Radiofrequency identification (RFID) is one of the leading technologies in retail, helping brands transform their business while maximizing revenue. With COVID-19 accelerating the digitization of retail and meaning stores need to be as profitable as possible to survive, RFID is a must.   

Register now and learn from some of the best in the industry: Detego, and the experts in retail IT integrations, Spencer technologies.

Main Takeaways:

  • Why are Retailers implementing RFID?
  • Common challenges for Retailers and how to tackle them
  • How to select partners (Hardware, Software, Services)
  • What do you need to run a pilot?

Meet the Speakers:

Lauren Hines – Lauren is a Senior Business Operations Manager. She’s a former Head of Global Networks at BT.

Umesh Cooduvalli – Umesh is a tech-driven VP of Sales for America. He’s using his extensive network within the Supply chain industry with a hunger for new challenges

Nate Strickler – Formely project and Marketing Manager, Nate is currently working closely with partners and network to develop opportunities with Spencer Technologies.

If you’re always reading about item-level data or item-level inventories but aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, we’re here to explain. It’s not just another retail tech buzzword, it tells the story of an industry transforming, the first step in a global shift from analogue to digital retailing (and we aren’t just talking about Ecommerce here).

When a retailer’s IT systems work on an item-level, they can identify, count, track and trace each individual product. While it sounds simple enough, in theory, it’s harder to do in practice and has only recently been made possible by new technology like RFID.

The benefits are huge, and while we will explore them in more detail, they include running leaner and more efficient stores, stronger supply chains and powerful data and insights.

Before we do that, lets briefly cover the current (or old, arguably) alternative to this: a stock keeping unit or (SKU).

What is a stock keeping unit?

A Stock Keeping Unit uses a basic code that specifies the identity of a product – for example, a plain white t-shirt, size L.

One of the main differences here is that an SKU can (and should be) logged and counted multiple times, for example, if you are counting those 10 white t-shirts, you are counting the same SKU 10 times.

Barcodes tend to operate on SKU’s, and you can scan the same barcode over and over.

  • Specifies the product type and size
  • Is counted multiple times

What does item-level data mean?

For retailers, working on an item-level simply means treating each item as a unique, identifiable piece of merchandise.

On the technical side, that means each item must have a unique code – called an Electronic Product Code (EPC).

Effectively, item-level data means being able to tell the difference between 10 medium white t-shirts. With EPCs, you could replace one of those 10 with another of the same item and be able to identify the new one from its unique code.

This might seem arbitrary, but it is one of the key drivers of transformation and change in the way retailers manage their stores and supply chains in recent years. Removing the human error element is one thing, but the unique ID’s open the door to much more.

These unique product codes are what makes RFID possible, as hundreds of radio signals can be emitted and read at once. Since each item has a unique ID there is never any risk of counting something twice. This means its possible to do store stocktakes in a matter of minutes, and verify items going through the supply chain without even opening up the box!

Additionally, the item-level data makes the world of difference when it comes to the supply chain.

If you were to track items on an SKU level within the supply chain, it would only tell you how much of each product passes through. Even this is too time-consuming, however, as it would require opening boxes and scanning individual bar codes, so instead DC’s and factories scan boxes, and operate on a carton level.

With item-level verification inbound and outbound at DCs, the individual contents can be counted and checked (via radiofrequency). These unique product IDs mean another whole layer of data, individual items can be tracked and traced from source to store.

  • Can’t count items more than once
  • Makes rapid inventory counts possible
  • Individual product codes mean you can track and trace items across the supply chain
  • More accurate data across the supply chain

The benefits of item-level retailing

 The Detego Platform – Delivering item-level data to retail

The Detego platform is the definitive solution for delivering and utilising item-level data for retailers. The RFID platform covers every step of the item journey, from factories to distribution centres, to stores. Track and trace individual products across the supply chain, perform store stocktakes in minutes and take the guesswork out of retail. If you’re a retailer with several or even hundreds of stores, the Detego platform is purpose-built to get the most out of your stores and supply chain.

Detego Retail Store Application

Cloud-hosted RFID software

Stock accuracy, on-floor availability, and omnichannel applications in stores.

Detego Store is a cloud-hosted RFID solution which digitises stock management processes, making them more efficient and more accurate. Implemented within hours, our multi-user app can provide intelligent stock takes and a smart in-store replenishment process. Later, you can scale the solution to offer omnichannel services and effectively manage your entire store operations with real-time, item-level inventory visibility and analytics.

Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Meet us at RFID Journal Live! 2021 Meet us on 26-28 September at the largest dedicated RFID conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s time to close the curtain on what’s been a challenging year for all. Retail has been under immense pressure this year, but through perseverance, partnership and innovation, we are beginning to come out of the other side.

While it might be tempting to move on from this year and not look back, we feel it’s important to look back and take stock of the biggest developments and stories of the year, good and bad.  

Let’s explore the major themes of the year for retail, and revisit some of the content and updates that have told the story of 2020. 

COVID-19: Charting a Course Through Unprecedented Times

COVID-19 was the defining event of 2020. The pandemic was devasting to people, communities and businesses. Our day-to-day was transformed overnight, with life and work becoming remote-first and priorities and plans being rethought and reassessed. For retail, with stores being closed, many people under financial pressure and working from home, revenue dropped massively. Not only this but COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on the industry, with experts predicting it accelerated industry change by five years.

As more and more retailers invest in omnichannel services, are they ready to invest in order to ensure their omnichannel strategy delivers long-term?
As stores begin to open back up, what does the future hold for the brick-and-mortar store?
Is retail begining to recover from the pandemic? How has the industry shifted? What can brands do to prepare for the beginning of retail’s recovery?

Looking Ahead to 2021

But what about looking ahead to next year? Keeping an eye on upcoming trends is always important, this year even more so. While it’s comforting to think that the pandemic will be a thing of the past next year, the reality is it will remain a factor. More significant will be the ‘hangover’ of the post-pandemic, which will have huge implications on the industry and its priorities for the coming year. We explored what these priorities and subsequent trends will be in a recent series:

Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Meet us at RFID Journal Live! 2021 Meet us on 26-28 September at the largest dedicated RFID conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Ongoing Digitial Transformation of Retail

We have been calling for, and leading the way in, digital transformation in retail for over ten years, and this year has been no different. Now more than ever, retailers need to innovate and improve their systems and processes to keep up with modern retailing. The benefits that digital transformation can deliver such as reduced costs, increased sales and better online/offline integration will be vital for retailers in the wake of the pandemic and beyond. Retail digital transformation is what Detego does, and this year we’ve been discussing this in more ways than ever before. Whether you’re still discovering why, or need to learn how, we have resources to help you get started.

Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Meet us at RFID Journal Live! 2021 Meet us on 26-28 September at the largest dedicated RFID conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Building the Supply Chain of the Future

We’ve been innovating and supporting retail stores for over 10 years with RFID. Alongside our customers and partners, we have increasingly been moving upstream and digitising and future-proofing the supply chain. This year, with the focus being on eCommerce and online shopping, supply chain innovation has been front and centre. RFID in the supply chain is an exciting topic and the results and developments from deploying RFID in factories and distribution centres are impressive. Whether its achieving complete supply chain visibility, optimising against shrinkage or building automated DC’s fit for the future, the technology has a lot to offer. Explore it here:

For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Are retailers ready to improve the warehouse operations that sit at the heart of their supply and demand models?
Supply chain disruptions are not likely to disappear anytime soon. So can retail investment into supply chain management help businesses to face current and future challenges head-on?

Building Partnerships

This year more than ever, building strong partnerships has been essential. At Detego, we have always prided ourselves on building good relationships and effective collaboration. This year, we have continued working alongside our amazing customers and clients and have even developed new ones to strengthen projects and products in the future.

As part of both the new FastTrack and the Customer Success co-sponsorship programmes, Detego will work alongside Microsoft to develop further AI and big data features to their leading RFID platform.
The RFID Software Specialists Joins Network of Companies Certified to Help Businesses Implement GS1 Standards
The American technology integrators and European RFID specialists are combining their retail and IT expertise to deliver first-class end-to-end RFID solutions to the American retail industry.

Want to see how RFID can transform your business? Book a demo today

Hear from Detego’s implementation experts and BESTSELLERS’s RFID project leader on how retailers should approach digital transformation with RFID.

Radiofrequency identification (RFID) has become a vital technology in retail, particularly for larger brands. Leading retailers use the technology to achieve high stock accuracy, supply chain visibility and to gain the real-time data required for strong digital offerings such as omnichannel.

These are no longer optional for retailers and undergoing digital transformation with RFID is on the agenda for more and more brands.

Join Detego’s delivery specialists with years of experience implementing RFID in retail stores, and supply chains as they go take you through a best-practise approach to implementation.

Hear about the journey from a retailer’s perspective as BESTSELLER talk through their RFID journey which included an initial rollout to just under 200 stores in 3 months!

  • Determine the key things to consider when implementing RFID
  • Gain insight on the priorities to focus on, things to look out for, and lessons learnt
  • Learn about each stage of the journey with specific insight and advice for both stores and distribution centres
  • Hear a retailer’s experience of a large rollout covering hundreds of stores.

What is the replenishment Feature?

Replenishment is a key feature of the Detego platform for retail stores. Via the mobile application, it guides staff through the process by determining what items need to be replenished on the sales floor, by comparing the salesfloor stock to either a ruleset or a planogram. Staff then go through the replenishment process moving items to the sales floor and confirming the transfer by swiping on the mobile app. This feature increases the OFA (on floor availability) of products in the store, and the application displays the exact OFA as a percentage.

Detego Replenishment

What problem does it solve?

Not finding the right product in the right size is a pain point all too common when shopping in stores. How many times have you not purchased something from a store simply because it wasn’t available, or you couldn’t find it in your size? Use of the Detego replenishment feature improves the availability of products in stores to over 95%. Product availability means having at least one of each product on the sales floor ready to purchase at all times – down to each specific size and colour. So, this means that customers looking for a particular product have at least a 95% chance of finding what they’re looking for, increasing both sales and customer satisfaction.

All stores will have processes for replenishment. It’s a core operational function for retailers that’s vital to maintain sales and keep stores running. Like many operational processes, however, there is great variance in how effective a stores replenishment might be. The two key factors to look at are the accuracy and the timeliness of replenishment. If stock information is incorrect, then any replenishment list created from it will be inaccurate, meaning items that aren’t available on the sales floor are not replenished and therefore can’t be sold. Similarly, if items aren’t replenished in a timely manner, then they will be unavailable to purchase even though they are sat in the backroom of the very same store!

How does replenishment work with the Detego platform?

The Detego platform delivers reliable and accurate replenishment through the use of the Detego mobile application and goes hand-in-hand with the application’s stocktake feature. With the 99% accurate view of both the backroom and the salesfloor achieved by performing daily stocktakes, the Detego replenishment feature compares the inventory on the sales floor to either the store’s planograms or the ruleset of inventory for the store. It then lists all the products that need to be replenished from the backroom on to the salesfloor – providing staff with a pick list. Stores may also have additional capabilities for replenishment depending on which features they have enabled.

Let’s explore the different options for replenishment with the Detego platform:

 ‘Standard Replenishment’: Replenishing after a full stocktake

After an associate completes a full RFID stocktake, the Detego platform has an accurate view of the items on the sales floor and in the backrooms. It then creates replenishment advice to ensure that products either out-of-stock or running low on the sales floor are moved there from the backroom to maintain a high On-Floor Availability (OFA).

  1. The Detego platform uses the results of the latest stocktake and creates a list of items that need replenishing from the backroom to the sales floor.
  2. Staff use a hand-held reader with the mobile app to see the replenishment advice.
  3. As staff move an item to the sales floor, they confirm the transfer by swiping on the mobile app.
Detego Replenishment Screenshots

Replenishing sold goods – ‘intraday replenishment’

With an integrated Point of Sales (POS) system, the Detego platform can update the replenishment advice whenever an item is sold. This ensures that the item is replaced on the sales floor if there is stock available in a backroom.

  1. When an item is sold, the Detego platform checks if that product is now out-of-stock or below the set thresholds.
  2. If this is true, a notification about the need to replenish the article is sent.
  3. Staff use a hand-held reader with the mobile app to see the replenishment advice.
  4. As staff move an item to the sales floor, they confirm the transfer by swiping on the mobile app.

Additional ‘smart’ replenishment features:

Smart Replenishment: AI Picklists

For larger stores, the Detego platform takes replenishment advice to the next level.  The system utilises the RFID tags on every product alongside machine learning algorithms to can determine the relative location of items in the backroom. It then presents the replenishment list to staff in a particular order, grouping items that are near each other in the backroom. The result is that staff picking items to be replenished save time and energy thanks to intelligent assistance from the mobile app.

Read more on Smart Replenishment with AI pick paths here

AI Pick Lists

AI planograms

So, replenishment work by comparing the stock that is on the sales floor to a list or ruleset that determines what should be there. But where do these lists or rules come from, and is there room for improvement? Typically, stores will either have a basic ruleset for all stock, or more complex planograms for specific items. While rulesets are simple, they are sometimes suboptimal, but planograms for individual products are hard to maintain. With the Detego platform, stores can run Artificial Intelligence planograms which constantly learn and adapt what the optimal quantities and size distribution is for every single product in the store

Read more on AI planograms here

AI Planograms - Merchandising

Want to see this feature in action for yourself?
Book an online demo with us today:

Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Meet us at RFID Journal Live! 2021 Meet us on 26-28 September at the largest dedicated RFID conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Watch the latest episode of the Retail Corner Podcast, where Detego’s executive chairman, Kim Berknov, joins a panel of industry experts to discuss a growing trend in retail: the pop-up store. 

Digital retailers looking to expand into the brick-and-mortar sector are eyeing fairly new concept of Pop-Up Stores to lower implementation cost, test new markets and increase engagement with new customers.

In this panel discussion,  experts from the retail industry bring into the spotlight the value-added benefits, logistics, misconceptions and supported technology in creating pop-up stores.

 

You can listen to Retail Corner here, or watch below:

The Panelists:

Kim Berknov – Executive Chairman, DETEGO

Sampath Kannan – CEO, Tejas Software

Vince Cavasin – Head of Marketing, FenixCommerce

Vivek Raj – CEO, Digital Spaces Inc

Anil Varghese – CEO, Proxima360

Moderator:

Carlos Diaz – Director, Sales, Proxima360

Detego's Latest Retail Insights & News

Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Meet us at RFID Journal Live! 2021 Meet us on 26-28 September at the largest dedicated RFID conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Want the latest retail and retail tech insights directly to your inbox?

Discover how retail RFID is changing the industry for good. This eBook will guide you through the top 10 needs identified by retailers to ensure sustainable success in the modern environment. Explore the common challenges preventing retailers from achieving their goals and learn how applying smart RFID-based solutions delivers consistently good results.

What is in the eBook?

The retail industry is currently ruled by change. The digital age has seen a huge growth in competition from e-commerce and a rapid shift in consumer preferences. This shift has altered the industry greatly with modern ‘omnichannel’ customers demanding to shop where they want, how they want and when they want. Delivering such an experience is a challenge, one that requires brick-and-mortar retailers to change.

To compete in an increasingly digital environment, brands need the right supporting technology to establish full transparency between their shopping channels and offer consistently excellent service online and in-store. On top of this, the extreme competition within the industry and the subsequent pressure on retailer’s bottom lines means finding ways to reduce or shift costs and eliminate inefficiencies at scale is a priority – again, technology may provide the answers here.

Retailers then are faced with the challenge of providing a better experience to customers while scaling back and consolidating in order to stay financially viable, how do you achieve both at once without overstretching resources and risking multiple technology projects? Obviously, a focus on the specific problems that need solving is key but with the scale of these challenges, you need a transformation that affects the core of the business and isn’t putting lipstick on a pig.

In this regard, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is somewhat unique in the retail technology market, due to the sheer versatility of the technology and its ability to solve so many of retail’s most common needs. It is this scope of use cases that have seen RFID become increasingly prominent in the retail environment.   Whilst the basic principle of RFID, tagging inventory with its own unique radio signal, is deceptively simple, its uses and applications are incredibly broad.

In this eBook, we analyse the top 10 needs identified by retailers to ensure sustainable success in the modern environment. Within each of these needs, we identify the challenges often preventing retailers from achieving them, and how applying smart RFID-based solutions can deliver consistently good results.

Improving key metrics in stores

The ebook will teach you how RFID revolutionises daily processes like stocktakes and replenishment in stores. Learn how retailers are using the technology to deliver higher inventory accuracy in-stores (increasing from ~70 to 99%) and to ensure the right product is always available for customers to buy on the shop floor (known as increasing product availability). The eBook will also show you how retailers can achieve these results whilst actually lowering the labour intensity (and costs) of operational store processes like cycle counts and processing inbound shipments.

  • How retailers use RFID for quick and efficient stocktakes and cycle counts
  • Improving stock accuracy in stores
  • How smart solutions are being put to use for item-level replenishment, ensuring products and sizes are always available to be sold.
Results of RFID Retail

Delivering to customers with retail RFID

Find out how retailers use RFID to reliably deliver to their customers by removing common friction points as well as offering new services and shopping experiences. Common pain points eliminated by RFID include: customers being unable to find the right product,  staff not being available to help with requests and service due to lack of time for the customer, or unreliable stock information. On the other end of the spectrum, advanced RFID retailers can wow customers with new shopping experiences both in-store and online.

  • How stores can reduce common customer friction points
  • The relationship between RFID and effective omnichannel services
  • The advanced retail RFID solutions that improve the in-store customer experience like chatbots and smart fitting rooms.
RFID Omnichannel Retail

Optimising supply chains from source to store with automated processes

Learn how advanced RFID retailers have moved upstream to cover their entire supply chains, from stores to warehouses, distribution centres and even factories. The eBook covers how RFID is used to achieve complete supply chain visibility and what additional value this unlocks for retailers due to the advanced item-level data and analytics available.

  • How to achieve supply chain visibility with real-time info on the movement of products inside and across individual stores and distribution stages.
  • How RFID is used to aid logistics at distribution centres, including automated processes like exception handling and order picking.
  • What RFID means for retailer’s data and analytics capabilities, such as advanced supply chain traceability and new KPIs for stores and DC’s.
Retail Supply Chain

Protecting brands and products from theft, counterfeits and the grey market.

Finally, gain insight on how retailers deploy RFID solutions to protect their products, and their entire brand, from illicit activity including theft, counterfeit products and the grey/gray market. The eBook explains how retailers can use the technology to identify individual products and trace them across the supply chain, allowing them to identify where problems are occurring, and stop them at the source.

  • How RFID can be used to monitor and reduce shrinkage, including theft, both in stores and across the entire supply chain.
  • How brands are combatting counterfeit goods by tagging and tracing their products with RFID.
  • What the Grey Market means for retail and how several major brands use RFID traceability to locate and stop the source of grey market products.
The Sources of retail shrinkage

Watch the latest episode the Retail Corner Podcast, where Detego’s executive chairman, Kim Berknov, discusses RFID technology’s ongoing impact on the retail industry. 

As retail companies try to adapt and think outside the box in the new normal, more than ever, every sale is of extreme importance. This brings crucial importance to the never-ending quest for 100% accuracy of having the right merchandise at the right place, at the right time. Kim Berknov joins Proxima360‘s Carlos Diaz on the Retail Corner podcast to discuss transforming inventory accuracy with RFID.

The podcast covers:

  • What improvements have been made to RFID in order to see drastic changes in cycle counts, inventory counts and receiving merchandise
  • The timing and productivity difference between conventional inventory counts versus RFID technology
  • How RFID improves the replenishment process
  • The best approach to get started in implementing RFID
  • And more…

You can listen to Retail Corner here, or watch below:

Detego's Latest Retail Insights & News

Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
Meet us at RFID Journal Live! 2021 Meet us on 26-28 September at the largest dedicated RFID conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Want the latest retail and retail tech insights directly to your inbox?

How is a Detego stocktake different?

For retail stores using the Detego platform, the stocktake is where it all starts. While typically stores would only perform a full stocktake, also knows as a cycle count or an inventory, a handful of times a year, the RFID-powered Detego application allows stocktakes to be performed bi-weekly or even daily.

Staff perform a stocktake through the Detego mobile application, connected to a handheld RFID reader. The application guides staff through the process, displaying the current count, the differences from the target list and the stock accuracy percentage. Stocktakes are vital to maintaining an accurate inventory – with the Detego platform stores can reach as high as 99% stock accuracy.

What problem does it solve?

 

Regular stocktakes are essential to maintaining a high level of stock accuracy and maintaining On-Floor Availability (OFA) of products.

 

Performing regular stocktakes:

  • Is the key to achieving high stock accuracy and shop floor availability
  • Enables store managers to uncover stock discrepancies
  • Provides insight into product performance and enables review of pricing strategies
  • Exposes theft

However, a manual count of inventory or a barcode cycle count is incredibly time-consuming. Counting items individually takes at least several hours and often means closing the store or working around opening hours. As a result, cycle counts in retail stores are typically only performed a handful of times a year, meaning lower stock accuracy in stores – the average being between 60-70%.

The Detego platform changes this. Powered by RFID, staff using the stocktake feature can perform a stocktake of both the backroom and salesfloor in around 30 minutes (depending on store size). The RFID reader can read product signals all at once, so it can count hundreds of items in seconds. A Detego stocktake can also never count a product more than once and is far less likely to miss items as direct line of sight is not needed. The result of this an increase of stock accuracy to ~98%.

 

The Detego system:

  • Makes stocktaking much more efficient, easier, and faster
  • Brings more accurate stocktake results
  • Reduces operational costs of doing a stocktake

 

‘We scan every day, giving us the accuracy of the exact stock we have in the store, in roughly 35 minutes’
Manisha Hassan, Reiss Store Manager

 

Why is having a high stock accuracy in stores so important?

Stock accuracy for stores has become a core KPI for retailers. At the most basic level its vital for maintaining the availability of products on the salesfloor and preventing out of stocks which in turn increases sales – our customer, Reiss, increases sales by 4% by increasing their stock accuracy. Stores without such accurate inventory must compensate to maintain sales, so they will often carry excess stock to prevent out of stocks and lost sales. Increasing stock accuracy in such cases results in a significant reduction in inventory size, reducing working capital by as much as 30%.

When you look at more advanced retail trends, like the increasing connection between online and offline – high stock is simply non-negotiable. Offering online customers real-time store stock information naturally requires the retailer to know exactly what is in stock, and advanced services like buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) built off of poor stock accuracy are destined to fail.

How does it work?

  1. Each staff member selects the stocktaking option on their handheld device.

  2. As each staff member reads the items in their designated area, their handheld device reflects the number of items that they have read and the current stock accuracy.

  3. If more than one person is performing the stocktake, the devices are synchronised, and the stock accuracy is calculated using all the counts.

  4. Once most items have been read, staff can see the number of differences between the actual and target counts and can attempt to resolve the differences (for example, re-reading an area and replacing any missing tags).

  5. When a staff member has completed their read and resolved as many differences as possible, they confirm the result on their device.

The Detego stocktake in action

Our customers, fashion retailer Reiss, implemented the Detego platform in their 50 UK stores. They moved from doing 2-3 cycle counts a year to a stocktake every day. The result was an average store stock accuracy of 98%, and a resulting 4% uplift in sales.

Types of stocktake with the Detego platform

Guided Stocktake

A guided stocktake is the most common method for a Detego cycle count. Guided means that the handheld readers used for a stocktake show the number of items that the device has read and the calculated stock accuracy based on the number of products read by all devices and the expected stock of the store.

After reading all of the items in the store, staff can investigate the differences between the actual and expected counts, a process called difference clarification.

For example, staff may realise that they missed an area in the location they were reading, or there may be a surplus of a specific product on the salesfloor. Once staff have resolved as many differences as possible, they confirm their final count.

Guided Stocktake app

Blind Stocktake

A Blind stocktake works the same way as a guided one except that the handheld readers only show the number of items that the device has read. They don’t show the expected number of items or the current stock accuracy and staff can’t investigate any differences on their handheld device. Staff simply read the items in their designated location and confirm their count when their read is complete.

  • May be required for regulatory reasons
  • Enables the store manager to control the stocktake as individual store staff cannot investigate differences on their own
  • Reduces the risk of items going missing during a stocktake
Blind stocktake app

Partial Stocktake

A Partial stocktake checks a subset of inventory, for example, a category of items, such as footwear, or a specific product. Partial stocktakes are useful if there is not time to perform a full stocktake, or if there are issues to resolve with certain types of stock. Partial stocktakes are useful in the following situations:

  • A full stocktake would take too long to complete in the time available
  • A full stocktake has highlighted issues with a particular item or location that need further investigation
  • A full stocktake for large stores would be complex and difficult to manage, so it’s more efficient to check individual locations separately
Detego Retail Store Application

Cloud-hosted RFID software

Stock accuracy, on-floor availability, and omnichannel applications in stores.

Detego Store is a cloud-hosted RFID solution which digitises stock management processes, making them more efficient and more accurate. Implemented within hours, our multi-user app can provide intelligent stock takes and a smart in-store replenishment process. Later, you can scale the solution to offer omnichannel services and effectively manage your entire store operations with real-time, item-level inventory visibility and analytics.

Summary of RFID in Retail

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a growing force behind the scenes in retail. For the uninitiated, the technology involves using radio frequency (RF) to share information about an object’s unique identity (ID). An RFID reader can identify or ‘read’ hundreds of tags in a matter of seconds, at a distance of several feet. For retail, this reduces the reliance on barcodes for inventory management and opens the door to more advanced applications utilising real-time data.

While the story for RFID in retail began in stores, due to the dramatic increase in stock accuracy that it provides driving sales and setting a platform for omnichannel retailing, the potential for RFID in the supply chain has always been there. Now that many global retailers have implemented RFID in stores, they are beginning to leverage and unlock the power of RFID across the supply chain.

For the supply chain, RFID means accuracy, efficiency, and visibility, all of which have a big impact on operations.

The results of RFID in the Supply Chain:

RFID in each Stage of the Supply Chain

Factory

For a truly end-to-end view of the supply chain, RFID tagging must start at the factory. Items are encoded with an RFID tag at source, where they will be tracked from here to the point of sale. Once items are tagged and ready to ship, the first ‘read-event’ of the process takes place. The shipments are either put through an RFID tunnel (an automated tunnel fitted with an RFID reader) or read with a handheld reader. This outbound count ensures shipping and tagging accuracy, diverting any anomalies to be checked and fixed, and creates item-level ASN’s (advanced shipping notices) to send to the distribution centre, so they know precisely what they will be receiving. Having every item logged at this stage is also vital for creating visibility over the entire supply chain.

As most brands have anywhere from 10-100+ factories supply their DC, it is vital to ensure that the shipments are accurately accounted for to prevent errors further down the supply chain.

Retail RFID Factory

Distribution Centre

The distribution centre is the heart of any retail supply chain. Goods come in from the factory, and orders go out to, and occasionally come back in from stores, franchises, and customers. As it is logistically the most complex stage, it is here where the majority of processes are supported by RFID:

RFID Distribution Centre

Store

Once shipments arrive at the store, an inbound RFID read can be performed, confirming the order, and checking the contents against the shipping notes. Inside the store, a whole host of RFID processes and new services can take place, but we won’t explore those here.

RFID store

Supply Chain Processes with RFID

When goods arrive at either the distribution centre or the store, RFID readers are used to quickly count the shipments on an individual item-level. Because DC’s have far higher item throughput than stores, they often utilise automated RFID tunnels for this. Shipments entering the DC go directly onto a conveyor and are accounted for as they pass through the tunnel.

The software then compares inbound reads to the advanced shipping notice and updates the warehouse management system or ERP with accurate information. This process helps maintain the integrity of the stock system and also spots discrepancies early so they can be reconciled and fixed quickly (holding suppliers accountable for mistakes).

This is also where incoming returns are processed. Since RFID tags are unique and can’t be forged, DC’s using the technology can easily identify fraudulent returns, as well as processing the legitimate ones faster.

The packing process also utilises RFID when putting together orders and shipments. The process will vary depending on the DC, but RFID can support the process by a picker using RFID tables or audit stations to confirm the carton is correct by checking the actual contents against the picking list.

RFID Pick and Pack

Finally, RFID is used to count, verify, and log all outbound shipments.
Goods pass along automated conveyor belts through RFID tunnels. Box barcodes (Using a target list supplied by the Warehouse Management Systems) are scanned at the entrance to the tunnel and an RFID reader in the tunnel reads the contents of each box. If the tunnel detects any differences against the target list, the conveyor system automatically diverts the carton for further inspection.

Outbound results are then sent to the WMS, to update the stock information for the DC. When the DC has processed all cartons from the target lists, the system creates an advanced shipping notice (ASN) for the store that will receive the goods.

The benefits of RFID in the supply chain

Now we have run through how retailers use RFID at specific stages in the supply chain let’s look at the results of doing so. We can broadly split these benefits into three areas:

Accuracy

Accuracy is often the first thing people think of when they hear RFID and with good reason. For the supply chain, RFID improves shipping and inventory accuracy by

1 – Performing more reliable (99%) inventory counts than traditional methods 

2 – Counting on an item-level as opposed to an SKU level 

3 – Being able to identify and fix mistakes at more stages of the process due to the ease and speed of RFID reads

The financial impact of improving inventory and shipping accuracy across a supply chain is huge, and can include:

Efficiency

The other great strength of RFID is the speed at which it can count and verify items or even entire cartons in seconds. With automated RFID tunnels and a conveyor system diverting any cartons with discrepancies, the efficiency of the DC is maximised, and not at the cost of accuracy.  DC’s using RFID have a higher throughput, as they are simply able to process items and orders at a faster rate.

Visibility

The other major benefit of RFID supply chains is the complete visibility they have other individual items and the movement of merchandise. This not only means shipments and items are trackable in close to real-time, but the number of ‘read-events’ from source to store creates a huge amount of highly valuable data. This data produces useful KPI’s such as throughput, dwell-time, and DC performance. It also allows retailers to trace items back through the supply chain, which is hugely valuable in terms of brand protection and loss prevention.

Summary

RFID is used to accurately count, correct, and track all individual items and cartons across the supply chain. This starts in the factory where items are tagged at source, goes on to the distribution centre where orders are sorted and finally sent out to stores. Every time an item enters or leaves a stage of the process it is counted with RFID and all mistakes are identified and corrected.

The most notable benefits for supply chains using RFID come in the form of greater accuracy, efficiency, and complete visibility over the flow of goods. The increased accuracy of both inventory and individual orders can lead to top-line growth, fewer stock outages and the reduction of customer chargebacks for shipping mistakes. The efficiency increase makes supply chains more durable and increases overall item throughput and finally, the visibility of items allow retailers to optimise their operations and offer better services such as omnichannel purchase options.

RFID can be used for all inbound and outbound shipments, logging the contents of each order, and comparing them to the target list – which identifies shipping mistakes before they happen. RFID can also be used in the picking and packing process, counting the items in a carton as the DC staff picks the order, RFID software then confirms whether the order has been picked correctly before it is sent for outbound processing.

There are several types of RFID readers used throughout the supply chain. RFID tunnels are fixed readers built into a conveyor system, they scan the contents of cartons without needing for the carton to be opened and if they detect any discrepancies the conveyor will send the carton to an exception lane. RFID chambers are often used during exception handling, whereas audit tables can be used for this as well is the picking process. Finally, the handheld RFID reader is often used in stores or storage areas when staff need to move around a space to perform a cycle count.

Detego Warehouse Software

RFID software for the warehouse

The digital supply chain

Detego’s RFID-based warehouse software enables retailers to automate and dramatically improve their receiving, picking/packing and shipping processes in factories and/or distribution centers. These steps are vital parts of an end-to-end RFID solution, providing full visibility across the entire supply chain.

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Shrinkage has always been a critical challenge for retailers, but now post-pandemic, there is much more than inventory at stake.
For retailers and their customers, radical supply chain transparency can provide win-win results.
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