Meeting Retail RFID Compliance While Gaining ROI in Your Own Supply Chain
By Paul Arguin, Senior Director Global RFID, r-pac International Corp.
Suppliers / Vendors are being asked to source tag more and more as retail RFID adoption continues to grow. With billions of units now in the global supply chain, RFID can provide valuable insights for the suppliers as well as the retailers. Inventory visibility allows Retailers to be more efficient for their brick and mortar stock and replenishment, but also allows Retailers to fulfill through Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS) and standard e-commerce. It makes sense that more and more retailers are requesting product tagged with RFID to enable these benefits.
In addition to ensuring retail compliance is met, r-pac International has assisted factories and suppliers/vendors to achieve efficiencies and savings in areas such as pack and ship accuracy, charge back avoidance and ASN delivery.
What do retailers want from their supplier /vendor community when requesting RFID?
Many retailers have been using RFID over the past several years. Many have unique requests, but they all want to ensure that an approved RFID inlay is used, the RFID tag is properly encoded and the tag is placed on the correct product. Others such as Walmart recently announced that it is the Product Suppliers responsibility to have a process in place to ensure that all tags leaving their facility are completely unique, that there are no duplicate tags, and that the tag is placed on the correct product. Retailers have their own set of chargebacks, but it is clear that any errors and costs to correct, are the responsibility of the product suppliers.
r-pac has a suite of software solutions that enables quick cycle counts, item location, automated product receipt against an ASN or bill of lading (BOL) and pack validation. Shipment of product can be single carton or multiple cartons. We can work with a pre-configured packing list or shipping notice to validate against or we can automatically create the ASN.
The solution is modular and allows factories/suppliers/ vendors to grow into the program at their own pace. The solution includes:
- r-pac Retail Tag Validation – checks the tag to ensure the product barcode matches the encoding of the RFID and gives a visual of the decoded EPC (Electronic Product Code) which is encoded in the RFID tag.
- r-pac’s r-trac system is the engine for print and encode when ordering tags through us. Our system maintains a database and follows the GS1 Guideline for IT based Serialization Management. This system with the inherent QC checks ensures no duplicate EPC’s have been done.
- r-pac Retail Packing Validation – ensures that the correct product gets packed or has been packed in each carton – mispacks are eliminated. This can also be used for pre-defined pre-packs to ensure the correct mix of product is in each box.
- r-pac Retail Shipping Verification – can be set up to check each box plus check the entire shipment against a shipping document or ASN. The option to create the ASN is available.
- r-pac Receiving Verification / Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) – validates a shipment against a PO or shipping document to ensure what you expect is what you receive. This can provide early notification of problems to give time to correct prior to shipment.
Each of these solutions collect the data – including EPC’s – and stores historical operational data in the cloud. Documentation of the operation can be used to review with the retailer for discussions on chargebacks or general compliance. Each shipment can be setup to store the individual EPC’s and report the exact product by serial number that has been shipped against an order.
Benefits are abundant to improve factory/supplier/vendor supply chains – while ensuring 100% compliance with Retailer mandates and RFID programs. Elimination of chargebacks can easily pay for the investment in the technology and most see ROI’s within a few months.