SAP, Intermec To Offer RFID For SMBs

In the near term, that alliance takes the form of an RFID-hardware starter kit from Intermec, designed expressly for SAP's Business One application suite.

SAP also said it hopes to have scheduled by early June a "call-to-action" conference for industry groups, distributors and other vendors. The conference's goal: to begin the educational effort needed to help solution partners deal with too much data but not enough information around RFID.

RFID solutions are widely recognized as requiring higher levels of custom development and industry expertise than is typical with other solutions.

Using National Manufacturing Week in Chicago as the backdrop, the two companies unveiled Easy Automatic Data Collection (EasyADC) for SAP Business One. Upgradable in the field to RFID capabilities, EasyADC is Intermec's entry-level bar-coding system.

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"Because the business processes for RFID are similar to bar coding, we are using bar coding as the model to help train Business One partners," said Jeff Johnson, global alliance manager for SMB initiatives at the Everett, Wash.-based RFID and bar code hardware vendor. "We are giving SAP partners a chance to decide if they want to sell hardware. If they don't, we can supplement them with non-competing Intermec partners. And we can train SAP partners on 'slap and ship' and, if it's within their business model, provide a certification class."

The term "slap and ship" applies to the most basic level of RFID compliance, where manufacturers apply RFID tags to goods sent to Wal-Mart, Target, Albertson's and Best Buy, for example.

According to Johnson, EasyADC for Business One can be fully installed, including customer training, in less than two days. The solution comprises two CK-30 handheld terminals, one WA-22 access point for wireless radio frequency communications, and one PM-4i bar code printer, capable of printing RFID-embedded labels. It also includes a CD containing the software interface to SAP Business One and a setup and configuration wizard.

Johnson said EasyADC for Business One will be available the end of April through Avnet, ScanSource and other distributors. "We've set it up so SAP partners can buy it through distributors, resell it and make margin," said Johnson. The solution carries a $24,995 list price.