GXS Targets Small, Midsize Businesses with Packaged Data Synchronization and RFID Solution

"All-in-one" offering aims to reduce barriers to compliance with RFID mandates

"All-in-one" offering aims to reduce barriers to compliance with RFID mandates

New York  January 18, 2006  B2B connectivity specialist GXS has introduced what it said is the first automated, off-the-shelf, packaged data synchronization and radio frequency identification (RFID) solution, targeting the small and midsize enterprise market with an offering intended to reduce barriers to compliance with RFID mandates.

The new RFID Accelerator offering from GXS includes an integrated approach to global data synchronization (GDS) and provides a "quick and easy" way to meet retailer mandates associated with RFID compliance, the solution provider said.

The solution includes three components: GXS Quick Connect, which enables product information synchronization according to industry standards; a connection to a supported global data synchronization network (GDSN)-certified data pool; and RFIDTagManager, an RFID tagging software solution from epcSolutions.

Tracking Products in the Chain

GXS said that RFID Accelerator integrates dynamic supply-chain event data that RFID devices collect with synchronized product information to automate product tagging and tracking. By aggregating internal and external product information, retailers and suppliers can see how products are moving from manufacturing facilities through a retailer's supply chain and into the stores.

"In addition to meeting retailer RFID initiatives and ensuring data accuracy, RFID Accelerator enables businesses to improve control of stock and other assets; eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain; increase accuracy and visibility for real-time decision making and enhance the traceability of goods in the manufacturing process," GXS said in a statement announcing the solution.

"GXS RFID Accelerator enhances the benefits of clean, accurate and consistently synchronized product information while giving suppliers the ability to leverage the synchronized data as part of an integrated RFID implementation," the solution provider added.

Aligning Product Data

GXS said that Quick Connect will enable suppliers to coordinate and align product data, according to globally accepted standards. With more retailers requiring standardization among product attributes across several industry verticals, and the increase in online retail sales, suppliers are experiencing greater demand to align product data and automate the communication of that data to retailers.

By automating product data synchronization, Quick Connect optimizes supply chain effectiveness, ultimately helping to reduce costs to suppliers and retailers alike by improving inventory management, according to GXS. This can help prevent overstocks and out-of-stock situations, as well as ensure that consumers are provided with the appropriate product details as required by recent FDA regulations, such as requirements for new food labeling.

epcSolutions offers plug-and-play RFID software and solutions. Its RFIDTagManager, part of the GXS offering, is interoperable with a variety of RFID printer/encoders and readers from leading manufacturers, and it was designed to enable small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to implement RFID tagging for all products and to ensure compliance with RFID mandates from major retailers and government bodies, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and the Department of Defense.

Price Point

Many consumer product goods manufacturers are struggling to develop RFID strategies that meet the compliance requirements of their large retail partners. Cost is clearly a factor, as it is estimated that the average investment to start an RFID program is between $500,000 and $1 million, according to GXS. Pricing for GXS RFID Accelerator starts at under $5,000, excluding hardware and data pool registration fees.

"As a provider of B2B services to more than 40,000 businesses, GXS understands the e-commerce challenges associated with RFID," said Larry Rushing, director of business process solutions at GXS. "In today's market, companies are in need of a low cost, easy-to-use solution that allows them to comply with RFID mandates and reduce operating costs, while providing them with a solid foundation for a long-term RFID strategy."

Rushing suggested that the minimal investment required for RFID Accelerator could provide significant returns for suppliers by increasing visibility and tracking of product stocks and reducing critical supply chain inefficiencies. "For the first time, businesses of any size can experience the return on investment of RFID and GDS already gained by their large retail partners," he concluded.

Meanwhile, Bill Bulzoni, director of RFID business development for Zebra Technologies, said that Zebra's printer/encoders work seamlessly with RFID Accelerator. "GXS RFID Accelerator is a valuable option for any of the businesses in our large customer base that are seeking to implement affordable data synchronization and RFID solutions," Bulzoni said. "With this new solution from our partners, GXS and epcSolutions, businesses in almost any industry now can benefit from improved supply chain efficiency."

Additional Articles of Interest

 Supply chain executives can drive profitability ahead if they closely align their supply chain strategies to five universal business plan challenges. Read more in "Collaborate to Innovate," in the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 Consumers spent nearly $28 billion on the "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving 2005, up 21.9 percent over 2004's results. Great news for retailers, but a potential nightmare for supply chain executives trying to get the right product on the right shelf at the right time. The lesson: Now is the time to plan for the next peak shipping season. Read more in the "Seasons' Peakings," the Executive Memo column in the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

 With its customers increasingly requiring new levels of connectivity, C&H Sugar deploys a 21st century IT infrastructure. Read more in "B2B Integration Spells Sweet Success," Best Practices article in the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.