RFID Arena

Categories

In what store processes will you benefit the most from RFID technology?

RFID reduces out-of-stocks, enables higher inventory accuracy and gives significant time savings in many retail processes. In this article, the store processes that benefit most from RFID technology are discussed.

Store processes that RFID shines in

There are several possible applications of RFID in the retail environment and the results are impressive. Many processes can be greatly improved through implementation of RFID technology. In order to have a clear focus, this article will concentrate on retail processes that RFID really shines in. Therefore this article concentrates on RFID usage in goods-in, inventory and cycle count processes as well as when localizing items. Requirements and operational processes vary from store to store; I aim to give best practice recommendations on how the most typical processes can be improved with RFID.

Shutterstock _141945124-moving -items -web

RFID in goods-in processes

When stores receive shipments, the items usually arrive in boxes in the back-store. In the back-store, arriving goods will be registered, entered in the ERP and then transferred to the storage location or to the shop floor. How does an RFID application affect the goods-in process?

RFID reading is extremely fast. When goods arrive at the store items can be scanned without line of sight. This means that an RFID mobile computer can read RFID tagged items through the box without the personnel having to open it. The shipment and its contained items can be scanned quickly, avoiding time and resource extensive manual tasks. Avoiding that staff has to go through the shipment item by item, significantly shortens the time spent in the goods-in process.

In cases where the retailer has an advance list containing all items expected in the shipment, additional benefits can be reaped. The shipment will be identified and the RFID mobile computer will notify whether all expected items have been found.

Besides from speed, the goods-in process needs to be carried out with high accuracy. Shipments only arrive once at the store; the staff only has one chance to scan all the contained items correctly. The achieved accuracy in goods-in processes must be 100%. RFID technology is not only fast, but also precise. It achieves high accuracy as human errors are avoided.

For retailers it is crucial that items that arrive at the store are registered in the backend system as soon as possible. Fast and flawless goods-in practices allow that the backend system is quickly up-to-date and items can be moved swiftly to their storage location or to the shop floor. As we all know, an item that is not on the shelf cannot be purchased and a staff member counting items is not on the shop floor serving customers.

Benefits

  • time and labour savings
  • fast scanning of items (does not need line of sight)
  • high accuracy

RFID in inventory processes 

There are two large reasons that make RFID shine in inventory processes. For one, retailers strive towards achieving full visibility and accurate stock information in order to avoid out-of-stock and over-stock situations. Secondly, inventory processes via conventional data capturing is very time consuming and labor intensive.

The industry view is that an acceptable level of inventory accuracy is at 95%. Unfortunately many retailers face far lower accuracy. This is where RFID technology comes in. With RFID inventories can be carried out with increased speed and high accuracy. In fact a stock count can be done 10 to 15 times faster with the help of RFID. This means that hundreds of items can be scanned in seconds. Thanks to the fast process, it allows taking inventory more often, which increases the stock accuracy rate.

There are many ways that inventories are executed. Best practice is to carry out inventory against an expect list. It is also recommended to perform smaller stock takes often, possibly even daily. RFID technology allows the RFID reader to work against an expect list that contains information on what items to expect. The RFID reader will then only take the items of the expect list into account during the read. Retailers are able to perform location specific counting where different areas are specified or the shop floor is divided into sections. That way sections of the store can be quickly inventoried and produce more up-to-date information of the store inventory.

Benefits 

  • fast inventory 
  • high accuracy 
  • less out-of-stock situations

RFID in cycle count processes

Cycle counts are fast, partial stock takes that enable retailers to focus on a product group of choice. In retail environments certain product groups are more in focus than others. These product groups can benefit from quick cycle counts that can be performed often. This supports that there is up-to-date information available on NOS (never out-of-stock) items at all times. Focused cycle counts can be carried out in short intervals quickly and effectively help avoid out-of-stocks in key product groups.

Benefits

  • focused stock takes of a product group
  • fast stock take

Localizing items with the help of RFID

Localizing items in a store environment is generally a need that is initiated by the customer. Being able to localize lost items in the store equals good customer service. RFID technology can aid with localizing items and this is unique, as such is not possible with conventional e.g. barcode technology.

Shutterstock _47592388-sorting -items _misplaced -item _web

With RFID technology the mobile computer can assist in guiding store personnel into close proximity of a specified item. Lost products can thus be located fast and easy. Additionally, similar products can be localized easily with RFID by scanning a tag or barcode and then adjusting parameters such as size, colour. The reader will give information on availability and the guiding process to the desired item can be initiated.

Furthermore, localizing functionalities can also greatly help with picking list processes in omni-channel operations or aid to correct misplacement problems. 

Benefits

  • improves customer service
  • fast product search
  • quick guidance into close proximity of searched items

2 comments on “In what store processes will you benefit the most from RFID technology?”

  1. Gravatar of binwantbinwant
    Posted 05 March 2014 at 21:49:42

    Informative read

  2. Gravatar of Kirsikka DrägerKirsikka Dräger
    Posted 07 March 2014 at 13:19:08

    Thank you Binwant for your feedback!

Post a comment

Keep in touch

Send me more info!
Send me a Newsletter!
Send me a Magazine!
Contact info