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Charles Voegele Group Finds RFID Helps It Stay Competitive

Switzerland's largest clothing retailer says that despite the economic recession, the best time for retailers and product suppliers to invest in RFID technology is now.
By Claire Swedberg
In regard to the supply chain, Beckmann said, the system removed the potential for human error by allowing the interrogators to transmit data to the back-end system automatically. For instance, he noted, instead of waiting to learn about an item's location from a warehouse manager, "a product is telling you it is somewhere in a warehouse, and that is a revolution in the supply chain."

Following Beckmann's presentation, Colin Masson, Microsoft's worldwide director of CRM, ERP and supply chain solution areas, reiterated the need for the kinds of improvements achieved by Charles Vögele Group's RFID-enabled supply chain—particularly in the current economy. "Supply chains are even more critical in the economic turndown," Masson told attendees.

According to Masson, Microsoft continues to hear from customers that the two business areas in which companies are not cutting back are the supply chain and customer care. Specifically, he said, organizations indicate they are focusing on innovative customer care—paying attention to customer service, not just customer acquisition—and building a cost-effective yet optimal supply chain enabling organizations to provide better customer service.

"How are you going to do that?" Masson asked. "Instrument your supply chains with sensor technologies, such as RFID and other technologies," he explained.

Microsoft also took time—during its keynote presentation, as part of the conference's kick-off—to discuss its new BizTalk Server 2009. The firm invited three of its customers, American Apparel, Continental Automotive Systems US and Vail Resorts, to inform attendees about their own RFID initiatives (see Microsoft Announces Availability of BizTalk Server 2009).

Thomas Beckmann, Charles Vögele's head of supply chain management, will appear in a live webinar on May 19 to discuss this award-winning deployment. To register, please visit www2.gotomeeting.com/register/797937051.

Beth Bacheldor contributed additional reporting to this story.

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