Prime Interway and iTAG Etiquetas Inteligentes announced a partnership that promises to strongly encourage the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) by Brazilian companies. If the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce and the evolution of companies towards digital and omni-channel operations [sales through several channels, including digital, with the same physical stock], which requires more robust technology investments especially in RFID; on the other hand, the same pandemic caused the dollar to jump from R$ 3.20 to R$ 5.50 [average quotation for the past few weeks], raising the cost of imported equipment that underlies RFID deployments.
In the midst of this phenomenon and with the certainty that RFID adoption will grow brutally over the next five years, separating surviving and successful companies from those that will close their doors, Chinese products are increasingly becoming extremely viable alternatives for investments in technology. First, because the costs are infinitely lower than products of European, Japanese or American brands. And second, because Chinese products have improved a lot in quality, becoming more competitive even in the most critical operations.
Mauricio Cervenka, director of procurement for Asia at Prime Interway, mentions that currently what gets in the way of many RFID projects are hardware prices. “We are bringing readers from Chainway and Postek printers with very high quality and costs that enable investments by companies that need to adopt RFID in Brazil, but that previously were unable to buy the equipment”. Cervenka affirms that the intention of importing Chinese equipment is to enable the application of RFID on a large scale in the country.
The partnership with iTAG is also considered strategic to enable business and RFID expansion in markets that already need a high level of automation to reduce costs and increase business efficiency. “The partnership with iTAG has been going on for a long time. It is a strategic partner of ours. Prime is focused on hardware. And hardware is nothing without software and services. ITAG is very strong in software and services, mainly for the clothing market, with many interesting success stories, and the label part, ”says Cervenka.
“When Prime started to bring these new equipment to Brazil at a much more affordable cost, the partnership with iTAG was greatly strengthened”, he explained, saying that the agreement is valid for all the markets in which iTAG operates, since it also has recognized and awarded cases in areas such as manufacturing in general, auto parts, health, etc. “ITAG has already signaled us, projects that were not being developed due to equipment cost problems, and which, with these new technologies, are becoming viable, which for us will be very interesting”.
With operations in Mexico and Colombia, Prime Interway notes that customers have been looking for options to the most well-known brands. “Logically, there is a market for all brands, including the leaders – which we also distribute – and who will not lose their space. What is happening in RFID is that this cake [of investments] is increasing, there are customers who are not in a position to invest a lot and now we will be able to work better with this expanded portfolio of brands ”.
Cervenka says that with the pandemic many companies started to focus on online businesses, through e-commerce. “At this time, it becomes very important to know what you have in stock, when you need your inventory in real time. Thus, you either reserve a part of the stock for e-commerce or you need to have a very high accuracy of your inventory. RFID comes in precisely to make this scenario possible ”.
For the Prime Interway executive, 2020 was a very turbulent year, but it was also a year in which many retailers turned to iTAG to be able to arm themselves for this new hybrid business model, with the physical world and e-commerce. “RFID makes this new model possible in a much more harmonious way”. Cervenka believes that 2021 will be a year of growth in the technology sector, because companies have realized that they need technologies to get through the pandemic crisis, survive and grow.
For Sergio Gambim, CEO of iTAG, the partnership with Prime Interway reaches a new moment and with hardware solutions that favor the investments of more and more Brazilian customers. “With our systems, companies are able to optimize business, save on operations, increase efficiency and gain speed in controlling inventories. With excellent quality equipment at a lower price, investments in iTAG RFID systems will be even more attractive”.