Macy’s Moves to Item-Level Tracking Using RFID
"The right product in the right place at the right time." This ever-elusive goal at retail is what is behind the decision to roll out item-level tagging RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to every Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s by the third quarter of 2012, according to Tom Cole, chief administrative officer of Macy’s, Inc.
"RFID will allow us to more frequently count item-level inventory with precision so our inventory is readily accessible to our customers," said Mr. Cole in a press release. "This is technology that has proven effective in our testing, and we believe now is the right time to roll out RFID aggressively."
Macy’s and Bloomie’s plan to use item-level tags to track "replenishment goods … items automatically resupplied as they are sold to customers." This group of products represents roughly 30 percent of the two chain’s sales in stores and online. The chains expect to achieve inventory accuracy at 97 percent or better with the use of the technology.
Mr. Cole said it was actively working with technology vendors and product suppliers on the initiative.
"Our vendors are joining with us to adopt this technology, knowing the more precise inventory counts through RFID will reduce stock-outs and drive incremental sales opportunities," he said. "This is one of those genuine win-win-win situations in which customers, vendors and our company all benefit."
Bill Connell, Macy’s Inc.’s senior VP of logistics and operations, told RFID Journal that the company has been testing RFID technology on garments going back to late 2008.
"The technology is ready, the hardware is working well, the pilots have taken place," he told the publication.
- Macy’s, Inc. to Accelerate Adoption of RFID Technology – Macy’s, Inc./Business Wire
- Macy’s Inc. to Begin Item-Level Tagging in 850 Stores – RFID Journal
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the decision by Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to roll out item-level tagging of “replenishment goods” by the end of 2012? Will item-level tagging become a standard practice within apparel retailing and, if so, how long will it take before the rest of the industry is up-to-speed?