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Serge Blanco Finds ROI in RFID

The French company's clothing factories attach EPC Gen 2 RFID hangtags to the garments they make, enabling Serge Blanco's distribution center to process incoming and outgoing shipments more quickly and accurately.
By Rhea Wessel
Tagsys provided all readers for Serge Blanco's RFID system, as well as the RFID tags embedded within the paper hangtags. Serge Blanco produces the hangtags on four Toshiba RFID printer encoders. If items are received untagged from suppliers, Serge Blanco performs the tagging itself. However, Pradier says, most goods arrive already tagged.

Mathieu Pradier
The tunnel readers can process 18,000 items per hour, Tagsys reports, with a read accuracy of 99 percent. According to Pradier, the system is a huge time-saver. "Before," he says, "we had to open individual boxes and read the bar codes on items one by one. We needed 10 people to receive 20,000 garments. Now, we need two people for 35,000." Consequently, he says, Serge Blanco "moved many employees into customer service or quality-control jobs."

Pradier estimates that the system, installed with the help of Tagsys, cost the company €150,000 ($225,000). The firm's business plan projects that the system will pay for itself within three years, though Pradier believes Serge Blanco will recoup its costs sooner than that.

At present, Serge Blanco does not identify items at the dock door when they are shipped to stores. In 2011, however, the company plans to add this functionality, along with the ability to interrogate garments' RFID tags at stores, in order to ease the inventory process.

Serge Blanco does not notify store customers regarding the garments' RFID tags, because clerks are instructed to cut them off at the point of sale. The clerks retain the tags for one month, in case any outfits are returned.

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