RFID in Fashion 2008 Report

By Admin

At last month's RFID in Fashion event, held in New York City, 160 fashion, apparel and footwear professionals gathered to learn how to use RFID technologies to cut costs and boost sales. View the presentations from the event.

RFID in Fashion 2008, RFID Journal's third annual conference and exhibition for the fashion, apparel and footwear sectors, was held at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, on Aug. 13-14. The event was co-produced by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), an industry trade association for those markets.

At this year's conference, attendees learned how retailers are currently using radio frequency identification to cut labor costs; enhance the customer experience; deter theft, diversion and counterfeiting; increase delivery speed and accuracy; track high-value products; improve on-shelf visibility; and reduce excess inventory and markdowns. A total of 160 attendees gathered at the event, and speaker presentations are now available (see final page for downloading instructions).

The event opened with the RFID Journal University preconference seminar, designed to provide those new to radio frequency identification with the foundational knowledge required to understand how RFID can be applied to solve specific business problems. Attendees learned how to select the correct vendors, and how to choose the right options for particular applications.

Rossano Vitulli, Ing., a software architect in the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Parma, explained the physics behind RFID, legislation and standardization issues, and the practical issues that must be considered when embarking on an RFID deployment. The seminar also included a live demonstration of a UHF RFID interrogator with a variety of products, illustrating how antenna polarization and the presence of metal and liquids can affect the ability to read a tag on a product, as well as how to alleviate problems reading tags on such products.

In addition, Marshall Kay, founder of RFID Sherpas, presented various scenarios for RFID strategy and business-case development during the preconference. RFID Sherpas is currently monitoring a pilot by the Jones Apparel Group, the designer and owner of the Nine West chain of women's footwear and accessory stores, to evaluate the benefits of employing passive EPC Gen 2 RFID technology for product tracking (see Jones Apparel Group Plans RFID Pilot in Nine West Stores).

Uwe Quiede, project manager for the RFID BRIDGE [Building Radio Frequency Identification Solutions for the Global Environment] Project at Kaufhof Warenhaus AG, delivered a keynote speech at the conference. Quiede explained how Galeria Kaufhof, a division of Metro Group, has outfitted an entire floor of its Essen, Germany, department store with 60 RFID interrogators (see Metro Group's Galeria Kaufhof Launches UHF Item-Level Pilot). More than 200 antennas at the store capture data from EPC Gen 2 UHF transponders in hangtags on more than 30,000 individual articles. Quiede described the challenges Kaufhof faced, as well as how the company overcame those obstacles and the results of its deployment.

Bill Hardgrave, director of the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center, provided a keynote speech as well. Hardgrave explained how RFID can be employed as an electronic article surveillance (EAS) tag, and how the technology can help identify loss before it happens—and recognize it when it does occur. He also explored the business case of RFID in loss prevention, and how the technology can add value as an EAS tool. Furthermore, Hardgrave shared the results of tests comparing RFID-based theft-deterrent applications with traditional electronic article surveillance technologies.

Al Dittrich, president and CEO of Retail Associates, told attendees how Tomorrow's Mother manages its maternity departments with smart displays (see Maternity Apparel Maker to Deploy Smart Displays in Stores). To help it track inventory and sales, Tomorrow's Mother is rolling out RFID-enabled fixtures to department stores in the United States and Canada. Dittrich explained the company's efforts to supply tagged garments to the stores, and to use the smart-shelf technology solution to manage its maternity departments in 384 stores across both countries. He also outlined where the company has seen early benefits, and the challenges it needed to overcome to make the system work.

The conference included a panel discussion between Anthony D'Onofrio, VP of marketing and global sales channel support for Tyco/Sensormatic; Andreas Schneider, a managing partner at GCS Consulting and founder of the fashionGroup RFID; James Stafford, head of RFID adoption at Avery Dennison's Information and Brand Management Division; and Joe White, VP of RFID business development and marketing at Motorola. The panelists explored how retailers interested in using RFID to improve store operations can get management buy-in, turn RFID data into useful information, train store associates and ensure that all tags are read consistently. The thought leaders also discussed how the industry will handle tag serialization when RFID technology moves beyond the pilot stage.

Torsten Strauch, Checkpoint Systems' European sales director of RFID, addressed how one of the company's customers, a top European retailer, benefited from moving from source tagging to source management. Strauch explained the key benefits the company has seen in warehouse operation, how inventory visibility is managed on the shop floor, how the company defined key performance indicators (KPI) and the results of the deployment.

Helmut Weinekötter, director of processes and logistics for Karstadt Warenhaus, explored how the German retailer has improved sales-floor processes by employing RFID. The Karstadt Warenhaus chain of premier German department stores has deployed an item-level RFID system for apparel inventory management (see Karstadt Readies for RFID). At its 30,000-square-meter (323,000-square-foot) Düsseldorf store, small RFID tags were attached to 50,000 men's jeans, sweaters and shirts from six suppliers at its hub. Weinekötter described how the system has enabled store managers to determine, in real time, where each apparel item is located, and which styles and sizes are selling best.

Markus Rosendahl, business development director for NP Collection, discussed how Finnish fashion designer Naisten Pukutehdas (NP) is utilizing radio frequency identification to improve accuracy, and to speed the delivery of garments to stores (see Finnish Fashion Designer Begins Item-Level Tagging). Rosendahl outlined how the women's clothing manufacturer installed RFID at its distribution center and six stores, and how the technology is delivering real benefits and reducing lead times.

Patrick Javick, director of industry development for EPCglobal North America, RFID Sherpas founder Marshall Kay, and Götz Pfeifferling, CIO of Lemmi Fashion, provided a panel discussion of the keys to a successful RFID deployment in the retail, apparel, footwear and accessories sector. The panelists explored the benefits of employing RFID to track fashion items, whether retailers achieve savings while suppliers pick up the cost of tagging individual garments, how privacy issues can be overcome, the role standards play and other topics relevant to the apparel industry.

Finally, Roberto Montanari, a University of Parma professor of industrial plants, explained how RFID helps designer labels, such as Trussardi, reduce counterfeiting (see Italian RFID Lab Gets Fashion-Forward). More than twelve major Italian fashion companies, including Trussardi, Dolce & Gabbana Industria and IMAX, have teamed with the university's RFID Lab to determine how radio frequency identification can streamline business processes, both in the supply chain and in stores. Montanari offered a research roadmap of the fashion industry and the projects currently underway, outlined a unique RFID fashion store initiative and revealed the first results of a full-scale deployment to automate knitwear shipments and receiving.

To read RFID Journal editor Mark Roberti's perspective on the event, see Retailers Need to Share the Wealth (of Data).

Several speakers and panelists at RFID in Fashion 2008 have granted permission to provide RFID Journal readers with the PowerPoint presentations and videos from their sessions. Note that several speakers did not provide PowerPoint files, and that some have opted not to have us post their presentations. Please proceed to the next page to view the presentations.

RFID Journal's next conference will be EPC Connection 2008 (Oct. 14-16, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago). Other upcoming events include RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2008 (Nov. 4-6, at the Clarion Congress Hotel in Prague, Czech Republic), RFID Journal LIVE! Canada 2008 (Dec. 1-3, at the Toronto Congress Centre), RFID Journal LIVE! 2009 (Apr. 27-29, 2009, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort in Orlando) and RFID Journal LIVE! Middle East 2009 (Jan. 5-7, 2009, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai).

Accessing Conference Presentations:

1. Choose a session from the list below. Blue titles—or speaker names for sessions with multiple speakers—link to presentations in PDF format.

2. Click the title or speaker name to open the PDF in a new tab or window, or right-click (chose "Save as") to download and view the file from your computer.

Due to the large sizes of some files, it may take a minute or two to download each PDF.

Note that not all speakers have opted to allow us to post their materials. Speakers own the copyright to these presentations, and no material should be used without their permission. As more presentations become available, we will add them as well.

Day 1—August 13, 2008


General Sessions
4:30 pm  Leadership Forum—Rick Bauer, Dean A. Scarborough, James Stafford, Avery Dennison

4:30 pm  Kaufhof Tracks Items In-Store With Near-Field UHF Tags—Uwe Quiede, Kaufhof Warenhaus AG
5:15 pm  RFID's Role in Loss Prevention—Bill Hardgrave, University of Arkansas

RFID Journal University
10:00 am  General Session: RFID Basics—Mark Roberti, RFID Journal
11:00 am  The Physics Behind RFID—Rossano Vitulli, University of Parma

11:45 am  Legislation and Standardization—Rossano Vitulli, University of Parma
2:15 pm  Real-World Considerations—Rossano Vitulli, University of Parma

3:15 pm  Building an RFID Business Case—Marshall Kay, RFID Sherpas LLC

Day 2—August 14, 2008


General Sessions

8:45 am  Apparel Maker Manages Maternity Departments With Smart Displays in Stores—Al Dittrich, Retail Associates LLC
11:30 am  Karstadt–Improving Sales Floor Processes by Using RFID—Helmut Weinekötter, Karstadt Warenhaus

2:30 pm  Fashion Designer Benefits from Tagging Apparel Items—Markus Rosendahl, Rosendahl Digital Networks Oy
4:00 pm  How RFID Helps Italian Brand Names—Roberto Montanari, University of Parma