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Saudi Arabian Jeweler Puts a High Value on RFID
Jade Jewellery says it achieves a 400 percent return on investment from its RFID system, used to monitor the movement of goods, evaluate staff sales performance and eliminate shrinkage.
Nov 19, 2008—Jade Jewellery, a Saudi Arabian jewelry company, is employing an EPC Gen 2 RFID system in one of its four stores to help reduce shrinkage, lessen the time required to take inventory, and track the movement of jewelry within its stores. In addition, the retailer uses the system to gather data regarding shoppers' habits, which the company plans to analyze in order to better understand which items appeal to its upscale clientele.
Jade Jewellery, based in the city of Jeddah, is utilizing Motorola's XR480 RFID interrogators, as well as RFID labels containing EPC Gen 2 inlays from Alien Technology. The specially designed adhesive labels are provided by William Frick & Co., a U.S.-based label maker.
Depco Systems as the project's systems integrator. After Depco tested hardware from three RFID hardware manufacturers over a period of six months, Jade chose Motorola's readers because of their ability to integrate with a wide range of applications, such as the company's ERP system. The complete RFID solution is what Depco calls the Asset Trail—Intelligent Store.
Before RFID was used, the store tracked its inventory either visually or by hand-counting and then compiling information on paper lists. Now, some 2,000 pieces of high-end jewelry are tagged before they are placed into display cabinets at the store, located on Arafat Street, Jeddah's exclusive shopping district.
The application's reusable labels are attached to jewelry via string. When an item is sold, the string is cut to remove the tag. As plans are being made to roll out the system at the three other stores, Jade and Depco are testing prototype EPC Gen 2 tags that promise additional security by deterring employees from cutting the RFID tags off jewelry illicitly. The prototypes use the jewelry's metal as part of the antenna—all jewelry tracked by Jade contains some sort of metal—but Depco's chief operating officer, Edwin Chikhani, declines to reveal how that metal is utilized as part of the antenna. If one of the prototype tags is illicitly or inadvertently cut, he says, the tag is irreparably damaged and an alarm is triggered.
"The fact that an employee could cut the [first-generation] flap tag from the jewelry and take it without the system knowing is problematic," Chikhani says. "The tag would still be functional on the display without jewelry attached to it, and the system would not know the difference. With the new generation of tags, this would be impossible."
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