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Patrizia Pepe Brings Efficiency to Its Supply Chain

The Italian fashion designer has doubled the efficiency of the intake and shipping of its apparel as the garments are processed at the company's distribution centers, while its tagged clothing can also be read at some stores by customers looking to learn more about the products.
By Claire Swedberg
As boxes loaded with products were received at the warehouse, each carton passed through one of seven RFID tunnel portals. Each tunnel contained an Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 reader wired to four antennas designed by IDNova, and came with a built-in scale to weigh every box as it was placed on the conveyor. The tunnel readers were utilized for both shipping and receiving. When tag ID numbers were read, that data was forwarded to Patrizia Pepe's back-end software, custom-designed by the company, to link each ID number to that particular product's stock-keeping unit (SKU), as well as store that ID with the action that had just occurred, such as receiving or shipping.

When a customer carries clothing past a video totem near the entrance of a dressing room, it displays information related to those products.
Additionally, IDNova built custom portals, each equipped with four IDNova antennas, designed to accommodate hanging rack items moving into or out of the DC, as well as the changed location within the warehouse. As hanging items were moved through the portals, the ID numbers were interrogated and transmitted to the Patrizia Pepe software, which determined the direction in which those goods were moving (for example, into or out of the warehouse), and thus, which action was occurring.

With the new, RFID-based system installed at all three distribution centers, the staff can now handle 380 to 400 items per hour, Tazzi says. When shipping goods to retailers, the DC could process only 140 products per hour, he notes, but it is now able to ship out 330. The RFID system has also increased accuracy, according to the company, thereby ensuring that the incorrect products are not shipped to retailers, and that out-of-stocks are less likely to occur due to inaccurate inventory counts.

Since the pilot's conclusion, Patrizia Pepe has installed the solution at its three DCs, encouraging its suppliers to apply tags to their products. To date, Tazzi reports, about 2.2 million products have been tagged.

Fabrizio Innocenti, IDNova’s managing director
In 2011, the company also installed informational video totems near the dressing room entrance at each of four stores—located in the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Milan, and in Moscow, Russia. In each case, when a customer carries clothing past a totem, a Speedway Revolution R420 interrogator reads the garment's RFID tags. Two LCD touch screens then display information about that product, play videos of models wearing the clothing and offer advice regarding other items or accessories that might combine well with that garment. Similar reading stations are slated to be installed next month at a Patrizia Pepe store in Mexico City.

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