Retail Item Level RFID, Winds of Change

In one of my sales calls, I got an interesting objection this week that I wanted to share. The customer would like to look into trying item level RFID for the store but his warehouse people aren’t interested..  So this got me thinking, what does the warehouse have to do with the entire process?  What part of the process is going to change for them?   And from my perspective the answer is nothing to start.

Let’s look at the two ways company apply tags to their apparel. The first way is the goods are tagged at source.  Even if the tag is an RFID tag, the warehouse can proceed in the same manner.   In an Item Level RFID pilot with Overheer Reflect, the tag still has the bar code on it.  The tag that is applied by the supplier has all the same information that it had before, only now it has an RFID unique tag number attached to it. This way retailers can gain the inventory visibility they don’t have on the store floor, but their bar coding inventory system is not disrupted..  The warehouse will allocate their goods in the same manner and are unaffected.

The second way goods are tagged is directly at the warehouse.  These tags will either be printed by a service bureau or in the warehouse itself.   In the same way that takes place now, the warehouse will apply the tags to the garments.  The printing process may change a little as now they have to apply an RFID tag but in essence it’s the same thing.  Tags are applied; goods are sorted and sent out to the stores.  Again there is no difference in the way that the warehouse will conduct its business.

Is an RFID tag the same price as a barcode label?  Of course it isn’t, but the benefits in increased sales will more than pay for the increase in tags.  The reason isn’t that RFID costs more, but that people are worried about what the implications will be on their current business practices.  But guess what, until you get a pilot going, how are you able to tell?   There are so many benefits to this technology that it may just be worth taking six months and finding out how RFID will benefit your business .

For more information on how you can start an RFID pilot, please visit www.overheer.com.  My name is Dan Sandler and I’m Overheer.

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