This time we have a chance to hear the views of an RFID Consultant, Uwe Quiede of TAILORIT. Today he is arguably one of Germany’s best known consultants in the field of item-level RFID in the Retail sector.
Uwe's experience in the field of item-level RFID is impressive:
he was involved with the European RFID Bridge project, the early
stages of Gerry Weber implementation and later he has worked for
instance with Galeria Kaufhof and their logistics
In this interview we wanted to hear of Uwe's experience in the
pilots and projects he knows especially in Germany. As he is
involved in a lot of the planning for RFID, we wanted to find out
something about why people decide to do RFID and how they organize
it as well as how they get it payed back.
INITIAL PUSH FOR RFID
What would you describe as the initial push for RFID in your
I would name two basic reasons:
- Increasing transparency to reduce O-O-S´s (out-of-stocks),
which will lead to an increase in the turnover.
- Reducing labor costs and more time for customer support
THE EXCITEMENT IN RFID
There are a lot of studies from Universities, from
independent research companies and from different vendors. But if
you look at it from the point of view of a retailer: What's the
excitement in RFID?
Currently it has to do with reducing O-O-S and selling more,
these are usually obtained by increased merchandise visibility and
better product availability on the sales floor. At this point I
would say that different marketing applications are not yet in the
PLANNING AND PILOTING RFID
Many of the early adopters of RFID tell us about the
importance of involving the whole organization in RFID. According
to your experience how do companies involve different
organizational levels / operations in their RFID
Well, an RFID implementation is a very complex project that
touches all areas of a company such as purchasing, logistics,
retail operations, IT and so on.
In my opinion the key is to involve all related departments from
the beginning so that you are making RFID understandable and
touchable. The future users of the RFID system have to be part of
the project team from the beginning, so especially retail,
logistics and IT departments should be included.
Many companies decide to hold periodical meetings to keep the
different interest groups involved and updated of the projects.
How do different departments react to RFID when you introduce the
technology? Is there for example some department who always views
it as a burden and another who would see it extremely
This, I would say depends on the company and the department.
Normally the sales assistants firstly do not believe that RFID
can achieve what it promises. "Touch and feel" is very important
for them. Younger people are very positive and euphoric. Older
people hesitate. They have to be convinced by actually trying the
Most of the staff actually sees a lot of opportunities by using
the new data that RFID creates and they have more ideas than an
RFID project bear.
All in all, I think the reactions are usually positive.
FINDING ROI IN RFID
Can you say something about cost vs benefits? When is it
financially sensible for your customers to implement RFID?
Well to start with, ROI (return on investment) certainly plays a
major role. Of course the cost-benefit relationship differs from
company to company. For instance brands with little retail
operations and a large portion of wholesale turnover establish ROI
later due to having to carry the tag costs, but having less
possibilities for savings. Vertical companies on the other hand
have earlier ROI as they can use RFID for all of their operations
and gain a lot of benefits on the retail front.
The key in making a success out of RFID lies in the sales
increase enabled by better product visibility and availability on
the sales floor. A sales increase of 3% to 6% has been proven in a
lot of the known best practice cases. Normally this is enough for a
In general I would say that ROI is achieved within the first 2
years after RFID go live.
So in most cases people do achieve ROI in two years,
did you ever encounter a customer to whom it was impossible to
Uwe Quiede works as RFID,
SCM & Logistics expert at the
company TAILORIT: www.tailorit.de.
To have a brief view of a real-life RFID case, have a look at
this video of S.Oliver RFID implementation: http://vimeo.com/33343651
Introduction to the interview series
1-ON-1 with Kris Doane: RFID from a retailers
point of view
3 interviews: RFID the perspective of
Philip Calderbank: RFID from an RFID tag vendor's point of
1-ON-1 with Jorma Lalla: RFID from ahardware vendor
point of view
1-ON-2 with Matjaz Novak and Tom Vieweger: RFID
from a software vendor point of view