"Coincidence: a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance"
The evidence is pretty compelling to support the fact that those retailers that were early to digitise their operations, to adopt RFID for inventory management and to drive that visibility to their consumers are those that are surviving, and surviving well.
Those retailers that have no omni-channel operations, that do not have the level of inventory visibility that allows them to dynamically react to the market fluctuations and to change their operating model to align with the current environment are sinking, and quickly.
If we take a look at retailers like Inditex (Zara), H&M and Lululemon who were early to adopt RFID, to digitise their supply chain and have a transparent overview of their supply chain, they are doing well, they are the positive stories, they are even investing! Lululemon invested in virtual training programs run through smart mirrors, Inditex increased their investment into digital commerce channels – real signs of healthy businesses that are supported by RFID.
There are plenty of other examples of major retailers recently failing, many of which have something in common – a lack of digitisation across the supply chain and inventory that is not visible in all locations across the organisation. Can it really be considered a coincidence that so many of these failing major retailers have not adopted RFID?
RFID is proven to a fundamental technology that facilitates full supply chain digitisation. Being able to access 100% of your inventory and make it available to your customers is paramount to survival.
As businesses drive to become digital and omni-channel commerce continues to grow, having an accurate picture of ones’ inventory has never been more critical. As well publicised, RFID is the technology of choice for Fashion Apparel and Footwear retailers, however what should one consider when starting this journey?
Do not under-estimate the business impact!
A successful RFID implementation will allow the business to optimise many processes throughout the supply chain, in-store and potentially after sales too. In the event of return management the RFID identifier can be used to prove if the item was previously purchased or to effectively sort and prepare for recycling. Many processes are impacted directly as the pilot starts; Replenishment, Inventory Counts & Receiving are obvious examples of where the introduction of RFID will not only speed up the process but also improve the item level accuracy. This process optimisation and increased accuracy reduces staff labour time on counts hours that can be utilised for other tasks, like spending more time with customers!
Be prepared for a granular view of your business
The granularity of the RFID Data can sometimes be overwhelming and takes time to understand. What is true about all of the projects that we have been involved in is that we see individual “nuances” within the data. The result of the subsequent data investigation efforts helps us to understand the physical activities within the store and how they impact data and reporting. These are typically opportunities for process improvements to positively impact the overall business case.
It is all about the Return on Investment
From the onset be really clear on the objectives, the metrics and how to measure them and the desired outcomes. At Checkpoint we have a wealth of experience that can be leveraged to build a business case with measurable KPIs that we track day-to-day, week-to-week to ensure a successful outcome. With the detailed granular view of your business, it can be easy to get side-tracked, sometimes overcomplicate or lose track of the key objectives, which can lead to a slower ROI (and cause frustration).
Data Acquisition and Accuracy
Label choice can be one of the “make or break” decisions within any pilot. If the label cannot be read 100% of the time within the operational time window for that process, then the pilot fails at the first hurdle. At Checkpoint we have a wide range of ARC Approved inlays that are integrated into a wide portfolio of labelling solutions. All of our label solutions are 100% checked for data accuracy before leaving our facilities to ensure that the integrity of the data is not compromised, during the selection process we will make recommendations based upon your product characteristics and environment.
Keep it Simple
In any retail business there are a myriad of processes that can potentially be optimised with RFID The most successful pilots are those that start with the basics that allow RFID technology to become widely adopted across the business. Once the technology is accepted and proven effective, the processes and additional features can be gradually increased to deliver more value across more categories.
Test the Water
Checkpoint offers a free store scan that gives insights into what possibilities there are for improvements and what the size of the prize could be through the use of RFID. There is nothing more meaningful than seeing a set of results with your own data from within your own business environment. This very effectively translates into ROI insight for future technology deployment.
A Pilot is Easy!
A right sized pilot with clear goals is a lot easier than you would think. The only deliverable from you as a retailer is your Product Master Data file, the rest is down to us. We have a team of Client Success Managers that guide users through the use of the solution and continually monitor performance against the KPIs. A fully engaged store team that enjoys using the technology usually translates to a great result!
For more information on how to get going with RFID please contact Stephen.Howells@checkpt.com and view our HALO RFID software solutions.