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Boboli to Use EPC Gen 2 Tags to Track Tyke Togs

The Spanish clothing company hopes the technology will make the receiving and shipping processes at its main DC more efficient and accurate, as well as speed up the apparel's distribution to individual stores.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
By replacing its manual receiving functions at the distribution center—which has involved scanning the bar-coded label on each case of apparel items it receives—with an automated RFID-based receiving process, Boboli expects to boost both inventory accuracy and the speed with which its DC can move product to its stores. This, in turn, should help retail stores maintain or increase sales by keeping shelves stocked, as well as by selling seasonal items or new products according to schedule. The company eventually plans to outfit its stores with RFID interrogators so employees can leverage the RFID tags to more quickly process the receipt of items arriving from a DC, as well as perform inventory counts and locate specific items.

At the DC, cases of the tagged garments will be placed on a conveyor belt and moved through a Tagsys interrogator built into a tunnel form factor.

Boboli hopes to have more of its suppliers source-tagging apparel once the three-month initial phase of the project is complete, Mattalia says, and intends to have half of them tagging goods by the end of 2009, with the remainder coming online beyond that point. What's more, the company expects to reassign up to five of its DC employees who currently scan bar codes as part of the receiving process—moving them to other tasks in the warehouse, such as cross-docking the goods to prepare them for shipment to stores.

According to Mattalia, the tunnel interrogator can accurately read up to 18,000 tagged articles of clothing per hour, based on the results of its deployment by Portuguese fashion retailer Throttleman (see Throttleman Adopts Item-Level Tagging).

Avery Dennison is presently converting the Tagsys RapidTRAK inlays into hangtags, and Tagsys worked closely with Spanish technology integrator Cetemmsa to design the RFID application. Cetemmsa will manage the pilot deployment and provide technical assistance to Boboli.

Boboli manufactures more than 2 million items annually, which are sold in hundreds of stores, including 30 that it owns and operates in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

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