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German Clothing Retailer Adler Gives RFID Robots a Spin
The company is among several retailers that are using MetraLabs' new Tory robotic system to automatically count inventory and record merchandise locations within its stores.
Feb 12, 2016—
German clothing chain Adler Modemärkte is among a handful of retailers using an RFID-enabled robot called Tory to count inventory and identify the locations of merchandise on store shelves each day. The robot and the software that manages the data it collects are provided by German technology firm MetraLabs.
Adler is carrying out a pilot project involving two Tory robots that it purchased, one for use within its store in the city of Erfurt and the other at the store located at its corporate headquarters in Haibach. The company plans to expand the deployment to other stores later this year. Adler, which already attaches passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to most merchandise it sells, has been using handheld readers at all of its 177 stores for some time, says Roland Leitz, the company's head of IT. Compared with manual or bar-code-based inventory checks, he adds, checking inventory via RFID handhelds "speeds up stocktaking significantly." However, Leitz notes, because the process requires that an employee walk through store aisles and past shelves, waving the reader at nearby items, "it is manual work that ties up capacities of staff."
Adler launched the robot deployment in October 2015, Leitz says, and plans to expand the pilot to include as many as 10 stores during the course of this year. "The number of stores that will be permanently equipped with the system has not been determined yet," he states, "and depends on the outcome of the pilot phase."
Currently, there are more than 200 MetraLabs robots deployed at stores, industrial sites, museums and restaurants around the world, says Johannes Trabert, MetraLabs' co-founder and executive partner. A handful of them, Trabert reports, are the newly released Tory model being tested for RFID inventory tracking.
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