Wilson Sporting Goods Taps Zebra for RFID Solution
May 13, 2008 Alex Woodie
When Wilson Sporting Goods went looking for a supply of RFID printer/encoders for its new supply chain project, it didn’t have to look far. The IT director picked Zebra Technologies based on previous experience with the company, and as a result Wilson is now using Zebra’s devices to create RFID tags from its OS/400 ERP applications.
It didn’t take long for Ed Matthews, director of information technology for Wilson, to select a vendor to assist with its requirement to implement RFID Gen 2 encoding at the manufacturer. “I had worked with Zebra before and knew their equipment was very reliable,” Matthews says. “So we moved right past that concern and got down to the project details.”
Wilson, which is a subsidiary of Amer Sports, implemented four Zebra’s R110Xi printer encoders to generate Gen 2 RFID tags for shipments requiring the latest in wireless data technology. The orders originate on Wilson’s AS/400 server, and are then sent to a SAP Auto ID Infrastructure, or AII, application running on another server. The AII application sends the data to the R110Xi printers, the printers generate the Gen 2 tags, the tags are applied to outgoing cases and pallets, and fixed RFID sensors read the information on the tags as they’re loaded onto delivery trucks.
This workflow will likely change in the future, however, and that is one of the reasons why Wilson picked Zebra. According to Zebra, Wilson will eventually transition all of its business applications to SAP, but in the meantime, the company still needed to interface with the AS/400. Zebra gave Wilson the needed flexibility to support current and future systems, Zebra says.
The plan calls for Wilson to move past the “slap and ship” stage and integrate RFID more deeply into its supply chain operations. “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,” Matthews says.