Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Herman Kay Gains Packing Accuracy Via RFID

The coat and outerwear manufacturer finds that the technology makes it easier for workers to confirm that the correct garments were picked according to customer orders.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 04, 2015

Global coat and outerwear manufacturer Herman Kay Co. is carrying out a five-phase RFID deployment to track the garments that it produces and ships to customers. At the company's distribution center in Douglas, Ga., workers are already using handheld RFID readers to identify which items have been picked, compare the collected garments with the quantities on a pick ticket, and catch any errors during the picking process, before products are packed into cartons.

Herman Kay Co., a third-generation, family-owned business, holds the license to manufacture and market coats and outerwear bearing a number of major brands, including BCBG, DVF, London Fog, Michael Kors and Anne Klein. It then sells the apparel to most large retailers, including Macy's, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Dillard's. Herman Kay's own manufacturing site in the Dominican Republic produces wool coats, while third-party manufacturers produce other outerwear, such as raincoats, according to Herman Kay's designs and specifications.

After an order is picked and packed, an RFID reader captures each garment's tag ID, and the Clarity software compares the box's contents against its packing list. If everything matches, the software displays a green check mark.
When garments arrive at Herman Kay's distribution center, they are stored on hangers until they are picked, packed and shipped to customers according to their specific orders. Many of the styles look very similar, says Richard Haig, the company's CIO and CTO, and checkers have thus needed to visually inspect the hangtags and labels, often twice, before the products were packed for shipping.

Approximately two years ago, Haig says, his firm began looking into RFID technology at the request of one of its customers—Macy's—which is seeking to have all of its suppliers apply EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to every item sent to its stores. "We do what the customer wants, to support them," Haig states. However, Herman Kay wanted not only to apply the tags for Macy's, but also to use the tags and gain some benefit from them in-house as well.

Working with RFID software solution provider SML Intelligent Inventory Solutions, Herman Kay Co. developed a five-phase plan that would begin with using RFID in its order-checking process, and then deploying readers at weigh stations after goods are packed. The other phases include the installation of RFID reader portals at the DC's receiving and shipping docks, having all garments tagged at the factories and having those tags read as the garments leave the factories for the distribution center. All products destined for Macy's and Hudson's Bay Co. (HBC) stores, as well as a limited number of other retailers, are currently being tagged at the factory, while the plan is for all products to be tagged by the spring of 2016.

Login and post your comment!

Not a member?

Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!

Case Studies Features Best Practices How-Tos
Live Events Virtual Events Webinars
Simply enter a question for our experts.
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations