A few years back, I moderated a panel with some supply chain heavyweights about RFID and DSD. The main theme that came out of the discussion was that at the current level of the technology’s and market’s evolution, RFID really had no role. Although this notion still resonates today, recent market activity demonstrates that RFID, as it continues to penetrate global value chains, is migrating toward this type of application.
Of note is the recent announcement by TAGSYS and Rica Lewis – “the leading supplier of jean apparel to major European retail stores such as Carrefour, Auchan and Intermarché.” The two companies have developed an RFID solution that provides greater visibility into Rica Lewis’ supply chain, including the generation of additional business intelligence from the retail floor. Now on the surface, this may seem like most other retail-based supply chain applications – and in many ways it is – but there is more to the story.
Rica Lewis is not a retailer – they are a supplier of retail goods that provides delivery and management of their product to the retail floor. They do not own or operate a retail store; instead they manage and maintain their product’s inventory levels within a retailer’s store. The RFID solution enables a Rica Lewis representative to rapidly and accurately take in-store inventory of their product and forward that business intelligence back to their ERP, thus ensuring a more efficient demand fulfillment process and more streamlined and automated operations – primary objectives of a DSD solution.
Although this application is less complex and not as complete as a more “traditional” DSD solution, it’s moving in the right direction and is expected to be a platform on which a more pure RFID-DSD solution could be developed.