The excitement continues to grow when it comes to RFID and retail. Levi Strauss & Co., which first piloted RFID at a handful in stores in Mexico in 2004, is now using the technology in 67 stores for point of sale, receiving and inventory accuracy use cases.
The retailer currently consumes about 60 million tags annually for tagging of men’s jeans. Ernesto Hochkoeppler, director of logistics planning and PM for Levi’s, says that number should reach 80 million this year, and exceed 100 million units in 18 months as the retailer begins to tag men’s shorts and more women’s lines.
“We continue to see the need to tag more products,” says Hochkoeppler, who added that Levi’s is exploring integrated source tagging. “It is in our road map to get away from hang tags, which are not pleasing to the eye and have an issue of falling off the garments.”
Lululemon began its road to deployment two years ago with a two-store pilot. Today, the speciality retailer is piloting at 13 locations and is preparing for a full rollout to its North American stores this fiscal year.
Joe Granato, director of global initiatives at Lululemon, says tags are applied at the retailer’s distribution centers for the 13 pilot locations. However, he says that source tagging is already occurring at the point of manufacture for garments due to arrive at stores later this year. By the end of the year, all items stocked by Lululemon will carry RFID tags.
Lululemon is also piloting RFID-enabled fitting rooms at one of its store locations.
In another keynote session at RFID Live on Wednesday, Andy Monday, chief of the Logistics Enabling Support Division for US Transcom, revealed that active RFID played a major role in humanitarian efforts to fight Ebola in Africa. To date, the U.S. has tracked nearly 1,500 active RFID tagged shipments into west Africa.
US Transcom is also having great success with passive RFID technology. At Lackland Air Force Base, there has been a 67 percent reduction in the time it takes to issue complete uniforms. On an annualized basis across all U.S. bases, Monday says that the U.S. will save more than 500,000 training man hours due to more efficient uniform assignment processes.