How to Setup RFID Inventory Management Solution for Small and Medium RetailersBrett Wilkerson
As we step into the future of retail, RFID inventory management systems have made it possible for a variety of large scale retailers to easily track all aspects of their inventory. Recently, the well-known firm, McKinsey & Co. created the “retail store of the future” to further explore the many ways in which RFID technology can be useful within the retail sector. The store is called Modern Retail Collective and the goal of the store is to evaluate newer technologies such as fit predictor software, smart mirrors, and the acceptance of future payment methods such as cryptocurrencies. This venture was made possible by companies such as MSM Solutions, a company that has been intricately involved in the creation and development of RFID technology for many years. The following is a guide on how to setup these RFID inventory management solutions for small and medium retailers.
About RFID Inventory Management
RFID technology is set to revolutionize the retail industry. In particular, RFID technology can be deployed as a means of collecting various customer analytics in order to better understand buying habits and other pertinent information; enabling retail companies to better cater to their demographics. This technology makes it possible for retailers to easily conduct inventory, confirm which items are present, determine where in the store items are located, and identify each unique item individually. It can also help to prevent labeling mistakes, eliminate the sale of counterfeit products, and automate ordering processes.
Additionally, RFID can help retailers better understand the behaviors and habits of their shoppers overall. For instance, many products are commonly tried on in fitting rooms while others are rarely, if ever, tried on at all. Gaining a better idea of how this works in their retail environments is invaluable information for merchants insofar that it can enable them to take proper steps to eliminate damages and/or thefts of products and also to streamline the buying process for many items. RFID technology helps companies to better control where and how they display and store their goods. This also helps eliminate inventory costs and reduces shrinkage. Moreover, this technology will set a precedent for retail stores across the country to find more efficient ways to keep track of inventory and better cater to their demographics in general.
Should You Upgrade Your Inventory Management System?
Here are some of the most impressive benefits provided by today’s cutting-edge RFID based inventory management systems. If your current technology doesn’t provide these kinds of features, it may be time for an upgrade:
Features of Inventory Management System
Real-Time Visibility: Modern RFID technology offers instantaneous data delivery through passive and active RFID devices. This data can then be displayed on custom dashboards and map displays on different kinds of devices, giving you a consistently up-to-date, accurate picture of your inventory.
Event Monitoring: Event monitoring refers to the generation of real-time actions and notifications that help to safeguard operations procedures. These notifications include video- and email-based notifications and alerts that are triggered when different types of conditions present themselves based on real-time data. For example, you can receive alerts when an item reaches stock below a certain number.
Pinpoint Accuracy: When it comes to accuracy, nothing is better than the latest RFID technology. Modern systems can track and locate inventory items and other assets so that operators can pinpoint the location of items within inches.
Device Management: This refers to the ability to manage external hardware seamlessly, including printers/encoders, sensors and other external hardware that can be operated and maintained through web-based operator environments.
Platform Integration: Modern RFID tech can be applied to a wide array of platforms that include desktop, web-based systems and mobile systems quickly and easily. RFID inventory tracking software systems can be integrated to work with different kinds of ERP, WMS, and different proprietary systems like Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server, XML, FTP/SFTP, and Web Services.
Customization: Modern RFID systems are customizable, meaning that operators have control over their inventory management systems to ensure they meet the unique needs of their business. They also offer scalable solutions that range from enterprise-wide applications to select area monitoring.
How to Setup RFID Inventory Management Solution
When coupled with Electronic Product Code (EPC), RFID technology is a major element of the most efficient method of tracking products from the manufacturing facility to the showroom floor, and beyond. The following is a general outline of how to setup the RFID inventory management system for retailers.
- Gather RFID System Components– Before the RFID inventory system can be implemented, retailers must purchase the necessary tools and materials. The basic required elements are RFID readers, an RFID printer, RFID tags, anf the Portal Track Software to track the RFID tags.
- Place the RFID Tags– Once the retailer has acquired all the necessary components, it is time to setup the RFID inventory system. The first step is to physically place the RFID tags on the existing tags of each and every product. This step is most important as there is no way to track merchandise if it has not been marked with an RFID tag. One crucial decision is the placement particularly on boxes of merchandise. Assuming you use the tamper-proof versions of RFID tags for loss prevention, it is important that these tags can be quickly and easily scanned. It is also important that these tags don’t cover up any other crucial information, such as barcode labels. In some instances, the RFID tag can replace the barcode label, but that’s not always the case. When thinking about tag placement, also consider how it will appear to the customer, whether the tag can be adjusted after the initial placement, and how well it will work throughout the sales process as you apply them.
- Install RFID Readers– There are 2 types of RFID readers, fixed and mobile. Fixed readers and antennas may be used at specified check points to gather data while mobile readers are traditionally used for inventory and search functions.
- Setup Asset Tracking Software– Next, retailers must install and implement the software necessary to track the products marked with the RFID tags. The MSM Solutions’ Portal Track software is vendor neutral and ties together the RFID system components from the programming of the EPC RFID tags, through the printing and placement, to reading the RFID tags. With the use of an interface, these RFID tags can be monitored and tracked, providing immediate reading and reporting on the amount of inventory present in the store.
Overall, the RFID inventory management system is, by far, the most efficient method of tracking inventory for retailers of all kinds. Although retailers may be a bit reluctant to totally revamp their existing inventory systems, doing so would immediately and drastically reduce the time spent searching for inventory, reduce theft and shrinkage, and help retailers gain a better perspective on their customers and to which types of products to order in the future. Either way, companies such as MSM Solutions are a vital component of making the worries and burdens of inventory management a thing of the past. Rather than continuing with the dated methods of tracking inventory, RFID technology allows retailers to setup a system that easily manages all aspects of inventory without the need for extensive training and at minimal cost. No matter how large or small one’s inventory may be, installing an RFID inventory system can make it possible for retailers to immediately put an end to inventory confusion.