A couple of major names have joined the RAIN RFID Alliance, indicating accelerated interest in the technology. By signing on with the group, online retailer Amazon and French apparel retailer C&N have pushed RAIN’s membership to 120. RAIN RFID was founded in 2014 by Google, Intel, Smartrac and Impinj.
“The strong growth of the RAIN RFID industry shows that it really does provide significant business value, particularly as a key factor in connectivity for the first few meters of the Internet of Things,” says Steve Halliday, president of the RAIN RFID Alliance.
Last year Amazon announced a joint venture with the RFID Lab at Auburn to explore implementing RFID within its vast supply chain, consisting of more than 100 fulfillment centers worldwide. “RFID is a fascinating technology,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said at the time. “As part of this joint project, we are excited to invent new processes and technology using RFID to enhance the experience for customers through better inventory predictability, faster delivery and, ultimately, lower cost.”
Amazon has utilized RFID technology in its fulfillment centers, the massive facilities where customer orders are picked from shelves, moved on conveyers and loaded onto trucks for rapid shipping and delivery.
Earlier this year European fashion retailer C&A announced that it expects to have RFID deployed at all of its stores in France by the end of the summer. One-third of its France rollout was completed in 2015. An additional 164 stores are being brought online, as is C&A’s France-based distribution center. C&A began its RFID journey in 2013 wit a five-store pilot in Germany.
C&A is integrating Checkpoint Systems’ RFID solution into its France-based DC to significantly scale up the number of RFID-tagged items and enable full merchandise visibility within the supply chain. This move also enables the retailer to shift the creation of store advance ship notices from the supplier to the DC, based on an automated and more accurate process. The reading performance, speed and flexibility of the Checkpoint DC solution, on top of having one single software system for both DC and store, were crucial for C&A to optimize the use of the RFID solution.
“With RFID-enabled DCs and stores, we will improve our stock data accuracy and reduce not-on-shelf-but-on-stock (NOSBOS) so that customers find the right color, size and fit,” says Joachim Wilkens, head of functional IT and supply chain development at C&A Europe. “With RFID, we are building the basis for the C&A omni-channel strategy.”
C&A has already deployed RFID throughout Germany, and recently added RFID source tagging to new product categories including menswear, children’s clothing and suits.