Decathlon Sports is continuing its large-scale RFID deployment, committing to a deal this month with SML RFID to supply 200 million RFID labels per year to the retailer’s vendor community. SML has supplied Decathlon with more than 400 million tags over the last three years. Overall, Decathlon had consumed more than one billion tags by Q1 of 2016. Decathlon’s vendors are sewing tags into garments during the manufacturing process.
Aside from inventory accuracy purposes, Philip Calderbank, SML Global RFID vice president, says that RFID labels are linked to electronic article surveillance security tags on high value items. “This allows Decathlon to take advantage of the tag theft prevention benefits to quickly identify missing products,” he says.
According to RFID vendor Embisphere, its embiPos Air RFID reader has been deployed in every Decathlon store and distribution center globally:
• 1,030 stores with embiPos point of sale UHF readers and embiventory handheld readers for stock management.
• 43 warehouses with embiTrolleys, embiWays and embiPallets for supply chain control and efficiency management.
• 1,000 factories with embiScan, embiPos, embiStation for quality control and stock management
SML has been targeting the rapidly growing apparel market by opening a series of RFID Solution Innovation Centers, including a facility in Mettmann, Germany, which opened this month.
A new center housed in SML’s Plano, Tex.-headquarters opened in August, joining existing RFID Innovation Centers in Clayton, N.C. and Corby, England. SML chose these locations because of their proximity to major apparel brands’ headquarters and distribution centers.
“Whatever question a retailer has about RFID, they’ll find the answer at our Innovation Centers and with the help of the SML team,” says Dean Frew, CTO and SVP, RFID Solutions. “In 2015 only six percent of retailers used RFID systems, but the massive RFID retail rollouts coming in 2016 and 2017 mean more companies will move forward following their peers. They’ll be looking for answers.”