Manufacturers and Retailers Embrace RFID

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Manufacturers and Retailers Embrace RFID

By CGT Staff - 03/19/2015
The results of the 2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey show that apparel and general merchandise manufacturers and retailers are using item level Electronic Product Code (EPC)-enabled radio frequency identification (RFID) to enhance inventory visibility and respond to consumer demands for omni-channel options.

Manufacturers
The survey found that nearly half (48.2 percent) of the manufacturers surveyed responded that they are currently implementing RFID, and another 21.1 percent planned to implement RFID within the next 12 months. Additionally, 18.4 percent planned to implement RFID over the next 13-24 months. Respondents reported that 40 percent of items made by apparel and general merchandise manufacturers have RFID tags.

Retailers
Of the retailers surveyed, more than half (57 percent) reported that they are currently implementing RFID, and another 19.3 percent planned to implement RFID within the next 12 months. Additionally, 10.5 percent planned to implement RFID in 13 to 24 months. Respondents reported that on average 47 percent of items received by apparel and general merchandise retailers have RFID tags.

“These findings confirm that the retail industry is nearing an RFID adoption and usage tipping point,” says Dr. Bill Hardgrave, dean of the Harbert College of Business and founder of the RFID Lab, Auburn University. “RFID is no longer just something proven in concept — it is providing tangible results for manufacturers and retailers, and provides the inventory accuracy that omnichannel retailing demands.”

The survey measured the usage of EPC-enabled item level RFID by both manufacturers and retailers (including manufacturers who are also retailers). For manufacturers, RFID has been proven to offer multiple benefits, including reinforcing authenticity, decreasing inspection costs, reducing shrinkage and enhancing logistics accuracy. For retailers, RFID provides greater than 95 percent inventory accuracy, improved sales, decreased out-of-stocks, increased margins and expedited returns, according to Auburn University research.

“After seeing the proven benefits of RFID in pilot programs, both manufacturers and retailers are realizing its many long-term business advantages,” says Melanie Nuce, vice president of apparel and general merchandise, GS1 US. “As industry collaboration and discussion grows, it will be difficult for companies to ignore RFID’s role as a critical enabler of inventory visibility and the seamless customer experience.”

For more information on item-level RFID, including how to launch an RFID program in your organization, and to learn more about the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative, visit www.gs1us.org/ApparelGm.