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RFID Boosts Store Turnover by Nearly 10 Percent in Italian Pilot

A study conducted by the University of Parma's RFID Lab, working with a retailer, apparel suppliers and logistics providers in Italy, reveals significant benefits throughout the supply chain.
By Mark Roberti
Oct 20, 2010The University of Parma's RFID Lab recently announced the results of radio frequency identification's impact on operational efficiencies and sales in an end-to-end supply chain study. The lab reports that store sales increased by nearly 10 percent during the pilot, due to increased replenishment, and that labor efficiencies and data accuracy also improved throughout the supply chain.

"The results of this pilot show unequivocally that passive UHF RFID technology can increase labor efficiency, improve data accuracy and lead to more sales," says Antonio Rizzi, the RFID Lab's founder and director, which has spearheaded several other RFID studies involving the fashion industry (see Italian RFID Lab Gets Fashion-Forward and Fashion Group Expects Positive ROI Within 3 Years).

Antonio Rizzi, founder and director of the University of Parma's RFID Lab
The companies that collaborated with the RFID Lab on the pilot were intimate apparel manufacturer DBApparel, fashion house Trussardi, retailer Miroglio Fashion, IMAX (the knitting manufacturing arm of the Max Mara Fashion Group), logistics provider Norbert Dentressangle, and clothing maker Dolce and Gabbana Industria, along with its third-party logistics providers, TNT and DHL.

The pilot's goals were to assess the technical feasibility of using RFID in the fashion industry supply chain, including in retail stores; determine whether the technology provides real-time traceability of fashion items throughout the supply chain; and assess the business benefits of RFID, with a particular focus on packing, marking and shipping within a distribution center (DC), as well as on receiving, inventory management, fitting-room use, replenishment and checkout within a store. A key goal was to quantify the RFID's impact on store turnover.

The University of Parma's RFID Lab organized the project, but each participating company helped to fund it, define its objectives and choose the technical solutions involved. The participants also shared the results. The pilot ran from Apr. 2 to Aug. 31, 2010, and tracked 12,690 items in Miroglio Fashion's spring/summer 2010 collection. Of those garments, 11,346 were sold.

Individual clothing items and accessories were tagged at a Miroglio Fashion DC in Pollenzo, Italy, using UPM Raflatac EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID inlays made with Monza 3 chips from Impinj. The inlays were inserted into paper hangtags that were applied as they would normally be.

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