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Moods of Norway Opts for Checkpoint RFID Labels, Tests Fixed Readers

The Scandinavian clothing company has seen a 20 percent boost in online sales from using handheld readers to take in-store inventory, and plans to pilot the adoption of fixed readers at its DC and stores.
By Claire Swedberg

The data is being stored and interpreted on Nedap's cloud-based software, which is integrated with Moods of Norway's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. In September 2014, all of the retailer's clothing suppliers had begun attaching a different make and model of tag to each item, with a total of 30 to 40 manufacturing sites involved, and then shipping the goods to Moods of Norway's distribution center in Norway. The company has been testing the use of an RFID tunnel at the DC to expedite the receiving and shipping of goods to stores (the test does not include integrating that data with the inventory-management software). The RFID tunnel, consisting of an RFID reader and an Impinj Brickyard antenna supplied by Norwegian systems integrator HRAFN, captures the tag IDs of items received by, or shipped from, the facility. To date, the testing has focused on determining how well the tag IDs are captured, and on how effective the RFID-enabled process is compared with manual methods of checking goods as they arrive at or leave the facility.

Once the goods arrive at the stores, they are placed in the back room or on the sales floor. (The company doesn't gain value from reading tags when products arrive, because shipping orders from the DC are typically very accurate.) Then, each week, a store clerk walks through the inventory and reads each tag, updating the inventory-management software. In that way, the company knows which products are onsite at any given location.

Moods of Norway's Hans Petter Hübert
The retailer uses an automated replenishment system that employs sales data to trigger the reordering of goods from the distribution center. One benefit of using RFID, Hübert says, is that there is less confusion regarding these replenishment orders. Stores often complained that the DC was sending the wrong items, he explains, or failing to send items that needed to be replenished. However, he says, with the weekly inventory counts at the stores, the company has learned that the picking of goods for replenishment orders at the distribution center is highly accurate, and that the confusion was being created by inaccurate inventory information at the stores. Because store personnel didn't clearly understand what did and did not require replenishment, they didn't realize that the DC shipments were, in fact, correct.

Su Doyle, who heads Checkpoint RFID industry programs, says that her company offers quick availability to Moods of Norway suppliers based on its Check.Net automated ordering system, fast production times and production plants located close to major manufacturing centers around the world. "We provide affordable pricing through print-on-demand capability, which produces high-quality tags in variable size batches without many of the upfront costs of offset printing," she says.

Last summer, prior to adopting the Zephyr 2 tags, Moods of Norway tested an Impinj xArray reader at one Norwegian store, working closely with Impinj and Nedap to deploy the system. The companies tracked 700 tagged items around the store and found that they could accurately view the locations of those goods in real time. More testing will be needed, Hübert says, to determine whether this kind of fixed reader would be permanently deployed. The company is also considering installing readers in checkout counters to interrogate garments' tags at the point of sale, or a fixed reader at the doorway for electronic article surveillance (EAS) detection.

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