Nedap

RFID Reader from Nedap Optimised For Retail in both Form and Function

Articles | By Nedap Deutschland | 02 July 2015
In 2015 Nedap presented the second generation of handheld readers, which has enhanced data filtering options, can be space-efficient parked in a docking station and recharged wirelessly. In 2015 Nedap presented the second generation of handheld readers, which has enhanced data filtering options, can be space-efficient parked in a docking station and recharged wirelessly. Photo: Nedap Retail

RFID solutions in the retail sector require special readers, which provide benefits for stores in terms of design and technical features

Besides different sector-specific features, the design of the applied RFID readers is more important in the retail environment than in any other sector. “RFID readers that are used in the store must fit as seamlessly as possible into the overall visual concept”, reports Andreas Lorenz, Nedap Retail. The Sales Director speaks with ‘RFID im Blick’ about what paths are chosen and which technological RFID reader innovations have become part of large roll-outs in the retail sector. Nedap Retail also considers easy integration, the benefits for Omni- Channel Concepts and the scalability of investments are benefitting classic retail stores.

Andreas Lorenz, Sales Director, Nedap Retail, in interview with ‘RFID im Blick’

Design Makes the Difference

In the retail sector, and especially in the fashion trade, companies value the design concepts for their stores – right down to the smallest detail. Solutions that support in-store processes must fit seamlessly into the concept being used, if possible, says Andreas Lorenz: “Permanently mounted readers – such as reader gates at entrances and exits or overhead systems that are mounted suspended from the ceiling – have to fit discreetly into the interior design. At the same time, the floor-mounted gates must be particularly resistant and durable. When using shopping carts in the front and lift trucks in the back of the store, the gates cannot be damaged by the slightest touch or have cause to fall. We aim for an operating life of at least ten years for all our readers.“

Andreas LorenzAndreas Lorenz“From Nedap’s perspective the biggest benefit of RFID is achieved on the sales floor. An inventory accuracy of 98 per cent or more, which improves turnover significantly, can today only be reliably achieved with RFID.”

Easy Use Handheld Readers

In addition to gate, overhead and POS RFID readers, Nedap offers retailers specially designed handheld readers for use in store. The design is paramount for two specific reasons: “On the one hand, readers must be designed in a shape and ergonomically for store staff to feel comfortable working with them. A low weight and a one-button operation concept both aid this. If the handheld reader is not required, it is stored in a space-efficient manner in a docking station and charged via a wireless application”, says Andreas Lorenz and explains: “The design of the handheld reader, however, also has functional capabilities. Especially in the fashion environment, it helps to identify hanging garments and stacked apparel quickly and safely with the reader, without crushing the products on display.”

Technological Highlight: Direction Recognition

The latest generation of fixed mounted RFID readers from Nedap Retail offers a technology feature called ‘Dynamic Beam Steering’. This means that the movement direction of an RFID tag can be detected within the read field with only one reader. This is a great advantage, and not only for electronic article surveillance, according to Andreas Lorenz: “Normally, an RFID reader generates a large reading field, which only detects an RFID tag when it is in the reading field. For a large number of applications, this information is sufficient. ‘Dynamic Beam Steering’, however enables a reader’s reading field to be divided into several sectors, so that the antenna can recognise them independently. As a result, the movement of the RFID tag, as the reader follows a tag over a number of sectors, can be determined. “The direction recognition can optimise, in particular, electronic article surveillance, to reduce, for example, the rate of false alarms. “False alarms reduce customer satisfaction and as a result affect sales. If a tagged garment, for example, is taken towards the exit, and the ID of the transponder chip doesn’t show a payment attribute, an alarm can be triggered – but only then. At the same time ‘Dynamic Beam Steering’ enables the improved display of the flow of goods in transit between the receiving, storage and store areas. The increased transparency of goods movement is the basis for precise location information.”

RFID-Gates von Nedap kommen bei Tesco für ein verbessertes Warenmanagement zum
Einsatz.
RFID-Gates von Nedap kommen bei Tesco für ein verbessertes Warenmanagement zum Einsatz.

Tesco Uses Nedap Readers in 550 Stores

The global supermarket chain Tesco, which is based in the UK, sells a range of own-brand clothing under the brand name “F & F” in its stores. After an intensive pilot phase, the company began, at the beginning of 2015, to roll out an RFID solution in a total of 550 stores. RFID gates are used exclusively from Nedap. “Tesco is not known for exclusive high-priced fashion, but is targeting its supermarket customers with F & F. The lowpriced goods do not allow large margins. Nevertheless, in order to ensure the high availability of goods, Tesco had two options: either multiple articles had to be provided, which increases storage costs and ties-up capital, or a technology such as RFID is used, which guarantees nearly 100 per cent product availability with lean warehousing”, reports Andreas Lorenz and explains: “After the first four months of RFID operation, the feedback from Tesco, in particular from its customers, is consistently positive. This may well have a ripple effect in the sector, because RFID has so far been used in retail more for higher-priced goods. When the Tesco roll-out is completed at the end of 2015, it will be the world’s largest retail project with stationary read points.”

After RFID roll-out, Adler have benefited from the cost-effective upgradability of existing EAS antennas.
After RFID roll-out, Adler have benefited from the cost-effective upgradability of existing EAS antennas.

Antenna Upgrade at Adler Fashion Stores

At the end of 2014, the fashion retailer Adler successfully completed its RFID roll-out. One factor that not only accelerated the roll-out but also saved hardware and integration costs, was the upgradability of the existing gates for electronic article surveillance. “Nedap’s ‘!Sense’ solution is a 100 per cent hybrid platform, which can realise various scenarios in the stores. A pure RF solution for electronic article surveillance is just as possible as a pure RFID solution or a mixed operation of both technologies. RFID reader modules can easily be clipped onto RF-Gates to achieve an upgrade to RFID gates. The hybrid function is maintained, so RF functions can be continually used. “If a trader wants to try using RFID with only one product group, he can easily use his RF-EAS system at the same time,” explains Andreas Lorenz.

Scalable Costs Enable RFID Business Case

“From Nedap’s perspective the most significant benefit of RFID is achieved on the sales floor. An inventory accuracy of 98 per cent or more, which improves turnover significantly, can today only be reliably achieved with RFID”, says Andreas Lorenz. But it’s not only the ‘classic’ turnover on the sales floor that benefits from optimised inventory management. Store owners have had the opportunity to implement creative Omni-Channel concepts with RFID that can set their stores apart from pure online shops, says the Sales Director: “Only with RFID will it be possible to achieve a 100 per cent functioning Click & Collect. The customer buys online and picks up his goods shortly after on the same day in the store. Waiting for the parcel service is no longer necessary and so it is a winning situation for the store. An initial trial – to see the advantages that RFID brings to inventory accuracy – is possible even with a low investment. A handheld reader is sufficient. If the merchant notices the individual benefits, the solution is scalable according to his needs.”

Remote Maintenance Saves Costs and Ensures Performance

Operation life and maintenance of the acquired hardware have a decisive influence on ROI along with having the appropriate dimensioning of the equipment, according to Andreas Lorenz: “Using remote maintenance, we can execute more than threequarters of all maintenance, update, and device management tasks remotely. This saves time and money because there is no need for technicians to be on hand in store. So we make sure that the RFID readers always deliver an optimum performance over a long period. We follow a simple formula: if the purchase and operation costs for RFID hardware are kept to a minimum for the retailer, the faster it pays off.”

Last modified on Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:45
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