“Prototypes for custom samples typically took 3-4 weeks to arrive. Now, I can call my rep and get something in less than a week”
Here’s a scene that plays out daily across the world. A shoplifter grabs a tee-shirt, stuffs it into his backpack and makes a beeline for the exit. As he nears the door, the activated RF label on the shirt triggers the alarm system and the would-be thief is thwarted. Ever wonder who is behind this process?
Meet ALL-TAG® — a Boca Raton, Florida-based manufacturer of Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) products and services designed to help retailers protect their merchandise from shoplifting. ALL-TAG source tags hard goods and apparel, and manufactures custom EAS products tailor-made to help loss prevention professionals reach their specific goals.
Known as the “Source Tagging Experts”, ALL-TAG works directly with stores to develop their specifications and then produces and sells the tags directly to manufacturers. That means that when the product arrives at the store it’s already tagged and ready to activate. ALL-TAG prides itself on helping stores manage their anti-shoplifting programs and getting their requirements directly to packagers and manufacturers. Logistics and distribution expertise clearly differentiate them from off-shore resold tags. And this appeals to their end-use customers in super stores, retail shops, hardware chains, pharmacies and grocery stores as well as to the manufacturers who purchase their labels.
ALL-TAG primarily manufactures RF (radio frequency) tags. These tags are simply small electronic devices consisting of a chip and antenna. They emit a loud beep sound when someone attempts to leave a store without paying for the product. RF tags on a product have been proven to reduce theft – which is why many retailers include them on their product packaging.
The company was formed in 1992 in Manage, Belgium and the US subsidiary was opened by current majority owner Stuart Seidel in 2000. It quickly took off, and by 2013, the US operation had outgrown its parent company and become the global headquarters. Today, with 50 employees, offices in the United States, Europe (UK & NL), Mexico and Asia (HK), and a wide array of specialized, proprietary equipment, ALL-TAG has become the second largest global RF label manufacturer. Their innovative and cost-effective EAS solutions are compatible with Acousto-Magnetic (AM) Radio-Frequency and (RF) systems made by Sensormatic®, Checkpoint® Systems and others. ALL-TAG owns over 20 international patents and offers its customers on-hand inventory for fast deliveries – most products ship within two days.
For many years, ALL-TAG had purchased the transfer tape material they needed for their EAS labels from major global manufacturers. Although these companies could supply the product that ALL-TAG needed, they were usually left with the perception that they weren’t big enough to be a key customer for these large substrate suppliers. According to Joe Sirak, Director of Finance, “We couldn’t get answers, samples or prototypes quickly enough.”
Over the years, Sirak attended many trade shows and talked to “…everyone in the industry. They’re always eager, but at the end of the day they can’t seem to meet our requirements for great turnaround and improved pricing.” An industry colleague described Acucote as a fast mover and Sirak decided to give them a test project of a transfer tape with a colored adhesive. He notes that, “We wanted a blue adhesive on the back of most of our labels to distinguish our brand on the shelf.”
With that challenge, Acucote’s Application Development Team jumped into gear and quickly sent ALL-TAG a variety of options. The final product (UNIVERSAL TT / SX78 BLUE / 40#N) would ultimately be placed on the majority of ALL-TAG RF labels. Sirak notes, “We were thrilled at the speed of the custom samples. We got everything we needed in just a couple of days.” Production Director Patrick Champion adds that, “ It was a very smooth changeover and took only a couple of rounds of smaller tests – no issues. Acucote reps even came down to Florida to make sure everything ran smoothly.”
Since that initial order, ALL-TAG has sent around six additional projects to Acucote. Sirak notes that, “In the last several years security labels have become more customized – and our customers are requiring special printing, colors and adhesives ” That has set the stage for Acucote to provide a variety of customer-specific anti-shoplifting applications.
Sirak describes the smooth process as, “I typically get a project, provide them with the gist and in an overnight package I’ll receive five different adhesive samples to play with – and usually something works.” The customized projects have included an aggressive adhesive, a dry adhesive and a VOID tamper-evident label. He adds that, “prototypes for custom samples typically took 3-4 weeks to arrive. Now, I can call my rep and get something in less than a week”
“Additionally, in true partnership mode Acucote developed unique inventory solutions to help with the demands of our higher volume transfer tapes.” Sirak appreciates the fact that “as soon as I need something it’s as simple as sending an email, and they ship it out overnight and I have it in 2 days.”
ALL-TAG definitely views Acucote as a key contributor to their future growth. With Acucote as a supplier, ALL-TAG has been able to explore new applications that come in daily on their website and put to ease potential supply issues by replacing an off-shore manufacturer.
When asked about the keys to this successful relationship, Sirak quickly mentions “price, flexibility and speed.” He concludes that Acucote is “nimble enough to jump through any hoop to keep us delighted. If I ever have a problem, I can get the president of the company on the phone right away and talk through it. How many other substrate providers can say that?”