Book and DVD/CD retailers have long been stymied by costs associated with product inventory, particularly in relation to labor costs, source verification to prevent fraud and, of course, the need to provide a security layer to avert theft.
Consumers are used to the white, plastic, rectangular security tags on electronic packaging as well as expensive hardcover books. Not only are they unsightly, covering up descriptors or interrupting the integrity of design, these tags are also easily removed. Their function, to provide security, is limited because of this drawback.
Enter radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that are capable of remotely storing and retrieving data. Now the distributor and wholesaler have better security and the important element of inventory control. The added benefit of RFID tags is that they can be inserted into the book or CD/DVD packaging virtually anywhere during the manufacturing process, and can therefore be invisible to the consumer while still providing a wealth of product information to the person scanning the tags.
A recent partnership between SATO™ and BindTech, a book manufacturer in Nashville, TN, is one example. As the book covers are printed by BindTech, an RFID tag is applied to the spine of softcover books and underneath the graphics of hardcover books. The tag is invisible to the consumer, while still allowing the publisher to track the products throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to distributor to end user. As an added benefit, it prevents against counterfeit books being returned for full credit.
According to Dennis Dehainaut, Vice President of Sales for BindTech, the process is 100 percent effective and can be used with both hard cover books and electronic cases and softcover books. Each RFID tag is imprinted with mandated information, such as ISBN numbers, as well as optional data like serial numbers for each item. In the case of cartons of books, the shipping label also includes the serial numbers, so distributors and retailers can see at a glance the inventory numbers that are included within that carton of books.
“This is savings to the publisher, through inventory management, reduction of labor cost, and the prevention of counterfeit books being returned for credit, which can be of enormous cost,” Dehainaut noted. “There is very little additional upfront cost, and great savings to the publisher in terms of inventory, tracking and returns.”
The technology is expanding to global applications. For example, an Argot bookstore in Castellón de la Plana, Spain, is using RFID to track books that are picked up from a shelf or rack, perused by the consumer, and then returned to the shelf. The company behind this idea is Cité Trade Tech which utilizes RFID tags, shelf readers and cloud-based software to analyze data.
Ismael Bonet, Argot's CEO, explained that the RFID technology has enabled management to know, in real time, the popularity of each item and the ability to adjust placement of the books for optimum sales. This is a pilot project involving only several dozen book titles, and employees are still affixing the RFID tags by hand. RFID readers under the tops of the tables send each tag’s unique ID to a cloud-based server, which the retailer can then access for information on frequency of book pick-up, pick-up to check-out, and effectiveness in display positioning.
SATO is a pioneer and leading global provider of integrated Automatic Identification and Data Collection solutions that leverage barcode and RFID technologies. SATO manufactures innovative, reliable auto-identification systems and offers complete solutions to businesses by integrating hardware, software, media supplies and maintenance services.
About Cite Trade Tech
Cite Trade Tech focuses on automatic identification solutions in a global environment under a SaaS structure (Software as a Service). The company is headquartered in Castellón de la Plana, Valencia, Spain.
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