Stepping back in time
Although the technology is now widely regarded as being the best way for retailers to improve inventory management and optimise stock holdings, RFID has had ups and downs since its inception in the late 1990s. Privacy concerns, cost and low-quality tags scuppered any chance that it would take off. As Professor Adrian Beck, who ran the workshop, explained: “It was a technology before its time. It came too early.”
Today we are in a position where some of the world’s leading retailers trust the technology and are utilising it to great effect. Some are using fairly simple systems with soft tags and handheld readers, while others are experimenting with overhead readers and integrated DC solutions. And its all down to the fact that vendors, like Checkpoint, have adopted standardised frequencies for RFID and begun developing solutions that are completely scalable and easy to deploy. The proof of concept is evident, it’s now a matter of securing the investment and making sure it can work across an estate.
Building a business case and starting the journey
During the workshop, Professor Beck focused on the findings of the group’s latest research into RFID, which highlights the lessons learned by 10 major retailers, including John Lewis, Adidas, C&A, River Island and Tesco.
He explained that many retailers have the same objectives when it comes to rolling out an RFID programme:
Interestingly, Professor Beck revealed that all ten of the retailers were applying soft tags at source and using handheld readers to capture data from merchandise. None had started their RFID journey early in the supply chain, it was in-store where the ROI was easiest to demonstrate. However, it was noted than many were now looking at moving the technology back through the chain to deliver further efficiencies.
Our Key points
After analysing the research and debating the internal obstacles of RFID, the group created five key points that retailers should consider when starting an RFID journey:
Our key observations
Having listened to the thoughts of the 35 delegates that took part in the workshop, we came away from the session with four key observations:
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About Checkpoint Systems, Inc. (www.checkpointsystems.com)
Checkpoint Systems is a global leader in merchandise availability solutions for the retail industry, encompassing loss prevention and merchandise visibility. A division of CCL Industries, Checkpoint's solutions are built upon 45 years of radio frequency technology expertise, innovative high-theft and loss-prevention solutions, market-leading software, RFID hardware and comprehensive labeling capabilities to brand, secure and track merchandise from source to shelf.
Checkpoint Systems, a division of CCL Industries, addresses two critical issues for its customers: Improving Profitability and Improving Consumer experience. With consumer demands accelerating at an extraordinary rate driven by technology, Checkpoint recognizes the challenges faced by its customers in the rapidly evolving retail market. We deliver intelligent solutions – bringing clarity and efficiency into the retail environment anytime, anywhere. Through a unique offering of software, hardware, labels, tags and connected cloud based solutions, Checkpoint optimizes operational efficiencies through analysis of real time data captured throughout the Supply Chain and in store then translating this to clear concise actions and tasks.
We provide end-to-end solutions enabling retailers to achieve accurate real-time inventory, accelerate the replenishment cycle, prevent out-of-stocks and reduce theft, thus improving merchandise availability and the shopper’s experience. Checkpoint’s solutions are built upon 48 years of radio frequency technology expertise, innovative high-theft and loss-prevention solutions, market-leading RFID hardware, RFID software, and comprehensive labeling capabilities, to brand, secure and track merchandise from source to shelf. Checkpoint’s customers benefit from increased sales and profits by implementing merchandise availability solutions, to ensure the right merchandise is available at the right place and time when consumers are ready to buy. Checkpoint operates in every major geographic market and employs 4,500 people worldwide.