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Impinj unveils Monza Self-Serialization; solution should drive item level adoption

When I attended the RFID Forum at the University of Arkansas last fall, one apparel supplier told me that the only reason they are tagging products is because a retail customer requested it. The vendor said too many barriers remained to pursue full deployment, including serialization.

And when UHF solutions provider Impinj hosted brand owners at an industry roundtable following the NRF show in January, all agreed that serialization was the number one impediment to broad item level tagging.

Larry Arnstein, Impinj VP of Business Development

Vendors can cross that obstacle off the list. Impinj today announced the availability of Monza Self-Serialization, a chip-based EPC serialization method supported on UHF RFID inlays powered by the company’s popular Monza® 5 tag chip.

Already, industry executives are sensing a broad transformation with vendors. Many are asking Impinj to help them to convince more retailers to embrace item level tagging so that they can tag more products and receive the full benefit that tagging provides.

“When a big retailer requires a brand to tag items, brand owners do what they need to do, but up until now it has been a painful process for them and as a consequence they often minimize their participation,” says Larry Arnstein, vice president of business development for Impinj. “This will help them to embrace item level programs by knowing that the benefit they receive does in fact outweigh the cost now that we have a simpler model. We’ve already seen an about face by some brand owners who are getting more aggressive about tagging goods.”

The scalable serialization solution provides brand owners the flexibility to decide when, where and how they manage the item-level tagging process across their global supply chain. Self-serialization provides the benefit of optimizing for the lowest total applied tag cost and addresses many of the critical challenges faced by brand owners as they scale up source tagging operations to meet the growing number of retail item-level RFID initiatives. The solution is already driving brand owners to request more retailers to adopt RFID, a reversal of the pattern that has existed in item level retail tagging to date.

“Chip-based serialization was a very attractive concept to VF Jeanswear, but there were still a few key questions on our minds,” said Jay Craft, vice president of product development at VF Jeanswear, which is sending RFID tagged product to several retailers. “The cycle time assurance that comes with Monza Self-Serialization allows us to design a solution that we know will meet our long-term needs, while retaining the flexibility to use more than one serialization method in our operations.”

Item-level tagging requires brand owners to attach an RFID tag or ticket that has been encoded with a unique Serialized Global Trade Item Number (SGTIN) to items they produce. For brand owners, item-level serialization requires the integration of complex serial number management systems for the coordination, distribution and synchronization of serial numbers across their entire global supply chain, including internal manufacturing locations, distribution centers and third party contract manufacturers.

Brand owners have a choice between implementing and administering their own IT-based serialization systems or outsourcing serial number management to third-party service bureaus. Both options may force brand owners to change their business processes in ways that increase costs or decrease their supply chain responsiveness and flexibility. Monza Self-Serialization generates a unique SGTIN serial number directly from each tag chip, dramatically simplifying serial number management while giving brand owners more choices in how to deliver properly tagged products.

“This is going to make it dramatically easier for brand owners to go global on a large scale on EPC tagging, which will make them more excited about participating in these retailer programs,” says Arnstein.

“We developed Monza Self-Serialization in response to the clear customer demand for a large-scale, cost effective item-level tagging solution,” said William Colleran, Ph.D., Impinj president and CEO. “The combination of Monza tags, Impinj STP high-speed encoding systems, and now Monza Self-Serialization, enables brand owners and tagging solution providers to deliver reliable and flexible serial number management and tag encoding solutions at much lower cost than alternative solutions.”

With Monza Self-Serialization, the unique SGTIN serial number is generated from the unalterable Tag Identifier (TID) contained in every Monza 5 tag chip. In addition, Monza Self-Serialization allows RFID printer encoders and encoding solutions based on the Impinj STP® Source Tagging Platform to construct the unique SGTIN under the hood, using existing IT-based barcode and variable data management business processes.

Benefits of Monza Self-Serialization:

– Scalable serialization built into every Monza 5 tag chip

– SGTIN serial numbers generated directly from Monza’s unalterable Tag Identifier (TID)

– EPC data quality and integrity with verifiable SGTIN at any point in supply chain

– 24-year serial number cycle time when using all 38-bits of the generated serial number

– Cycle times of 12 and 6 years when using 37-bit or 36-bit options, respectively

– Co-exists with other EPC serialization methods, including IT-based serialization solutions

– Compatible with existing variable data management processes

– Forward compatible with future generations of Monza tag chips

“Serialization and serial number management are key issues facing retailers and brands interested in deploying RFID in end-to-end supply chains,” says Michael Liard, director of RFID at VDC Research. “A cost-effective, flexible serialization option that gives greater control to retailers and brands will lead to a new paradigm in item-level apparel markets, one that now includes chip-based serialization solutions.”

With Monza Self-Serialization, brand owners can achieve the flexibility they need across their global supply chains and enable the lowest possible total applied tag costs.  Monza 5 tag chips also exhibit the industry’s highest single-antenna read sensitivity. This performance ensures high read reliability in challenging manufacturing and distribution center environments through to the retail setting for increased on-shelf availability.  Both brand owners and retailers alike will benefit from the significant advantages of Monza Self-Serialization.

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