TFG says counting stock in stores is down from two days to three hours using RFID

TFG says counting stock in stores is down from two days to three hours using RFID

Half-way through an ambitious 24-month RFID (radio-frequency identification) roll-out, South African based retail group TFG is reporting cost savings and significant cuts in stock counting time.

The group operates 28 fashion retail brands in over 4000 stores across 32 countries, with chains including Fabiani, The Fix, Foschini, G-star Raw, Sportscene, Relay Jeans, Phase Eight and Whistles.

It has put RFID at the centre of a seven-year 'digital transformation programme,' with improved inventory accuracy seen as key to its long term omni-channel strategy.

"From an omni-channel strategy [point of view] stock accuracy is absolutely critical," explains Greg Walsh, head of omni-channel systems at TFG. We want to be able to fulfil orders across any channels and across any inventory point. 

"The only way we were going to be able to deliver on that promise was with inventory accuracy. RFID is a huge step in that direction for us."

TFG is working with ITL Intelligent Label Solutions as its global RFID inlay and source tagging supplier, and the first stage of deployment covered all 22 of its South African brands including Markham, Fabiani, G-Star Raw, and Sports Divisions.

The partnership with ITL sees the label supplier print and encode RFID labels with data uploaded from TFG onto its LabelVantage supply chain application. This allows for production and supply occurring seamlessly across a number of their global service bureaus including South Africa, Mauritius, China, India, Bangladesh and Turkey – with deliveries going directly to TFG's product suppliers in the region.

The RFID adoption is credited with a number of immediate cost savings, including reduced staff costs and associated stock counting expense. The retailer claims that counting stock in one of its stores now only takes three hours whereas, prior to RFID, the same activity would take the whole team two full days, incurring significant staff overtime and store closure costs.

"RFID allows us more time and more efficiency in reducing the physical count activity in store and releases people to do what they've been employed to do." says TFG's senior operations business process manager, Martin Kurc. "Besides the data integrity and the significant increase in replenishment, the ROI on RFID is massive."