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Texas Jewelry Retailer Scores With RFID

Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange (DGSE) is using EPC Gen 2 tags to improve the management of its inventory of jewelry, diamonds, watches, rare coins and other products.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jul 12, 2011With its background in deploying RFID inventory and security solutions for retailers that sell high-value goods (see Eyewear Retailer Finds RFID Helps It See Its Merchandise More Clearly), Electronic Inventory Solutions (EIS) believed it could help Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange (DGSE)—a Dallas-based retailer specializing in jewelry, diamonds, fine watches, metal bullion and rare coins—improve its inventory-management process.

Early this year, DGSE decided to take EIS—an RFID systems integrator based in Carrollton, Texas—up on its offer. Last month, the retailer replaced the bar-code labels used on its products with passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tags, as part of a program that the company says has slashed labor costs, boosted inventory accuracy and improved store security. As a result, DGSE is now reaping the rewards.

EIS designed a special tray that allows the tags to hang under the rings, thereby ensuring good RFID readability.

Before deploying radio frequency identification, Diane Goff, DGSE's manager of internal controls, spent a major portion of her time counting the jewelry and other items that her company sells. Every quarter, she'd visit DGSE's flagship location in Dallas, as well as its smaller stores in Euless, Texas; Charleston, S.C.; and Woodland Hills, Calif.—and conduct a physical inventory. At the Dallas location, which maintains a stock of roughly 6,000 products, this process took approximately 60 hours in total (or, cumulatively, six weeks annually). Add in the other three stores, each of which holds an inventory of around 1,500 items, and this part of her job became a huge time-suck.

Inventory Counting
These days, Goff's job is quite different. A passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tag is attached to every item in each store. As an item is received into inventory, an employee attaches a tag encoded with that product's item number. Each morning, after workers at each location move trays from the store vault to glass jewelry displays, they move a handheld RFID reader over each tray. The reader transmits the tag numbers to EIS' middleware, running on the retailer's network, which filters out duplicate tag numbers and forwards the list of tag numbers to the proprietary point-of-sale software.

Back at the Dallas office, Goff runs this list against a master list showing the inventory that should be at the store. She then sends the store employees a list of any items missing from that list—the interrogator occasionally fails to read two or three tags when initially passed over the trays, explains Darryl Hubbard, EIS' president and founder.

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