NP Collection has become the first fashion firm in Scandinavia to pilot an RFID-based total supply chain solution.

The company is in the process of opening its own chain of stores and expanding its global purchasing network, and started the pilot in June 2007 to improve the efficiency of its supply chain logistics.

"We've been following the development of RFID technology for many years. By this spring we'd become convinced that now is the right time to implement it," says Mr Risto Rosendahl, managing director of NP Collection.

The RFID tags are attached to NP's garments at the manufacturing site to enable tracking and data collection throughout the supply chain.

In the first phase of the pilot the garments are RFID-tagged at a manufacturing site in Europe.

Starting January 2008, garments manufactured in China will also be tagged, enabling NP Collection to track all of its garments with RFID technology.

With RFID technology, NP Collection is able to follow each stage of the supply chain in real-time, which results in significant cost savings and increases accuracy both in logistics and manufacturing.

The company knows exactly what garments are being manufactured, which are on their way to Finland and which retail shops are expecting shipments.

In addition to tracking the supply chain, NP Collection's item-level RFID solution covers the receipt and dispatch of goods, inventory management and point-of-sale functions.

The company can even carry out daily inventory to see what products are on the shelves and which require replenishment.

In retail shops, real-time product information can be used to plan shelf space usage before the goods have arrived.

Rosendahl estimates the product handling rate has improved tenfold and human error has been eliminated. "We expect to reach ROI in six months," he adds.

The RFID supply chain solution used by NP Collection is provided through collaboration between several companies.

The integration services are provided by the Finnish companies RDN, Salpomec and Vilant, while logistics functions are supplied by Itella.

UPM Raflatac is delivering the RFID tags, which are converted into labels by SML. The readers and antennas are supplied by ADT.