RFID Adoption Reaching A ‘Tipping Point’ In US Retail And Manufacturing

US general merchandise manufacturers and retailers with no plans for RFID are now in the minority according to a recent study from GS1 US. The findings have been recently published as part of the results of the 2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey which measured usage of item-level EPC-enabled RFID to enhance inventory visibility and meet customer demands for a seamless, omni-channel experience.

Of the manufacturers surveyed, the majority had either already implemented RFID or were planning to do so within the next 12 – 24 months compared to the 12.3% who had no plans to implement. Respondents also reported that 40% of items are now incorporating RFID technology from the point of manufacture. The same can be said of retailers where the majority were already using or planning to use RFID in the same time-frame compared to only 13.2% who had no plans to implement.

Ultimately, this trend is being driven by the end consumer. In today’s hyper-connective online world we expect a streamlined, consistent and ‘always-on’ shopping experience. However, the information systems required to support this experience need to be comprehensive, complete and correct up-to-the-minute. For example, if a retailer is offering ‘buy online, pick up in store’, they need accurate enterprise-wide inventory data. For if a customer comes in to collect the item only to find it’s not available, there is a high chance they will never purchase from there again, and they will tell others about their poor experience. That’s a high risk for the business even if you have 75% inventory accuracy.

RFID-based asset intelligence systems are a key enabler to solving these challenges and driving process innovation throughout the value-chain. GS1 US also cited recent research from Auburn University RFID Lab Studies which found:

RFID item-level tracking benefits for manufacturers:

  • Improves shipping/picking accuracy by 80% and receiving time by 90%
  • Decreases item/asset inspection costs
  • Reduces warranty claims and returns
  • Reinforces authenticity, anti-counterfeiting and brand protection
  • Enables electronic proof of delivery & data-driven audit trails
  • Raises receiving accuracy
  • Enhances loss prevention capabilities

RFID item-level tracking benefits for retailers:

  • Enables 95% inventory accuracy
  • Improves inventory productivity rates by 96%
  • Reduces cycle count [inventory auditing] by 96%
  • Cuts out-of-stocks at retail outlets by up to 50%
  • Increases item availability to boost sales from 2% to 20%

Relegen’s own clients have experienced similar results with trials reporting that a combination of HF RFID and assetDNA mobile application have improved physical asset auditing, inventory checks and stocktaking productivity by more than 73%. A UHF RFID-based asset intelligence system would result in even greater labour cost savings.

Overall however, the real power of asset intelligence comes down to having greater levels of enterprise-wide visibility and insight. By gaining insight into where all your assets are, and what they are doing, through accurate, actionable data, companies can respond to issues faster than ever before and improve their business operations in real-time. The end result: greater efficiencies, cost savings, operational improvements and enhanced customer value.

If you’d like to learn more about how RFID-based asset intelligence can help your organisation develop greater insight and operational advantage, please contact us on +61 (0)2 9998 9000 or email sales@relegen.com.