Gen 2 genius: Sporting goods leader to meet shipping mandates using Zebra solutions

Amer Sports will use Zebra Technologies’ EPC Gen 2-standard labeling system in a RFID compliance labeling project for shipments of its Wilson Sporting Goods brand.<br/>


Amer Sports will use Zebra Technologies ’ EPC Gen 2-standard labeling system in a RFID compliance labeling project for shipments of its Wilson Sporting Goods brand.
According to Wilson's IT Director, Ed Matthews, a Wilson team installed four Zebra R110Xi printer/encoders to label shipments that require RFID compliance tagging. The encoders are XML-enabled, facilitating seamless integration with existing enterprise systems. At Wilson, the R110Xi printer/encoders interface directly with applications running on an SAP Auto ID Infrastructure (AII) via an IBM AS/400 host to receive the order information necessary to produce the shipping labels.

Zebra R110Xi printer/encoders are XML-enabled, facilitating seamless integration with existing enterprise systems.

Wilson also is able to create XML smart label formats and load them onto the R110Xi printer/encoders. The AS/400 applications push the deliveries to SAP AII and then SAP AII pushes XML to printer/encoders, which process the information and create the smart label. Each label includes human-readable text, a bar code, and an EPC number encoded in a Gen 2-standard tag. The labels are hand-applied to the cases and pallets, which are then routed past fixed-position RFID readers to capture the shipment information.
Another challenge for Wilson involved a major change to SAP’s ERP system. Because the compliance system had to be running before the SAP migration would be complete, Wilson chose to run its RFID labeling system independent of SAP—with plans to migrate to the new infrastructure upon its completion. Since the Zebra R110Xi printer/encoders support AII and have exclusive features that allow them to connect directly to SAP systems, Wilson will be able to integrate the printer/encoders to the SAP system following the upgrade.
When the new SAP system is complete, Wilson will integrate RFID data further into its operations to encode additional information into its shipping labels, such as ship-to address, SKU number, and item quantity.
“As the system grows and we make additional use of the RFID data that is captured, we plan to install more Zebra printer/encoders at other facilities,” says Matthew. “We’ve had a good relationship with Zebra and excellent support, so I am confident that the products will be seamlessly integrated into any future RFID protocols we implement.”

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