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Educating Apparel Retailers and Suppliers About RFID

RFID Journal LIVE! 2011 will feature a preconference workshop, an industry track and a supply chain demonstration—all designed to show the enormous benefits that can be achieved using radio frequency identification.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 21, 2011A few months ago, I had a conversation with a reader who works at a large apparel retailer. He told me his company's RFID pilot project had been showing great promise, but that he was having trouble getting senior management interested in it, and was thus worried that funding would be cut off. There was one VP in particular, he said, who was very skeptical that RFID could deliver so much value. I suggested he invite the executive and other senior managers to the store to see the benefits in action.

A few weeks later, this individual called me back, very excited, and said, "It worked. We brought a few folks in from the head office, and we showed how we could take accurate inventory in the store with a handheld within 20 minutes. Before I even showed them how we replenish, they were sold."

That experience got me thinking: Seeing really is believing. Therefore, I reached out to some exhibitors at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011—to be held on Apr. 12-14, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.—as well as key players involved in apparel retail, and suggested we demonstrate how RFID can be used from the manufacturing floor to the point of sale. They agreed, and several have stepped up to work with RFID Journal and GS1 US to create an end-to-end supply chain demonstration, to be held in the LIVE! 2011 exhibit hall.

We'll demonstrate how companies can tag goods at the source, create advance shipping notices (ASNs), share those ASNs with partners who receive goods into inventory automatically, and check the items received against the ASNs. In addition, we'll show store orders being sent to a distribution center, and items being picked and then shipped to a store. We'll also show inventory being taken in the store, and items being replenished using RFID. And we'll showcase hardware and software solutions from Avery Dennison, Impinj, Tagsys, Seeonic, Conair and Argo Wireless.

Apparel manufacturers and retailers will also hear from Dillard's, Macy's and Wal-Mart Stores in a keynote session moderated by Bill Hardgrave, who founded the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center before taking a position this year as the dean of Auburn University's College of Business.

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