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C&A scales up RFID supply chain project

By Retail Technology | Friday May 17 2013

European apparel retailer’s track and trace project aims to reduce out-of-stocks and ensure customers can buy the products they are looking for

C&A recently revealed it is scaling up its radio frequency identification (RFID) project to reduce out-of-stocks from 5 to 25 stores.

The European apparel retailer is working with retailshrink management, merchandise visibility and apparel labelling technology provider Checkpoint Systems to install RF/RFID antennas, point-of-sale RFID systems, software and consulting services as part of a project in C&As Germany stores.

The project aims to ensure that merchandise is available on C&A store shelves in the right colour, size and fit so consumers can always find the item they want when they are ready to buy.

Checkpoint reported that it was selected for the RFID project by C&A to analyse processes and procedures for store deliveries, replenishment and inventories. C&A already implemented source tagging with Checkpoint for RF electronic article surveillance EAS several years ago, which has provided it a stepping-stone for RFID deployment.

Improved replenishment capability

“C&A chose Checkpoint’s software solution to improve inventory replenishment and to ensure on-shelf availability for products such as women’s jeans or lingerie. The objective is to improve the movement of merchandise from the supply chain to the store and from the back room to the sales floor inside the store,” commented Joachim Wilkens, C&A Group supply chain development manager.

“We have already noticed a clear reduction in out-of-stocks and increase in the availability of items on store shelves for purchase by our customers where the Checkpoint RFID solution has been installed.”

Integrated stock visibility

The project is based on Checkpoint’s OAT Foundation Suite software to provide real-time accurate inventory visibility in the receiving area, back room and on the sales floor. On a day-to-day basis, this enables C&A store employees to cycle count stock using a Motorola handheld RFID reader, equipped with Checkpoint merchandise visibility software, allowing employees to maintain accurate perpetual inventory. 

As a result, C&A knows exactly how much merchandise it has left in store, in which part of the store, and if it has to re-order items. The software’s integrated reporting facility includes sales, stock and replenishment data for the apparel retailer to get real time and full visibility of its merchandise and sales.

Security tagging integration

The existing RF/RFID exit door systems enable loss prevention and inventory visibility benefits, and have been specially designed with aesthetics that fit in perfectly within the apparel retail environment. Either discreetly attached to the ceiling or installed on each side of the entrance doors to C&A stores, the EAS system enhances loss prevention integrity, as the antennas will only alarm if an item that has not been paid for moves through the exits.

At the point of sale in stores equipped with the RFID reader solution, employees can place several items onto the counter simultaneously, where they are automatically read and processed during the transaction. This reduces the risk of an employee forgetting to scan an item. The RF/RFID labels can then be deactivated, meaning customers can be confident of walking out of the store with their purchases without setting off alarms.

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