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NFC Brings Focus to Eyewear Returns

Luxottica boosts quality and efficiency by up to 50 percent by using NFC RFID to track each pair of eyeglass frames or sunglasses during its reverse-logistics process.
By Claire Swedberg

The company analyzed its needs and identified a technological solution that captures NFC read data, interprets and stores that information and enables Luxottica to perform analytics based on the stored data. The project, known as REvolution, was managed by Luxottica's IT department.

When frames are received, workers now attach a reusable NFC RFID tag to each item and create a record in the REvolution software, which is integrated with the company's SAP system. The frames are then moved to a quality inspector, who—with the support of a Microsoft Windows 8 NFC-enabled tablet—enters his or her own ID number and reads each frame's tag, thereby linking the inspection to that individual. The worker then inputs data indicating that the frame passed inspection, or describes what specific refurbishing operations need to be carried out before it can pass. If the frame must be scrapped, a specific damage code has to be inserted.

At each stage of the process, a worker uses an NFC-enabled tablet to read the frame's RFID tag, thereby updating that frame's status in the REvolution software.
The software next transmits that data to the SAP system, which can manage the crediting process to the subsidiary or retailer, based on the returned frame's condition and value.

When packaging the frames, workers use an NFC-enabled tablet to read each frame's NFC tag, and the REvolution software indicates the packaging to be used for that particular product. They then follow those packaging instructions, while the software is updated to indicate that the frames are ready to be moved to the warehouse.

"Quality excellence standards have stepped up," Fantini says, "as each frame or operation is tracked individually." The manual paper-based process was eliminated, thereby boosting efficiency by up to 50 percent, with a positive impact on crediting and restocking lead times. "The process now is radically changed also from a visual point of view: Standard, fully loaded containers are now used to store all frames together as they come from different countries and customers, while individual information is maintained by the NFC tag tracking." People are now focused on quality-control value-added activities, he notes, and not more on "flows" control. As a consequence, assessment errors were reduced by up to 30 percent. The next step will be the extension of NFC processing to Luxottica's North America after-sales center, based in Atlanta, Ga.

Fantini will describe the details of his company's NFC deployment and plans at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, taking place on Apr. 15-17 in San Diego, Calif.

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