Fact – most businesses aim to sell stock in a timely and accomplished way – meeting and even exceeding customer expectations. Unfortunately, most retailers experience glitches in their inventory systems – such as the inevitable OOS (out of stock situation). The consequence of failing to deliver on time or to satisfy the request of an in-store or online customer is not only disappointing on both sides but a wasted opportunity to make the all-important sale.
RFIDdirect often find that businesses and retailers put up with inaccuracies and gaps in their inventory systems because they consider a solution more expensive than the problem. However, as we have outlined before, in previous blogs, even at SME level – retail inventory solutions are relatively affordable with barcode and/or RFID technology. https://bit.ly/2PSitzB
Understanding Pressure Points in Sales
At this time of year when sales are at their busiest, the potential for an OOS situation – or dealing with a “tsunami” of returned/damaged items puts even more pressure on the inventory system (“Returns already costing UK retailers £60 billion a year”, says Retail Gazette’s Elias Jahshan, in 2018) https://bit.ly/2S6jHcc
It is also commonly reported that when faced with an OOS, 9% of customer choose not to make a purchase; 31% purchase at another store, 15% delay their purchase or 22% buy another item at the same store.
It is then, inventory mismatches really transpire as costly and damaging consequences – notably, profit margins being squeezed dramatically. Businesses, therefore, not only require a well-functioning supply chain but also their own proactive approach to managing inventory. Again, RFIDdirect have discussed the ‘returns issue’ in detail as – it is something that they see as a challenge to solve rather than a reoccurring nightmare. https://www.rfiddirect.eu/christmas-time/
The stark figures of retail crime (shrinkage) costing the UK retail industry millions each year add significantly to these seasonal demands. UK retail shrinkage in 2019, as reported by the Centre for Retail Research, suggests that the figure is almost £5.5bn and the total crime costs £4,821 mn – working out at approximately £73 per head. https://bit.ly/3646RiZ
Keeping stock secure depends on how well you know where and the amount of stock is located (& its value). Accurate data is essential although not easy – particularly if items are easily portable and not immediately identifiable. Christmas and seasonal sales time cut down the opportunities to be extra vigilant just when you need to be. RFID tags, using hand-held readers for example, can offer a simple, low investment and efficient way to maintain continuous, rolling checks on stock. We even have inexpensive ‘Starter Kits’ for you to test. https://bit.ly/2tbtrHR.
Making Inventory Accuracy work for you by choosing RFID technology
Researching and implementing the best possible inventory management system is definitely worth the effort, real-time inventory being such a critical component of the business process. Inventory is more than remaining organised and on top of order and stock levels – it is all about keeping a proactive relationship with partners and suppliers. Implementing a solution with RFID technologies, in conjunction with barcode or stand-alone, can effectively help you keep track of your stock, but moreover, of the whole stock management process. In general, our RFIDdirect mantra is that an Identification ‘tag’ serves primarily as ‘the’ key to unlock the all-important item information from a Data Base – leading to a turn-key, proactive but appropriate solution for your business.
Just to be clear – RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and this tried and tested technology can be used to track assets in manufacturing, retail and other organisations and their supply chains.
An RFID tag is, in fact, a tiny microchip, plus antenna, which contains digital information about a specific item. Tags are encapsulated in plastic, paper or other materials, and attached or bonded to the product or its packaging, to a pallet or container, or even to a van or delivery truck.
The tag is ‘read’ by an RFID reader which is transmitting and receiving radio signals to and from the tag. The information that the reader then obtains is collated, processed and stored using dedicated computer software. Reader positions can be optimised within a factory, warehouse or hand-held/fixed at point of sale in-store.
Retail advantages of an RFID Inventory System
So, what can RFID track and trace actually do and what are the advantages of adopting an inventory solution? In a nutshell, a well- designed and implemented solution will provide accurate, automated data on inventory throughout the supply line. Additionally, identification at individual item level provides real time data on inventory sales activity. Overall, this technology reduces or even makes obsolete the need for manually written reports.
The benefits and advantages are outlined below:
• Can track tagged products live
• Can be traced straight from manufacturer
• Use of Radio waves eliminates the need for line of sight to tag
• Can read multiple tags in a given area at the same time
• Can scan products whilst they are still boxed up.
• item-level visibility gives you the location and date-stamps of goods as it moves throughout the distribution process.
• real-time and accurate data has improved the logistics strategies preventing theft (one store, for example, reported shrinkage dropped by an average of 75%).
Fully-stocked and ready
Again, back to those awkward OSS situations; we know that RFID can offer a proven solution to controlling stock levels more logically. continually carrying excess stock can hinder investment and cash flow. By collecting and analysing data about stock levels, you can see if any sales patterns are emerging – what kind of stock is selling and when you need it most. Data will also help you estimate demand for seasonal and other trends – in turn, useful for general sales forecasting and business planning.
According to RFID system provider Nordic ID, OOS can be reduced between 60 – 80% by adopting RFID – a reduction from 8% to just 1% saw a concurrent rise in sales of 14% of the same stores using the technology.
What about RFIDdirect’s cloud-based RFID system?
RFIDdirect can offer a simpler, and effective, computerised solution for stock management. We see the cloud as Internet-based computing enabling the sharing of resources including hardware, software and services tailored to meet individual customers expectations and needs. We help you choose – and even design – and host – software that’s not too complicated for your (SME) needs as just ‘any’ solution could be a waste of time and money. By opting for a cloud data-base solution, RFID technology can be deployed in much more intelligent, immediate ways – whilst avoiding many costly infrastructure expenses – bringing you a speedier ROI.
The cloud system can also help companies to manage the increased amount of new data received from RFID tags read each day (another common and realistic concern about adopting the technology). From a cloud-based system, for example, RFID-ready, hand-held terminals communicate via the internet directly (using a Wi-Fi system) with data immediately uploaded and secure.
Also, by accessing the cloud, this type of management inventory reporting system is accessible from any platform (with the correct login details and internet availability) allowing you to work efficiently from office, home or whilst travelling.
RFIDdirect provides the equipment, sets your own database up, gives you training and full support; as before, the advantages are outlined simply:
• The application is user friendly and once set up you’re ready to go without our further involvement.
• RFID tags are be more durable than standard barcodes, eliminating the problem of read error due to tag damage.
• We provide the equipment, set your own database up, give you training and full support.
• We can design and produce reports based on your sales to show which products show are selling most and which ones need attention.
As you can see, the full benefits of a cloud based solution offers a comprehensive, but affordable and user-friendly cloud-based system; the clear advantage being data is stored off site, always online and operating, easily up-gradable and updated.
How we can support your inventory system upgrade?
Taking control of a new inventory system is serious business at whatever level – we at RFIDdirect have insider knowledge of best practice whatever your scale and requirements. Our aim is to remove negative energy spent tackling or worrying about the complexity of an RFID solution, thus allowing you to utilise time developing newly added value brought to your inventory or stock control – harnessing data for an efficient and more profitable business model. If you have any questions about what we offer and what we can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to speak to us or alternatively email or call at:
Phone: 01352 752044 Email: info@RFIDdirect.eu