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American Apparel Deploys Real-Time, Storewide RFID Inventory-Management Solution
The system, provided by Senitron, includes Impinj readers that capture the locations of all tagged items within a store in real time, eliminating the need to conduct inventory counts using handheld interrogators.
The software also identifies, in real time, if a product needs to be restocked, since specific EPC RFID tag numbers are no longer being read. What's more, if a customer requests a particular piece of merchandise, a worker can enter that item's product code into the software, which then determines its location within the store based on the linkage between that product code and the RFID number of the tag attached to that item, as well as where the tag was interrogated.
When the system was taken live at the Little Tokyo store, Senitron reports, the company immediately discovered around 1,500 items that had previously been missing from the store's inventory system. Based on the technology's success at that store, American Apparel then approved the system's installation at its shop in Melrose, another Los Angeles neighborhood. The store was larger than the Little Tokyo shop—approximately 8,000 square feet—but it proved to be a less challenging installation, the company notes, due to its straightforward, rectangular shape. At the Melrose store, Senitron installed about 150 antennas and around a dozen readers.
Since the solution's installation, Impinj and Senitron have continued to work together to reduce the density of antennas necessary to obtain location data based on a specific zone. The partners are now striving to increase the number of antennas that can be used with a single reader, says Andrew Gassiot, Impinj's sales director for the central region.
At both American Apparel stores, Gassiot notes, Senitron installed the antennas directly in the ceiling lighting racks. This, he says, made the installation simpler and more aesthetically pleasing. "The great thing about the Senitron system is it automatically locates and reports the [locations of] products," he states. "This gives better visibility from a managerial and corporate perspective—which, in turn, allows for better inventory management."
The software runs independently from the company's existing Xterprise Clarity Advanced Retail Solution (ARS) software, which tracks when goods are moved from the back room to the storefront, as well as when an item is purchased at the point of sale. American Apparel tags its merchandise with EPC UHF RFID tags containing embedded Impinj UHF Monza 3 and Monza 4 chips.
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