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Levi's Tests RFID Use Successfully

A number of factors, including greater efficiency in the repositioning of goods for sale, led the company to sell 56 percent more apparel this year on Black Friday than in 2016.
By Edson Perin

At the DC, where the labels are printed, the test will enable the company to receive goods and finalize purchase orders. Sales invoicing for the multi-brand franchises will also take place at the DC, before goods are transferred to its own stores. The sealed packages are then checked, in order to compare the items within with the invoice of goods. Having RFID tags inserted in all products, the company explains, makes it easier to control inventory and the location of goods.

At the stores, the receipt and counting of goods arriving from the DC are carried out using the RFID solution, along with inventory data from the sales area. Cashiers at the point of checkout also utilize RFID to conduct sales, automatically discard items marked as in stock, and prevent stolen products from being passed through the exit portal. All tags are GS1-compliant. "In the Levi's products, SGTIN-96 / EPC Gen 2 coding is used," says Sérgio Gambim, iTag's CEO. "The SSCC standard will also be used with DataMatrix GS1 for the logistics chain, and EPCIS data for information flow across the entire network."

Identix's rPad UHF RFID tabletop readers are used to check out products purchased.
Labels are printed at the DC after products received from Levi's Mexico are counted, or are printed during production in Brazil. To perform printouts, iTag's Iprint middleware checks the quantity of items and powers a SATO CL4NX printer, which produces labels that conform to the GS1 standard. The labeled products are stored in sealed boxes, validated by a goods-receipt RFID portal, and then moved to the warehouse, from which they will later be sent to stores via the company's picking process.

Once the DC receives a request for transfer to a store, the picking process is performed with boxes containing the specific products to be transferred. An RFID reading is performed on the goods following the picking process. ITag's Alert 2.0 software contains transfer information regarding the products to be dispatched. Once the shipment process is finished, the box is sealed and read again so the items contained within can be compared with those listed on the invoice. Once the shipment arrives at the store, the company indicates, the process of reading the sealed box ensures the accuracy of the items read.

For mass or partial counting of stocked goods, Levi's employs Zebra Technologies' RFID 8500 reader, linked to iTag's Android Alert mobile app. In this way, an operator can perform a read and obtain results directly in the application, with information regarding the total or partial product inventory; first-in, first-out (FIFO); rupture; and every item's location.

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