For a long time, brick-and-mortar retailers have been plagued by a large number of product types and frequent shelf adjustments, making stock-taking a time-consuming and difficult problem. Smaller shops may be a monthly inventory, similar to supermarkets, fast fashion and other large quantities of goods is once or twice a year inventory. Now RFID technology has completely solved the pain points of the traditional inventory model, to bring a lot of convenience to the mall inventory.
The problem of backlogs cannot simply be attributed to brands not being able to sell their goods. In fact, every link in the chain is unconsciously creating the risk of a backlog. From stocktaking to sorting logistics, from retail feedback to ramp-up production, manual errors at every step of the process are leading to misjudgements by brands about production volumes and stock levels.
Decathlon applies RFID stocktaking robot
The world-renowned sporting goods retail giant Decathlon has taken delivery of the country's first RFID inventory robot for the retail industry, "Dippo", in volume in Shanghai. At present, nearly 100 robots have been delivered, and the robots have been sent to 23 cities across China to provide smart upgrade services for 71 Decathlon shops.
At the delivery ceremony site, Decathlon Greater China retail RFID head Deng Xiongyuan introduced, Decathlon currently in more than 100 cities across the country opened nearly 300 shopping malls, each mall has an average of 35,000 SKU (stock keeping units), the annual manpower consumption for inventory up to 140,000 hours, until the emergence of Decathlon intelligent RFID inventory robot to completely solve the traditional inventory model of The "pain points".
1. Recognition accuracy up to 99.2%, freeing up manual stocktaking
The accuracy rate of the "Diabao" robot RFID inventory is as high as 99.2%, which allows real-time inventory of the entire product range, a full 10 percentage points higher than the original semi-manual semi-automatic inventory, the robot takes only 1.5 hours to inventory a 4,000 square metre mall, without manual input to directly upload updated data, and through AI technology is interfaced with the system to complete inventory management and predictive analysis of inventory responses triggered by commercial sales. This gives staff more time and energy to serve our customers and promote sports products and the sports experience.
2. RFID identification is fast and enables batch identification
Liu Ruijiao, Operations Manager of Decathlon's Gu Dai shops, said the RFID inventory robot has brought a lot of convenience to the shops. The time taken to complete a 100% inventory throughout the mall has been shortened from the original 8-hour continuous manual inventory by 10 people to a 2-hour automatic inventory, and the frequency of complete inventory has been increased from once every six months to once a day now.
3. RFID stocktaking robot enhances customer experience
In addition to solving the painful difficulties of human inventory attendants, what other functions do these robots have? According to the report, the human-computer interaction function of the inventory robots also brings a sense of technology and fun to the mall experience. "Part-time" chatting and interaction with customers, humanized guidance shopping, support for self-service cashier and more work, and continue to add to the front end of the new retail experience function upgrade.
Inventory RFID robot can solve the manual inventory high cost, low accuracy, data can not be directly transmitted, online and offline internal and external inventory can not be unified management and other issues, for the physical retail industry to bring innovative solutions.
H&M applies apparel RFID tagging
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB) is a fashion company established in Sweden in 1947, mainly engaged in the sale of clothing and cosmetics. One of its most distinctive features is the extremely short time between the design of a garment and its arrival in the shop, giving consumers quicker access to the most up-to-date fashion items.
Until 2019, HM has been a manual inventory. Stocktaking plus re-stocking gave SAs the visual effect of a bald head. Because most fast fashion shops take stock after the end of the business day, this also means staying up late or even overnight to take stock.
According to publicly available data, H&M had a backlog of inventory of SEK 36,333 million (about USD 4 billion) as of the first half of 2018, up 13 per cent year-on-year and already equivalent to 31.9 per cent of sales. In a situation where sales are slowing down across the fashion industry today, the risk to profitability caused by the inventory backlog is increasing by the day.
1. Sales volume increased by around 3-8% and stocktaking speed increased by around 20 times
In 2019, HM RFID shops have started to use RFID tag system, which has greatly improved the efficiency of stocktaking. HM's deployment of the RFID system has enhanced the transparency of its inventory, enabling real-time monitoring of shop data and enabling the goods distribution department to replenish stock according to the latest demand trends. According to relevant statistics, warehouses implementing RFID technology have increased sales by around 3-8% compared to those without RFID technology, retailers have increased their inventory count speed by around 20 times, and the accuracy of inventory data has increased to over 30%.
2. Long reading distance
Due to the uniqueness of the RFID tag, it can help employees to accurately and quickly obtain the model, colour, size and other information of the clothing, which has the function of anti-counterfeiting, anti-theft and anti-tampering in the sales of clothing. It can be said that retailers such as H&M have made significant improvements in "cost reduction and efficiency" precisely because of the introduction of RFID technology.
Rissho Group combines RFID technology for accurate production
Shanghai Daycast Fashion Group recently gave their clothes are replaced with a new tag, although these tags than the original three or four times more expensive, but they feel that it is a cost-effective "environmental" business. The key to this is the RFID tags hidden on the tags. These tags do not look amazing, but the fact that they can play a huge role in warehouse logistics, retail feedback, design and production of these links, which helps brands greatly improve the efficiency of warehouse logistics and clothing inventory backlog, quite a kind of "under the iceberg" deep hidden style.
Rissho Group now divides the entire RFID project into three phases, for warehousing and logistics, physical operations, consumer profiles and consumer trend forecasting three links in turn to start practical applications.
1. Warehousing and logistics efficiency improved by 4 to 6 times
After a period of practice, they found that from storage and then sorting to the final delivery, RFID systems will be these warehouse logistics links to improve the efficiency of the specific 4 to 6 times, plus the review link after the accuracy rate can approach 100%. "If a customer wants 100 pieces of clothing, the manual used to pick 100 times, but now 1 time to point it out," said Lin Liang, director and deputy general manager of the Daycast Group, "there is still a need for manual presence in the entire chain, they have to do the actions that the machine can not complete, such as keeping the hangtags face up or putting clothes on sorting equipment, but the amount of manual labor (compared to before) is worlds apart."
2. Physical operations inventory daily
Daycast Group's accessories partner, Yida Group, was responsible for the planning and execution of the entire RFID project, which also "came out of the loop" to develop its own set of Pangu systems to integrate data from all ports for the brand and analyse its orientation. The group told BoF that the focus of the second phase of the project fell on physical operations, mainly for shop inventory, display and fitting. In general, it is not practical for brands to stock their shops on a daily basis, but with RFID, stock-taking time can be significantly reduced and stock-taking efficiency improved. In addition, RFID point-to-point reading identification can help timely return the goods to their place, "like a GPS, shopkeepers can view the location of a piece of merchandise displayed in real time.
3. Consumer profile and consumer trend prediction applications
Brands are also keen to understand how often goods are tried on and how consumers interact with them. "Whether a consumer picks it up, looks at it and puts it down, or goes in and tries it on but doesn't think it looks good and doesn't want to buy it, these two actions have very different meanings. We used to only get the final sales figures, but we now want to know exactly what a garment has experienced in the shop," said Wang Weiping, General Manager of the Brand Business Unit of the Rising Group. "When there is more focused and precise feedback on these consumer behaviours, we can then guess or analyse whether the product should be increased or decreased in production? Is the design wrong, or is there a problem with the fit?"
Cui Qin, managing director of accessories and packaging at the Yida Group, said that many possibilities collide only at the planning stage, and are not a function of RFID technology itself. "For example, the consumer behaviour needed by the Rissho Group could not actually be read directly by the traditional reader of RFID. But when they had the idea, we then went looking for a corresponding solution, and then it occurred to us that RFID tags could actually work with cameras." By using cameras to recognise consumer actions, combined with RFID-enabled product data, brands can access the interaction between consumers and a particular product, and then go deeper to segment the market response to a particular product.
The possibilities of RFID technology extensions can also satisfy brands' curiosity for more, and the Daycast Group's Phase III plan is to incorporate face recognition technology and AI big data, paired with RFID's precise pointing to achieve a more ambitious retail solution. Targeting the brand's regular customers, Daycast intends to build a profile of their personal consumption habits and preferences through face recognition and importing all their consumer interactions. And with the help of AI big data, it hopes to analyse and even predict consumption trends and habits, says Lin Liang: "It can be understood that the aim of everything is to understand consumers better so that precise production can be achieved."
Whether it's controlling production or environmental causes, the huge cost investment and the not-so-significant rate of return is what is putting some companies off. Lin Liang believes that "brands should take a long-term view, through the application of RFID technology to achieve accurate production after you can spend less each year on a lot of unnecessary production costs, reducing the backlog of inventory is already the most gigantic environmental behavior, it can be said to be beneficial to themselves and others."
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