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South Africa's The House of Busby Slashes Inventory Labor via RFID

The retailer is using Keonn RFID technology from Milestone Integrated Systems to track inventory and prevent shrinkage at one of its Johannesburg stores.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 15, 2018

The House of Busby, a retailer in South Africa, has deployed an RFID-based solution at one of its Johannesburg stores to increase the visibility of its inventory and reduce the amount of time personnel previously spent counting stock. The solution, provided by Milestone Integrated Systems, employs EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology from Keonn, including readers and its AdvanCloud software, to manage the collected read data. The store using the technology is located in Johannesburg's Sandton City shopping mall.

Since the system's deployment, the company reports that it has reduced the number of labor hours required to count inventory at a single, full store from 120 man-hours to fewer than 30 minutes. The retailer is also using the technology at its entrance to detect if any items leave the store without being purchased. Because an overhead reader can capture any tag ID number from a distance of several meters, the doorway can remain open, without requiring any gates or other obstructing hardware.

Milestone Integrated Systems, based in Johannesburg, provides a shrink-management solution to retailers throughout South Africa, says Neels Lourens, the firm's managing director. The House of Busby, founded in 1986, serves as both a retailer and a wholesaler. It sells handbags and luggage at its own stores, while also providing brand management of stores for such companies as Guess, Aldo, Forever New, Karen Millen, Call it Spring and Kipling. The initial installation may lead to additional deployments at other brand stores, the company reports.

Since the system was taken live earlier this year, the Sandton store has been applying passive UHF RFID tags to its approximately 7,000 products, including clothing, jewelry, watches, handbags, wallets and sunglasses. The products are fitted with one of two kinds of UHF RFID labels: hard tags and jewelry tags, both provided by Century RFID.

When goods are received and put on display at the store front, employees use a Keonn AdvanStation RFID unit to encode those items' tags. The standalone tabletop reader comes with a bar-code scanner and a built-in UHF RFID interrogator. Users can simply scan a product's bar code to capture its stock-keeping unit (SKU), and the reader captures the ID number of the hard tag or jewelry tag being applied to that item. The bar code and RFID number are then linked in the cloud-based software.

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