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Gerry Weber Sews In RFID's Benefits

The company plans to integrate EPC Gen 2 tags into the care labels of all garments it makes, and expects to quickly recoup its cost by using the tags to track inventory and deter theft.
By Rhea Wessel
Gerry Weber intends to invest €2.7 million ($4.1 million) in RFID over the course of five years, Tröger says, and estimates it will recoup that expense within two years following deployment. The company will do so, he notes, by purchasing far fewer hard plastic tags for use with conventional EAS systems. What's more, its logistics partners will save time by no longer having to attach the hard plastic EAS tags to garments at their distribution centers, and will be able to pass along those savings. The logistics partners will also save time spent receiving incoming goods and monitoring delivery quality.

Gerry Weber foresees opportunities for suppliers and partners that will arise from its plan to sew RFID tags into all garments it produces. The firm is encouraging all companies with which it does business to take advantage of its tagging, in order to improve their processes and services by implementing RFID read points in the supply chain, or at other points.

The company is also willing to help its competitors adopt RFID technology, Tröger says. "Our competitors are invited to use our solution," he states. "We don't want a proprietary solution. We want our competitors to adopt EPCglobal standards so that we can all benefit from lower prices for RFID technology."

Already, DHL is planning a pilot project with Gerry Weber at a logistics center that the shipping services company uses for Gerry Weber. After a concept is fully developed the DHL Innovation Center, DHL Global Forwarding will implement, test and roll out a system, such as one that utilizes RFID readers to identify goods at the item level and compare the products received with actual shipping orders. Like Gerry Weber, DHL has a long history of testing RFID technology, including a project involving RFID-enabled delivery vans (see DHL Says Its SmartTrucks Save Money, Time and CO2).

Gerry Weber operates 338 stores, as well as 1,400 shop-in-shop areas, and reported a turnover in fiscal year 2007/2008 of €570 million ($858 million).

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