by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 3 minutes  |  in Business Technology, Retail, Strategy, Supply Chain   |  tagged , , , , , , , , ,

RFID technology has risen to become a valuable element in better performing supply chain management, ensuring that the right products are available in the right place with no discrepancies.

Retailers are experiencing challenges in keeping up with the inventory and visibility demands that today’s consumer-centric, competitive retail environment requires. RFID, supported by a multi-layered, flexible enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, have proven to increase inventory accuracy for many retailers and wholesalers. It is supporting the ‘buy anywhere, get anywhere’ shopping behavior, securing that products are on-shelf and not out-of-stock.

Retailers have also started to realize other potential uses for the massive amount of data associated with RFID that go beyond just an identification tag. RFID, in cooperation with your ERP system, can be seen as a source supporting your omni-channel, personalization strategy. Initiatives like buy online, pick up in-store, ship from store, RFID price check or automated checkout, self-checkout, smart fitting rooms and smart shopping baskets, represent a growth opportunity for the future if you haven’t already implemented the technology.

Take GS1 Smart Search, for example, it makes it easier to discover and describe products online. Consumers get more detailed, accurate product information and relevant search results when they are searching for products in your webshop. The GS1 SmartSearch makes it possible to create structured data about a product and relate this data to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). The structured data about the product can then be used by search engines, smartphone applications, etc. to deliver a better user experience to the consumer.

Understanding the benefits of RFID and ERP

As the benefits of RFID are many, it might seem strange that more retailers haven’t adopted RFID already. One of the major barriers for smaller retailers has been the high cost of implementation, management priorities and what benefits they perceive their company will gain from the use of RFID, all of which has also contributed to the lack of adoption. However, more and more retailers are seeing that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Take for example Norwegian fashion retailer, Moods of Norway, which experienced challenges when orders made online were only shipped from their main warehouse in Stryn throughout the season and resulted in an empty warehouse and out-of-stock items in the webshop while the items were available in stores. After implementing RFID in their brand stores and remaining supply chain, they have achieved a real-time, nearly 100 percent accurate inventory overview to support their omni-channel strategy.

The company began their pilot project in 2014 by implementing RFID tagging in two of their stores. As both stores experienced significant growth due to improved inventory accuracy, Moods of Norway decided to implement RFID in all their stores.

Today over 90 percent of Mood of Norway’s collection is tagged with RFID tags and they have reduced time spent on stock-taking, from 30 hours down to one hour using a handheld RFID counting device, resulting in an up to 100 percent inventory accuracy.

The next step is to implement RFID in their main warehouse in Stryn to track the products from when they are received from the suppliers, distributed to the stores and returned to Stryn at the end of the season.

Although there are many benefits derived from implementing RFID, it is when you bring the world of RFID and your ERP together that you will derive a true, transparent information flow around your products.

To begin supporting your evolving omni-channel strategy with RFID and ERP, read about IFS for Retail.

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