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LITI Offers Retail RFID System

The Japanese company is selling an in-store inventory management system could save time and labor.
By Bob Violino
Tags: Retail
Aug 28, 2003By Mark Carroll

Aug. 29, 2003 - Leading Information Technology Institute (LITI), a Japanese company that sells IT systems primarily to Japan's garment industry, has launched an RFID retail inventory product. The company says its MD Shop helps staff
MD Shop helps staff locate products quickly
locate products quickly, provides accurate information about what's in a store and reduces the time spent taking stock.

Garments can be tagged either at the point of manufacture or in a retailer's distribution center. The items can then be tracked as they arrive at the back of the retail store, are put away in the backroom, are moved out on to shelves and eventually reach the point of sale.

"Data such as item number, size, color, manufacturer and sales information is all traced," says Mark Hathaway, president of LITI USA, the company's arm in the United States.

LITI says preliminary testing shows that MD Shop cuts the amount of time it takes to inventory 350 items from one hour to just 15 minutes hour. It used to take its pilot customer three days to do a complete shop inventory. Now it only takes one day.

The system hardware consists of the "Pico" tag manufactured by Nippon Avionics of Tokyo. The tag operates at 13.56 MHz and can store 256 bytes of data. LITI is also offering 13.56 MHz readers from Nippon Avionics.

Readers are placed at the store's receiving bays, above or in doors between the stockroom and the retail floor and at checkout counters. Staff can also use handheld readers to scan items. The data is transferred via an ordinary PC to a central MD Shop database.

LITI is also introducing MD POS, an extension of MD Shop that links the inventory management application to the retailer's point of sale system. LITI provides application program interfaces that allow MD POS to be integrated with legacy systems for accounting and inventory control.

Hathaway says five retail locations are piloting MD Shop in Japan. LITI is now implementing MD POS at 60 shops belonging to a large retailer in Japan. This retailer's deployment is scheduled to become operational this month.

"The MD systems are individually priced according to a customer's specific needs and the manual business processes that they replace," Hathaway says. "However, a ballpark figure for a middle market retailer with multiple retail locations with software and business process and implementation consulting would run $500,000 to $700,000 fully installed."

LITI began developing RFID systems for both warehouse and distribution applications within the garment industry. Its Hyper Cart Picking System is designed to dramatically improve warehouse efficiency (see From Pen and Paper to RFID Picking). The MD products are available Japan and are being modified for the United State and Europe.

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