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Swedish Fashion Company Launches Global RFID System

The passive UHF solution, installed during a three-month span by Nedap Retail, enables Acne Studios to provide omnichannel sales with high inventory accuracy at all of its 45 stores.
By Claire Swedberg

The company trialed the technology at a single store in Stockholm by tagging all products and tracking them via Nedap's Bluetooth- and RFID-enabled readers during weekly inventory counts on the sales floor and in stock rooms. After several weeks of testing, the company determined that the system provided the inventory visibility that it needed. Acne Studios then began deploying the system worldwide.

Each store uses a printer from SATO that prints EPC UHF RFID labels. Each tag is linked to the merchandise, including its stock-keeping unit SKU, in Acne's back-end software.

Staff members employ a Nedap handheld RFID reader to interrogate each tag's ID number as it is placed in the store front, and again during weekly inventory checks. The readers utilize a Bluetooth connection to an Apple iPod that runs Nedap's app and forwards the collected data to the Nedap !D Cloud software. The software interprets each item's location and ID, then forwards it to Acne Studio's own inventory-management software.

In this way, the company knows what products are on hand, where they are located and when, so that each omnichannel purchase can be fulfilled by the store closest to the customer. Acne's software can then place replenishment orders as soon as the minimal inventory numbers are reached.

Deploying the system within months, in 12 different countries, posed some challenges, Haak says, since many of the stores have customers and personnel of different cultures speaking different languages. Nedap provided training material for workers in the more than a dozen different countries and cultures, Haak says, and the app is available in numerous languages. However, because the technology is cloud-based, the installation required that stores only purchase the hardware, and that they access the software in the cloud.

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