Interview: Mariano Tudela, Vice President Sales & Customer Operations EMEA

What can you tell about Checkpoint’s background and the business today?

"In 2019 Checkpoint celebrated 50 years in business. The company originally started by providing loss prevention systems to libraries. Over the years we expanded into the retail Industry and this became a much bigger, more attractive market and so for the majority of our 50 years, we have focused on bringing technology solutions to the retail sector."

"Not much has changed in the retail sector for 50 years or so, retailers had a stable business model, customers came to their stores to buy the merchandise they offered. In the last five years or so the retail sector has undergone a significant transformation. Internet-enabled online retailers, such as Amazon, have caused huge disruption, enabling customers to buy anywhere, any time without visiting a store. Technology has transformed the industry beyond recognition and will continue to do so."

"As a technology provider to the retail industry, we have been developing our solutions to embrace these advancements so that we continue to provide the necessary technologies our retail customers need as they navigate through this transformation."

We have invested heavily over the last three years in our R&D capability, both in our manufacturing capability and software development. We position Checkpoint as a partner who understands all the complexities that our retail customers face across their full value chain as they transition in this digital age. Our business is vertically integrated so that we offer a complete solution for customers about to embrace new technologies or take existing technologies to the next level of performance.

"Our role is to provide solutions to customers, not products. We focus on delivering the “return on investment” that customers need to optimise their own success. As the only vertically integrated solution provider of EAS and RFID solutions, our understanding of the eco-systems that deliver success for our customers is unique. Our growth in the last three years is a clear reflection that this is the right strategy, at the right time for an industry going through such rapid change."

What kind of brands do you work with?

"As Checkpoint is a global company we work with leading retailers in all continents around the world. From a sector perspective, our business spans grocery, apparel, footwear, pharmacy, convenience, health and beauty, electronics and DIY. We are very proud to work with the market-leading retailers across all of these sectors –, Landmark, Inditex, H&M, Nike, ASICS, CVS, Dollar General, LPP, Sephora and TJX. However, our business model is distributed with sales and marketing operations in over 35 countries. This model allows us to support more regional customers, which may not have the scale of larger retailers but face the same problems. This means they too can leverage our solutions."

Why should retailers work with Checkpoint?

"Simply because we will deliver solutions for them that will improve their business performance. Our mission statement is “to be the industry’s first choice of source to shopper solutions that optimise success for our customers”. This is our primary objective. For example, we sell EAS systems, but we actually deliver significant reductions in shrink that increase revenue and profit for our customers. We sell RFID systems that increase revenues, optimise inventory usage, reduce discounting, eliminate out of shelf situation, etc. All of these deliver improved financial performance for our customers, which in turn helps them be successful and grow."

How can retailers work with Checkpoint?

"Retailers engage with us anywhere in the value chain, from an apparel label or an RF/RFID tag to an EAS system or RFID system with a source tagging solution. With 50 years of experience, we have worked with customers who have known us for one thing or another. We are now working to ensure our customers all fully understand the depth of support we can provide."

"The challenges faced by retailers are common, so ensuring our customers understand how to leverage our unique experience is important. For example – in an RFID solution there is a clear interdependency between the RFID inlay design, the application the tag will be used in, the hardware that will read the tag and the software that drives improvement actions. Retailers that recognise this and work with Checkpoint across its vertically integrated platform optimise performance and so financial success."

Where are you located (worldwide)?

"Checkpoint operates in every major geographic market, employing 4,500 people worldwide. Our headquarters is based just outside New York in Thorofare, New Jersey USA. Our European headquarters is situated in Terrassa, close to Barcelona in Spain."

Do you have any expansion plans for this year or next year?

"We currently have 10 wholly-owned manufacturing plants, 20 ticket labelling centers around the world, and 35 sales offices. We have been expanding and upgrading plants over the last three years and this will continue with new and expanded plants in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, Africa and Latin America all primarily in our Apparel Labeling/RFID Business. We also have plans for further expansion is sales and technical support locations to support geographic areas of opportunity, this builds on recent expansions in Poland, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Latin America."

Any new project you would like to announce?

"In 2019 we announced a new platform product NEO which offers an industry-leading RF/RFID electronics engine. It has unmatched connectivity and detection performance. Our strategy is to utilise the NEO engine and our upgraded Evolve engine across a range of new antenna concepts. We have already released three new products in 2019 including the NP range and the S20 and the G40. We expect to announce another three before the year-end."

"We also see retailers making a significant investment in new exciting in-store design concepts. The in-store EAS/RFID antenna systems should complement these store designs, while still having the functional performance and obvious deterrent impact but being complementary to align with the in-store design concept. An advantage of being vertically integrated is that we can make our own focused investments in rapid prototyping and in new manufacturing processes which allow us to provide custom-designed antennas. We are now working directly with a number of our retail customers to design products specifically to meet their requirements for in-store aesthetics."

"The retail industry has two major trade shows next year, NRF in New York and EuroShop in Germany, we will be making major multiple new product announcements at these shows across hardware, software and consumable platforms, it’s going to be very exciting!"

What was your turnover in 2018 and what are your forecasts for the current year?

"2018 was an excellent year, Checkpoint generated revenues of $713m, we executed an unprecedented three major rolls outs in the year, two in the EU and one in North America. 2019 will continue this trend, our first-half results of 2019 have been very good, so we are optimistic. Of course, we see some uncertainty with Brexit and Trade Wars. The external environment is out of our and our customers' control, so our focus remains on optimising success for our customers, providing solutions that improve their overall financial performance and helping them be successful in this exciting but ever-changing market."


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