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Gerry Weber Shows How Retailers Benefit From RFID
The winner of this year's RFID Journal Award for Best RFID Implementation is using the technology across its value chain.
That means there is time to ensure that the 500 items arrive, and that the company can avoid lost sales due to items being out of stock. Gerry Weber also uses the RFID labels to better manage inventory, and to make sure that the proper items are shipped to retail stores—both its own and others that sell Gerry Weber-branded items. Since roughly 80 percent of the firm's clothing is sold in retail outlets other than its own, von Grone explains, this adds up to fewer returns or credit notes to customers due to missing or excess items. According to Gerry Weber International, these improvements represent almost 30 percent of the RFID project benefits that it receives.
Goods are checked in upon arriving at Gerry Weber-owned stores, in order to ensure that a particular store did not receive either too many or too few items. And instead of taking inventory once annually, Gerry Weber's stores now do so once per week. The resultant improvement in inventory accuracy has increased turnover, enabling Gerry Weber to sell a greater number of items at full price, rather than marking them down just to get them off the floor.
Some U.S. companies are starting to explore these benefits as well, and the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association's Item Level RFID Initiative has launched an aggressive campaign, both to quantify the benefits of RFID for retailers and apparel suppliers, and to promote these benefits in an effort to encourage industry-wide adoption of the technology (see Major Retailers, Industry Groups Launch Item-Level RFID Guidelines Initiative, Item Level RFID Initiative Focuses on Supplier Benefits and VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative Enters Phase II).
But many U.S. retailers are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting for larger companies to prove the technology's benefits. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It's sort of like American golfers playing it safe on every hole, waiting for European golfers to first prove that you can win the United States or British Open by playing aggressive golf.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.
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