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Metro Group's Galeria Kaufhof Launches UHF Item-Level Pilot
The project involves the application of EPC tags to individual garments and the use of RFID-enabled dressing rooms and displays and a smart mirror. The participants say this is the world's first end-to-end UHF item-level application.
If a customer requests a different size or color, a sales clerk can use one of six handheld mobile assistants made by Hoeft & Wessel to locate the item. The clerk uses the handheld to scan the item's RFID tag, indicating the desired size or color. The system then informs the clerk if the requested color or size is available on the sales floor or in the stock room.
At its regional distribution center in Neuss-Norf, Galeria Kaufhof places the tags on clothing to be sold in the Essen store. Conveyor and packing-table RFID interrogator antennas, provided by Checkpoint Systems, read the garment tags as the tagged apparel is packed or moved along a conveyor belt. Checkpoint UHF dock-door portals read the tags as the garments leave the DC.
Upon arrival at the store in Essen, Checkpoint RFID portals installed in the receiving and stock rooms are used to interrogate the tags and track the garments' locations. As clothes are wheeled on or off the sales floor, or moved in or out of the fitting room area, dual EAS/RFID gates monitor for theft and collect RFID data indicating the their locations.
Clerks hang the garments on the racks, which are also fitted with EPC RFID tags, then use the handheld readers to interrogate the garment tags. A clerk interrogates the rack's RFID tag as well, and instructs the system to associate the rack's tag ID number with those of each garment.
A daily inventory of each rack is performed in the same manner, ensuring that the system has updated information on every item's location. If a customer requires a different size, the clerk can locate the garment on a rack, or in a different dressing room.
Impinj supplied its Speedway interrogators at all in-store fixed read points, with near-field UHF reader antennas installed in smart shelves and on displays. The company's Monza RFID silicon chips were used by UPM Raflatac to make the tags, which RFID label converter Avery Dennison then incorporated into custom garment hangtags bearing the EPCglobal logo and disclosing the use of RFID.
Reva Systems' TAP network infrastructure integrates the RFID system with a variety of applications and back-office programs and systems. "The Reva network infrastructure controls the whole store experience," says Ashley Stephenson, the firm's chairman and cofounder. "People have been tracking items from the shipper to the DC. Now the spotlight is on the retail sales floor."
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