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Rica Lewis Profits by Tagging Jeans

The company is using RFID to expedite orders and the taking of inventory in boutiques selling its apparel.
By Rhea Wessel
At present, Rica Lewis is not interrogating the tags as goods arrive at its DC, though it does plan to add this step to its RFID-based logistics processes as soon as possible. Instead, the first reading of a garment's RFID tag is taken after picking is completed. Already at the garments' point of production, Rica Lewis knows to which stores goods are headed. This enables it to ensure that all clothing intended for the two RFID-enabled regions are tagged. Once a Fossana employee has picked the goods for shipping, he or she uses one of two tabletop readers to identify the items in boxes, and to confirm that the proper garments have been picked. Rica Lewis' salespeople perform the second and final tag reading upon conducting in-store inventory. The company intends to add readers to identify goods loaded onto trucks as well.

Using an RFID reader, a salesperson can inventory a store's entire Rica Lewis collection in approximately 10 minutes.

"Rica Lewis started by enabling RFID-based inventory, because that was what it sought most out of the application," Mattalia says. However, he notes, "It's always better to implement RFID throughout the supply chain, if possible."

Didier Mattalia, Tagsys’ sales director for fashion and retail
Rica Lewis indicates it benefits from the system's ability to speed up the replenishment process, improve customer relations (since sales managers now spend more time building relationships than taking inventory) and promote a positive image among its retailer customers—which include Carrefour, Groupe Casino and Auchan Group—by enabling Rica Lewis to present itself as a technology leader.

"The speed and accuracy of this technology have allowed us to cut by 80 percent the time sales managers spend performing onsite inventories at our retail customers," says Dominique Lanson, Rica Lewis' CEO. "They can, therefore, spend more quality time with the customers and enhance their sales approach."

No testing on the system was necessary, Mattalia says, since Tagsys' fashion and specialty retail solutions have been repeatedly tested with other clients, which include Serge Blanco (see Serge Blanco Finds ROI in RFID). The system only needed to be customized to Rica Lewis' ERP system, he says.

"Unlike some of the other technologies we deployed in the past," Lanson adds, "it was not difficult to get our employees to accept this evolution. They quickly saw the benefits RFID brings to them, in terms of order preparation and inventories."

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