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Arkansas Jeweler Cuts Inventory Time By 75 Percent With RFID
A UHF system from Northern Apex enables Sissy's Log Cabin to conduct inventories of its jewelry, as well as determine when an item is misplaced or missing.
Sep 11, 2012—Sissy's Log Cabin, a jewelry retailer located in Arkansas, has been employing an RFID-based solution for the past five years at its stores in Pine Bluff and Little Rock, in order to more accurately and quickly inventory the trays of watches, gems and fine jewelry that it displays and sells. Now, having opened a new store this year in Jonesboro, the company is preparing to expand the system, within the next 12 months, to include that location as well. The technology, known as Gem-Where, provided by Indiana RFID company Northern Apex, utilizes EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags applied to jewelry, a wand RFID reader cabled to a laptop, and middleware that interfaces with a store's jewelry-management software.
Sissy's Log Cabin was among the first companies to use the Gem-Where solution, beginning in November 2007, according to Kim Rieve, the jewelry retailer's chief financial officer. The retailer sells engagement rings, watches, earrings, necklaces and other fine jewelry, and uses Jewelry Computer System (JCS) software at the point of sale (POS) to track which items are sold. To manage the high-value goods in showcases, staff members spent several hours on a daily basis inventorying its merchandise. This manual method of painstaking inventory counting is a common practice at most jewelry stores, since the items are small, and are often moved daily from the storefront to the back room, in order to protect them from theft after business hours.
Sissy's sought a way to make the inventory process faster and simpler for its staff. Although there are many item-level RFID-based solutions used by retailers, Kevin Knuth, Northern Apex's business-development manager, says few are specifically oriented for jewelers. Using RFID to track jewelry can be challenging, he explains, due to the presence of metal, as well as the aesthetic requirements of a very small tag for small items.
Northern Apex developed a wand (an integrated RFID reader and antenna), connected to a computer, that can be waved over a tray of jewelry, enabling a user to read each tags (the tags' make and model vary). Sissy's also wanted an RFID solution that would integrate with its POS software, thereby automatically updating the inventory count in the RFID-based software.
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