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How to RFID-Tag Apparel and Benefit Internally

This report is designed to help apparel manufacturers understand how to meet retailer requirements and benefit from using RFID within their own supply chain.
Feb 22, 2011

How to RFID-Tag Apparel and Benefit Internally

Wal-mart stores and several other major U.S. retailers are moving forward with projects that use radio frequency identification (RFID) to track apparel items in stores. Retailers that manufacture their own goods, such as American Apparel, can apply RFID tags at the point of manufacture and achieve efficiencies throughout the supply chain. But those that sell apparel from different manufacturers have been tagging items either in their distribution centers or when the goods arrive at the stores. The process is slow, labor-intensive and inefficient, so they would like to see their suppliers do the tagging. Wal-Mart Stores, for example, is working with suppliers of men’s jeans and basics (socks, undershirts and underwear) to track items with EPC RFID tags.

At the same time, some forward-looking apparel manufacturers are choosing to adopt RFID in their manufacturing and distribution facilities. Several case studies of apparel suppliers that have tagged merchandise at the point of manufacture—including the Charles Vögele Group, Lemmi Fashion and NP Collection in Europe—show that there are benefits for suppliers, including: better tracking of goods made by third-party manufacturers in Asia, reduced time and labor to receive goods into warehouses, and improved packing and shipping accuracy. (For more information, see “Internal Benefits” on page 14 of the report.)

Momentum is growing for item-level tagging, for a number of reasons. Tags costs have fallen up to 40 percent over the past 18 months, and technological advances have addressed concerns about tag readability. In addition, research pilots, such as the study by the University of Arkansas’ RFID Research Center regarding RFID’s impact on inventory accuracy, are
propelling retailer adoption. In November 2010, Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) and standards groups GS1 US and GS1 Canada announced the launch of the Item Level RFID Initiative, which brings together apparel manufacturers
and retailers—including Conair, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Jockey, Jones Apparel, Levi Straus, Macy’s, VF Corp. and Wal-Mart—to develop a roadmap for the adoption of RFID at the item (see page 66). And in January, a report released by the University of
Arkansas’ Information Technology Research Institute (ITRI) identified 60 unique business cases for the use of item-level RFID in the supply chain, as determined by apparel suppliers (see page 63).

A recent survey by the Aberdeen Group found that 57 percent of retailers are using or plan to deploy RFID at the item level. According to its report, “Item-Level RFID Tagging in Retail: Improving Efficiency, Visibility, Loss Prevention, and Profit,” the Aberdeen survey included 125 executives, managers and other personnel working for retailers in North America, Europe and Asia; these firms represented retailers of apparel, furniture, jewelry and pharmaceutical products, as well as operators of big-box stores.

Whether you decide to RFID-tag items to improve your own internal efficiencies and/or to better serve your customers—retailers would like suppliers to tag voluntarily—item-level tagging is on the road to becoming an established practice in the apparel industry. RFID Journal’s “A Guide for Apparel Manufacturers: How to RFID-Tag Apparel and How to Benefit Internally” is designed to help you save time and money as you deploy RFID technology in your manufacturing and distribution facilities.

How to RFID-Tag Apparel and Benefit Internally is just $129, or free with a Premium Membership to RFID Journal.



Acknowledgements 3
Letter From the Editor 4
Introduction 5
Tagging Options 6
Hardware and Software 8
The Electronic Product Code Numbering System 11
Internal Benefits 14
Retail Apparel Deployments 16
RFID Makes Common People an Uncommon Store 16
German Clothing Company s.Oliver Puts RFID to the Test 17
RFID Helps Speed Up Logistics for Serafini Shoes, San Giuliano Ferragamo Clothes 18
Fly London Uses RFID to Manage Inventory, and Take Customers Around the World 20
Staff Jeans to Introduce RFID-enabled Customer Services 21
RFID Helps Florida Shoe Retailer Keep Its Customers From Walking Away 23
Wal-Mart Relaunches EPC RFID Effort, Starting With Men’s Jeans and Basics 25
Serge Blanco Store Takes Stock of RFID 26
Serge Blanco Finds ROI in RFID 28
KissAFrog Leaps into RFID 28
Korean Clothing Company Adds RFID to Its Supply Chain 30
Rica Lewis Profits by Tagging Jeans 31
Organic Clothing Retailer Makes Shopping Personal 33
American Apparel Adds RFID to Two More Stores, Switches RFID Software 34
American Apparel Makes a Bold Fashion Statement With RFID 37
Gerry Weber Sews In RFID’s Benefits 38
Carnaval Puts RFID Hangtags on Kids’ Clothing 40
RFID Targets Gray Market in Europe 41
Charles Vögele Group Finds RFID Helps It Stay Competitive 43
RFID Trims Costs for Retailer of Lacoste, CK, Burberry 44
Krause Outlet Takes Window-Shopping to the Ultimate Level 45
Turkish Retailer Uses Hybrid EAS-RFID Tags to Stop Theft, Improve Inventory Management 47
Metro Group’s Galeria Kaufhof Launches UHF Item-Level Pilot 48
Retail Apparel Case Studies 52
An RFID Fashion Statement 52
On the Trail of Hush Puppies 54
Maternity Apparel Maker Gives Birth to Smart Displays in Stores 58
Clothing Manufacturer Invests Its ROI in RFID 60
Retail Apparel Business and Research News 63
University of Arkansas Study Finds 60 Ways to Use RFID in Apparel Supply Chain 63
Item Level RFID Initiative Focuses on Supplier Benefits 64
Major Retailers, Industry Groups Launch Item-Level RFID Guidelines Initiative 66
Apparel Retailers Test RFID-enhanced EAS Hard Tags 67
RFID Boosts Store Turnover by Nearly 10 Percent in Italian Pilot 69
Fashion Group Expects Positive ROI Within 3 Years 71
A Conversation With Avery Dennison’s James Stafford 73
Bloomingdale’s Tests Item-Level RFID 75
Dillard’s, U. of Ark. Study Quantifies RFID’s Superiority to Manual Inventory Counts 77
Retail Apparel Technology News 79
Checkpoint Systems Launches EPC Numbering Service 79
American Apparel’s RFID Guru Launches RFID Software Startup 80


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