Businesses that have brick and mortar locations as well as a digital presence are using RFID technology to integrate offline and online inventory. This helps track merchandise accurately while lowering staffing costs and increasing logistics efficiency. RFID monitors merchandise traffic in the stores from delivery to fitting rooms to purchase, and allows the inventory numbers to be adjusted immediately online, preventing customer dissatisfaction as a result of ordering an item that is no longer in stock.
Macy’s is an excellent example of a retailer making the most of RFID. They use the technology on frequently replenished items to inventory up-to-date and provide replenishment when needed. The RFID tags also help track sales of specific items. Once items have been on the floor more than 10 weeks, they are automatically marked down. RFID tags also allow Macy’s staff to conduct periodic inventory auditing easily, to ensure nothing is missing. Additionally, the tags allow Macy’s customers to shop online and have the order shipped out from a local store.
Another apparel company, C&A, just completed a three-year RFID trial in its German stores, and is rolling out the technology in its French operations. The brand says that the technology has allowed them to increase customer satisfaction. Now, stock is more accurately tracked and available on store shelves. Their customers are finding the right fit, color and size when they want it. For C&A, the RFID tags are attached when the garments are manufactured. Employees capture the ID information from each tag when the items are delivered, and the inventories in the stores’ computers are immediately updated.
C&A says that this system has already improved their inventory accuracy, reduced out-of-stock incidents and decreased the amount of time their employees spend performing inventory.
This inventory control idea is what is prompting some business owners to use RFID tags on employee uniforms. Provided by companies like InvoTech, this technology is helping companies cut costs and improve their supply chain agility. It establishes organization and accountability in the uniform department, preventing employees from taking uniforms; it helps with transferring uniforms between properties, and it even helps track uniforms to and from the laundry. InvoTech says its customers see a return on investment in their first year because RFID cuts losses and reduces needless purchases.
RFID, like bar codes before it, has possibilities for managing inventory and costs across any type of business.
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