The way a store accounts for inventory, tracks items through transit, and curtails loss and theft are changing as well. With the use of RFID technology, apparel providers can perform cycle counts with greater accuracy, locate products more simply for customers, and deter shoplifting–all with an inlay.
Avery Dennison’s facility in Miamisburg, OH, USA features the newest technology available to stores today. In addition to countless research labs, testing stations and converting presses, the Miamisburg location features mock stores, where visitors can see how RFID tags can be implemented in their products.
“We take the tag side of the business and build solutions around that from the RFID perspective,” explains John Powell, vice president of Avery Dennison’s Americas services and systems integration division. “Here we manufacture the hardware and build total solutions. We have the labs downstairs, and upstairs where we show the whole supply chain, taking the RFID products through the supply chain and show visitors some of the different items based on solution sets that help you with auditing. And we’ll go into the store and actually see what’s really driving RFID. Typically, someone who’s not RFID enabled will be involved with the bar code side of it.”
Bar code scanning lacks accuracy and does not provide a deterrent for shoplifters. According to Avery Dennison, many of their vendors peg bar code scanning at 70%, while RFID-enable labeling and tagging registers near 99%.
“We control the materials, the printing mechanism and the variable data,” says Powell. “No matter where we push the product, and it could be to the vendor, but that’s the real value of Avery Dennison. We have the ability to maintain the retailer’s data and ensure that it’s being RFID enabled at stores.”
There could be incredible value in loss prevention, without requiring bulky sensors or flashing sirens when someone attempts to steal a product. “When we talk about loss prevention, you can put an antenna and a camera at the doorway, and if someone shoplifts, you’re going to know right away,” says Powell. “The scanner will read what they shoplift and you’re going to have a picture of them. There’s a lot of LP capabilities that can take place in the stores.”
For businesses that wants to move toward RFID, Avery Dennison has a system in place. “We just parse out the data, and the variable data comes to us and we push it down onto a platform, where we then print and encode those tickets and apply them to the garments,” says Powell.
In Avery Dennison’s store, the company performs “horse races,” where guests can compare the speed and accuracy of scanning bar codes versus using RFID readers. “We have audit solutions that we’ve developed over time and sold to give the vendor or retailer the ability to not open the box. They can still do a quick read and content verify it, and say ‘Bingo, I have what I ordered.’ This technology gives companies the ability to do an inventory in maybe 10 minutes. Today, non-RFID, maybe they perform an inventory once a year or every six months with a herd of people. Now, you don’t have to do that.”
Through a program called, “Janela,” Avery Dennison can link tagged apparel and footwear to EVRYTHNG’s IoT cloud-based software. Every Janela product is therefore ‘born’ digital with the ability to capture real-time data. This enhances consumer experiences and provides added efficiency. Powell notes that Avery Dennison is also seeing traction in the foods space, as well as apparel.
“It’s in its evolution stage, controlling the data from inception all the way through, especially in food,” he says. “You have the ability to track and trace from farm to fork.”
Avery Dennison is constantly in development, prototyping products for customers in an attempt to proliferate this technology. The company currently has more than 30 products in ideation. “We create prototypes for our customers to test. Part of that customer acceptance is we’re testing what works according to what we know, but we would like to be able to hand the customer a prototype,” explains Elizabeth Sowle, manager, RFID applications test at Avery Dennison’s RBIS division. “Even on the inlay side, we have fast prototyping capabilities in our design house.”