Well, here we are coming to the end of June. How fast this year has gone by! We are almost half way through the year!
Thought I would share another RFID application with everyone to give you more things to think about when trying to find ways to implement RFID into your business. The below is something I worked on a little while ago. It was ground breaking at the time. There are many, many more like this today!
Customer goes to a store which makes custom items such as doors, cabinets, windows, etc…Now, these stores are quite large, so the beginning of the story is the customer has to find someone to help them in the department they are going to. Sometimes, this can be very frustrating. But, you finally find someone! You review your needs with the customer service person. Say you want a custom door for the front of your house. Color, size, cutouts and some other things so that it is the perfect door! The customer service person writes up your request, gives you a quote and you decide to purchase. An order is written up and you get a copy of your order. Lead time will be 6 weeks. When the door is complete, it will be shipped to this store and the store will call you when it is ready. 6 weeks go by and you finally get the call! Time to go back to the store and find someone in the door department to help you. Finally, you get someone. You show them the PO for your door and they walk away to look for your door.
The customer service rep goes back to the custom area where there are hundreds of items stored for others who have ordered custom parts. The rep now needs to go through everything looking for your door, or someone else’s cabinet, window, etc…. This could take a long time, and it usually did. Especially if the item is small. The store needed to figure out how to handle this part of the transaction so that the customer is not waiting for a long period of time while the rep looks for their custom part. There were many times when the rep could not locate the custom item. This was a huge issue, as then the part would need to be ordered again. Money lost on the part and a very unhappy customer.
With RFID, the store was able to solve this big problem. Here is how they did it. They created a section in the corner of the store that was for custom items only. They broke it down into several different sized areas so that all of the items would fit in one of the sections. They mounted RFID UHF antennas so that each section had coverage. These antennas then were connected to the UHF reader. These RFID antennas were then set to read at certain short intervals so that the items in the area were being read almost all of the time. All custom products were then labeled with a UHF RFID label/tag. When an item would leave the section, the RFID reader/antenna system would read it and remove it from inventory. Or, if the item was moved to a different section, the RFID system would then update the software to show that item in the new section. Now, when the customer comes into the store and shows the clerk their receipt, the clerk would enter the PO into the system and would see that it was in the custom area and which section it was in. The clerk would go right to that section and retrieve the item , which would update inventory showing the item was picked up. The customer is in and out within minutes. This also decreased lost items by almost 1oo%. This solution improved the store performance as well as improved the customer experience within the store. What a great win-win situation!!