How can I improve supply chain visibility?

Improving supply chain visibility increases inventory accuracy, which in turn provides the necessary data and opportunities for retailers to reduce out-of-stock incidents. It can also improve replenishment times, minimise time to shelf and significantly reduce working capital.

RFID technology is one option, and can provide retailers with a valuable insight into their operations across the entire retail value chain. It can help to optimise inventory levels, alert store personnel when merchandise must be restocked and automatically reorder when quantities are low.

Steve Howells, vice president of merchandise visibility at Checkpoint Systems, says: “We all know that the retail supply chain is complex. The question for retailers is how to link all of the stages, such as shipping notification and inventory management, together to optimise the chain.”

Unlike barcodes, which can only identify a SKU number or product type, RFID tags combine a product code with a serial number to uniquely identify each item. This can make the supply chain more transparent and provides retailers with superior inventory accuracy and goods tracking.

Once merchandise is at the store, a retailer can improve operations and increase shelf availability by tracking item-level merchandise throughout the facility - in the back room, on the shopfloor, in fitting rooms and at point of sale.

Howells says: “RFID technology is becoming increasingly popular because it provides a retailer with more data than ever before.”