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Setting an Example

Pam Sweeney is a leader on Macy's RFID team, which is using the technology to become the world's first omnichannel retailer.
By Mark Roberti
Jun 23, 2016

I've always been highly skeptical of buzzwords. When I was an editor at InformationWeek, there was a lot of talk about the "real-time company"—organizations that were capturing real-time data and acting on it. Except almost no companies were doing this. It was mostly talk. In retail, one of the biggest buzzwords today is "omnichannel," which means selling to the customer in-store, on a mobile device, on a home computer or by phone—and delivering the correct product or having it ready for pickup in a store.

Lots of retailers are talking about omnichannel. Macy's, which has $27 billion in annual sales, is doing it. And Pam Sweeney is a leader on the executive team that is employing RFID to enable omnichannel shopping.

Pam Sweeney accepts her award from Mark Roberti at RFID Journal LIVE! in May. (Photo: Tom Hurst/RFID Journal)
Why RFID? Because Macy's gets that omnichannel requires a high degree of inventory accuracy—ideally, visibility down to the last unit—and only RFID can provide that.

Sweeney joined Macy's in 1986 and has held various positions within distribution and warehousing. Today, as senior VP of logistics systems, she is responsible for optimizing logistics information systems, which includes identifying new technologies and applications necessary to enhance existing business processes.

When Sweeney attended our RFID in Fashion event in 2006, she was not an immediate convert to the technology. But she saw its potential and kept investigating it and watching it mature. In 2008, Macy's began testing RFID in its Bloomingdale's stores, and three years later, the board had enough confidence in the technology to approve funding for an RFID rollout to all 850 Bloomingdale's and Macy's stores.

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