Knowing what arrives in your distribution center or store and then knowing what leaves should, in theory, give you an accurate inventory – however life is not that simple. Boxes and crates are often misplaced in the supply chain and shopper behavior leads to items turning up all over the store, making real-time inventory management challenging.
Now, real-time RFID inventory location systems are providing an unprecedented level of accuracy and even creating added value services.
In the most basic sense, real-time inventory location tells you what you have and where it is. By increasing inventory accuracy and providing item locations, distribution centers, for example, can be more efficient. Orders can be retrieved quickly and with fewer errors; in addition precise real-time stock lists can be provided to managers and the reordering process becomes smooth and reliable.
On the store floor, location-based RFID inventory systems really show their worth. As shoppers move around the store, products inevitably move with them, being discarded on another rail or left in the fitting rooms. Using RFID item location tracking, retailers are able to sell to the last unit because they can locate any product at any time, at the customer’s request or to re-shelve in the right place.
Real-time RFID inventory systems also support the restocking and reordering processes. The system will highlight when a shelf or rail is running low of a certain item or size, prompting staff to restock from the back room or gather misplaced items from around the store. These systems also provide protection from theft, as items will be tracked leaving the store and exact product information can be sent directly to security staff.
Using the same RFID system retailers can offer a variety of benefits to consumers too, enabling them to locate the items they want. During recent Black Friday sales, major retailers like Target and J.C. Penney provided in-store mapping technology, allowing shoppers to use mapping tools within the retailers’ apps to find the best deals within their respective stores.
Many major retail brands are now turning to real-time RFID inventory location systems to better control their supply chain and store floors, ushering in a new era of inventory management.