Licon was initiated in 2003 by Siemens Business Services and thelogistics specialists Kühne + Nagel. Its other members now include the FraunhoferInstitute and Lufthansa Systems. Licon has set itself the goal of carrying out national andinternational projects within a working network in order, amongst other things, toestablish the international RFID standards that will ensure the secure worldwide flow ofgoods in future by using the new technology.
"With Herma, Licon is taking on one more company that can contribute comprehensiveexperience in relation to labelling and marking to numerous logistics projects," said theLicon manager Alexander Unruh.
Herma's specific know-how stretches fromthe Smart Label to labelling machines, as well as technical advice and project management tothe hardware integration of a complete RFID system.
Herma is divided into three divisions, Adhesive Materials, LabellingSystems, and Paper Products, which supply a host of industries from chemical and pharmacuetical to the retail sector. It employ about 800 people at three locations in theGreater Stuttgart region and in the 2003 financial year achieved sales of €154 million, 45 per cent of that business being derived from exports.
The unification of the RFID standard, which is the aim, aims to accelerate thedissemination of this technology, as Heiko Tiedmann, the manager of the Smart LabelsDepartment of Herma emphasised. "The realisation is spreading more and more thatthe profitability calculations in RFID projects in many cases do not depend on the costsof individual labels. The decisive factor is in fact the unbiased consideration of thesystem as a whole."
For instance, with RFID technology alone it is possible to reducecosts permanently that would otherwise be caused by wrong identification, mix-ups,rework, or manual handling. "RFID systems gain even more in attractiveness if theyenable expensive and time-consuming 'island-solutions' to be avoided in any giventechnology."
One example mentioned by Tiedmann is the firstintercontinental RFID project that has just been initiated under the aegis of Licon, andunder which the wireless technology will be tested all along the supply chain betweenMunich and New York under real-life conditions.
The advent of Herma becoming a member of Licon, ties in with the world's largest retail group, Wal-Mart's, deadline for its top 100 supplier to reach the 1 January, 2005, deadline to implement a complete system of RFID. Wal-Mart is attempting to streamline its entire logistics operation by implementing its own RFID, an ambition that is having a significant impact on some of the world's biggest food and beverage manufacturers.