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Indiana Jeweler Uses RFID to Track Its Trinkets

Peter Franklin uses 13.56 MHz tags to take inventory of its stock, eliminating a process involving manual counting and bar-code scanning, and the associated human error.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 09, 2006Peter Franklin Jewelers, a Fort Wayne, Indiana, jewelry manufacturer, retailer and importer of diamonds and colored gemstones, is launching an RFID system in its three stores to decrease the labor required for inventory counts. The system, provided by RFID systems integrator Northern Apex, allows store managers to automate most of the inventory-taking process, sparing them and their employees hours of manual counting and bar-code scanning, as well as the human error that comes with that process.

For Peter Franklin, inventory-taking is a daily and time-consuming task. Ninety percent of items for sale are taken out of display cases each day and returned to safes for the night before being returned to the display cases the next morning. Not only does management need a regular count of all its items, it also needs to know whether each one is in its proper case.

Pete Ball
The jeweler had intended to implement an RFID tracking system for several years, says Matt Foreman, sales and business development manager at Northern Apex, also based in Fort Wayne. Until recently, however, the company was unable to find an appropriate system offering a read range sufficient enough—and RFID tags small enough—to meet its needs.

Peter Franklin Jewelers' president, Peter Ball, says the RFID system they considered several years ago was still too early in the technology's development and, therefore, unsuitable. Until now, Peter Franklin has solely relied on hand counts and bar-code scans to track inventory. Every three months, the company performs a full hand count of every item in all three stores, Ball says, in addition to daily hand counts of specific cases. In the event of a discrepancy between the number of items counted and the expected amount, an employee scans the bar codes of each item to determine what item might be missing. This can also lead to errors, Ball says, if an employee misses a bar-code label.

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