Men’s fashion store accelerates RFID rollout for smarter and more accurate e-commerce
Only for Men is a pioneer in the Netherlands when it comes to the integration of RFID for smart stock management within the fashion sector. The Dutch fashion chain is accelerating and with 17 branches it is now well on the way to national coverage.
The intention was to implement the roll-out gradually and thus slowly convert the stores to work with RFID . Partly due to COVID-19, more time was available and it was decided to roll out more quickly. The last branch was converted in November and the latest technical issues were resolved together with Resatec and RFKeeper.
Support for suppliers remains necessary
Ideally, the clothing should be provided with an RFID chip (source tagging) at the source. For maximum efficiency, this is simply the most logical place in the logistics process to tag the products. Manufacturers should also want that, because they also benefit from accurate stocks.
‘We hope that more retailers will enter into discussions with suppliers so that they realize that they have to move along’
Bert Oosterom, logistics manager at Only for Men , says: “A number of retailers are waiting for steps from manufacturers, who in turn are waiting for action on the retailer side. By starting now with the tagging of clothing with RFID in our stores, we also hope to initiate something. But source tagging remains an issue, so we hope that more retailers will enter into discussions with suppliers so that they realize that they have to move along. ”
Tagging at the source
50% of the items that Only for Men sells are produced in-house. In these productions, we have done everything we can to add the RFID label to the manufacturer. Thanks to some adjustments to our ERP system, a correct data list now rolls out of the printer at the touch of a button. Then the data only needs to reach the right parties who integrate RFID in the price label. Manufacturers are in full development and fortunately offer more and more the possibility to print RFID tags. And what cannot be tagged at the source, we do ourselves. ”
Always aware of the stock
Articles that must be in the store according to the computer system often turn out to be untraceable for many retailers. According to Bert Oosterom, this is a good example of a stock problem that can be solved with RFID. “At the moment we take stock of the stock every week, which leads to an average stock accuracy of no less than 98.3%. The importance of correct stock numbers has become even more important due to the pandemic. After all, consumers are shopping online more and more and we get many items from stores for online orders. We now sell 3 to 4 times more than normal through our webshop. The volatility of online shopping gives you as a retailer only one chance to do it right. So more than ever, you have to avoid disappointments at the customer. ”
‘We have an average stock accuracy of no less than 98.3%’
“Last Black Friday made the benefits of RFID very clear. The percentage of non-deliverable items has been reduced by as much as 70%. The availability of articles in the shops for the webshop has also increased by 15%. That ensures more turnover. Still, it is a challenging period with the lockdown; our goods are constantly changing. From shops to central warehouse, from webshop to possible returns. ”
Oosterom continues: “RFID is also a control tool. It shows how efficient all your other business processes are. You can quickly see where something is going wrong via a dashboard. That way you learn an incredible amount of how to optimize processes in your company. ”
‘Make sure you are not late, this is becoming commonplace’
Clear tip for retailers
The logistics manager of the men’s fashion store can be clear: “You don’t just do the implementation of RFID on the side. At least not if you work in the logistics sector. For others it is often different. Getting the employees of 17 stores used to the new process simply takes a lot of time and attention. Clear instructions for shop floor personnel are really, really important for RFID to succeed.
As a final tip, he says: “I can only advise colleague retailers to ask suppliers to contribute ideas and to start a pilot. The more retailers participate, the faster we can create volume. Don’t be late, this will become commonplace.”