A tall order without knowing what’s on hand, says Alastair Stewart of PervasID
The retail industry has undergone a seismic change thanks to the digitization of shopping and a dramatic shift in purchasing trends. Not only do modern shoppers have low attention spans, shop mobile first, and research the best deals online, they’re pushing retailers to the limits in terms of order fulfilment expectations. They expect delivery to be fast and free, and if something goes wrong, they’re not very forgiving.
Speed, price and pickup options play a key role in the purchasing process that retailers should ignore at their peril. Having a handle on inventory and supply chain is essential therefore to fulfilling these demanding expectations, and if your instore and online stock data is out kilter, then you will pay the price further down the line.
RFID – the holy grail for retail supply chain management
Retailers have always embraced cutting-edge technologies to improve supply chain and order fulfilment processes and RFID has been no exception. Most brands have already progressed from barcodes to handheld readers and forward-thinking companies have taken the next step to automating inventory management using fixed reader RFID solutions.
However, having taken the plunge into fixed reader RFID technology, many retailers are less than satisfied with their supposed benefits because the accuracy of the captured data is not all it’s cracked up to be. While having the flexibility to run multiple data counts on a weekly basis is advantageous, the reasonably accurate, but not perfect, results delivered by existing readers (caused by low readability levels and the time taken to detect tags in the first place) is a long way off the 99.9% accurate results delivered in near real time they were promised.
Out of kilter stock data will cause an inventory blunder
If retailers want to maintain their customer-base and the bottom line in this rapidly changing landscape, there must be synergy between online and instore inventory processes to keep pace with the different shopping methods consumers have at their disposal. The greater the choice, the greater the pressure on supply chain processes. 85-90% accuracy rates just don’t cut it anymore because the smallest discrepancy can have the most serious consequence.
Accurate, up-to-date information is the underpinning requirement to facilitating effective supply chain management. Fixed RFID readers can offer a powerful and cost-effective means of providing this. So long as said readers are able to deliver at least 99% accuracy and in near real time, fixed RFID systems will give you a detailed insight of your stock at item level as well as provide trackable status for individual items in the fulfilment process. It will also generate the accurate data needed to simulate shopping trends and predict future requirements. If you’re data’s incorrect in the first place, then it’s impossible to predict and plan accordingly.
So, what are the consequences of inaccurate data?
Here are just some examples:
- Inefficient order fulfilment
Many retailers are already falling short on meeting customer’s expectations. If you want to stand out, then swift fulfilment and speedy deliver will set you apart. If your inventory data is inaccurate and out of date to begin with, it will have a snowball effect on order fulfilment and result in disgruntled customers.
- Costly supply chain processes
Having detailed insight into your supply chain processes will help you understand where the shortfalls are so you can take the necessary steps to increase your bottom line without even selling more products. Accurate data will also speed up order processing because your stock data will be up to date.
- Hit and miss process management
Efficient order fulfilment requires detailed insight into all aspects of the process. This includes everything from your online checkout process, payment provider, and order management system, to how you pick, pack, and ship items. Data and accuracy central to this, especially for process automation.
- Inventory data in its entirety will be wrong
Supply chain management also includes reverse logistics, or how you deal with returns! Disorganized returns processes with inaccurate data will have a serious negative effect on your bottom line.
A game changing approach to delivering accurate data
Our range of passive RFID fixed reader systems are able to deliver the high levels of accuracy needed for retail supply chain processes. Using sophisticated signal processing techniques and award-winning software, we have overcome RFID tag reading challenges, delivering 99.9% plus accuracy levels as a result.
If your inventory pain points are inaccurate information, poor tracking or large area coverage, our hyper-accurate passive RFID fixed reader systems and our worldwide network of strategic channel partners are able to solve your problems.
Contact us today to find out more.