Tyco Retail Solutions Shares Expanded Benefits of RFID Technology
by Nancy Chisholm, Vice President & General Manager, Tyco Retail Solutions
Originally published in RIS News Special Report, The Critical 5 2013
[ Q ] Item-level RFID is proving to be a key component in delivering accurate inventory data on a consistent basis. Why is this so important for retailers today?
Retailers have increasingly come to view item-level RFID as a transformational and cornerstone technology directly impacting their ability to execute against strategic customer-facing initiatives and corporate financial goals. One example is omni-channel initiatives, where inventory accuracy is critical to meeting the convenience demands of shoppers who spend between 15-30% more than a single channel shopper. With poor inventory data, retailers simply cannot satisfy the heightened service expectations of these shoppers. Further, as strong brand loyalty advocates, they have the ability to influence other shoppers through social media in the form of tweets and reviews.
[ Q ] What are the most immediate benefits a retailer would be likely to see from an item-level RFID deployment in their stores? What are some of the longer-term benefits?
Immediate benefits from an item-level RFID deployment are vastly improved inventory accuracy and location visibility. Inventory counts become significantly faster and require less labor, resulting in more frequent counts. Discrepancies in actual inventory from errors or theft can be reconciled immediately, reducing the effects of over stocks and out of stocks. These benefits translate into significant financial and customer-facing advantages over the longer term including topline improvements in same store and online sales, enhanced shopper satisfaction and greater average basket size.
[ Q ] Are there other store solutions RFID can work with effectively to give retailers a more accurate, timely picture of their business and operations?
The rich data collected from RFID inventory cycle counts or captured via RFID-enabled transactional processes can be correlated with other systems for greater insight or fed as an input to other retail systems to enhance their performance and capabilities. The most common integrations include POS, the stock ledger, order management and fulfillment applications, and other inventory, distribution and loss prevention. Retailers are also looking to integrate with workforce/task management applications to drive compliance and execution, and aggregate and feed RFID data to planning and allocations applications to improve merchandising management processes.
[ Q ] How can retailers best leverage RFID’s strengths to improve their operations, margins, profitability and efficiency?
RFID provides retailers with real-time, detailed accuracy and insight into their inventories. Armed with this information, retailers can easily improve business decisions related to merchandising, staff management, distribution management and store operations. One example is in receiving, where RFID technology can detect exactly what’s being brought into the store, allowing associates to immediately redirect mis-shipments, make adjustments and get down to the root cause – improving operations and preventing issues in the future.
[ Q ] What do you see as the logical directions for RFID to expand in the coming years? (i.e. further up the supply chain, into new product areas, into new retail verticals, other.)
While in-store item-level RFID programs are providing significant value for retailers today, we see additional value opportunities in display execution, brand authentication, asset protection and back through the supply chain. By utilizing RFID technology throughout the supply chain, retailers have the opportunity to gain complete inventory visibility from source to consumer, boosting efficiencies and improving accuracy at all points.