Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Italian RFID Lab Gets Fashion-Forward

The University of Parma facility is working with a number of clothing and accessory manufactures and retailers to stitch together the business benefits of RFID technology.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 13, 2008The RFID Lab at Italy's University of Parma has been attracting an haute couture crowd of late. In fact, a representative from Dolce & Gabbana has joined the lab's board of advisors—along with representatives from 12 other Italian clothing and accessory manufactures and retailers, who have convened with the lab to learn more about RFID technology, and to determine how it can be employed to streamline their supply chain processes and improve efficiencies.

Roberto Montanari, a professor of industrial plants at the university, will address the third annual RFID in Fashion conference in New York on Thursday, to discuss two projects the lab has been conducting. While the projects are focused on specific business processes, Montanari says, the lab and its fashion board members have seven overall goals. These goals, he explains, are to measure the impacts of item-level tagging on retail business processes; determine the most appropriate tag construction for specific needs; gauge the impact of item-level tagging on the perceptions and purchasing behavior of consumers who are the fashion companies' customers; test the tags' performance; determine the usefulness of RFID as a tool to deter the sale of counterfeit garments to the public; assess the environmental impacts of large-scale tagging; and ascertain whether RFID can be deployed to effectively reduce shoplifting.

Roberto Montanari
"The retail board of advisory is made of end users who participate in the projects of the lab and provide matching research funds," Montanari states. Its members work closely with the lab's staff of professors, Ph.D. candidates and undergraduate students who are focused on the use of radio frequency identification throughout the supply chain. Although many of the companies represented on the board compete with each other in the marketplace, they view the lab as a way to share the work and rewards of conducting RFID research.

"I think this is a powerful tool for the fashion industry," Montanari says. "The benefits that the members hope to gain by using RFID are strategic (reducing out-of-stocks and fighting counterfeit products, for example); operational (things like automating inventory, automating item counting for receive/shipping); and store-level benefits (such as improved stock replenishment, better customer service, better product availability, less shoplifting)."

One of the lab's recent pilots involved Coccinelle, a manufacturer of high-end handbags and other accessories. According to Montanari, the pilot consisted of two separate tests: a technology test and a feasibility study.

Login and post your comment!

Not a member?

Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!

Case Studies Features Best Practices How-Tos
Live Events Virtual Events Webinars
Simply enter a question for our experts.
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations