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Interview series: 1-ON-1 with Uwe Quiede

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 projects. 

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. 

 RFID trough the eyes of Consultant

INITIAL PUSH FOR RFID

What would you describe as the initial push for RFID in your clientele?

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 retailers' focus.

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 projects? 

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 positive? 

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 technology.

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 convenient ROI.

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 calculate ROI?

No, never.
 

 Uwe Quiede

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

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Introduction to the interview series

1-ON-1 with Kris Doane: RFID from a retailers point of view

3 interviews: RFID the perspective of universities

1-ON-1 with Philip Calderbank: RFID from an RFID tag vendor's point of view

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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