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RFID Enables Automatic Replenishment for Dutch Retailer

Wild Store is leveraging RFID technology from RFKeeper at its distribution center and at two stores to gain visibility into where goods are located, thereby automating the ordering of new inventory and offering goods for sale from its Web shop.
By Claire Swedberg

That often was not enough for inventory accuracy, de Wildt recalls. Products could be stolen or could simply end up missing, and the company found that at the end of each year, accuracy was only at about 79 to 80 percent. That, according to de Wildt, was insufficient for automatic replenishment or online purchasing. He thus began looking for an RFID supplier. One of the biggest challenges, he recalls, was the need for a seamless connection between RFID-based software and the company's existing point-of-sale (POS) and inventory management system.

Ultimately, the firm approached RFKeeper, whose software can be integrated with Wild Store's existing inventory-management and POS systems. Wild Store uses hard tags for its products that serve as electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags. These hard tags are removed from products at the point of sale and are then sent to the DC to be attached to new items.

Arjan de Wildt
The retailer is now using the same kind of hard tags, but with RFKeeper's EPC UHF RFID tags built in. These are attached to all garments and shoes as they arrive at the DC. Because RFID is built into the reusable hard tags, no additional work is required for employees to apply an RFID tag to each item. RFKeeper's handheld readers are used to scan and commission the tags and link them to each product. As workers read the tags, they write the barcoded serial number on each tag, which provides a link between the RFID number and the product when the two IDs are interrogated.

As goods are shipped, the data can be captured via a fixed desktop reader. The collected tag-read data is forwarded to RFKeeper's software, which interprets that information and forwards it to Wild Store's own management software. The inventory is then updated to reflect the new items, which are thus connected to the store to which they are being shipped. Shoppers can then view and order those products at the website.

Store personnel utilize a Nordic ID handheld reader to read all tagged items in the store front, typically once or twice a week. When a product is purchased, the detacher that is used to remove each hard tag also reads the RFID tag, thereby linking that product data with the purchase and updating the inventory count in Wild Store's software. If the sale reduces the inventory for that item to a minimum level, an automatic replenishment order is placed with the supplier. At the same time, the reader erases the barcode number from the RFID tag so that the hard tag can be reused.

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