RFID Arena


GATTER3 - A first-mile technology solution

More and more major fashion retailers source their products directly from a growing number of manufacturers located around the world.

The last time you were in a Zara, Gerry Weber or Esprit store, did you look at item care labels? More and more major fashion retailers source their products directly from a growing number of manufacturers located around the world. Blazers might be made in Turkey, while T-shirts are from Bangladesh or India. A single retailer might source items from dozens, sometimes hundreds, of manufacturers on several continents.


One thing that all retailers struggle with is getting products into stores at the right time, in the right quantities. Keeping orders straight and on time is a challenging undertaking, especially when suppliers have very different technical abilities and ways of doing things. Once a shipment enters a logistics company's care it's much easier to guess the timing of arrival, but who's to say that the manufacturer filled the order correctly? If there is a broken link in the chain of apparel procurement, it's often a manufacturer's ability to fill an order correctly and on time.




Gatter3 GmbH & Co is changing this. The Hamburg-based technology firm has found an ingenious way to repair this oft-broken link by means of a technology based system that keeps it simple. For Gatter3's main client, Gerry Weber, a pan-European fashion retailer with wholesale clients as well as own shops, has to ensure the correct packing and shipment of more than 25 million articles per year from over 250 manufacturers worldwide to hundreds of customers across Europe.


The logistical challenge is complex, but Gatter3's solution is very simple to use, though technologically sophisticated. Manufacturers use Nordic ID PL3000 UHF Cross Dipole mobile computers to scan products, boxes and entire orders. The devices, user-friendly to begin with, are specially modified according to Gatter3 specifications. Keypads contain only three buttons, each carrying a tiny diagram in addition to words: item checking, box packing, and palette loading. Using the appropriate buttons, stockroom employees scan items as they go into cartons, cartons as they are stacked onto pallets and pallets as they move onto trucks or into containers. Thus item numbers are linked with box numbers, and so on to make up an entire order.




"The system has drastically reduced shipping errors, which are on the whole human errors," says Roland Nickerl, one of Gatter3's founders. "There's no mistyping, no miscommunication and next to no mistakes," he says. Nickerl also made the decision to go with Nordic ID PL3000. "We tested virtually every RFID handheld available in the German marketplace, and nothing compared to the Nordic ID PL3000 Cross Dipole in terms of read range, accuracy and ruggedness. It's not the cheapest device either, but still quite affordable even for the smaller manufacturers."




With the Nordic ID PL3000, items are easily read through boxes; in fact it takes only seconds to read all RFID tag information contained on an entire palletful of items. Once information is input, warehouse personnel are free to place the mobile computer into its cradle and perform other tasks-the information automatically uploads via Wi-Fi to the Internet and synchronizes with the Gatter3 server. Gatter3 then confirms the accuracy of the order, giving the manufacturer the green light to ship, and transfers the information to fashion retailers' inventory systems.


"We have adapted logistics information to work with just about every supply chain management software solution there is," says Nickerl. "Nobody has to do anything-our secret is keeping it simple. In fact, when the Nordic ID PL3000 mobile computers need updating, we manage that centrally. As long as there's power and an Internet connection, the system is close to foolproof."

1 comment on “GATTER3 - A first-mile technology solution”

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