Northern Apex Corporation

RFID is Becoming Common in Manufacturing and Retail...

- Tuesday, March 24, 2015

According to an article in Consumer Goods Technology Magazine, RFID usage in manufacturing and retail is on the rise.

The results of a 2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey show that almost half (48.2%) of the manufacturers that responded are currently implementing RFID, 21.1% are planning on implementing RFID in the next 12 months, and another 18.4% plan on implementing RFID in 13 - 24 months. 

As for retailers, more than half (57%) say they are currently using or implementing RFID. Another 19.3% are planning on implementing RFID in the next 12 months, and yet another 10.5% of those polled say that they will implement RFID in 13 - 24 months. 

What does all of this mean? RFID technology is a successful technology that is here to stay! RFID decreases error prone processes, and increases production, warehousing, and shipping accuracy.

To read the entire Consumer Goods article, please click on the link below. If you are thinking about implementing RFID in your manufacturing or retail facility, contact Northern Apex Corporation. We have been working with RFID technology since 1998. We have the experience and the knowledge to help your company successfully integrate RFID. - - 260.637.2739

RFID - Retail Adoption is on Target

- Friday, February 20, 2015
This was re-posted from an article in RFID Journal. You can view the article by clicking on the link below.

RFID Adoption Is On Target

Retailers are deploying item-level tagging far faster than they embraced bar codes.
By Bill Hardgrave
Tags: ApparelRetail

Recently, I received a call from Virginia, an analyst assigned to examine RFID in the retail industry. She admitted knowing nothing about RFID when she got the assignment, but she had obviously done her homework. Virginia was familiar with the RFID Research Center's findings showing inventory accuracy improvement, out-of-stock declines and other benefits of the technology. She also was familiar with the RFID efforts of major retailers, including Kohl's, Macy's and Walmart. She said that, according to her research, only 2.5 percent of all apparel items in the United States are currently tagged.

Then, Virginia asked: "Is RFID for real? If RFID provides such great benefits, why aren't all retailers using it?" For those of us working with RFID every day, it is easy to forget how adoption must look to an "outsider." There are quite a few reasons for the current state of adoption.

First, it has only been a few years since RFID was initially used for item-level tagging. Walmart's 2005 pilot, which asked suppliers to tag pallets and cases, ushered in the use of passive ultrahigh-frequency RFID on consumer goods. Walmart's initiative and similar projects paved the way for the shift, in 2008, to item-level tracking pilots conducted by Dillard's and Bloomingdale's.

Second, 2008 and 2009 were not the best years for U.S. retailers to take on large capital expenditures. The Great Recession put most large projects on hold. Third, as the country emerged from the recession, Round Rock Research (a "patent troll") threatened to sue companies for infringing on its UHF RFID patents, which significantly delayed adoption. Fourth, RFIDadoption has had to compete with a near-ubiquitous technology—the bar code.

I believe, in the long run, bar codes and RFID will coexist in a portfolio of auto-ID technologies. Because of their similarities (both auto-ID, both used in retail), comparing the adoption rate of the two technologies puts the pace of RFID adoption in perspective. Thebar code's first retail pilots were conducted in the early 1970s; half a decade later, some 200 stores were using bar-code scanners. Item-level RFID is roughly five years old, but the technology is already in use in thousands of stores. It took more than 20 years for the bar code to reach critical mass in the retail market.

RFID "insiders" would like to see a faster pace of adoption, and RFID "outsiders" question whether the technology will be­come as pervasive as bar codes. Looking at RFID's brief history and the obstacles the technology has had to overcome, I believe its adoption is on target and we will see widespread use in the near future.

So, yes, Virginia, RFID retail adoption is for real.

Bill Hardgrave is the dean of Auburn University's Harbert College of Business and the founder of the RFID Research Center. He will address other RFID adoption and business case issues in this column. Send your questions to Follow him on twitter at @bhardgrave.$LINK_KEYWORD$&dm_i=1JOI,344TZ,9AOKJS,B61AE,1

Efficient Omni-Channel Fulfillment

- Thursday, January 22, 2015

Below is a story about Pure Hockey - a Hockey store in Massachusetts. This business started back in 1994, and over the last 21 years it has grown to 20 stores in the northeast United States with a large e-commerce presence. 

In order to help maintain their online presence and manage inventory between their stores, while still satisfying their customers order demands, Pure Hockey uses Omni-Channel Retailing. 

To read more about Pure Hockey's success, please click on the Supply Chain Market link below. If you are involved in the retail supply chain and need help managing your inventory, consider RFID. RFID can help you successfully manage your inventory, while saving time and man hours fulfilling orders. Contact Northern Apex Corporation for details. - 260.637.2739

The Retail Industry Needs RFID

- Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Below is an article that was published on Ragtrader online. This article discusses the cost of shrinkage in the retail space. "According to The Smart Cube’s Global Retail Theft Barometer 2013-2014, published by Checkpoint Systems, more than $145 billion globally was lost to shrinkage in 2013." A cost effective and efficient way to help prevent shrinkage and supplier fraud/errors is by using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). If you are interested in reducing the shrinkage and/or fraud/errors your company is experiencing, please contact Northern Apex Corporation. We have been deploying RFID solutions since 1998... 260.637.2739 or

It's costing us

Dishonest employee theft accounts for an $1177 million black-hole of retail shrinkage in Australia, with shoplifting (retail shrinkage) accounting for $2.8 billion per year.

According to The Smart Cube’s Global Retail Theft Barometer 2013-2014, published by Checkpoint Systems, more than $145 billion globally was lost to shrinkage in 2013.

Shrinkage spans employee theft, shoplifting, supplier fraud and administrative errors.

In Australia, dishonest employee theft accounted for 42.5 per cent of the losses, costing $1177 million to the retail industry, while customer shoplifting accounted for 30 per cent or $831 million.

Administration errors and non-crime related losses accounted for 19.1 per cent ($529 million) and vendor/supplier fraud accounted for 8.4 per cent ($233 million).

Among other rising costs for retailers, Australian consumers are also impacted, paying $192 per year in ‘honesty tax’: an increase in prices in order to compensate for retail loss.

The report also found that adults 18 to 30 years of age accounted for 42 per cent of shoplifting, commonly stealing items that are small and of high value. Most common items stolen in Australia include:

-  Fashion accessories

-  Batteries

 Mobile phone accessories

-  Wine and spirits

-  Perfumes and fragrances


Checkpoint Systems Australia and New Zealand MD Mark Gentlesaid that this is the first time the report has highlighted a clear distinction between age and theft.

Australian retailers focused heavily on loss prevention technology, such as security tags and RF EAS (radio-frequency article surveillance) equipment or staff training in 2013, with 56 per cent of retailers planning to implement source-tagging in the near future.

According to the report, loss prevention solutions are shifting from staffing more personnel to investing in Radio Frequency Identification technology.

Australian apparel brand, Ubermen is one of the first major retailers in Australia to implement Checkpoint Systems’ new RFID technology, which allows the retailer to manage inventory automatically through a unique code.

This automates the tracking of garments from the distribution centres to the stores, avoiding any possible packing mistakes in quantity, model, size or colour.

“RFID technology means that a retailer can also better manage inventories with detailed information of what has been stolen including the value of the merchandise. This allows for improved ordering so the shoppers have the merchandise they came in to buy available on the shelf when they want it,” Gentle said.

Gentle said that with the holiday season approaching, and more products available in store, it is important to train employees accordingly as 57 per cent of Asia-Pacific retailers reported that a high level of theft happens during this season.

“There’s not just one silver bullet for preventing theft. Retailers need to have the right systems, procedures and technology in place, in order to effectively reduce shrinkage."

Retailers – Need Help Identifying a Product? Look No Further…

- Wednesday, February 05, 2014

GS1, a not-for-profit, international organization that develops and maintains standards for supply and demand chains across multiple industries has created a new identification process called the “US Data Hub”. This service allows retailers and other related industries to read the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) encoded on the RFID tag or bar-code label. Reading this tag will help them identifying the product’s supplier, as well as, allow them to determine whether or not the product or the tag itself is counterfeited.

To access the service, users can either login via the internet, or they can access the service by using an API (application programming interface) – that provides even more resources. GS1 is currently working on adding other information to their Data Hub. Some of the information they are considering adding is specific location at which the particular tag was read (giving the user supply chain transportation history) and specific description of the items tagged.

To read the entire article in RFID Journal regarding GS1’s new Data Hub services, feel free to visit the link below. If your company is using or interested in utilizing RFID for your product identification, contact Northern Apex Corporation. We have been deploying RFID solutions since 1998; we have the experience to help you make a smooth transition from barcode to RFID.

RFID Goes Beyond Manufacturing and Inventory – Introducing RFID in Marketing

- Monday, October 28, 2013

RFID Insider has given an overview of 9 different ways RFID can be used for marketing purposes. Each are unique and interesting ways to utilize the technology.

1. Lexus and Wired Magazine teamed up to create an interactive ad. Once a NFC phone (or other device) scans the ad – the phone will open Lexus’ web browser and it loads a video that describes their Enform App Suite, which is a feature on their touchscreen dashboard.

2. Budweiser and partners have developed the ‘Buddy Cup’. The RFID enabled cup will allow the owner of the cup to automatically become Facebook friends with whomever they decide to clink their glasses with at the bar or party.

3. RFID SmartCap for Strongbow Gold Cider – is an interactive cap that when the bottle is opened at a bar the RFID chip triggers an event. Some of the events include check-ins, confetti cannons or even turning on party lights.

4. Hellman’s mayonnaise utilizes RFID in a Brazilian grocery store. The shopping cards were equipped with RFID tags and a touch-screen display. The display will pop up recipes for the products the shopping cart is near; all the recipes incorporate Hellman’s mayonnaise.

5. Outdoor posters for Dominos allowed pedestrians to download their new app, when placing their NFC phone near the posters.

6. A Singapore music store connected music and fashion, giving each person an ‘earful’ of their type of music. RFID readers were placed in the dressing rooms and RFID tags on the clothing. When a patron entered the dressing room, the tag triggered the speakers to play the type of music that related to the type of clothing they picked out.

7. Whole Foods is working on a prototype that uses RFID and Kinnect to give shoppers an interactive and hassle free shopping experience. Shoppers can upload their list to their interactive touchscreen displays. As items on the list are put into the cart, the items are marked off the list. If a shopper would accidently grab an incorrect item (one that might possibly trigger a food allergy), the cart will alert them of the mistake. The cart can also total up the items and charge it directly to the consumer’s credit card.

8. Keurig uses RFID technology to give each cup of coffee (or tea/etc.) its own personal touch. For people who do not want to mess with the settings on the coffee pot for each cup of coffee, the RFID chip contains a recipe for that specific cup.

9. Burberry’s – London has equipped their entire store with RFID readers and will attach RFID tags to all of their clothing. When a patron takes a piece of clothing into a dressing room or other area of the store, videos that are specific to the item will play and give the person more information about the items craftsmanship and design.

To read more about RFID uses in these 9 applications, please feel free to click on the link below. If your retail operation is currently using or interested in utilizing RFID to give your store/product/brand more exposure, contact Northern Apex Corporation. We have been deploying RFID (Near Field Communications) since 1998. We have the experience to take your ideas and make them a reality. – – 260.637.2739 Phone

Logistic Challenges for Furniture Manufacturers

- Tuesday, September 10, 2013

With high number of sales channels and different requirements for each type of sales channel (dealers, box stores, showrooms, e-retailers, corporate stores, etc.), U.S. based furniture manufacturers are relying heavily on their supply chain/logistics companies. These logistics companies need to be able to know more than the basics about shipping furniture. They need to know how it should be packed in a truck, what does and does not damage the furniture and what to do if damage occurs during shipment. Because of these and other requirements, the number of specialized furniture carriers has decreased from 50 down to 10 over the last several years.

 Due to the downturn in the number of logistics companies that specialize in furniture shipping, manufacturers are counting on them to know the ins and outs of furniture shipping and to be as efficient as possible. To help with efficiencies, these companies have invested in technologies such as GPS, advanced routing and warehouse management systems (WMS). Also, because of high –immediate demand peaks and then low to no demand valleys for their product, furniture companies have also had to become more efficient. Since the economic  decline, companies hold out on ordering furniture until absolutely necessary and then place large orders. Consumers are also holding onto their money until absolutely necessary… this means the days of small , steady orders are over.

To read the full article about the logistic issues in furniture manufacturing, please click on the Inbound Logistics link below. If you would like to learn more about how to make your logistics or manufacturing company more efficient, contact Northern Apex Corporation. With over 15 years of RFID product development and integration experience, we have the knowledge and expertise to help your facility run efficiently as possible.

Contact us today… – 260.637.2739 –


Supply Chain Gurus – Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2013

- Wednesday, August 07, 2013

There are so many intricacies to the supply chain, that it takes time and experience to ‘master’ the process. Gartner has once again researched the top 25 companies that have ‘mastered’ the supply chain process. This ranking is based on peer opinion, Gartner opinion, three year ROA, inventory turns and three year revenue growth.

These top 25 companies are based on much more than just opinions, they are also based on supply chain leadership and how it translates into corporate wide performance. We are going to look at the top three companies on the Gartner list.

In first place, Apple has stepped up to the plate and responded to their opposition with a variety of sizes/types of devices at more competitive price points. These manufacturing steps have made managing Apple’s supply chain much more complex, but Apple has successfully handled the additional complexities.

The second and third ranking companies – McDonald’s and (respectively) have their own reasons for being ranked in the top 3. McDonald’s is well known for their new product launches, advance demand forecasting ability and elaborate supplier network … all of these gives McD’s the overall ability to not have out-of-stock products. This is very impressive considering the size and breadth of the McDonald’s franchise.

Amazon is well known for their customer experience, in fact, Amazon is the trendsetter for positive supply chain driven customer experience. With free shipping over $25 and the mass quantity of products (not to mention suppliers) available on, customers keep flocking to the site. Amazon has recently started investing in new physical fulfillment centers to support same day delivery – further distinguishing them from their competition.

Most companies are not as large as Apple, McDonald’s or Amazon, but smaller companies do experience similar supply chain headaches. Many of these headaches could be relieved by using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). RFID provides hands-free (in many cases) insight into product location – shipping and order fulfillment. Using RFID allows companies to use less man hours to fulfill orders and also ensures that the orders get to the right place at the right time.

To read about Gartner’s top 25 and to find out the names of the other 22 companies that made the list, click on this link… To learn more about how RFID can help reduce costs and enhance your supply chain, contact Northern Apex Corporation. With over 15 years of RFID product development and integration experience, we have the knowledge and expertise to get the project done right – the first time. – 260.637.2739 –