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Kimberly-Clark Deploys Mobile RFID Tagging Solution

Dallas: Kimberly-Clark Corp. has deployed OATSystems' OAT Mobile Tag, the first enterprise-class, mobile RFID tagging solution to improve the execution of in-store product promotions.

Like other consumer product companies, Kimberly-Clark invests significantly in in-store product promotions, using as a primary vehicle a manufactured display that features the promoted product. These displays are typically shipped from Kimberly-Clark's contracted manufacturers directly to retailers' stores. All too frequently, operational challenges prevent these displays from reaching the sales floor at the beginning of the promotional period.

In fact, industry statistics show that between 15 percent to 40 percent of stores fail to move displays to the sales floor on time, missing critical promotional windows and the opportunity to increase sales. Working with Waltham, MA-based OATSystems Inc., Kimberly-Clark has solved this complex operational problem using the latest RFID technology and a mobile tagging solution.

The solution, which incorporates the Mobile Tagging Station from ADASA, enables Kimberly-Clark's third-party contract manufacturers to apply RFID tags to promotional displays. In-store RFID readers read the displays' tags to record when they reach the backroom of the store and again when the displays reach the sales floor. When a display's tag is read, data is sent to Kimberly-Clark and the retailer showing whether the display has reached the sales floor on time.

With this innovation, Kimberly-Clark and its retail customers can intervene promptly when displays fail to reach the sales floor on time. This benefits Kimberly-Clark, the retailer and the consumer by ensuring promoted products are where customers expect them to be.

The OAT Mobile Tag solution will also enable Kimberly-Clark to support RFID-enabled stores in new geographies, easily conduct RFID proof of concepts and explore other RFID applications to improve performance. With this new capability, Kimberly-Clark will enrich its information flow substantially and thereby manage its promotions with greater precision to improve bottom-line results.

Before OAT introduced Mobile Tag, companies either had to deploy costly fixed, enterprise-connected RFID technology or take an unconnected approach that offered limited visibility, failed to ensure data quality and sapped the value of RFID data. OAT Mobile Tag now provides a pragmatic choice the market has been waiting for: enterprise connectivity at a moderate cost and without fixed infrastructure requirements.

"We have been working closely with OAT and ADASA for several months to advance our RFID operational tagging capabilities through a portable edge concept that we developed," says Mike O'Shea, director, Auto-ID Sensing Technology, Kimberly-Clark.

"OAT Mobile Tag is a cost-effective solution that allows us to focus our RFID tagging efforts where there is a clear value proposition for K-C and our customers."

In addition, OATSystems says that Kimberly-Clark has signed an enterprise license agreement to purchase the OATSystems' OAT Foundation Suite as part of its global RFID initiatives. The OAT Foundation Suite is a complete RFID solution from encoding tags, managing tag readers and gathering and analyzing electronic product code data.

Kimberly-Clark says it plans to use the OAT Foundation Suite generally to increase efficiencies within its entire global supply chain and specifically to improve promotion management and other critical business functions, including goods movement within distribution centers, proof of delivery and shipment reconciliations.

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