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RFID Eliminates Shrinkage at Borsheims' Jewelry Store

The Berkshire Hathaway-owned retailer is using TJS' ZeroShrink software and RFID technology to capture daily inventory counts and sales data for watches and high-value jewelry.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 04, 2013To track inventory levels, most jewelry stores conduct a daily count of goods that are moved into and out of vaults during off-hours, with larger cycle counts of an entire store conducted less frequently. But for a jewelry store the size of Borsheims—a 62,000-square-foot site that carries 88,000 pieces of fine jewelry and other goods ranging up to $1 million in price—tracking expensive items is time-consuming but nonetheless critical, says Erin Limas, the store's chief financial officer.

The company is employing the ZeroShrink RFID solution from TJS. ZeroShrink, Limas reports, has already paid for itself since its installation in 2012, by reducing the amount of time required for inventory counts, as well as eliminating shrinkage and providing better control over store inventory.

Borsheims attaches TJS' Cotton Thread tags to watchbands, and uses a handheld reader to capture the tag ID of each watch on a tray.

Borsheims, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, is the anchor store at an Omaha shopping mall, where it sells fine china, stemware and silver, along with fine jewelry and watches. Approximately 10 years ago, Limas recalls, the company had considered an RFID solution for tracking its available merchandise, but decided the technology's demonstration was not very impressive, as it required that jewelry be moved around in order to be read. What's more, she adds, the cost of RFID tags was high.

Last year, however, the company was impressed with the ZeroShrink system, Lima says, and chose to test TJS' Cotton Thread tag on its high-value watches. The reusable high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz tag, measuring 16 millimeters (0.63 inch) in diameter, is integrated with a cotton thread that loops around a piece of jewelry, and complies with the ISO 15693 standard. Borsheims attached a Cotton Thread tag to each watchband, says Adrian Prezioso, TJS' chief technology officer. Borsheims' staff carried a handheld reader for interrogating the tags at the point of sale (POS), as well as during daily inventory counts. Every morning, as a tray of watches was removed from the vault, the sales staff waved the TJS reader (TJS reports that it works with several RFID tag and reader vendors that it declines to name) over the tray, thereby capturing each item's unique ID number. The ZeroShrink software, which resides as a standalone system at Borsheims' site, records the ID linked to each item's stock-keeping unit (SKU) data. At the end of the day, employees connect the reader to the PC running the ZeroShrink software and upload the collected data.

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