RFID Case Study: RFID implementation in fashion retail
Herman Kay, a family owned fashion business, manufactures and markets coats and outerwear for major high-end brands such as BCBG, DVF, London Fog, Michael Kors and Anne Klein. When retail customers asked for RFID tagged goods, Herman Kay selected a Nordic ID tag partner to ensure high accuracy and visibility in all processes and to void human errors.
Originally, the fashion company relied on staff to visually sort products and identify human errors throughout its vast international production and distribution networks. Visibility and accuracy were essential throughout the process. However, relying on human staff to identify products and errors in this extensive network led to wasted time and resources on a massive scale. It became apparent that RFID would be a great enabler for their 100% excellence goal.
For picking and packing orders for shipments to retailers, employees of Harmen Kay use Nordic ID mobile devices. The application on the mobile devices, is from a partner of Nordic ID. This application makes sure that a picking list for each order is available on the mobile computer so that staff can select the correct items and load them on a Garment on Hanger (GOH) trolley. This ensures that quantities, colors and styles match the order 100%. The correct content is then verified before the order is taken to packing. This approach allows the company to catch errors
before products are physically taken to the next process step and packed.
At the packing station, items are being checked against a packing list that has been sent to the software application and the operator uses another Nordic ID mobile device to validate the packing operation. At the shipping dock door cartons are checked in the software application using fixed RFID readers against an ASN (Advanced Ship Notice) to insure that each shipment is complete and accurate. If the content does not match the expected shipping list, the carton can be opened and its content repacked if necessary. The shipment verification is built on the basis of the EPCs in the carton and the boxes’ carton barcode information. Shipment verification is done with an RFID portal.
Herman Kay also utilizes RFID reader gates at each of its shipping docks at the distribution center. They gain valuable insight into what items arrive from the factories to the DC and what products go out from the DC to the retailers. The tracking is implemented using a system of RFID readers and RFID antennas that capture the data.
The RFID implementation has paid off. "Herman Kay is a better company for it's customers due to the implementation of RFID" says Richard Haig, CIO and CTO at Herman Kay. “I know where every product is at any given time and in the future all of my customers will know it too.”
The benefits of implementing RFID in fashion retail are:
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- Increased delivery accuracy
- Increased accuracy in picking and shipping
- Catch errors before they occur
- Less possibilities for human errors
- Enables tracking of a garment through all production and shipping processes
- Decrease in charge backs