New Sunshine had been fighting product diversion challenges for more than ten years. The company manufactures well known tanning lotions under the brand names Designer Skin®, Australian Gold®, Swedish Beauty®, and California Tan®. New Sunshine sells its Designer Skin products only to authorized distributors and professional salons. Diversion of their products reduces sales for their authorized distribution channel when third parties resell them in unauthorized channels and undercut the price normally charged in the salons. With 15,000 salon partners and 19 distributors, New Sunshine was looking to make an investment to protect the goodwill of its brand, while protecting its salon partners, distributors, and consumers. They also had experienced situations in which bottles had been filled with generic brands of lotion and sold online as authentic products. Some end users had expressed concerns about whether the formula had been altered.
New Sunshine approached WS Packaging Group, who developed a full chain of custody solution from manufacturing to the consumer, utilizing RFID technology to help combat diversion. An RFID tag attached to each product contains data encoded to track the product. Each product's unique RFID serial number is associated to a particular customer sales order. New Sunshine can now acquire a product from any source, read the serial number, and know immediately to whom the product was originally sold. Knowing this information allows New Sunshine to identify who is diverting its products and identify any counterfeit products.
WS Packaging first provided a briefing to all of their cross functional stakeholders on how RFID technology might address New Sunshine's problem. Next, an RFID serialization strategy was developed that enabled inventory tracking by distinct serial numbers given to each individual product. They then identified the appropriate RFID tags and inlays that met the application requirements. From there they conducted tests on various product samples to ensure the tag functioned well on the product and throughout the packaging process. Once the system design was approved, software was developed for integration into New Sunshine's IT platform. Trials and operator training were also conducted.
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