ID Morphic handheld turned out to be a perfect match for our needs. Now there is no need to invest in expensive equipment–building up the right business processes is more important for us today”. He also finds that barcode technology accelerates Vesch!´s warehouse operations and saves costs. “I should say that Nordic ID Morphic fully met our expectations and did not give us a single reason for complaint. Small and ergonomic, yet robust and reliable, with its IP54 protection class and high impact resistance, this device absolutely complies with the sometimes rough operating conditions of Vesch!’s operations center,” states Neumyvakin.


www.veshalka.ru www.pilot.ru FAST AND EASY IMPLEMENTATION Vesch! chose PILOT, a trusted partner of Nordic ID, for the renewal of their distribution center. The selection criteria were cost-efficiency, quick setup and simple integration, as well as the capability of handheld devices to work flawlessly. When systems experts at PILOT introduced the Nordic ID Morphic mobile handset

PILOT

to Vesch!, the retailer was impressed by the compact size and light weight of the Nordic ID Morphic, which is equipped with a powerful processor and good memory, as well as all the modern communication technologies such as Wi-Fi and GPRS. And as the unit is shaped like a mobile phone, its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold.

The Nordic ID Morphic is always available and ready-to-use for all Vesch! staff. With the previous handset, warehouse employees needed to wait while data was ported onto it. But the Windows-based system in the Nordic ID Morphic comes with a remote server connection, which allows users to access item information online without any preparation.

Established in 1992, PILOT is a leading Russian system integrator, software and solutions

developer, equipment supplier and after-sales service provider for retail companies. PILOT is the official business partner of many international IT companies, and is a preferred partner of Nordic ID in promoting and distributing Morphic handsets in Russia. PILOT develops solutions for all business processes, and serves virtually all lines of business. The company has representative offices throughout Russia and the Ukraine, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, and many other cities. PILOT counts leading Russian and international retail chains such as Auchan, Billa, INDITEX, ATAK, Stockmann, Mango, Detsky Mir, Leroy Merlin, REAL and many others among its clients. When it comes to retail outlet automation, industry leaders rely on PILOT expertise.

Nordic IDea • 15


RFID CASE STUDY

Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Shutterstock & Nordic ID Drawing: Hanna Östman / Nordic ID

The last time you were in a Zara, Gerry Weber or Esprit store, did you look at item care labels? More and more major fashion retailers source their products directly from a growing number of manufacturers located around the world. Blazers might be made in Turkey, while T-shirts are from Bangladesh or India. A single retailer might source items from dozens, sometimes hundreds, of manufacturers on several continents. One thing that all retailers struggle with is getting products into stores at the right time, in the right quantities. Keeping orders straight and on time is a challenging undertaking, especially when suppliers have very different technical abilities and ways of doing things. Once a shipment enters a logistics company’s care it’s much easier to guess the timing of arrival, but who’s to say that the manufacturer filled the order correctly? If there is a broken link in the chain of apparel procurement, it’s often a manufacturer’s ability to fill an order correctly and on time.

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GATTER3 A first-mile technology solution


Product: Nordic ID PL3000 Cross Dipole UHF RFID

GATTER3 RFID SYSTEM ITEM CHECKING

FIXING THE BROKEN LINK Gatter3 GmbH & Co is changing this. The Hamburg-based technology firm has found an ingenious way to repair this oft-broken link by means of a technology based system that keeps it simple. For Gatter3’s main client, Gerry Weber, a pan-European fashion retailer with wholesale clients as well as own shops, has to ensure the correct packing and shipment of more than 25 million articles per year from over 250 manufacturers worldwide to hundreds of customers across Europe. The logistical challenge is complex, but Gatter3’s solution is very simple to use, though technologically sophisticated. Manufacturers use Nordic ID PL3000 UHF Cross Dipole mobile computers to scan products, boxes and entire orders. The devices, user-friendly to begin with, are specially modified according to Gatter3 specifications. Keypads contain only three buttons, each carrying a tiny diagram in www.gatter3.de

BOX PACKING

addition to words: item checking, box packing, and palette loading. Using the appropriate buttons, stockroom employees scan items as they go into cartons, cartons as they are stacked onto pallets and pallets as they move onto trucks or into containers. Thus item numbers are linked with box numbers, and so on to make up an entire order. MAJOR ERROR REDUCTIONS “The system has drastically reduced shipping errors, which are on the whole human errors,” says Roland Nickerl, one of Gatter3’s founders. “There’s no mistyping, no miscommunication and next to no mistakes,” he says. Nickerl also made the decision to go with Nordic ID PL3000. “We tested virtually every RFID handheld available in the German marketplace, and nothing compared to the Nordic ID PL3000 Cross Dipole in terms of read range, accuracy and ruggedness. It’s not the cheapest device either, but still quite affordable even for the smaller manufacturers.”

PALETTE LOADING

A FOOLPROOF SOLUTION With the Nordic ID PL3000, items are easily read through boxes; in fact it takes only seconds to read all RFID tag information contained on an entire palletful of items. Once information is input, warehouse personnel are free to place the mobile computer into its cradle and perform other tasks—the information automatically uploads via Wi-Fi to the Internet and synchronizes with the Gatter3 server. Gatter3 then confirms the accuracy of the order, giving the manufacturer the green light to ship, and transfers the information to fashion retailers’ inventory systems. “We have adapted logistics information to work with just about every supply chain management software solution there is,” says Nickerl. “Nobody has to do anything—our secret is keeping it simple. In fact, when the Nordic ID PL3000 mobile computers need updating, we manage that centrally. As long as there’s power and an Internet connection, the system is close to foolproof.” Nordic IDea • 17


NEWS www.rfidarena.com

RFID

ARENA

w w w . r f i d a r e n a . c o m

NEWSROOM RFID ARENA Nordic ID’s own newsroom with all the latest in RFID technology

NORDIC ID is a

Lifestyle Choice

www.toshibatec-eu.com

A COMPLETE RFID SOLUTION FOR THE APPAREL RETAIL Nordic ID joined forces with Toshiba Tec, the retail and system integrator Time2Trace and the label specialist labeltech to offer a real RFID solution to fashion retail in Belgium.

18 • Nordic IDea

Tom Geerinck, auto-ID Sales Manager at Toshiba TEC explains: “Each of us already offer an excellent piece of the puzzle, but it’s only together that we offer a truly complimentary solution. It’s this total package that the apparel retail wants. With Toshiba RETAIL involved as well, the combination creates a winning solution for the fashion retail”. Jan Merckx, MD at Time2Trace adds to this: “As a specialist RFID system integrator we need to bring the cutting edge technology to the end-users. We are already experienced with Toshiba TEC RFID

printers and Nordic ID mobile computers and thus for us, all the vendors meeting and forming this loose alliance in the beginning of February this year, was the logical next step in the cooperation.” As plans and actions are being developed and written, we are experiencing the industry moving forward faster and faster as the collections are changing in rapid intervals these days. Nordic ID, Toshiba TEC, Time2Trace and Labeltech mean to keep up with the pace and offer the right tools at the right time to the retailers.


Nordic ID Repair Service Taking active steps to listen to our customer’s feedback, Nordic ID UK decided to offer service and repair in-house at the end of last year. By taking ownership of the repair process we are now able to give the best level of accountability and dedicated resources, allowing our customers to benefit from a direct Nordic ID service relationship, which reduces layers of re-charges and costs. Since then the Service Team at Nordic ID UK has expanded to ensure a high standard of service is provided to our customers. The introduction of a new database has also improved the overall performance and the way in which we hold information. David Sands Ltd. is a retailer based in Scotland that uses our repair service and has seen the changes that Nordic ID UK has implemented over the last few months. They have commented that the changes have made: “A vast improvement, providing a quality service in an efficient and competitive manner.”

BIG SISTA

Nordic ID UK offers our customers a dedicated and efficient Project Management service, which includes the survey and installation of wireless network infrastructures. The Nordic ID UK Project Team has been known to be ‘called on’ to troubleshoot and correct other contractor’s installations for customers who have experienced difficulties with their wireless networks. The close of 2010 for Nordic ID UK saw the completion of a project to install new handheld terminals (the Nordic ID RF651) and a wireless network into Martin McColls stores. Nordic ID UK were proud to work with Martin McColl Ltd., who is the UK’s leading independent neighbourhood retailing group. The company has over 1250 convenience and newsagents including 400 in-store Post Offices serving local communities throughout England, Scotland and Wales. After completion of the project Dave Lambert, Service Delivery Manager at Martin McColls, was pleased with the work completed by the Nordic ID UK team and said:

Drop in for a peek at Nordic ID!

This spring Nordic ID launches a new series. No, this time we are not talking about a new mobile computer series. Nordic ID takes up a whole new kind of challenge. May we present to you, Nordic ID Big Sista, a video production giving a peek into the daily life’s of the Nordic ID staff. We will let you in on the office jokes.

today’s world we have already given up of a lot of our own privacy by joining social networks or just by simply owning a mobile phone. With this video production we also want to show that there is nothing to fear, we will give up of our own privacy in the company to let you in.

“I would like to thank you personally for your input, co-operation and hard work in contributing to the success of the rollout….” So far, 2011 has seen Nordic ID UK successfully completing a project on behalf of WHSmiths Plc – Iain Winskill, Service Delivery and Infrastructure Manager at WHSmiths Plc, commented as follows: “I just wanted to record my thanks for all the effort and professionalism of all your teams in delivering this project, which has been implemented with minimal fuss.” Nordic ID UK will continue to strive to provide a high quality service for our customers who are in need of our assistance – be it in the repair centre or with our project management team. Our customers are of the utmost importance to us and their loyalty to our products and our team will reward them with our dedication to provide them with the best service at a reasonable cost. www.nordicid.co.uk

www.youtube.com/nordicid The staff at Nordic ID is proud to be a part of the winning team and is committed to the success of the company. We choose Nordic ID as a lifestyle for ourselves; Nordic ID is a part of our own ID. And if you look carefully you might be able to identify an RF Monster in the videos. Tune in on the Nordic ID YouTube channel and have a laugh with us!

The idea behind the Nordic ID Big Sista is to emphasize the tangible company that we are. All our customers have given us thanks for always being available, always giving an answer quickly, always letting the customer know who they are talking to and who is responsible for what. This agility has given us a competitive edge. We want to bring us even closer to you, our customers. We want to show you the company you already know, the people you already know. We are in the RFID business as well as the self monitoring business and these technologies have always raised questions about privacy issues in people’s minds. In Nordic IDea • 19


PARTNER NEWS www.nomadvance.com

Nordic ID signs a reseller agreement with

NOMADVANCE “Local representation is something that we want to emphasize at Nordic ID”, says Jorma Lalla, CEO at Nordic ID. “Being presented by a trusted partner and reseller such as Nomadvance, makes us happy. We believe that this will lead to good cooperation and success for both Nomadvance and Nordic ID.”, he continues. Signing the agreement is one step ahead in strengthening the presence of Nordic ID in Europe. Nomadvance has long experience in the auto identification solutions in France and is thus a good partner for Nordic ID. The key focus of the Nomadvance and Nordic ID cooperation is in retail where the aim is to bring the Nordic ID RFID mobile computers as well as the barcode solutions to the market. “Focusing on retail also opens possibilities for the Nordic ID Monitor self monitoring system designed for convenient stores, professional kitchens and food storage and transportation enterprises”, says Nicolas Haran, Area Sales Manager at Nordic ID, “The ease of adaptation and use, ergonomic design and light weight make the devices an attractive add to Nomadvance’s product portfolio”.

CHECKPOINT AND NORDIC ID – FASHIONABLE RFID CHECKPOINT TEAMS UP WITH NORDIC ID TO SPREAD THE BENEFITS OF RFID TECHNOLOGY IN FASHION RETAIL. Checkpoint offers apparel retailers and department stores a complete out-of-thebox solution to gain visibility in closed loops. The solution is based on RFID technology and enables retailers to track inventory on item level in the back room and on the sales floor. The goal is to improve inventory accuracy, reduce out-of-stocks, improve replenishment, increase store efficiency and increase sales. Nordic ID and Checkpoint have signed a cooperation agreement to use Nordic ID RFID products as a part of Checkpoint’s solutions. “The Nordic ID RFID mobile computers help to perform tasks in retail and supply chain quickly and easily due to their powerful and fast RFID, easy to learn user interface and ergonomic design”, says Steve

20 • Nordic IDea

Howells, merchandise visibility, director market development EMEA at Checkpoint Systems. Nordic ID currently offers the largest RFID product portfolio, including the Nordic ID Merlin UHF RFID, the Merlin UHF RFID Cross Dipole and the Nordic ID Morphic UHF RFID, to serve the rapidly growing needs of item level RFID especially in the apparel industry. ABOUT CHECKPOINT Checkpoint Systems is a global leader in shrink management, merchandise visibility and apparel labeling solutions. Checkpoint enables retailers and their suppliers to reduce shrink, improve shelf

availability and leverage real-time data to achieve operational excellence. Checkpoint solutions are built upon 40 years of RF technology expertise, diverse shrink management offerings, a broad portfolio of apparel labeling solutions, market leading RFID applications, innovative high theft solutions and its Web-based Check-Net data management platform. As a result, Checkpoint customers enjoy increased sales and profits by improving supply chain efficiencies, by facilitating on demand label printing and by providing a secure open merchandising environment enhancing the consumer’s shopping experience. Listed on the NYSE (NYSE: CKP), Checkpoint operates in every major geographic market and employs 5,600 people worldwide.

www.checkpointsystems.com


www.sysdevsolutions.com

SOFTWORK – NORDIC ID’S NEW DISTRIBUTOR

NORDIC ID CERTIFIED FOR THE KALIPSO MOBILE APPLICATION GENERATOR OF SYSDEV

Softwork is one of the distributors of Nordic ID products. Softwork wanted to partner with Nordic ID to top up their RFID supply. Nordic ID is interested in working with Softwork because the company is an experienced and trusted partner in the area. Nordic ID wants to increase its presence in the Mediterranean area and find good partners there with whom they can work and form good customer relationships.

Sysdev has created new specific actions for RFID UHF and HF within KALIPSO Studio V3 for Nordic ID mobile computers. Now also applications including RFID identification can be created fast and easy with KALIPSO on Nordic ID terminals.

Softwork has announced that they will concentrate on the two mobile computers in their product range: Nordic ID Morphic and Nordic ID Merlin. The first was chosen because it is an “all in one” –tool with a large amount of data collection and telephone functions. It is also equipped with a remote management system, which allows updating of field units in a centralized manner. The seamless integration between the HW and SW level client interfaces preserves possible changes for future needs, regardless

of the application, with data transmission via Bluetooth, WLAN and GPRS / GSM. The Nordic ID Morphic has intuitive user interface, small size and light weight. It is ergonomic and has Windows CE 6.0 operating system, fully customizable. The list of positive features keeps going on and on. The second terminal, the latest model created by Nordic ID, called the Nordic ID Merlin combines the best-in-industry features with a high power and fast processor for improved performance (reading distance more than 3 m) It is equipped with high quality components such as an extremely bright display. The 1D/2D barcode versions of the Nordic ID Merlin are designed to meet specific organizational needs. The Nordic ID Merlin is ideal for applications for commerce and industry. It is characterized by flexibility, not only in in terms of identification options (barcode, RFID), but also in terms of data communication (Bluetooth, WLAN, GPRS).

www.rf-id.it

KALIPSO is a fast and powerful mobile application generator for Microsoft OS portable terminals. KALIPSO allows you to create your applications in less time and with less cost without the need to be an expert developer. Use actual and emergent technologies without having to write code, simply by dragging and dropping. Create your Sales force, inventory, picking, proof of delivery, technical services, route accounting, surveys, ticketing, and other applications in a quick and easy way. With its powerful communication engine and synchronization tool, KALIPSO allows you to develop online and offline applications using WI-FI, 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth and virtually any kind of communication available.

NEW RESELLER AGREEMENT WITH TURKISH SEDNA DISTRIBUTION Nordic ID has signed a cooperation agreement with SEDNA Distribution to market and to sell Nordic ID handheld readers in Turkey. The Nordic ID product catalogue, including the new Nordic ID Morphic and the Nordic ID PL3000– series, both barcode and RFID versions, are covered in the agreement. “We are delighted with having SEDNA Distribution as our new partner. The market is important to us, and in addition for local presence, SEDNA is able to provide numerous value added services for its customers. We are confident this association will be a great success”, says Jorma Lalla, CEO at Nordic ID. “Our product portfolio has become much richer with Nordic ID products who’s a leader manufacturer of data collection terminals in www.sedna.com.tr

Europe. Their high quality mobile computers with UHF RFID option will open up new opportunities for our reseller partners” says Daron Ermen, Managing Director at SEDNA Distribution. SEDNA Distribution is a regional distributor for Automatic Identification, Data Collection and Mobility products. Their business model is value added distribution of Automatic Identification, Data Collection, Mobility and POS products, which differentiate SEDNA from traditional wholesalers and box movers. SEDNA sells only to reseller partners majority, of which are leading system integrators, solution providers and software houses by providing them numerous value

added services like technical trainings, application seminars, workshops, hardware support, project management, business development and consultancy. Nordic ID provides mobile computers for professional use enabling customers to improve their inventory management, customer service, communication and supply chain control. Nordic ID has over 15 years experience in auto ID and mobility, and over 10 years experience in RFID. Nordic ID’s RFID products include the Nordic ID Merlin UHF and HF RFID, and the Nordic ID Morphic UHF RFID mobile computers. Recently customers such as Gerry Weber, Nokian Tyres, Assistor, London Underground, Delhaize and Container Centralen have chosen Nordic ID RFID products. Nordic IDea • 21


RFID CASE STUDY

Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Shutterstock & Nordic ID

FREDA Lithuanian furniture maker optimizes just-intime manufacturing with RFID

22 • Nordic IDea

SC Freda is one of Lithuania’s oldest and largest furniture manufacturers, with a history dating back to 1880. The Kaunasbased company produces wood furniture, notably for Swedish global retailer IKEA, including cabinets, dressers and tables for household use. SC Freda ships high volumes

of

furniture—typically

10,000

pallets of furniture per month, or 15 to 20 truckloads every day.


www.freda.eu

In August 2010, SC Freda implemented an RFID system designed to increase the accuracy of furniture shipments, and to heighten the efficiency of warehousing and truck loading. Freda management chose Lithuanian technology integrator Autepra to provide the RFID solution, which consists of installed RFID readers, passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags, Nordic ID PL3000 mobile computers and truck- and forkliftbased systems. The new RFID process replaces the former paper-based system whereby a sticker was manually affixed to finished products and then taken off as products were loaded onto trucks. The old system allowed management to keep track of quantities and types of products shipped, but was time-consuming and prone to human error. With the RFID system, finished products are transported from the factory to a warehouse by conveyor and forklift, with one quick stop for packaging. As goods are packaged,

Product: Nordic ID PL3000 UHF RFID

RFID tags are applied, recording the type of furniture, time and date of manufacture. Each time that a tag ID is generated and encoded, the data is added to SC Freda’s ERP system. When a truck is loaded, the forklift operator fills orders based on the list of all required items displayed on the screen of his vehicle’s on-board computer. As the forklift passes through the RFID portal of the loading dock, an installed RFID reader compares tag information against the order to be filled in Freda’s ERP system. The forklift computer is then updated, displaying loaded items in green, or issues an alert if the wrong item is loaded. In this way, mistakes are caught before the truck is full. And if staff needs to locate specific pieces of furniture within the warehouse, they make use of a Nordic ID PL3000 to find them. With a reading range of 1.6 metres, fast scanning and ultra-long battery life, the Nordic ID PL3000 makes locating products simple and efficient. Once a truck is fully loaded, the forklift computer

sends the driver a confirmation, and the truck departs. When goods are received at the other end, retail staff scans the barcodes supplied as part of the RFID tags. To date, Virginijus Brundza, Production Manager at SC Freda, is quite pleased with results. “This RFID solution has provided us with a new, cost-efficient tool to grow our business,” says Brundza. “We’ve achieved a completely new level of transparency and automation in our manufacturing logistics.” Brundza found that the RFID system eliminates human error and also enables administrators to track precisely when items are produced and shipped out, giving them detailed knowledge of the timing required for specific types of products to be manufactured. This knowledge is particularly crucial for SC Freda because of the high daily production volumes involved and the warehouse room available. Space is limited, so just-in-time production is a critical part of SC Freda’s business model.

Nordic IDea • 23


CASE STUDIES Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Image: Shutterstock

Product: Nordic ID RF651

CostCutter

STOCK TAKING AND ORDER AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT The Costcutter Supermarkets Group is one of the UK’s largest convenience store chains, with more than 1,550 convenience stores all told. The mixed franchise and corporate store operation, now over 25 years old, is growing quickly with more than £600 million in sales last year.

CUSTOMISED STOCK KEEPING In 2005, Costcutter did something unique in the retail environment—they developed and launched their own electronic point of sale (PoS) system. C-PoS, as it was christened, is an electronic stock keeping system developed to serve the particular needs of the Costcutter store model. For product scanning and ordering purposes, Costcutter chose Nordic ID RF600-series handheld barcode scanners. RF600, RF601 and RF651 models are all affordable, proven Bluetooth-enabled handsets with which employees check current stock information, orders placed and other detailed product information in a secure, encrypted fashion.

ally eliminated. Handsets can also be substituted or added to a store’s network with ease: just authorize a new device on the network, and it’s ready to use. RF series handsets are also highly affordable, an important factor for Costcutter, whose franchisees foot the bill for all store improvements, including systems. Costcutter also found the RF series simple to use—a critical factor in the retail sector, where staff turnover is high and systems training must be kept to a minimum. Employees find that with a quick training session, they can use Nordic ID handheld devices from day one. The units also save time on reordering by allowing employees to send orders for resupply right from the store shelf, without switching to a back-office device or system.

BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY Something that eventually became important to Costcutter is the backwards-compatibility of Nordic ID RF-series units. New models can function alongside older models, with no new software required. Costcutter’s business model includes a stock taking team that travels to the corporate-owned stores, and larger university campus stores have begun appearing around the UK. Both situations require more firepower in the form of the Nordic ID RF651, which Costcutter first procured in 2010. The RF651’s parameters allow the system to operate with up to 21 handsets in simultaneous use—as compared with only five RF601s. Stock taking teams take advantage of this capability to ‘blitz’ stores and complete their tasks as quickly as possible.

COSTCUTTER CHOOSES NORDIC ID One factor that tipped the balance for Costcutter in favour of the RF600 was its thin client technology riding on the Bluetooth protocol. This means that information resides on the store server, not on the device. And with no complicated operating system to support and no software license required, support issues and associated costs are virtu24 • Nordic IDea

www.costcutter.co.uk


Product: Nordic ID RF601

ALEPA

Text: Darby Thomas Images: Shutterstock

WEBSHOPPING FOR FOOD At the moment, the web shopping experience is being piloted from the Alepa Viherlaakso location in association with Gastronautti Oy, a restaurant food delivery service. RAPID PICKING

GROCERY SHOPPING ARRIVES TO THE WEB Enhancing the customer experience is the best way to improve sales. Many retailers have turned to the Internet to achieve the goal of enhanced customer experience with web shops. Online shopping has been available for almost a decade and has become quite popular for apparel, home decoration, music, videos and more. Yet grocery shopping in Finland remains the most time consuming activity for families on a regular basis that is done at traditional retail locations. Recently, however, one company has begun an application for grocery shopping online to deliver an improved customer experience with faster, more efficient shopping to customers in Finland. Beginning in May, Alepa became the first grocery store in Finland to start selling food and other daily items via the internet. Alepa’s service began in Finland’s capital city area with Alepa Viherlaakso. The webshop was named Alepa Kauppakassi (Alepa’s shopping bag) and it is open from Monday to Saturday.

The logistics behind the new web shop for Alepa focuses on the use of Nordic ID RF601 handheld in sales mode during product picking. The Fujitsu sales application is updated to the RF601 device to enable individual users. When an order is received, the picker uses the RF601 to rapidly compile the order and scan all product codes that are stored onto the device. Upon completion of picking, the product info is sent to the POS system where the actual sales transaction is

done. The receipt will then be invoiced and this completes the sales action. While this particular application is new for the Nordic ID device, the RF601 handheld is already in use within the company as part of their traditional grocery store chain. Nordic ID has been supplying handhelds to S-Group, the parent company of Alepa, for over 15 years and has developed an extensive inhouse knowledge of the specific solutions for this customer. This made the choice of the RF601 handheld easy for Alepa. The device has proven its worth by being easy to implement and use as well as being ergonomic and user friendly. www.alepa.fi

Alepa is a convenience store near you. Affordable prices and long working hours through the whole week help customers do the daily shopping. The range of products is wide to serve the customers’ needs. There are over 80 Alepa stores in the capital city area at the moment.

Alepa Kauppakassi is available with the standard Alepa selection and pricing with the only extra cost for the customer coming from the picking and shipping. If the customer orders the goods before noon, the delivery will be made the same day. The customer then pays for the goods when receiving the delivery. Nordic IDea • 25


www.experience-isosyote.fi

&

CREATIVE CUISINE HIGH QUALITY on a hilltop in Lapland Hotel Iso-Syöte chose Nordic ID Monitor wireless temperature monitoring system to ensure quality of their foodstuffs around the clock. The Nordic ID Monitor temperature sensors were installed in their freezers, cold rooms, refrigerators and cold and warm basins. The monitoring system stores the temperature data, uses the data to produce reports and, in case of deviations, alerts the staff. With the Nordic ID Monitor system it is possible to ensure that the foodstuffs are stored in the correct temperature at all times.

The panorama restaurant of hotel Iso Syöte chose Nordic ID Monitor.

26 • Nordic IDea

“We at Hotel Iso-Syöte are committed to serving our clients the best possible high quality food made of unique local ingredients” says Mr. Juha Kuukasjärvi, managing director of Hotel Iso-Syöte.”By choosing Nordic ID Monitor we wanted to reduce the amount of manual routine reporting tasks so that our kitchen professionals can concentrate on their main task which is to offer fantastic taste experiences for our guests. We also wanted to show our guests, that we want to make an extra effort in ensuring food safety”. Because of EU legislation, everyone in contact with foodstuffs needs to monitor the temperatures in their cold and warm storages and register the measurements. The temperature data needs to be stored in a database for at least one year and healthy officials are allowed to access this information when conducting an inspection. It’s easy to produce all the reports they require directly from the database. The data can also function as customer complaint back-up – should there for example be an unfortunate case of food poisoning, it’s easy to verify that the food has been stored and handled in correct temperatures.

Text: Kristiina Oras-Wallin & Nordic ID Image: Iso-Syöte www.nordicid-monitor.com/en/home


www.afblakemore.com The monitoring of cold equipment may also give valuable information about the performance of the equipment itself. For example during automatic defrosting the temperature may momentarily rise too high. In some cases the temperature may consistently be too low in large cold rooms. This can cause a lot of energy waste. The gathered information can be used for ensuring quality, saving energy and in negotiations with cold equipment suppliers or maintenance companies. Most importantly, the self monitoring system gives the personnel a possibility to react quickly to deviations. In a situation when for example a freezer breaks down during hours when the restaurant is closed, may lead to substantial losses. The system is able to send alerts to the desired user interfaces, such as to a GSM phone by SMS, to an e-mail address or to a Nordic ID mobile computer. The alerts can easily be configured by the user, so that it is possible to change the alert levels when needed. Because the system is wireless there is no need for time and money consuming cabling. Hotel Iso-Syöte equipped their slope restaurant Romekievari with the Nordic ID Monitor. “When Romekievari is closed during the summer season we can easily move the system to another restaurant and use it there” Juha Kuukasjärvi says. Besides temperature monitoring, it is also possible to use Nordic ID Monitor to schedule and report routine tasks. When a task is due, employees receive a reminder via SMS or e-mail. When the task is completed, the employee records the task completed in to the system. Afterwards it is possible to check when the task was completed and by whom. “We have been extremely satisfied with the Nordic ID Monitor system” states Harri Määttä, executive chef at Hotel IsoSyöte. “In case of cold equipment failure, we can rely on a system that prevents the loss of expensive raw materials. The precise and accurate information that the system provides allows us to take immediate action in case of cold or warm equipment failure, which would otherwise jeopardize the high food quality that is extremely important to us. Besides this, the ease of performing fast check-ups and reports has lifted much of the workload of the personnel, which is important especially at a destination where the high season is very busy.

Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Image: Shutterstock

A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd. Automatic monitoring saves time & cost A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd. forms an important part of SPAR UK, operating more than 200 SPAR stores in the UK under the Tates and SPAR brands. SPAR, the world’s largest food retail chain, is an organization that brings independent retailers together in order to benefit from increased buying power and a strong brand.

BETTER OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY A forward-thinking company, Blakemore is engaged in a never-ending quest for perfection in two distinct areas: the ultimate customer experience and maximum operational efficiency. A pilot program taking place in a brand new SPAR store in Coventry fits squarely into the efficiency category. The goal of the program is to monitor fluctuations in refrigerator, freezer and hotplate equipment temperatures. The pilot has as a goal to ascertain both whether equipment is working according to manufacturers’ specifications and whether the temperature in any refrigeration unit falls outside of new parameters set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). AUTOMATIC ALERTS The automated solution, built in close collaboration with Nordic ID, consists of sensor nodes placed in refrigerators and freezers that send information wirelessly using a ZigBee low-power digital radio. Administrators can set up notification parameters in any way that they wish. They can look at readings in real time as they stream from all refrigeration units; set readings to take place from seconds to days apart; or choose to receive only alerts that indicate exceptions to parameters that they have set. Alerts can also be received on the Nordic ID RF601 handheld barcode scanners for the added convenience of employees on the go.

RETAILER EMPOWERMENT Before the pilot was put into place, monitoring equipment temperatures was a painstaking manual process that managers had to tack onto their busy days. They would typically take readings once per day, a timeintensive and human error prone process. The automated system saves time, but also empowers retailers when it comes to their equipment. Instead of relying on a service engineer to fix problems as they arise, with little visibility into the overall performance of the units, managers can manipulate statistical information to see for themselves whether a unit is malfunctioning and engage the manufacturer to correct the problem. An added benefit to the system involves customer complaints. A log of refrigeration unit temperatures over time provides statistical information that could be used in a legal defence, for example, in the case that a customer claims they became ill due to improperly refrigerated food. FROM PILOT TO UK WIDE To date, the temperature monitoring solution has been performing very well, especially concerning time savings. Blakemore intends to roll the solution out across their entire chain of stores, and other SPAR wholesalers as well as several chains in the convenience store sector are also watching closely.

Nordic IDea • 27


NORDIC ID SUPPORT

https://support.nordicid.com/extranet/

RFID software development -

Nordic ID MHL offers commands for restricting tag populations in inventory to tags that have only certain

UNDERSTANDING INVENTORY

bit pattern(s) in their memory at specified bank and bit addresses. The EPC gen 2 standard makes it possible to limit the tag population and select only tags having certain

with select parameters

bit patterns in their memory. The standard allows the select command to be applied to the following three memory banks: EPC/UII, TID and user memory. The use of a password memory is not allowed. Maximum length of the bit pattern is 255 bits. Nordic ID Morphic allows the use of a maximum 128 bits.

INVENTORY WITH SELECTION PARAMETERS IN MHL The inventory with select is done with the executable feature named ”RFID. InventorySelect”. The parameters are set with the following of features: NAME TYPE DESCRIPTION RFID.SelectMask

Binary, RW

The actual bit mask used for the select command

RFID.SelectAddress DWORD,RW The bit address of the mask. This is the actual para meter used in the select command. Range in hexadeci mal is 0... FFFFFFFF. RFID.SelectLength DWORD, RW The select mask length in bits. Note that the select mask has to be long enough to produce correct result. The range is 1...128. RFID.SelectBank DWORD, RW

The bank where the bit pattern should be located. Al lowed values are 1, 2 and 3.

RFID.SelectInvert Boolean, RW

Invert selection i.e. all the tags not matching the selec tion criteria will answer.

*Note that after executing the “RFID.InventorySelect,” the tag metadata is also available

MHL

MHL BENEFITS

MHL is a service running on Nordic ID Windows based mobile computers that provides hardware control services to applications. The purpose of the service is to support Nordic ID Morphic and Nordic ID Merlin mobile computer programming.

https://support.nordicid.com/MHL Username: mhl Password: mhl

28 • Nordic IDea

• • •

MHL handles any updates to drivers or hardware and thus newer and older units can easily be mixed as the application never even knows there is a difference Offers a possibility to run the same application on different Nordic ID devices without an impact to the application Easier for programmers as there is a limited amount of commands and all functions operate the same or at least very similar Own support website that offers additional information and sample code

https://support.nordicid.com/MHL


Text: Sami Heino Editing: Darby Thomas Drawing: Hanna Östman / Nordic ID

EXAMPLE: A MORE COMPLEX SELECTION BASED ON A BIT PATTERN. In this example it is assumed that all the tags are coded by some EPC numbering system and that only certain tags having their filter value set to 5 are of interest (three bits:’101’). The filter location is in the EPC code’s bit address 8; therefore the bit address in the bank is 40 (there are 32 + 8 header bits). // We’ll need a one byte mask byte []Mask = new byte[1];

// The mask used: filter value 5 Mask[0] = 5;

// Set up mask MHLObj.SetBin(hRFID,”RFID.SelectMask”,Mask);

// Set up the mask length (3 filter bits) MHLObj.SetDword(hRFID,”RFID.SelectLength”,3); // The bit address is 40 in the EPC memory MHLObj.SetDword(hRFID,” RFID.SelectAddress”,40);

// Do select based on EPC memory contents (bank 1) MHLObj.SetDword(hRFID,” RFID.SelectBank”,1); // Make sure inventory selec is not inverted MHLObj.SetBool(hRFID,”RFID. SelectInvert”,false);

// Do inventory MHLObj.Execute(hRFID,”RFID.InventorySelect”); // ...get results

Similarly, the next example shows that only SSCC-96 tags can be selected. The SSCC-96 code starts with a byte 0x31, bit address is 32 and length is 8 bits. Mask[0] = 0x31;

MHLObj.SetDword(hRFID,”RFID.SelectLength”,8); MHLObj.SetDword(hRFID,” RFID.SelectAddress”,32);

Find out more! Scan an item to get information on sizes, colour options, origin etc. or call for assistance Win a voucher by giving us feedback!

Nordic IDea • 25 29


CASE STUDY

30 • Nordic IDea


www.martinmccoll.co.uk

Product: Nordic ID RF651

Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Image: Shutterstock & Nordic ID

With more than 1,250 stores trading throughout

England,

Scotland

and Wales, Martin McColl is the UK’s

number

one

independent

neighbourhood retailer. The chain of

convenience

stores

maintains

their pole position through shrewd management aided by technology. Like most retailers, Martin McColl neighbourhood

re-tailers,

known

variously as ‘McColl’s’, ‘Martin’s’ and ‘RS McColl’, face a relatively high staff turnover. This means that systems— everything from cash registers to barcode scanners—have to be kept simple and very easy to use.

POINT OF SALE SYSTEM INTEGRATION In 2009, Martin McColl stores raised the bar on efficiency with a wholesale switch from manual pricing and stock keeping to Torex’s Power PoS, a point of sale system designed specifically for convenience stores. Power PoS enables central control of pricing, promotion, various stock keeping functions, and more. Part of that move involved the adoption of handheld barcode readers. A HIGHLY USABLE HANDSET The Nordic ID RF651 is a Bluetooth-enabled handheld terminal used to check current stock information, orders placed and other detailed product information in a secure, encrypted fashion. The barcode device uses thin client technology, which means that information is stored on a server and not on the device itself. This makes the RF651 quite tractable: additional handsets can be added to a store network with a minimum of delay. Using the RF651 requires a bare minimum of training—it’s really as simple as picking

Handhelds deliver efficiency

MARTIN MCCOLL one up and using it. Up to seven devices can easily be connected to a PC or a PoS system, making collecting and transmitting data on the move very cost-efficient. The RF651 comes with a large, illuminated display that’s easy to read even in poorly lit areas. It also operates all day long on a single charge. PUSH MESSAGING AND WIRELESS PRINTING Because the RF651 runs on Bluetooth technology rather than Internet Wi-Fi, it gives Martin McColl staff the ability to engage customers’ mobile devices with push messaging over the in-store radio frequency (RF) network via Bluetooth. The retailer is one of the first in the UK with the ability to send promotions or coupons over Bluetooth messaging, giving it an advantage over competitors. Martin McColl is also pioneering the use of wireless printers in the retail environment. The wireless printing option saves time by permitting employees to print labels from wherever they are; in the stockroom, for example, while they are faceto-face with goods in need of labelling.

STRONG RESULTS To date, Martin McColl administrators have been pleased with their choice. “Part of the

reason we chose Nordic ID is their ability to provide a total solution,” says Neil

Hodge, General Manage for IT at Martin McColl. “That means project management, installation, service and maintenance, onsite engineers when required, as well as remote monitoring and ongoing support. And support’s been very good. We’re definitely happy with them.” Results have also been very good. The implementation of Bluetooth-based stock keeping, which is inherently a more secure as well as a simpler protocol than Internet Wi-Fi, has had a tremendous positive impact on many of Martin McColl’s key performance indicators. Deliveries are more quickly integrated into the system, prices are adjusted with a minimum of delay and a quick scan reveals what is missing on shelves, and in what quantities.

Nordic IDea • 31


CASE STUDY Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: iStockphoto edited by Hanna Östman

WHSmith PLC is one of the UK’s leading retail groups, operating over 1000 stores primarily in the UK. Approximately half of these stores are known as ‘WHSmith Travel’ and sell a tailored range of newspapers, magazines, books and confectionery products for people on the move. You’ll find WHSmith Travel locations throughout the UK in airports, train stations, hospitals, adjacent to workplaces and at motorway service centre locations. All told, WHSmith sells in excess of 40 million books per year and 1.5 million magazines every week. In October 2006, WHSmith introduced wireless handheld stock keeping to their entire chain of stores. They did this to make daily operational activities in store more efficient, and to improve the efficiency and accuracy of stock replenishment. Instead of counting books and magazines by hand, employees scan along a shelf to find out what’s missing. The solution, which included Nordic ID RF651 Bluetooth handhelds and 2021 Bluegiga Access Servers, also enabled management to staff stores according to customer needs, and not according to operational requirements such as stock taking and pricing.

32 • Nordic IDea

PORTING WI-FI TO BLUETOOTH

WHSmith Travel


www.whsmith.co.uk

BLUETOOTH: SECURE AND SIMPLE More than 1,500 RF651 were pressed into service as part of an affordable solution that reduces in-store operational costs and delivers positive bottom line results. The retailer had purposely set its sights on Bluetooth technology rather than adopting the Wi-Fi Internet-based protocol in wide use throughout the retail environment. Wi-Fi requires complicated security layering required for secure operation, whereas Bluetooth is an inherently secure protocol. What’s more, Nordic ID RF series handhelds have never been hacked. SOLUTION PORTED FROM BLUETOOTH TO WI-FI In 2010, WHSmith struck a deal with BAA Ltd, the owner of London Heathrow and other British airports, giving the retailer exclusive newsagent and bookstore rights within BAA airports. The deal, however,

Product: Nordic ID RF651

mandated the use of the BAA-supplied WiFi network for all store operations, rather than Bluetooth. Over the course of six years, WHSmith had created a number of bespoke programs for the RF651 handhelds. Goods-in, inventory, stocktaking, perpetual inventory and other functions were matched with programs that fit the retailer’s business model perfectly. Their great fear was that a switch to Wi-Fi would compel them to rewrite all of these programs for the new Wi-Fi environment— a massive and costly undertaking. NORDIC ID SOLUTION SAVES THE DAY However, Nordic ID was able, at no cost, to create conversion software that converted Bluetooth code written for the RF651. All of WHSmith’s custom programs ported over to the Microsoft Windows CE platform of another Nordic ID mobile computer, the Nordic ID Morphic. Other than the

inclusion of this free software, there was no coding required to enable the heart of the Bluetooth-based system to operate on 2 very different “The solution allowed sets of devices. The solution WHSmith to meet BAA’s requirement of a l l o w e d using Wi-Fi without WHSmith to meet BAA’s needing to replace the re q u i re m e n t whole system. “ of using WiFi without needing to replace the whole system, including servers. WHSmith is pleased with the results. The retailer was able to port its existing solution over to Wi-Fi, and is quite taken with the Nordic ID Morphic. This compact, rugged handset is shaped like a mobile phone, operates all day long on a single charge and comes with a bright, graphical user interface (GUI) touchscreen that relies on icons rather than text for simplified navigation.

Nordic IDea • 33


RFID CASE STUDY

The RFID tags identify which changeroom fresh clothes are destined for, then barcodes affixeded within the changeroom are read to match clothing with each worker’s locker.

A laundry facility run by the Colomiers YMCA near Toulouse, France, cleans work clothes for aircraft manufacturer Airbus. To meet Airbus’ tracking needs and to help disabled workers deal with large daily volumes, the center has implemented an RFID tracking solution. The

Colomiers

YMCA’s

mission

is

to assist people with temporary or permanent disabilities and social issues. The YMCA offers social and health services, including accommodation for disabled workers, vocational training, vocational rehabilitation and support to people with brain injuries. It also provides ‘sheltered work’ opportunities. The YMCA’s Establishment and Service Support by Working (ESAT) program holds 320 places for disabled workers, including positions in ‘green’ businesses, in kitchens throughout Toulouse, and in the YMCA laundry servicing Airbus. 34 • Nordic IDea

: RFID the solution

FOR YMCA AND AIRBUS

BENEFITS ALL AROUND The YMCA’s laundry facility was developed in 1978 in order to meet the needs of its residents and hotel. Originally located in the YMCA’s downtown living quarters, the facility slowly grew obsolete though it did take on some commercial business. The YMCA saw an opportunity and in 2007 opened a new 700 square meter facility in an industrial area adjacent to Airbus’ campus. Airbus soon saw that the ESAT laundry program was a perfect match. The aerospace manufacturer had been searching for a global provider of laundry services, but outsourcing laundry to the ESAT program would give the company a tax break as well as helping it to meet its government-mandated quota regarding disabled worker employment.


www.airbus.com www.nitica.fr RFID BRINGS MORE PRECISION Until Airbus and ESAT administrators decided to work together, the laundry facility had processed YMCA member clothing with the help of barcode tags—sufficient for small volumes, but not satisfactory for the 2,000 pieces of clothing per day that Airbus would be sending through the facility. ESAT’s project manager, André Murlin, already had RFID experience under his belt and thought that this technology would provide the optimal solution. Once a feasibility study confirmed the suitability of RFID, Murlin needed to choose the equipment to use. ESAT’s barcode supplier Thermopatch proposed integrating RFID with the laundry’s existing Ramsès tracking system, but since project goals included real time garment tracking within the laundry and within the Airbus facility, a different solution was required. Garments in need of laundering were dropped off in no fewer than seven locations across the Airbus facility, and ESAT program members were to collect them as

Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Shutterstock

well as deliver fresh clothing. To make sure that the RFID system worked throughout, ESAT engaged NITICA, a French logistical solution integrator with 18 years’ experience in planning, building and modifying barcode- and RFID-managed logistical facilities. NORDIC ID MOBILE COMPUTERS

locker. If an Airbus worker is assigned a new location on the Airbus campus, the information is transmitted to the laundry control system, the tag is rewritten, and the garment in question is delivered to the new location. RFID BRINGS INCREASED CONFIDENCE

In the YMCA case, NITICA had to The entire RFID implementation cost the implement a simple, foolproof solution, YMCA 200,000 euros and allowed the given that handicapped workers would be laundry to reduce the number of steps in operating the system. For processing garments, such “The mobile computer as searching for and then mobile RFID and barcode reading, NITICA settled comes with simple, scanning garment barcodes, on the Nordic ID PL3000 intuitive controls and a as well as reducing human mobile computer, a portable highly usable interface.” error. RFID device equipped with both a barcode reader and a HF RFID In July a new garment management point is reader. The mobile computer comes with due to open on the Airbus campus, this time simple, intuitive controls and a highly usable a clothing distribution point for new workers. interface. Next up, Airbus will transfer responsibility for clothing stocks and resupply orders to the The RFID tags identify which changeroom YMCA— a measure of the extent to which fresh clothes are destined for, then barcode the RFID implementation has increased the tags affixeded within the changeroom are confidence that the aerospace manufacture read to match clothing with each worker’s now has in the YMCA laundry program.

Product: Nordic ID PL3000 HF RFID LIBRARY

Nordic IDea • 35


RFID CASE STUDY

SPANISH AIFOS SOLUTIONS CHOOSES NORDIC ID FOR

BLOOD BANK TRACKING

When Barcelona-based Aifos Solutions was tasked with developing a new RFID-based blood products tracking system for Spain’s Balearic Islands Blood and Tissue Bank (FBSTIB), they turned to Nordic ID for mobile computers that would operate in subarctic temperatures.

BARCODE SCANNING FOUND TO BE PROBLEMATIC Barcode technology has proven less than optimal for FBSTIB staff at the organization’s processing center on the island of Mallorca. It has meant unpacking entire crates of frozen blood bags and scanning or reading each bag in turn—no small task with 30,000 bags packed 80 to a crate…in a deep freezer with an average temperature of -35°C (-31F). Finding the right bag can take so long that staff members often take crates out of the deep freezer to search for the right bag, putting plasma in jeopardy of thawing. Blood extracted from donors at any of several mobile units in the Balearic Islands follows a complicated journey, each step of which needs to be tracked to ensure that red blood cells, plasma or platelets reach the right patient in perfect condition. Blood is first put through a series of tests

ABOUT AIFOS Aifos Solutions markets track and trace tools for the healthcare market. Offers full solutions to improve the Blood Supply Chain and Lab Management; enhancing security, efficiency and lowering its operating costs. Aifos Solutions assists the Healthcare Industry in their R&D RFID projects and distributes first class software and hardware; ranging from low-cost RFID tags, readers and antennas to tailored solutions.

36 • Nordic IDea

at FBSTIB’s processing center in Palma de Mallorca. Next, whole blood is separated into plasma, red blood cells or platelets, which are stored either in a deep freezer, a refrigeration unit or, in the case of platelets, in an agitator. Then, when a hospital sends over blood parameters, the blood bank has to respond and manage its scarce resources to satisfy demands as quickly as possible. “The deep freezer is most problematic for barcode scanning,” says Esteve Jané, Aifos Solutions’ COO.“Frost buildup and wrinkled labels make an already slow barcode scanning process more difficult.” Each bag is tagged with up to six barcodes as it passes through the stages of its journey. These all need to be scanned at each step, and all key data also needs to be readable as text printed on the labels, in keeping with the International Society of Blood Transfusion 128 standard.

RFID MAKES BLOOD TRACKING FASTER, SAFER, LESS EXPENSIVE To make the blood tracking and location process faster, safer and more transparent, FBSTIB chose Aifos Solutions, a Barcelonabased RFID systems specialist, to help them move from barcode to RFID. Aifos in turn selected Alien Technologies’ Generation 2 RFID chip for tags and Nordic ID PL 3000 UHF RFID mobile computers, used to find the blood bags that staff members need. The new RFID tags will shortcut the contact scanning and visual reading process by storing all information—including a record of ambient temperature over time—on each bag’s re-recordable 512-bit RFID tag. Equipped with Nordic ID mobile computers, staff members are able to quickly find blood bags in a fastpaced, frenetic environment by scanning up to


Text: Carl Michener / ID BBN Images: Shutterstock & Nordic ID

Product: Nordic ID PL3000 UHF RFID

400 bags per second and drilling down to see all the information associated with any bag.

NORDIC ID: GREAT PRODUCT, SUPPORT, RELIABILITY

The total system consists of three parts. The first consists of fixed RFID scanners installed at the entrances of freezers and storage rooms that record what blood products are put into and taken out of storage. These installed scanners are integrated with the FBSTIB’s blood data bank, ensuring total accuracy in asset tracking.

Working with Nordic ID is a new relationship for Aifos, one the company chose based on equipment tests, but also for strategic reasons. “To tell you the truth, one of the reasons we chose Nordic ID is because they are Finnish,” says Esteve Jané. “This project is a very important one for Aifos, and we couldn’t afford problems with equipment orders and support. When a Finnish company says an order will arrive in ten days, you can expect it there on the afternoon of the ninth day.”

The second part involves Nordic ID PL3000 UHF RFID mobile computers, used to find the blood bags that staff members need; and the third part is the tags that contain a re-recordable Generation 2 RFID chip that permits addition of data at each step in a blood bag’s process. “The system we have developed promises to pay for itself very quickly in reduced operating costs once the full program launches in August 2010,” notes Jané. “It will also significantly increase safety,” he adds, “because donor ID cannot be erased, and

“The reading power regarding the distance and speed, the ability to carry a single charge all day and the user friendliness of the mobile computer is the reason why Nordic ID was chosen for the project.”

In addition to the mobile computer’s light weight, ability to carry a single charge all day and operate at -35°C, Jané also noted that it was the only mobile computer on the market that would indicate a tag’s distance from the reader, making locating much easier. But in working with Nordic ID, what Aifos appreciated most was the company’s level of technical support. “At the outset we needed to know that the mobile computer would work in subarctic temperatures,” says Jané, “and none of the companies we talked with had tested for that. Nordic ID support personnel did some investigation and explained how, technically, the Nordic ID PL3000 would stand up to the job. That convinced us, and since then support has been excellent.”

FAST FACTS RFID Application: Blood bank tracking in Spain’s Balearic Island Challenge: Find the right frozen bag of blood in thousands of crates Devices in use: Nordic ID PL3000 UHF mobile computers Specifications: 8-hour battery life; can operate at -35°C, 400+ scans per second Result: Decreased operating costs, greater safety & accuracy

www.aifos-solutions.com/eng

other memory banks can only be accessed by those with the correct passwords. So the information on a tag is complete, and depending on your level of authorization, you can read or modify only certain levels of it.” As well as increasing safety, the RFID system will help make better use of short-lived blood product resources. Today, if a 30-day old bag is requested, staff members may send a 28day old bag that fits the description in order to end their search more quickly, increasing the chance that the 30-day old blood will expire before it is used. But with the RFID system in place, inventory will be tracked in a transparent fashion, expediting the process and ensuring that the optimal blood bag is quickly found and put to use.

Nordic IDea • 37


FINNISH ID Text: Kari Ahonen / ID BBN Images: Turku 2011

The many sounds of the Capital of Culture Turku is the European Capital of Culture 2011. To celebrate the year, the city offers an even wider selection of events, representing all cultural branches from visual arts to music. In the spirit of the Capital of Culture, the scale of the events is vast and diverse. In terms of music it extends from classical masterpieces to the first heavy metal musical in the world. Modern music has always had a strong foothold in Turku, which has also been affected by the vibrant student life of the university city. The clubs run by various student nations have promoted the most advanced music of each era, from the 60s underground to jazz and from punk to the electronic sounds of the 21st century. PARTYING AT CLUBS TO URBAN BEATS The Turku club scene is currently more vibrant than ever. Dynamo, Klubi and Blanko have become the top spots for urban music, with live shows and DJ nights

encouraging partying till the wee hours. Blanko even offers a Sunday brunch with music played by a DJ. Moreover, Klubi and Dynamo will organise special Turku 2011 clubs during the year, bringing to the city upcoming bands and hot new talents praised in international media and blogs as well as established big names. The 2011 club nights often include a VJ in charge of the visual side, moving pictures and video art. RUISROCK IS STILL ROCKING HARD IN ITS FORTIES The first Finnish rock festival was arranged in Turku in 1970 – just a year after Woodstock. Surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Ruissalo Island, Ruisrock is the second oldest rock festival arranged without interruptions in Europe, with a history full of legendary artists. The main stage by the sea has seen appearances by rock legends from Thin Lizzy to Slash and from Bob Dylan to Ozzy Osbourne. As usual, in summer 2011 people will be rocking in Ruissalo for three days from 8–10 July. TURKU MODERN OFFERS CONTEMPORARY MUSICAL EXPERIENCES A newcomer among the music events organised in Turku, Turku Modern is a festival of electronic music to be arranged

from 20–24 July. On the evenings preceding the weekend the festival audience will be shown a through-composed film, with the internationally known DJ Jori Hulkkonen giving a live performance of the musical work commissioned from him. Turku Modern and the Turku 2011 Foundation have promoted Finnish electronic music on an extensive Night Moves 2011 club tour e.g. in Shanghai, London, Stockholm and Paris. The tour will culminate during Turku Modern in an extraordinary Night Moves cruise, taking electronic music lovers on a journey with some of the most current artists into the most beautiful archipelago in the world off Turku. DBTL TAKES OVER THE BANKS OF RIVER AURA WITH VARIOUS PERFORMANCES Another event taking place in July is Down By The Laituri or DBTL, the oldest urban festival in Finland with a legendary status. Originally an alternative festival established in student circles, DBTL has grown into one of the biggest summer events in Finland, spreading from the river banks e.g. to the clubs in the city. With focus on pop and rock music, the multicultural offerings of the festival are complemented by various events from street performances to poetry readings. In summer 2011, DBTL will occupy the riverside streets from 26-31 July.

www.turku2011.fi/en TURKU 2011

38 • Nordic IDea

Turku’s position as the European Capital of Culture 2011 is based on the Capital of Culture programme of the European Union. Launched in 1985, the programme provides a channel for the EU to increase interaction between European citizens and to promote the cultural richness and diversity on our continent. Turku is the European Capital of Culture together with Tallinn. The cities will also co-operate during the year, drawing attention to the geographical, cultural and historical connections between the two cities. The joint projects focus on the Baltic Sea and on improving its environment. Further details: www.turku2011.fi


When Barcelona-based Aifos Solutions was tasked with developing a new RFID-based Valarent. Senarteris sedo, facerora?

2011 Turku EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF

CULTURE www.turku.fi Nordic IDea • 39


NORDIC ID IS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE

NORDIC ID 25TH ANNIVERSARY ON NOVEMBER 26TH 2011

Nordic ID started as a small engineering supply chain business areas and Nordic and affordable solution for the retail company in 1986. It is founded by CEO ID has been in the forefront developing RFID needs. It continues on a path of Mr. Jorma Lalla, the leader of the team Windows CE based RFID mobile quick and easy deployment, ergonomic that created the world’s first mobile computers for the growing market. design and easy user interface. The phone, a visionary. His passion for The success came with the Nordic ID Nordic ID Merlin with its powerful RFID, wireless technologies spread fast processor, clear display and in the company and lead to the battery lasting a full working Nordic ID celebrates its 25th anniversary on company’s first big innovation, day offers fast ROI through the 26th November. More information on the the RF-series handheld. It is a data reduce in out-of-stocks, fast festivities will follow in late October and early collector that wirelessly transfers stock taking, increase in sales November. Looking forward to celebrating the collected data from barcodes and less shrinkage. A large on the products to the backend number of big apparel and with you! systems via base stations. The lifestyle retailers in Europe; key success factors for the RF-series PL3000 series. EECC (the European EPC such as Gerry Weber, Jakob Jost and has been ease-of-use, fast deployment, Competence Center) tested the Nordic Oliver Sweeney have therefore chosen ergonomic design and a variety of ID PL3000 Cross Dipole UHF RFID for Nordic ID as their RFID mobile computer options on the applications. At the the following criteria: transmission supplier. moment over 30 different applications power, receiver sensitivity, antenna run on this simple device. The RF-series radiation pattern and suitability for daily Nordic ID has a lot to celebrate! 25 have stood the test of time being still a use. The test results were very good in years of business have brought the popular choice and sold by thousands all categories. company commercial success, trusted every year. partnerships, loyal customers and a Nordic ID keeps on developing its committed staff. Nordic ID would not stop there. RFID is a RFID products. The Nordic ID Morphic technology quickly rising in the retail and is a light, mobile phone sized, versatile Nordic ID is a choice for life.

www.nordicid.com

NORDIC NORDIC ID’S ID’S CUSTOMER CUSTOMER NEWSLETTER NEWSLETTER 2011-2012 2011-2012

Nordic IDea 2011 - 2012  

A Nordic ID customer newsletter including articles, case studies and news on RFID and barcoding.

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