SATO is a leader in barcode printing since introducing the first thermal transfer barcode printer and the company just recently built on its leadership position by providing industry's first, complete multi-protocol RFID solutions offering. SATO was appointed a Metro Gold Partner in June 2004, and has entered the METRO Groups RFID initiative go-live phase in early November 2004. Twenty of the retailers suppliers now attach RFID labels to pallets delivered to METRO Group. The majority employs SATO technology, for either print-and-apply or slap-and-ship labelling. SATO RFID printers not only print the labels, but also simultaneously program the RFID chip using an integrated UHF RFID read/write unit.
In this first roll-out phase, the technology has been implemented at selected METRO Group warehouses, and METRO Cash & Carry, Real and Kaufhof outlets throughout Germany. At each site, RFID readers at goods-receipt and goods-dispatch points capture the electronic product code stored on the RFID chip, uniquely identifying each pallet. This information is transferred to the central ERP system, making it possible to track all transport moves across the supply chain, through to storage at the retail outlet. In the second phase of the roll-out, scheduled to begin next year, METRO Group partners will not only use RFID labels for pallets, but also for transport packaging.
Victor S. Barczyk, SATO International Vice President of Business Development, believes the beginning of the implementation phase is a significant milestone: "METRO and their RFID initiative (of which SATO is a Gold Partner) have done an incredible job in meeting the roll-out schedule. I'm extremely excited that something that we've all worked long and hard for has finally been realised. The first pallets shipped to METRO, a majority having been tagged by SATO products, performed flawlessly as a result of the processes and testing that we had executed as part of SATO's RFID professional services. We are looking forward to supporting METRO and their suppliers in the future, and to the next level of challenges that lie ahead."