Grupo Éxito, one of Columbia's largest retailers, launched a major RFID pilot in one of their electronics stores, Éxito Techno, in an effort to trace products through the supply chain and reduce shrinkage.
To start, all items in the distribution center were tagged with an UHF RFID inlay. Employees used handheld RFID readers when picking items to ensure accuracy, before loading the products onto a truck for delivery.
An Impinj Speedway xPortal was installed at the store's receiving dock. Large items are shipped on pallets while smaller items are placed in totes and then sealed. Upon arrival at the store, employees offload pallets via a pallet jacket. The workers then rotate each pallet in a circle in the read field, maximizing the chances of every item being read. Totes are brought to an Impinj Brickyard antenna mounted on the wall next to the portal, and are then rotated to ensure all items contained inside are read.
With RFID, the store's delivery process has been reduced from two or more hours to 20-30 minutes. The read rates have proven reliable, and they system has enabled the retailer to investigate issues when an item that has left the DC doesn't arrive at the store.
Éxito Techno is also testing RFID usage at the point of sale. Previously, barcodes were scanned during checkout. Using RFID enables the retailer to mark individual items as sold. An Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 reader at the store's exit reads the product tag as the customer leaves the store and alerts store employees if an item has left the building without being purchased.
Grupo Éxito's pilot could have a significant impact on RFID adoption in electronics if it proves that an improvement in tracking goods from DC to store, and in tracking in-store inventory, can significantly reduce shrink. A five percent decline in shrink would be sufficient to deliver a return on the company's investment in tags and readers.
Source: RFID Journal